Verena Thomas – Producer / Lead Investigator
Dr Verena Thomas is the founding Director of the CSCM and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities at the University of Goroka PNG. Verena is a media practitioner and educator who has worked in the international and Australian film and television industries for over a decade. She has been involved in the production of numerous award-winning documentaries and has a passion for the practice and theory of documentary filmmaking. She holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney and has a background in documentary filmmaking. Verena initially came to PNG to make a film about her great-uncle, Fr Nilles, one of the early missionaries in the PNG Highlands. Verena’s film Papa Bilong Chimbu(2006) was screened in PNG and internationally. The experiences of screening Papa Bilong Chimbu in PNG communities began her engagement in media training and collaborative filmmaking in PNG. Her PhD examined community-responsive filmmaking as research practice in PNG. Verena led award-winning community-based media research projects such as theYumi Piksa and the Komuniti Tok Piksa in collaboration with international project partners. Verena has extensive experience in the area of media capacity building in the Pacific. Her research interests include visual and arts-based research approaches, communication for development and social change and health communication. (Contact: [email protected])
Ceridwen Spark – Researcher / Lead Investigator
Dr Ceridwen Spark holds a postdoctoral fellowship in the College of Arts at Victoria University. After gaining her PhD in Gender Studies at Monash University, Ceridwen has focused her research on gender and leadership in PNG. In particular, Ceridwen has investigated the experiences of educated, urban-dwelling women. Ceridwen has also researched and published on cross-cultural interaction between Australians and Papua New Guineans. Ceridwen was born and grew up in PNG and speaks tok pisin. In 2012, Ceridwen sought and gained funding from AusAid for the Pawa Meri project which represents a collaboration with the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka. During the first half of 2012, Ceridwen lived in Goroka to establish the Pawa Meri project. This was made possible by her receipt of the Endeavour Award for Postdoctoral Research. Ceridwen has extensive contacts in PNG and over numerous research trips to PNG, has conducted interviews with women who are leaders in various fields including business, the law, social work, the arts and health. (Contact: [email protected] / [email protected])
Mark Eby – Director and Camera Mentor
Mark Eby has been working as an independent filmmaker for over 15 years, specializing in documentaries about performance, culture and social issues in the United States, Africa and the Pacific. He has a MA degree from UCLA and has been a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow with the UCLA National Dance/Media Project, has received a grant from the National Initiative to Preserve America’s Dance (NIPAD), and was the cinematographer on the award-winning PBS documentary American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii. Mark grew up in the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea and throughout his life has lived and worked alternately in the U.S. or in Papua New Guinea. Most recently, he has taught literature, media production, and communication and social change at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Goroka. At the CSCM, Mark has worked with Papua New Guinean staff for training and capacity building purposes on a number of film projects with Komuniti Tok Piksa, Pawa Meri, the Kokoda Initiative, Population Services International (PSI), and Save the Children. He is currently the lead researcher on a PACMAS Innovation Grant that is conducting a survey of the distribution and exhibition of media through village cinemas in the PNG highlands. (Contact: [email protected])
Penny Jope – Associate Producer
Penny is a freelance Producer and Researcher with over 10 years experience in television on factual and lifestyle programs for Nine, Seven, ABC, SBS, Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Penny was a Producer and Researcher for the Nine Network travel series ‘Getaway’. She worked as Unit Manager on ‘MythBusters’ in San Francisco (Discovery Channel). Penny holds a Bachelor of Media Studies from Melbourne’s La Trobe University. She directed and produced award winning short documentaries; Drive: Making Regional News (ATOM award for best tertiary documentary) and Unfinished Business (Winner, Art of Documentary). Penny co-produced, with Verena Thomas, the feature documentary Papa Bilong Chimbu.
Madge Szoeke – Post Producer/ Editor
Madge Szoeke is a highly experienced Series Producer, Post Producer and Editor with over 20 years experience in television. Madge has taught editing for AFTRS and at the DFFB (German Film School in Berlin). She is an Avid specialist and trainer, who has traveled nationally & internationally teaching Avid skills. Madge studied Directing and Editing at the Australian Film and Television School in Sydney (AFTRS). She’s produced and edited prime-time television for all of Australia’s major networks and several overseas broadcasters; Seven, Nine, Ten, ABC, SBS, TVNZ, Discovery and Smithsonian Channel. Madge has recently Post Produced for ‘The Block’, ‘The Block All Stars’, ‘Excess Baggage’ (Network Nine) and ‘Masterchef’ (Series 3/ Network Ten). She was the Series Producer for ‘Dinner Date’ and ‘Find My Family’ (Series 2 /Network Seven). Madge has an extensive list of editing credits in factual and reality television including ‘ICU’, ‘Medical Emergency’, ‘Hot Property’ (Network Seven), ‘People Dimensions’ (ABC TV) and on the SBS documentary ‘Handle with Care’. Madge also has experience working with CAAMA the indigenous TV network in Alice Springs NT and has produced material with indigenous women on Australia’s East Coast.