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Reel Women – WA producers making their mark in film & TV – By Brooke Hunter

Reel Women – WA producers making their mark in film & TV – By Brooke Hunter

Reel Women…WA producers making their mark in film and TV

WA film and television producers, Celia Tait, Sue Taylor and Rikki Lea Bestall, revealed their success stories to a diverse group of women at the second Women in Media event for 2010.

The event was held at the WA Screen Arts Academy on Wednesday August 4 with talks from three women who have succeeded in the national and international screen industries.

After some delicious drinks and nibbles, the WIM attendees eagerly filed in to hear the women talk of their journeys breaking into film, the growth of Western Australia’s industry and roles for females.

Sue Taylor interested WIMers with stories from over 25 years experience as an independent producer.
Sue initially produced television documentaries in the 80s when she realised she wanted to do fiction and began to develop children’s drama projects.
“Documentaries were too close to the bone and as a newer producer it was easier to get into fiction through children’s drama,” she said.
She then established Taylor Media which has produced various children’s series, mini series, documentaries and feature films.

These include The Last Train to Freo, The Shark Net and 3 Acts of Murder.
“I kept taking risks and chances. Mostly I kept doing things and getting out there. When a door opens that much, I grab it.”
Her most recently co-produced film, The Tree, was selected to close Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and is in the running for best feature at this year’s Australian Film Institute Awards.

WAAPA film and television graduate Rikki Lea Bestall was another inspirational speaker at the event.
Rikki talked about how hard it was to find work experience after completing university.
“It was extremely hard being an independent producer in Perth…10 years ago in WA there was no work experience in film,” she said.
She then moved over east and worked behind the scenes on Australian series Neighbours and Blue Heelers to get her foot in the door.


Following her dream and moving to Hollywood launched her into a very successful career where she worked on Ghost Rider as an assistant.
Two years later, she became the co-producer for 2009’s The Soloist starring Robert Downey Jnr and Jaime Foxx.
She has just finished independently producing this year’s When in Rome.
Back in Perth working as a development manager at Screen West, Rikki said she was astounded at WA’s film industry growth.
“It is amazing to see how things have grown here since I left. Over the last five years the growth, considering limited exposure, is astonishing,” she said.
“It’s a fantastic place to be now and there is such an elevated level of production. We’re definitely a healthier industry than America.”
Producer Celia Tate engaged WIM attendees with her stories of moving to Australia as a career choice in film.
Celia studied geography at Cambridge University before she realised she enjoyed the creativity of film and television.

“I discovered I loved creating, art and drama,” she said.

After moving to Perth from London, Celia said it had been slow stepping stones towards success in the industry.
But she has worked hard on many popular Australian productions and it seems her determination has paid out in the end.
Celia’s credits include SBS’s Who Do You Think You Are? and Desperately Seeking Doctors.

To finish, Celia, Rikki and Sue gave WIMers their advice on succeeding in the world of film and TV.
“You have to think business as well as passion. Be persistent, attend everything and get on board. Getting out there and networking is especially important,” Rikki said.
“It comes down to determination and talent. Get out there, be tenacious, and have a good work ethic. And, sometimes it is all just about luck,” Celia said.
Nodding her head, it was clear Sue agreed.


“It is definitely about luck. Keep knocking on doors and do the hard yards,” she said.
The three women were then treated to a round of applause from WIMers who enjoyed the evening.

After the discussion Bill Bradshaw from SecretsShhh bestowed a stunning simulated diamond pendant and earrings set in 14 carat gold valued at $520 upon a very excited Karen Williams. Charlie Turnbull from The Richardson Hotel and Spa made Alison James’ day with a prize of a one hour and 20 minute massage and spa valued at $275. One night’s accommodation at the Richardson Hotel, valued at $500, was taken home by Fleur Bainger from White Noise Media. Sian Delaney and Deb Spittle won double passes to the Peggy Guggenheim Exhibition from the Art Gallery of Western Australia, while movie passes to “Going the Distance” from Village Roadshow were given out to five lucky winners. Passes to a preview screening of The Kids Are All Right were provided by Hopscotch Films to everyone attending.

Women in Media’s next big night will be our Christmas Party at The Art Gallery of WA on Monday 29th November.

Brooke Hunter is a 21-year student at Curtin University about to complete one a double degree in professional writing and journalism. “I have a great interest in writing and my dream would be to establish my own magazine for creative writers and journalists. I also aim to write for publications where I can express my interests freely. Making the public aware of current issues such as teenage homelessness, women’s issues, children and teen issues, religion, war, poverty and politics is a passionate interest of mine. I have had experience writing for Scoop Magazine, The Sunday Times, The Colosoul Group, The Oaktree Foundation, Perth Woman Magazine, Grok Magazine and The Western Independent and found it extremely exciting sub-editing, interviewing, organising events, and writing articles, press releases, features and reviews.”
Brooke may be contacted on 0433 619 050 brooke_alyce@hotmail.com