Australian Directors' Guild   

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There are over 720,000 hours of new video content being uploaded to YouTube every day, thousands of film festivals around the world and hundreds of hours of television and streaming content being produced in Australia. How can directors draw attention to their work? What strategies can they use to ensure that their work is valued? Are there innovative approaches to getting our work seen and building a sustainable career? Our panelists have created and witnessed innovative pathways and will share how you can stand out from the crowd. 

Moderator: Pearl Tan


  • Penny Smallacombe (Netflix)
  • Stef Smith

More speakers to be announced.


Penny Smallacombe is the Netflix ANZ manger of its Grow Creative Program. Grow Creative is a Netflix initiative to expand and up-skill local talent – both above and below-the-line – via investment in education and training. Smallacombe, a Maramanindji woman from the Northern Territory, joins Netflix from Bunya Productions, where she has worked for a year as a producer on projects such as SBS series True Colours. 

Prior to, Smallacombe was Screen Australia’s head of First Nations for six years, overseeing projects such as ABC series Mystery Road, Sweet CountryTotal Control, Goldstone, Little J and Big Cuz, Grace Beside Me, We Don’t Need a MapMaralinga Tjarutja, Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky and She Who Must Be LovedIn that role, she also facilitated a variety of initiatives for First Nations creatives, such as Songlines on Screen, Pitch Black Shorts, Shock Treatment, State of Alarm, [Black Space], Bunya Talent Hub LA and the Producers Initiative.

Prior to joining the agency, she worked as senior programmer at NITV and was a producer on projects like A Change of Heart, The Forgotten Ones, Message Sticks and Yarning Up. 


Stef Smith a recipient of the ADG 2018 Commercial & Content Mentorship Program and directs commercials with Photoplay, winning the ADG Award for Best Direction in Commercial Content 2021. As series creator and director, IT’S FINE, I’M FINE was financed by Screen NSW/Screen Australia and world premiered at CanneSeries, Cannes in April 2022 and is due for its Australian premiere at MIFF in August, 2022. Her Create NSW GEFF award winning short JOY BOY screened internationally including Palm Springs, Iris Prize and the American Pavilion Emerging Directors Showcase, Cannes 2020. Stef is represented by Casarotto Ramsay.

PEARL TAN - Moderator 

Pearl Tan is a director and educator. She is currently in development as the Director on the web series Return to Sender, which won Screen Australia's inaugural Pitcher Perfect competition. She is also completing her PhD in Creative Practice, in which she is creating a fictional podcast of a fly-on-the-wall experience of a diverse writers’ room. Pearl has extensive experience in advocacy and governance, and currently sits on the board of the Australian Directors' Guild, having previously served on the AFTRS Council, Critical Stages Touring, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Board, Actors' Equity's National Performers Committee and as Co-Chair of the Equity Diversity Committee. She has delivered a TEDx talk entitled Reimagining Diversity, was named a Woman of Influence by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac, and won the most Influential Asian Australian Under 40 award in the Arts and Culture category.