Judging Panel 2019
Cause Film Festival is excited to announce this year’s judging panel!
If you are interested in applying to be a judge for CFF 2020 and can demonstrate your suitability, please contact us.
Alison Brahe is best known for her modelling and acting career in the US and Australia and more recently as a writer and podcaster with her husband Cameron Daddo. She is also a passionate advocate for various charitable initiatives such as "Gulu Walk" and "The Invisible Children", a charity that rehabilitates child soldiers in Uganda, and since 2017 she has been the patron of "RizeUp Australia" a charity that assists domestic abuse families to settle in a new home and begin their lives in safety. She has been a sponsor of children of “World Vision" for three decades. She began her career as a model in Australiaʼs top fashion and pop magazines like Cleo, Dolly and Cosmopolitan. TV appearances soon followed with Channel Nine featuring her on the daily afternoon childrenʼs show "Guess What?" and "Here's Humphery" which cemented her in the hearts of many Australian families.
In 1991 Alison married actor, musician and presenter Cameron Daddo, and the pair emigrated to the USA where Alison studied acting and most notably appeared in the pilot remake of "Valley of the Dolls".
As multi talented people often do, Alison took a break from entertainment and moved into health and teaching in LA for many years.
These days Alison lives back in Australia with her husband Cameron and their three children; Lotus, River and Bodhi. In 2019 she and Cameron started a podcast called "Separate Bathrooms - and Other Handy Marriage Tips" and Alison now writes articles on parenting, relationships and the joys of being a woman. Her articles have been published in Kidspot, Powderoom Graffiti and Mamamia. She is currently writing a book on Menopause to be released on June 2020.
yolandi franken (founder & Patron)
Since 2006, after immigrating to Australia from South Africa, she work as a freelance producer focusing mainly on feature films but also create short films, music videos and corporate videos. Her most recent projects included two feature films with worldwide cinema and VOD release and two TV Series. A number of short films that Yolandi produced was accepted and won awards at large International Film Festivals including Cannes Short Film Corner, Venice International Film Festival, Montreal International Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival, Santa Monica Independent Film Festival and Melbourne Underground Film Festival. She is a committee member of WIFT (Women in Film and Television) and SPA (Screen Producer's Australia). For her work in the community, Yolandi was nominated Australian of the Year in 2015. As a hobby Yolandi acted in a number of Australian TV shows and represented Australia in Mrs World, Mrs Globe and Miss Multiverse.
Brad is a highly-respected Australian actor with more than twenty years' experience in film, television and theatre.
Growing up, Brad channelled his energy into a 12-year career as a chef and a long-standing passion for martial arts. Brad graduated from Queensland University of Technology's Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) degree in 2005 and after studying the Eric Morris System of Acting, Brad played the lead in the graduating class's production of Bertolt Brecht's "BAAL" directed by acclaimed theatre director, Michael Gow.
Recent credits include lead roles on the international Netflix series Tidelands, Home and Away as well as a lead role in the much anticipated Foxtel series Lambs of God and has just finished filming roles on the international series Reef Break and Godzilla vs. Kong (2020).
Brad has been seen most recently in a recurring role on Home & Away as well as in Blue Murder: Killer Cop, alongside Richard Roxburgh. He appeared opposite Rachel Griffiths in Dead Lucky and 2017 saw him playing popular villain, 'Jacka Hills', on long-running hit television series, Neighbours, as well as in the much-lauded PAWNO, which screened at MIFF 2015, was a finalist at Cinefest, and was nominated for an AACTA Award. In 2016 he also hit Australian TV screens in mini-series, BROCK, based on the life of the racing driver, Peter Brock; and in the kids' television series, Mako Mermaids.
Over the years, Brad has worked with such Hollywood luminaries as Harvey Keitel, in Fatal Honeymoon (2012) Cuba Gooding Jr in Deception (2013) and Ray Liotta in Bad Karma (2012). Other notable credits include the terrifying role of 'Derek' in the award-winning revenge film, The Horseman, (2009) and the irascible 'Big Elvis' in 2007's comedy of errors, Crooked Business and a role alongside William Hurt in 2006's Stephen King series, Nightmares and Dreamscapes.
He still loves to cook and can whip up one hell of a soufflé!
RACHAEL BELLE MYERS (CFF AMBASSADOR)
Rachael Belle Myers is a multi-award winning social impact filmmaker. As a screenwriter, director and producer, Rachael’s passion is to inspire change in the world through visual storytelling. With a large focus on social media and technology’s impact on our society, her films challenge the audience’s view and perception of their reality.
Born and raised in Western Sydney, Rachael has invested time and support to local filmmakers by co-founding the Western Sydney Filmmakers Hangout and sponsoring local film festivals.
Rachael was our 2018 best film runner up for Curated Illusions (road safety awareness) and 2017 best film finalist First World Problems Problems raising awareness of homelessness. Both films were directed and produced by Rachel through her production company Jaded Belle Productions
Nell Nakkan is an actress, writer, producer and director from Sydney, Australia. She has trained at Screenwise, ACTT, The Atlantic Theatre Company in NYC, RADA in London and The Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. Nell's resume is extensive and varied- from Classical theatre to edgy film projects and spans over ten years. Her first break came when she won the role of Sheila in the Logie winning Australian Series "A place to call home" starring Noni Hazelhurst and Marta Düsseldorp.
Dimi is an emerging multi award winning Filmmaker with a diverse body of work. Since 2009 he has produced a number of awards winning music videos with over 1.2million views on You Tube, short films, and corporate videos for Coca Cola Amatil NZ. All of Dimi’s short films have acquired non-exclusive worldwide distribution deals from numerous VOD distributors.
In 2009 Dimi founded an Online Community @fgn_inc (FilmMakers Generation Next Inc.), which has over an astounding 37,000 members on Facebook and over 25,000 Followers on Twitter. The Non-Profit has the mission to engage, educate and support the next generation of filmmakers worldwide and is Dimi’s way to give back to his community.
Dimi was the first New Zealand Director to have two short films in competition at the 2012 Cyprus International Film Festival - Page, where his short "Playmates" won Best Cinematography. The second short film “BlindSide” that he produced and directed was accepted in Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner the same year and subsequently took him to Cannes to experience its full glory and meet some valuable business contacts.
Since April 2017, Dimi’s sci-fi screenplays have been circulating some of the top international screenplay competitions and festivals, delivering multiple awards, finalist and semi-finalist selections.
A graduate of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School with a Masters Degree in Scriptwriting, Julie Kalceff is the creator, writer, director and producer of web series Starting From Now. The series is one of Australia’s most successful online projects. It has amassed over 130 million views, been watched in 230 countries, and was screened on broadcast television in Australia.
In 2017, Julie was commissioned by the Australian Broadcast Corporation to write and direct First Day, a stand-alone television episode about a 12 year-old transgender girl starting high school. First Day won the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Award for Kids’ Programming and the Gender Equity Prize at the prestigious Prix Jeunesse International Children's Television Festival. This success led to the ABC commissioning First Day as a four-part children’s television series. Julie is writing and directing the series, which is currently in production. .
Dane is a Sydney-based actor who is highly respected for his hard work ethic, sense of humour and professionalism, both on and off-screen. At 4.2 foot tall, he doesn't allow his physicality to stand in the way.
Having a deep passion for the entertainment industry, Dane decided to follow his dreams of becoming an actor, landing his first role alongside actress Rebel Wilson, in a series of TV commercials for the Stan TV launch campaign. Following this, he went on to do more featured work on the ABC Comedy Channel as well as a series of online Christmas instalments for Harley Davidson Australia - This campaign won 1st place in the L'ADN Top 15 Christmas Instalments in France, 2016.
Dane has expanded his resume by adding stunts, special effects and picture doubling whilst he worked on the set for the Peter Rabbit film.
His life goal is to “create positive change” in the entertainment industry further pushing boundaries that will positively impact many other people; with and without disabilities in future generations.
Diab is a Lebanese-Australian actor who is heavily involved within many queer causes and productions and thus loves to break the mould and to challenge perceptions when taking on roles and projects. An actor known for his strong transformative abilities and a lover of all acting mediums from film to and stage even online, Diab has starred in a range of Australian Film and Television productions including Channel 9's "Here Come The Habibs" and "Date Night", as well as ABC Comedy's "Unsynced" for the Freshblood initiative.
2018 saw Diab star as a judge, mentor and runway coach on the second season of the international modelling competition and reality show "I am Multiverse" set for a later release and 2019 saw him honoured to be one of the faces to represent the 20th anniversary of the Aurora groups annual charity ball.
An avid lover of makeup, Diab recently found viral fame several times over after Sephora Australia released a video of singer Rihanna doing his makeup to which countless memes and gifs were created.
Alison Kohlhardt is an award winning actress, director and producer from Sydney, Australia. She has an honours degree in Acting for the Screen and Stage and has worked in the entertainment industry across 4 continents, Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. She currently resides in Los Angeles and works in both Australia and the USA. Alison received the honour of being listed on the prestigious Black List’s – “100+ Horror Films Directed By Women You Should be Watching This October”, for her award winning horror/thriller film Synesthesia, which she directed, produced and acted in. The film screened at over 35 film festivals including the International Film Festival at San Diego Comic Con, won 17 awards and is now available on sofy.tv.
Her award winning sci-fi pilot, Reclamation which she directed, produced and acted in has just garnered its 50th official selection at film festivals around the world and to date has received 12 awards. The film will also be playing in Sicily, Copenhagen, Brisbane and Chicago in the coming months. Alison has also been nominated for her acting work as Annie in the popular series Reckless Juliets on Amazon Prime which focuses on mental health awareness and female teenagehood.
Other work currently in the festival circuit that Alison produced and acted in, includes feature film Sum Of Us debuting in NYC in August and feature film Where We Go From Here that just premiered at Outfest. Additionally she has been a panelist at various conventions discussing her projects, filmmaking and the industry.
Alison is currently looking to collaborate on new projects while developing a feature. You can check out her full body of work at www.imdb.com/name/nm3934374/ and stay up to date at www.facebook.com/alisonkohlhardt/
Khan graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2004 and has since performed across disciplines and genres. Notably, as central character Tim in Clubland, having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.
More recently starring in the critically acclaimed film Canopy, part of the 2013 official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF )and shown at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
His television credits include Home & Away, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, Underbelly: Razor and Sisters of War. He played Edge in the inaugural Blue Water High and was nominated for an AACTA award for his role as Dean, in Dangerous.
Khan’s latest outing was the successful indie comedy Book Week.
Suki is our Festival Director who joined us in early 2017 to take over the reins from Yolandi Franken. By day Suki is a professional portrait and headshot photographer as well as a digital product owner of a mobile app. Coming from a family of creatives - her father was a film technician and her mother was on the stage - Suki has a life long love of the creative arts and has a history in dance (tango, lambada, salsa and ballet), video editing, acting and shooting unit stills on filming locations in London and Sydney. A few years ago Suki studied with Darlo Drama performing monologue and scene work in The Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst. She is currently devoting her spare time and entrepreneurial skills to running Cause Film Festival but still makes time to watch films and network with filmmakers.
Suki and her partner Damian who is the Digital Director at Cause Film Festival live in Sydney with their fur-baby Alfie Bolt the Cavoodle.
Maha Wilson is an Australian actress and filmmaker who migrated from Iraq in 1994. Whilst being raised in Sydney’s western suburbs, her adoration for films flourished at the age of ten, when she and her sister shot their first brief film with a home video camera. Thenceforward she grounded her art with a degree in broadcast media and has studied the craft of acting extensively.
After spending nearly a decade acting for both theatre and screen, Maha’s proclivity to affect people continues to shine through the lattice of the human condition, dedicating her craft to the great desideratum of human connection.
Maha played ‘Yomna’ in Matchbox Pictures’ award winning feature film ‘Ali’s Wedding’, which won the Audience Award at the 2017 Sydney Film festival, the Age Critics award at Melbourne Film Festival, and Best original screenplay at the AACTA awards.
In 2019, Maha played Nenet in ABC’s Harrow and will appear as Petra in the award winning series Mr. Inbetween and as Maya in Serhat Caradee’s feature film A Lion Returns.
Behind the lens, Maha had her directorial debut in feature film ‘Damaged’ and was associate producer alongside See Pictures’ live action anima film ‘Martha the Monster’ starring Rose Byrne. Currently, Maha plays key creator and actress in upcoming pilot ‘The Audition Bus’ and is founder of The Scene on Screen - a highly successful ‘screen jam’ where actors are encouraged to work together rather than against in a highly competitive industry.
Maha currently resides in both Sydney and Queensland.
Born 29 October 1981, Eddie Arya is an Australian film writer, director and a producer. Arya's first feature film The Navigator was accepted in "Mississippi Sun and Sand Film Festival" and "Kansas International Film Festival". He wrote, shot, directed and edited the entire film on a budget with a Sony HVR camera and minimum crew. The Navigator is distributed by SGL Entertainment in LA for DVD, Bluray in major retail and video stores in US and Canada and also video on demand online platforms worldwide.
"The System", a drama based on today's economy and unemployment was Arya's second feature film. Arya once again played the role of the writer, cinematographer, director, producer and editor. The System was shot with a Black Magic Cinema camera. It received positive feedback and touched the audience's hearts at it's Sydney premier. The audience related to the story. The System has been submitted to festivals and is distributed by SGL Entertainment.
Both films were shot on the weekends as he worked full time for a telecommunication company "Optus" in order to pay for the film's expenses. Arya edited at nights after work, he also played a big part in the art department, where he built, paint and created his film sets. After sleepless nights and hard work, Arya is recognised and has built a solid reputation as a passionate independent film maker.
He gets his inspiration from such, self taught film makers as Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez and Steven Spielberg as they started with nothing but a camera and their vision.
Arya started showing interest in film at a young age of 7, staying home most of his childhood watching TV and films, he mainly focused on the behind the scenes, the cinematography, the backgrounds, characters and how the stories relating to the general audience. His parents wanted him to become a medical doctor. Arya believes that as film makers we may not be able to save a life but we certainly have the power to inspire and change them through our stories. After years of discouragement by the people close to him, Arya finally bought his first camera on Ebay and started his first feature film on his 29th birthday. His passion and obsession has only grown for film making. He helps and shares his knowledge with other young filmmakers.
Arya's upcoming feature film, "Risen", an American Sci-Fi thriller based on extraterrestrial life, something that he strongly believes in. Risen is on it's early stages of post production and also has distribution for cinema release. Risen is funded by private investors in New
York. Arya's ultimate dream is to collaborate with major studios and work on bigger projects where it allows him to build a much wider audience worldwide and continue to inspire and change lives through his movies.