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SCREENWORKS Committee Members


  • CHAIR PERSON- Lois Randall
  • DEPUTY CHAIR- J'aimee Skippon-Volke
  • TREASURER - Chris Benaud
  • SECRETARY - Michael Balson
  • PUBLIC OFFICER- Rosy Whelan
  • Grayson Cooke
  • Deb Cox
  • Deb McBride
  • Russell Burton


Michael Balson  

Michael is one of Australia’s most experienced and awarded documentary makers, with dozens of international documentaries to his credit.  He has directed, edited, shot and written Natural History, Adventure, Cultural and Environmental Documentaries for all Australian and International Broadcasters, including many for The Discovery Channel and National Geographic… and has won AFI, Logi, and US ACE awards for Directing, Editing and Soundtrack. Michael began his career in 1966 as editing assistant with the ABC, and was a staff editor at just 19 years of age.  He was freelance editing and writing in the 1970’s, began directing in the early 1980’s, and started video camera work in the 1980’s.  

Today he is ‘horizontally-integrated’, multi-tasking as Producer/Director/Camera /Sound/Writer and Editor… completing production on Final Cut Pro.  Since moving to Byron Shire 15 years ago, Michael has completed over 30 hours of Documentaries, for Television Broadcasters all over the World – and still feels his best work is ahead of him!   

Chris Benaud

Chris is a public relations and fundraising professional. After consultancy positions in corporate public relations with clients including CSR, Lend Lease and Credit Lyonnais, Chris developed a career as a professional fund raiser, holding consultancy and in-house positions for not-for-profit organisations including the National Heart Foundation, Foundation for Aged Care and The Royal Flying Doctor Service for which he was Marketing and PR Manager and at the University of Technology, Sydney as Director of Alumni and Development. He is a Fellow of The Fundraising Institute of Australia, holds a Masters degree in Communication Management and a BA in Communication. Prior to his career in public relations, Chris was a freelance film and video editor and researcher, working in documentaries for Film Australia and drama for the Grundy Organisation as well as editing television news and current affairs, commercials and music videos. In his teens and early 20s, Chris was an actor with leading and co-leading roles in television, film and theatre. 

Grayson Cooke

Grayson Cooke is an interdisciplinary scholar and media artist, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, and Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Media degree. Grayson has exhibited works of new media and photography in Australia and Canada, he has performed live audio-visual works in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the UK, and he has published academic articles in numerous print and online journals. He is also an associate editor for the online peer-reviewed journal Transformations. He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Concordia University in Montreal.

Lois Randall
Lois Randall is a Screen Producer with extensive experience in documentary and drama production, policy, development, management and funding. Production credits include Line Producer of East of Everything drama series (ABC), Production Manager of Solarmax (Imax documentary) and Producer of short films including Air (animation, SBS) and The New Boots (Sydney Film Festival). Her professional experience includes positions of Executive Director at Australian Screen Directors Association (now Australian Directors Guild), DocuMart Manager at AIDC 2003, Manager of Metro Screen, and RADO/CEO at Arts Northern Rivers. Lois is now developing two television drama projects with Every Cloud Productions.
J'aimee Skippon-Volke

With a working history in Event Management & Pre, Post & Production in London, New York and Sydney, including holding various free-lancing positions in production support for music videos, corporate, charity, documentary and drama productions, J'aimee blends her experience, interests & passions as the Byron Bay International Film Festival Director.  

Rosy Whelan

Rosy Whelan is a writer, researcher, language teacher and adventurer with professional experience that spans film and television, publishing, tourism and education. As a media consultant, her international clientele includes Kennedy Miller, ABC TV, TV NZ, Smithsonian Channel and National Geographic. Rosy wrote Bush Tucker Man: Stories of Survival, a bestseller, based on her work on the eight-part series for ABC TV documentaries. She has participated in some 50 expeditions to Antarctica, working for the Australian Antarctic Division, British Antarctic Survey and private tour operators. She was involved in logistics and script development for Kennedy Miller’s Oscar Award winning blockbuster, Happy Feet.

Deb Cox

Writer/ Producer

Deb McBride

      Deb McBride has had many and various roles within the film and tv industry.  Entering the film business 25 years ago she worked as a publicist for the Academy Twin Cinema when independent distributors,

       Ronin Films and Premium Films were co-owners. She stayed in the exhibition business for a further three years managing both the Walker Cinema and Dendy Martin Place.


       Other roles as publicist include, Publicity and Marketing Director for Australian Film Television and Radio School, Sony Music Publishing, 2SERFM and Tracey Mair Publicity

       She has extensive experience managing regional film offices holding the position of both Locations Liaison Officer and Manager for  Film Illawarra in Wollongong and Creative Industries Development Manager at  Northern Rivers Screenworks.

       Deb has worked on several documentaries, films and TV series including most recently,  I’m A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here.              

        From 2010 – 2013 Deb was the Conference Director for SPAA and SPAA Fringe conferences.

       She is currently in pre-production for the documentary, There Is Another Way as producer.

Russell Burton