Claire Jager

Claire Jager – Festival Director

Claire Jager brings a wealth of experience to the Festival. She is a director and producer, with award-winning films to her credit and has worked with the ABC as an Executive Producer; with SBS as a Commissioning Editor (Documentary); with the Australian Film Commission as a development executive, and Screen Australia as Investment Manager for Documentary. Alongside her role as curator of the annual screening programs and related screen-based media events, Claire also focuses on  future directions with the CDoc team and the Board.

Deidre Gibb – Program Liaison

Deirdre Gibb has been interested in film for over 50 years. Yes she is that old! 
From 2009-2019  she has been a member at Maleny Film Society  and during that time was on committees selecting both current and retrospective movies. Having been a librarian for too many decades, she is an information sleuth tracking down film distributors, screening rights etc.
She was also a member Chewton Film Society in addition to being on their selection committee for 2 years.
As a film tragic she has joined a number of  David Stratton film cruises & continues to make the odd suggestion to our beloved Theatre Royal here in Castlemaine. She is looking forward to being part of the 2023 CDoc team.

Anna Williams – Volunteers Coordinator

Anna Williams is a former teacher and current administrator in education. She has worked across most sectors of education – primary, secondary and tertiary and also in the sporting world. Anna has a great love of cinema so working in this role for the Castlemaine Documentary Festival is the perfect fit.

Diane Cook 

Diane Cook has been a freelance writer since 2021, after spending eight-and-a-half years with Aesop as Senior Copywriting Manager. Her prior professional roles include Cultural Activities and Creative Development Manager at Film Victoria; lecturer in creative writing, screenwriting and communications at the University of Canberra and RMIT respectively; Co-Director of the St Kilda Film Festival; freelance script editor; and freelance script/screen culture projects assessor for Film Victoria, the Australian Film Commission, Screen NSW and Screen Tasmania.

Carla Aleruccio – Media Manager

Carla Alderuccio is an experienced public relations and communications professional. She is currently the Publicity Lead for The Australian Open at Tennis Australia.

Carla was previously an Account Director at That Communications Company, a Melbourne-based PR agency specialising in media relations, corporate communications, executive profile building, corporate and brand positioning, and issues and crisis management. She has worked with clients from a wide range of industries including technology, education, professional services, not-for-profit, women’s advocacy, health, lifestyle and sport.

She has also worked as a tutor at RMIT University teaching public relations and writing to students undertaking the Bachelor of Communications.

Julie Elleray – Partnerships

Julie has notched up almost 20 years in television and radio production, with vast experience in network and cable television, commercial and public-broadcast radio, corporate and government communications and NGOs.

She produced live television for seven years before going freelance and working in various capacities including writer/producer, director, casting director and food producer, a role which earned her a World Food Media award.

Julie retired five years ago and moved to Chewton where she lives with her husband and Heeler in a house with a big garden high on a hill. S

he saw her first documentary when she was 14 – Crystal Voyager – and it made her want to be a surfie chick. These days her favourite doco is The Last Waltz, and that makes her want to be in a band.

Our Board

The Castlemaine Documentary Festival is governed by a Board of Directors.

Marylou Verberne – Chair 

Marylou Verberne Marylou Verberne is an emerging artist from Castlemaine, in the Central Goldfields of Victoria.

While from a young age she imagined a future in the arts, Marylou got sidelined by an international career in law and social impact. Initially working as a lawyer in top-tier firms in Australia and Hong Kong, she went on to work in the offices of State and Federal members of parliament, established an education not-for-profit, got involved in documentary filmmaking and set up a social impact consulting firm.

For Marylou, the “gift” of COVID was to make a long-overdue decision to commit to a full-time art practice as a photographer. She is involved in a number of local artist groups and is on the board of the Mountain Festival in Macedon.

Deane Williams – Deputy Chair

Deane Williams is Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies, Monash University.  Deane is a film historian specialising in documentary film history and Australian documentary authoring or editing 12 monographs and of numerous articles. From 2007-2017 he was foundation editor of Studies in Documentary Film a scholarly journal dedicated to the history and criticism of documentary. He has regularly served in leadership and community engagement positions.

Hollie Fifer

Hollie Fifer is currently the Director of Australian Programs at Doc Society.

As a documentary filmmaker, Hollie’s films have screened at festivals and broadcasted within Australia and internationally. THE OPPOSITION is Hollie’s debut feature documentary produced by Media Stockade that world premiered at Hot Docs and IDFA in 2016 before winning the Grand Prize at FIFO, screening at the UN Human Rights Council, winning Best Documentary Feature at the Oz Flix Independent Film Awards and screening in over 35 countries. Hollie’s latest short film UNBALANCED recently premiered on Australian newspapers The Age/Sydney Morning Herald’s Vox Dox series. 


Hollie serves on the Board of the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), the Global Impact Producers Alliance (GIPA) and the Castlemaine Documentary Festival (CDoc). In her previous work she has been a freelance tutor in Documentary Directing at NIDA and AFTRS, Co-Director of The Artists Guild, Director of Schoolhouse Studios and selected for MECCA M-Power Program.

Michelle Tyson Clark

Michelle Tyson Clark is Strategic Adviser at Adelaide Festival. Previously, she was General Manager at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne’s home of books, writing and ideas. She has stayed on with the Wheeler Centre part-time as Governance Lead, working between Naarm and Kaurna Country.

Michelle has over 20 years of experience in governance, strategy and administration across festivals, performing arts, film, television, and the independent production sector. Previously, she was Strategic Adviser to the Dean at Monash Art Design and Architecture (MADA), and before MADA she was Chief of Staff at RISING, the festival formed from White Night and Melbourne International Festival of the Arts. She has held roles at Melbourne Festival, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Australia, Film Australia, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Cinemedia. 

Suzanne Donisthorpe

Suzanne Donisthorpe has been an arts broadcaster for over 30 years, working on the various incarnations of the books and arts programs at ABC Radio National. She also worked for a number of years with the sculptor Frank Veldze on a range of creative projects. Her novel Getting Up was published by Pan MacMillan in 2013. Since leaving the ABC in 2015, Suzanne has been closely involved with the local Castlemaine Public radio station MAINfm. She presented the award winning ArtSwank program and worked as the Program Manager and Board member. She currently presents two arts and current affairs shows- Hear Say and The Shout Out.

Ira Barker

Ira Barker is a Gunditjmara and Barkindji filmmaker, cook and farmer. Ira edited and released their first documentary in 2021 as part of CVIFF, has contributed to several panel discussions and is working to edit documentary scripts for cultural inclusion. They have also been involved in film distribution since 2016, running the local Family Videoland until it’s closure in 2020.

Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson has spent more than thirty years making television and documentaries, earning his first stripes at the BBC before becoming Head of Television at Lonely Planet and then Executive Producer/Writer/Director at Chemical Media. Tony has worked with international broadcasters and screen funding bodies in North America, Europe, the Middle East, China and Australia. He’s been twice nominated for a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism and is the winner of a Screen Producers Australia Award.

Kylie Pascoe

With a 20-year career in film and television, Kylie Pascoe broke new ground in subscription television, creating innovative campaigns alongside several Hollywood Studios. In 1996 she moved into film and has been behind the release of over 30 films and series. Kylie spent two years as director of Queensland’s largest film festival (GCFF) establishing three of their flagship events before relocating to Victoria in 2016 to focus on producing. A keen collaborator, Kylie has produced a broadcast documentary, and co-produced eleven feature films and a Netflix series.  Her latest feature documentary – The Art of Incarceration – was acquired by Netflix for global release mid 2022.

Festival Archives