Dr Donna Mcrae



Senior Lecturer in Screen and Design


Faculty of Arts and Education


SCCA Arts & Ed


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Donna McRae is a Melbourne-based filmmaker whose work has been screened across several continents. Having trained and worked as an actor, visual artist/ researcher and filmmaker, she is uniquely placed to make films that are thoughtfully researched, visually beautiful and politically charged.

Embracing drama, documentary and video installation, her work reflects a deep interest in both genre and feminist theory, an unconventional but highly potent combination. Donna has repeatedly proven herself to be undaunted by ‘swimming against the tide’, unafraid to work across colour and black & white, long takes
or multi-channel, she possesses a fluency that is exceptional. Her particular interrogations of 19th century gender roles and post-punk rock‘n’roll once again offer a surprising and powerful potential.
After graduating from the VCA Film and TV School in Melbourne, Donna McRae made several shorts which were all selected for local and international film festivals. Her first micro-budget feature film, Johnny Ghost (2012), was selected into numerous film festivals locally and internationally, winning 7 awards including Best Female Director at Berlin Independent Film Festival, Best Feature at South Texas Underground Film Festival and two Special Jury Prizes, one at Hamilton Film Festival, Canada, and the other at MUFF Melbourne. The film has North American distribution with Continuum Pictures, and local distribution with Titan View.
Donna has an interest in video installation and has shown her work in art galleries both here and overseas. She has also made several collaborative works with visual artist Michael Vale, including music videos for Dave Graney and Clare Moore.
Currently she has just finished post production on a feature documentary about a chimpanzee called Cobby: The Other Side of Cute, and is in development for various projects, including her next feature film Kate Kelly, a ‘ghost western’ about Ned Kelly’s sister; and an untitled ‘Female Horror Anthology’ project with Unicorn Films.
The Kate Kelly project was selected for Frontiéres Co-Production Market at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival in July 2016.

She has also collaborated with visual artist Michael Vale since 2002, principally on the feature film project Le Chien qui Fume (currently in development with Screen Australia & Film Victoria support). They have also made several short films & videos together culminating in a film award from Asolo Film Festival, Italy, for best film on art, and worked with installation art (The Innocents Westspace, Melbourne 2011).
Donna’s latest micro-budget horror feature Lost Gully Road has just had its World Premiere at Monsterfest in Melbourne, November 2017; has upcoming distribution with Umbrella Entertainment and is currently seeking international Festival interest.

COBBY: The Other Side of Cute will have it's world premiere at the San Francisco Documentary Festival in June. 

Donna also lectures at Deakin University in the Film &TV Department.

Read more on Donna's profile

Career highlights

Johnny Ghost -

Special Jury Prize, Hamilton International Film festival, Canada 2013

Best Female Director, Berlin Independent Film festival, 2013

Film with Most Heart, Pollygrind Film festival. Las Vegas, 2012
Best Feature, South Texas Underground Film Festival 2012
Special Jury Prize, Melbourne Underground Film Festival 2012
Best Screenplay, Melbourne Underground Film Festival, 2012
Best Editing, Minneapolis Underground Film Festival, 2011
Official Selection, Portobello Film Festival, London, 2012
Official Selection, Portugal Underground Film Festival, 2012
Official Selection, Stranger with My Face Women in Horror Film Festival,2013
Official Selection, RxSM Film Expo, Austin, Texas, 2013
Official Selection, KIlof Film Festival, Poland, 2013
Official Selection, No/Gloss Film Festival. Leeds 2013

Research interests

ghosts, memory, Australian female Gothic

Units taught

screenwriting, Australian national cinema

Knowledge areas

Cinema Ghosts, Horror, Australian Female Gothic


Screening Melbourne 2017


Cobby - feature documentary (In production)

Le Chien qui Fume - A Smokey Life (with Dr Michael Vale) feature film (development)

Untitled Horror Anthology - feature film i(n development)

Kate Kelly  - feature film - (in development)

California - video installation (preproduction)


Filter by


Cobby: The other side of cute

D Mcrae, Michael Vale

(2018), San Francisco, Calif., J1


Lost gully road

D Mcrae, Elisabeth Baulch

(2018), Los Angeles, Calif., J1


Lost Gully Road

E Baulch, D McRae

(2017), Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn, Australia, J1


The Cutopia Paradox: anthropomorphism as entertainment

M Vale, D McRae

(2016), Vol. 7, pp. 128-143, Ecozon@ : European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, Alcal de Henares, Spain, C1



D McRae

(2016), Los Angeles, Calif., J1


Who's knocking in my little house? Ursula Dabrowsky's Inner Demon (2014)

D Mcrae

(2016), pp. 1-1, Senses of Cinema, Melbourne, Vic., C1



D McRae

(2015), Windsor, Vic., J2


Make believe it's nothing

D McRae

(2014), Melbourne 3000, J2


Everything was legendary with Robert

D McRae

(2014), Melbourne, Vic., J2-1


Johnny Ghost

D McRae

(2013), Melbourne, Vic., J1


All mine

D McRae, M Vale

(2013), Melbourne, Vic., J2


Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Ladies of the Cemetery>

Dr Donna Mcrae

  • 2019: $3,000

Industry and Other Funding

Cobby - The Dark Side of Cute

Dr Donna Mcrae

  • 2015: $10,686


Principal Supervisor

Kristina Kraskov

Thesis entitled: Ethics in the Suburbs: An Exegesis of the film The King of Frankston

Master of Arts, School of Communication & Creative Arts

Associate Supervisor

Matthew Burns

Thesis entitled: Cinema and the Art of Dying

Master of Arts, School of Communication & Creative Arts


Su Hnin Htut (Brooke) Aung

Thesis entitled: Representation of Ghosts and Spirits in East and Southeast Asian Cinema

Master of Arts, School of Communication & Creative Arts