Dr Sian Mitchell



Lecturer, Film,TV and Performing Arts


Faculty of Arts and Education


School of Comm & Creative Arts


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Biography summary

Dr Sian Mitchell is a lecturer specialising in screen culture, film studies and media with 15 years experience in higher education.

Her research has been published in academic and screen industry publications, and she has presented at a number of national and international conferences and symposia. Sian's work also extends to practice-based film programming and curatorial projects, particularly through her role as Festival Director of the Melbourne Women in Film Festival, an annual festival celebrating and supporting Australian women screen creatives and their work.

Sian received a PhD. in Film and Television Studies (2012) from Monash University. She also holds a Masters in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies (2016) with a focus on film history, curation and multimedia exhibition, and a Graduate Certificate in Arts and Entertainment Management (2004), both from Deakin University.

Research interests

Screen cultures, Women's screen practice, Film festivals, Screen and creative industries


Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA)

Screen Studies Association of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (SSAANZ)

Women in Film and Television Victoria (WIFT Vic)

Cinefeminisms Network

International Advisory Committee - Seoul International Women's Film Festival

Teaching interests

Screen storytelling, screen cultures, film festivals, screen industry models, screen distribution and exhibition practices, film studies and history, screen representation.

Units taught

ACA203 The Art and Design of Sound

ACF106 Screen Practices

ACF206 Contemporary Topics in Screen Culture

ACF706 Story Telling on Screen

Knowledge areas

Screen and creative industries, screen cultures, women's screen practice, film festivals and exhibition, Australian film.


Selected conferences and symposia

December 2020: “#stayconnected: Community building in online film festival outreach”, Screen Futures: Media, Concepts, Worlds: Third Biennial Conference of the Screen Studies Association of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (SSAAANZ), Online.

November 2020: Roundtable participant, 'What does Covid 19 mean for the future of Australia’s Film Festival Circuit?', Film Festivals Research: A Virtual Roundtable, Online.

December 2019: 'Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF) and Monash Film and Screen Studies: A Cine-Feminist Collaboration', roundtable discussion with Janice Loreck, Claire Perkins and Kirsten Stevens for the Cinefeminisms symposium, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

December 2019: Respondent for the session 'Cine-feminist production' at the Cinefeminisms symposium, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

September 2019: Discussant for the Korean Film 100 Years: Rewriting Film History from the Feminist Perspective International Conference at the Seoul International Women's Film Festival, Seoul, South Korea.

November 2018: 'The use of the audio-visual essay as a pedagogical tool for students of screen practice', presented at the Not Another Brick in the Wall: Teaching and Researching the Audio Video Essay symposium, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

November 2018: 'More than homage: The place of retrospectives in women’s film festivals', presented at SSAAANZ 2018, The Uses of Cinema: Film, Television, Screen, Monash University, Australia.

July 2017: 'Women’s Filmmaking, Women’s Festivals: Considering the Digital in Women’s Festival Cinema', invited paper presented with Janice Loreck, Whitney Monaghan and Kirsten Stevens for the Women’s Filmmaking and Feminist Criticism in the Digital Era closed workshop, Monash University, Prato, Italy.

May 2015: ‘Indigenous voices: Co-collaborative methods in the moving image museum’, presented at the Conflict and Compassion symposium, Deakin University & National Trust of Australia (Vic.), Melbourne, Australia.

Professional activities

2016-present: Festival Director, Melbourne Women in Film Festival

2016-present: Board member, Alliance Française de Melbourne

2021: Presenter, “Getting your film into the right film festival”, Masterclass, Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia 2021, Indonesia (online).

Not all film festivals are created equal but with thousands of excellent ones taking place across world, there is always a festival where your film will fit. In this session, Sian will discuss what film festivals look for when accepting and programming films. Key areas of focus include where to find film festivals, matching films to festivals and audiences, putting together a festival plan, what film festivals to avoid, and what else to submit with your film to increase your chances of success.

2020: Panel organiser and moderator, "Streaming stories: Women filmmakers online", Cineaste International Film Festival, India (online).

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the ability to visit film festivals and cinemas in person, the shift to online formats have garnered many possibilities for women filmmakers to screen their work and reach wider audiences both locally and globally. This panel explores the opportunities and challenges for women filmmakers created by the increase of online film festivals and digital streaming services in 2020. Panellists included producers, directors, distributors, and film festival organisers discussing their experiences of online spaces in relation to their own work, the international screen industries and what online means for women storytellers moving into the future.

2020: Institutional Advisory Board member, Cineaste International Film Festival, India.

2019: Jury member for Best Korean Feature Film, Seoul International Women's Film Festival, South Korea.

ATOM Awards Judge - ‘Best Tertiary Short Film’ award (2013) and ‘Best Short Fiction’ - 50 minutes or less (2016).

Media appearances

Recent media

Interview, 'Mornings with Virginia Trioli', ABC 774, Feb 13th, 2020.

Interview, 'Sunday Arts Magazine', Joy FM, Feb 9th, 2020.

Interview, The Age Newspaper - 'Kiwis Join Movie Sisterhood', Feb 5th, 2020.

Research groups

Keylight: Reframing Women & Screen research cluster (https://blogs.deakin.edu.au/keylight-women-and-screen/)

Co-leader with Professor Sean Redmond, 'Participatory Screens' for the Deakin Motion Lab (https://motionlab.deakin.edu.au/)


Current: Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2022.

2017-2021: Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF) annual festival.

Festival grants:

  • Film Victoria Audience Engagement, $7,000 (2018), $12,000 (2019), $10,000 (2020), $8,000 (2021)
  • City of Melbourne Annual Arts Grant, $10,000 (2018), $15,500 (2019), $15,000 (2020), $16,900 (2021)
  • Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation Proactive Grant, Visualise Your Voice CaLD workshop (pilot), $5,500

2018: Curator for 'Visionary Sounds', a special programme of music videos directed by Australian women for Melbourne Music Week followed by a Q&A with award winning director Natasha Pincus ('Someody that I Used To Know - Gotye) and producer Emma Haarburger ('Georgia' - Vance Joy).

2017: Co-programmer for MWFF with Cameo Cinemas for the Lady Macbeth advance screening and panel with female filmmakers discussing their work and process in a male-dominated industry. The panel featured documentary filmmaker Santilla Chingaipe, screenwriter/actor Alice Foulcher, editor Arial Shaw, director/producer Melanie Killingsworth, and moderated by Dr Claire Perkins (Monash University).

2015: Consulting curator for 'PastPort' heritage web application. This was an ARC funded project with the University of Melbourne and Deakin University where I researched and created a multimedia heritage walking tour of Bay St, Port Melbourne.


Filter by


L'Amour fou Revisited: The Surrealist Poetics of Michel Gondry

Sian Mitchell

(2020), pp. 89-101, ReFocus: the Films of Michel Gondry, Edinburgh, Scotland, B1

book chapter

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Retrospectives at the Melbourne Women in Film Festival

Janice Loreck, Sian Mitchell, Whitney Monaghan, Kirsten Stevens

(2020), Vol. 35, pp. 159-169, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, Durham, N.C., C1

journal article

Audiovisual Essays as Empowering Pedagogical Tools for Students of Film Practice

Sian Mitchell

(2019), Vol. 5, pp. 1-5, JCMS Teaching Dossier, [Unknown], C1

journal article

Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2018

Sian Mitchell

(2018), Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Hoyts Cinemas Melbourne Central, RMIT Cinema, J2

Non-Traditional Research Output

Reclaiming Indigenous heritage: Developing affective dialogue through cross-cultural media collaboration in the moving image museum

Sian Mitchell

(2016), Vol. 28, pp. 50-61, Historic Environment, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

No Funded Projects at Deakin found


No completed student supervisions to report