Driving Change Speakers

Driving Change will present international and local keynote speakers, industry dynamos and advocates, as well as Bus Stop Films student Ambassadors and more.

Keely Cat-Wells

Founder & CEO Making Space (USA)

Keely founded her first company in hospital, which later became C Talent, a talent agency that represents Disabled artists, reshaping perceptions of disability. C Talent was acquired in 2022, marking a significant milestone for disability within the creative industries. Keely is now the founder & CEO of Making Space, a talent acquisition and learning platform that develops accessible pathways to employment and career advancement through employer-backed courses for Disabled people, notably securing partnerships with NBC, Netflix and Amazon. Under the Making Space umbrella is Making Space Media, a division that creates film and TV content amplifying disabled narratives, Making Space Media securing a first-look deal with Reese Witherspoons, Hello Sunshine. Keely is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honouree, Presidential Leadership Scholar ’24, AdWeek Young Influential and Diana Award Winner.

Stevie Ray

Casting Director at McGregor Casting

Stevie Ray has worked in casting for the past 17 years with McGregor Casting. He has worked across all performance platforms – theatre, TV commercials, TV and web series, short and feature films. Some examples of his web and TV series work include the popular ABC series The MoodysHere Come The Habibs for Channel 9, The Let Down, Diary of an Uber Driver & Troppo for the ABC and the AACTA nominated and multi-award winning web series High Life. His short film work includes the AACTA nominated film, You and Me Before and After, the AACTA winning and Oscar nominated film, The Eleven O’Clock, and he was awarded the Casting Guild of Australia award for Best Casting for a Short Film for Strangers. He has been an associate on a number of feature films including the AACTA nominated film Wish You Were HereThe Rover and San Andreas. He was casting director on the feature films Danger Close: The Battle of Long TanLittle Monsters, Penguin Bloom6 Days; won a Casting Guild of Australia award for Best Casting in a Feature Film for both Down Under and Babyteeth – for which he also won an AACTA award for Best Casting. You can currently catch his work in the feature film Transfusion, starring Sam Worthington and the series Wolf Like Me starring Isla Fisher and Josh Gad, both on Stan, the feature film The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race on 10Play, the series The Last King of the Cross, starring Tim Roth and Lincoln Younes on Paramount+, the series Colin From Accounts, starring Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall on Binge, the series Thai Cave Rescue starring Damon Herriman and Rodger Corser and the feature film Spiderhead starring Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller, both on Netflix and the feature film The Fall Guy starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. He is currently the treasurer of the Casting Guild of Australia.

Anousha Zarkesh

AACTA and Casting Guild Award (CGA) winner

Anousha Zarkesh has been casting for over 25yrs now specialising in top end Australian TV and film projects.  . Based in Sydney, our casting agency has gained a reputation for championing diversity and inclusion and producing internationally award winning work.     Some of our recent productions include: The New Boy, The Stranger (Netflix), One Night (Motive, Fifth Season, Paramount +), Shayda, Firebite (AMC), Class of 07 (Amazon) Total Control 1,2, 3, Mystery Road Series 1, 2 and 3, (TV) Rake (TV), Redfern now (TV), Cleverman (TV), The Principal (TV), INXS Never tear us apart (TV), Catching Milat (TV), Peter Brock Story (TV), 800 words (TV), Black Comedy (TV), Jasper Jones (FF), Hounds of Love (FF), Manny Lewis (FF), Alex and Eve (FF).  

 

Anousha has been nominated and won numerous AACTA Casting Awards and Casting Guild Awards over the years for  Shayda, The New Boy, The Stranger, We Are Still Here, High Ground, Black Comedy, Mystery Road, Total Control, Sweet Country etc

 

She is Vice President of the Australian Casting Guild and Vice President of Screen Illawarra.

 

Website:   https://www.zarkesh.com.au/

Damian Griffis

CEO First Peoples Disability Network Australia

Damian Griffis is a Worimi man and a leading advocate for the
human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with
disability. Damian has been a central figure in the establishment
of both the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and FPDN. Damian
represents FPDN at regional, national and international forums.
In 2014, he won the Tony Fitzgerald (Community Individual)
Memorial Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards.

Tracey Corbin-Matchett OAM

CEO Bus Stop Films

Tracey is a proud hard of hearing woman with a passion for film, advocacy and inclusion. As CEO of Bus Stop Films she is advocating for greater representation of people with disability in the screen industry, receiving an OAM in 2023 for service to the arts and to people with disability. Her 25-year career has crossed social housing, women’s domestic violence services, including 6 years as the State Manager of Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Program and the film and television industry, working with a number of industry services including Screen NSW, Event Cinemas and Women in Film and TV (WIFT) NSW. 

Her advocacy work in the screen industry has seen her lead on strategies including “Screenability” and “She Shoots” at Screen NSW and WIFT’s Raising Films Australia and growing the work of Bus Stop Films on a global scale.

Tracey is an Includeability Ambassador on disability employment to the Australian Human Rights Commission and a Director of Deaf Sports Australia and Northcott (Disability Services). She is also a member of the Screen Australia’s Gender Matter Taskforce, Screen Producer’s Australia Respectful Workplaces Reference Group and TAFE NSW Creative Industries Taskforce. Tracey was a member of the Australian delegation of disability advocates to the United Nation’s 15th Conference of State Parties to The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Tracey is Executive Producer of Bus Stop’s slate and co-produced films including Groundhog Night and Valiant.

Tracey holds a Bachelor of Arts, Welfare Studies (WSU) and a Diploma of Business, Frontline Management (UTS).

Seema Dudley

Employment Trainer & Assessor, On Set Support Worker Bus Stop Employment

Seema is a skilled  Employment Trainer & Assessor and on set support worker for Bus Stop Employment (BSE). Her role consists of delivering training modules to BSE’s members, and liaising between production companies and members in order to ensure a smooth transition to their work day on set.  Projects she has worked on as support worker include TVC’s for GOOGLE, ANZ, KIA, OPTUS, and Australia’s first pictureless film ‘TOUCH’, by MASTERCARD and HOWATSON & CO.

Prior to moving into disability support work, Seema worked for Channel NINE in their newsroom as a Senior News Non-Linear Editor, editing for their flagship 6pm broadcast, along with feature story editing for The Today Show, and Today Extra.

Seema has a keen passion for disability advocacy/inclusion and the film/tv industry, Seema says that Bus Stop Films and Bus Stop Employment offer the beautiful fusion of both and she is incredibly passionate about helping create a more inclusive industry for all to enjoy and be a part of!

Nathan Borg

Deaf advocate, actor and producer

Nathan Borg (He/Him) is a Deaf, Queer actor and advocate within the Australian film, television and theatre industry. He is recognised for his Deaf roles in “Neighbours”, “BONDS,” and has gained visibility for his advocacy work, including interviews on ABC, Channel 7, Channel 10, and the ListenABLE Podcast. Nathan will be in an upcoming deaf film, “My Melbourne” which will be released in cinemas 2024. Fluent in both English and Auslan, Nathan is also a cochlear implant user.

Daniel Valiente-Riedl

General Manager Job Access

Daniel has over 20 years of experience working in the disability sector. During this time, he has
worked in the areas of mental health, intellectual, developmental, acquired and physical
disability.
Currently, the General Manager for JobAccess, Daniel manages a WorkFocus Australia team
delivering this award-winning service on behalf of the Australian Government. JobAccess is the
national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers
and service providers.
Daniel has a passion for working with people and has occupied senior management positions
in several organisations, including volunteer Directorships in not-for-profit organisations. Daniel
was also a part-time teacher at the Sydney Institute of TAFE, delivering courses within the
Community and Mental Health Diplomas.
Daniel has completed studies in training and assessment, management and human resources
management, and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Master of Business
Administration, and is currently completing the Master of Science in Organisational
Psychology.

Dianna La Grassa

COO Bus Stop Films

With over 10+ years of experience in the education sector, an MBA graduate and a NIDA trained actress Dianna is our Chief Operating Officer and resident Producer. Her background in adult education underpins the delivery of our Accessible Film Studies Program.

As the COO it has given her great pleasure to watch the organisation pave ground-breaking pathways for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the film industry and watch the students blossom in these interactive and unique environments, seeing them develop real life skills and opportunities for their passion. Dianna has produced more than 25 film projects with Bus Stop Films including the multi award winning Groundhog Night and What Was it Like? and acclaimed films Filters, Visible and This Is News Radio.

 

Lisa Cox

Advertising consultant and disability advocate.

Lisa Cox is a TEDx speaker, author, globally published writer, internationally awarded thought leader and inclusive communications consultant. Combining her professional background in advertising and media, with a lived experience of disability, Lisa is committed to improving employment outcomes for people with a disability by empowering professionals in some of the world’s most influential industries, like film and advertising. Her solutions-focused approach is helping professionals better navigate the nuances of disability inclusion through their content and workplace practices. Lisa is the inaugural Disability Affairs Officer at Media Diversity Australia, has worked with Advertising Council Australia’s Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce and currently sits on Griffith University Inclusive Futures Engagement Council. Read more at www.lisacox.co

Rae Pastuszak

Experience Delivery Assistant Ooh Media and award winning Actor

Rae Pastuszak is an actor who has appeared in various TVC, online campaigns and photo shoots, including the lead role for NIB’s 2023 TVC made through the Shift 20 initiative. Her other 

campaigns include McDonalds, Optus/Google partnership, Arumba Disability Services and the Australian Government Covid Arm Yourself campaign. She has also appeared in print photo shoots for various companies, most recently the Island Vibes tan range launch campaign.

 

Rae is best known for her role as Daisy Bus Stop Films – short film Hopeful Romantic for which she won Best Actor at the Australian Women’s Film Festival in 2023. She has appeared in other many short films, most notably a lead role in Filters. Rae attends Bus Stop Films – Accessible Film Studies Program and Actors Centre Australia’s Accessible Acting program and is part of the Midnight Feast drama ensemble at NIDA. Rae is keen to see more people with intellectual disabilities represented on our screens.

Emily Dash

Disability advocate, actor, filmmaker and Bus Stop Films board member.

Emily Dash is an emerging writer, actor, producer and speaker. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) (Gender Studies) in 2013, achieving First Class Honours in Sociology.

Emily began her artistic practice in 2014. In 2015/16 she engaged in a professional writing mentorship to develop Red Door Arts’ “CONNECT Project”, a multidisciplinary street performance exploring inclusion co-written and co-curated with Alyson Evans. Emily also starred in this performance.

Her debut short film “I Am Not A Work of Art” was part of Metro Screen’s 2015 Screenability program. An early development of this piece was exhibited at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival. Her second film was Can You See Me Theatre’s “The Cards I’m Dealt” (2015), shortlisted for Tropfest Short Film Festival 2016.  Emily wrote and starred in both these works.  She also wrote a film entitled “Reimagining the Village” for Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre and Maitree House. Another film credit is Johanna Garvin’s short film “The Milky Pop Kid” (Highly Commended for Writing – Sydney Film Festival 2017), which she co-wrote and starred in.

She was the sole writer of her most recent film “Groundhog Night” directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith for Bus Stop Films, which premiered at Sydney Film Festival 2020 and screened in Flickerfest 2021, CinefestOZ and the Travelling Film Festival 2020.  She starred alongside Robyn Nevin, John Batchelor, Susan Prior, Genevieve Clay-Smith and Chris Haywood.  It is currently being developed for TV and has had both national and International success.

Brandon Fairley

BSF Ambassador, Indigenous actor and advocate.

Brandon is an actor, writer, singer and producer and a proud Indigenous Australian of the Yuin Nation living with an invisible disability. I have been involved with community theatre, film and screen for over 8 years participating in 20+ different theatre productions, including Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical as Buck Barrow, Cannibal The Musical: as James Humphrey, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest as Aide Warren and Angels In America Part 1 as Martin Heller and various other roles. I have been involved in the critically acclaimed hit TV show Mr Inbetween and the reboot of the 90’s Aussie show Heartbreak High.  I have been a part of the Bus Stop Films Accessible Film Studies Program for 3 years now and I am absolutely loving it. I have recently been honoured to be a Bus Stop Films Ambassador for Wollongong and I am enjoying the work that is associated with this title. I hope to bring more awareness that is aligned with the core values of this amazing company.I am currently producing a short film with my friends for our film company that we created very recently, and are hoping to make a big impact in the movie scene!

Ken Crouch

Head of Industry Development, Screen Australia

In February 2023, Ken joined Screen Australia in the newly created role of Head of Industry Development. In this role, Ken develops and implements national programs to support capacity building and skills development for the Australian screen sector and is focused on building a national strategic framework supporting industry capacity and skills development. He is also responsible for coordinating and managing stakeholder relations with the Office for the Arts, state government agencies, industry partners, local production companies and inbound productions, and collaborating with the First Nations department at Screen Australia and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity committee.

 

As Screenworks CEO from 2014 to 2023, Ken implemented strategic changes that transformed and expanded Screenworks into the leading regional provider of training and industry development events and initiatives for screen creatives and crew across Australia and internationally. At Screenworks, Ken oversaw 280+ training and industry development initiatives, attended by and supported more than 14,000 regional Australians, and achieved an average annual revenue growth of 32%.

 

Before Screenworks, Ken was part of the Executive Management team at Clarence Valley Council between 2012 and 2014, where he oversaw multiple delivery units and was responsible for the final stages of delivering the $8M federally funded Sir Earle Page Library and Education Centre. Ken was also previously Business Operations Manager for Australia’s largest annual event, Sydney New Year’s Eve, and has served on the boards of non-profit organisations and government advisory committees.

Jack Small

Deaf Camera Operator

As a recent media graduate from NSW TAFE Jack has a passionate interest in film and media. His experience growing up Deaf on the Central Coast, NSW has provided him with a unique experience shaping his skills in the visual medium with a focus on creating surfing videos for his community. 

 

Over the past 12 months Jack has been proud to be a part of some prominent  film and media productions teams which include working with REVOLVER on ad campaigns for well known brands including: BONDS, ANZ, AAMI and Weetbix. In 2024, Jack was part of the Media team collaborating with Bar TV and Fox Sports to film and produce the Australian Deaf Games.

Chanel Bowen

Disability advocate, filmmaker and Access Coordinator

Chanel Bowen is a regional film producer and programmer who is passionate about community-driven films and delivering
Australian content to audiences. Chanel graduated from Curtin University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts (Film and TV) and Bachelor of
Commerce (International Business and Accounting) having studied in Perth and internationally with courses in China, Denmark and Canada.
Chanel is a proud member of the disability and hard-of-hearing communities and is a passionate advocate for disability stories
on screen. Chanel has partnered with A2K Media on the Industry Advisory Committee for Disability Justice Lens and serves on
the Minister’s Advisory Committee for Disability in Western Australia reporting to Honorable Don Punch, Minister for Disability.
Becoming passionate about awareness of brain injuries, how common and diverse they are – Chanel has worked with the
Australian Society for Study of Brain Injury, Shelter WA and studied Traumatic Brain Injury at the University of Tasmania.
Chanel is trained as an Access Coordinator with Bridge06 and Screen Australia, prior to this developing guidelines for the role
through case studies with Bus Stop Films CEO and COO Tracey Corbin-Machett and Dianna La Grassa. Chanel currently works
alongside Bus Stop Films founders Eleanor Winkler and Genevie Clay-Smith as Producers Attachment on the first inclusively
made feature film in Australia, Baby Cat which will go into production in 2023. Chanel has been awarded the Regional to Global
Screenworks and Australians In Film Internship in LA for 2022 allowing her to expand her producing experience with Animal
Logic Entertainment and Truant Pictures in the USA. Chanel has worked for CinefestOZ Film Festival as the Film Manager for
feature film content since 2016 and passionately delivers Australian content to audiences across regional Australia. Arguably
the most enjoyable part of Chanel’s job is working with locals in remote and regional locations on films, helping them to
experience life ‘on set’ and deliver believable performances, most recently doing so with locals around Bremer Bay with Tim
Winton’s young adult fiction adaption to screen, Blueback. Chanel has been recognised by Screen Producers Australia as a ‘One
to Watch’ and will be mentored throughout the first half of 2023 by Goalpost Pictures founders Rosemary Blight and Kylie du
Fresne. In her spare time, Chanel likes to cook dumplings from scratch, surf or swim in the ocean and talk to her chickens about
the meaning of life.

Daniel McDonald

Access and Inclusion Coordinator and Deaf Visual Artist

Daniel McDonald is a proud Aboriginal man living with Disability (Deaf) and a member of the LGBTIQA+ community. His mob is from Wonnaura and he grew up in Gadigal Country. Daniel is an experienced MC, presenter and lecturer on topics around First Nation experience of Disability, racism, discrimination, LGBTIQA+ and Life Barriers.

 

Daniel is the Access and Inclusion Coordinator First Peoples Disability Network. Daniel delivers Welcome to Country introductions for the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council in Sydney and he has been a member with Inclusion Disability Advisory Panels at the City of Sydney Council since 2020. Daniel was a Sydney World Pride Champion in 2023 and is actively involved with the LGBTIQA and Disability communities.

 

Daniel is an emerging visual artist who has been developing his skills since childhood. His business is called Deadly Hand Talk.

Diana Fisk

General Manager Bus Stop Employment

Diana is a writer, director and producer, passionate about content that connects communities and challenges audiences. Following the birth of her son, Diana produced True Vision, a documentary that challenges the perceptions around disability, something Diana had experienced firsthand with the birth of her son Alfie, who was born with Nystagmus and Albinism.

Diana has since worked on a range of social impact screen projects including Under Cover, The Show Must Go On, Brazen Hussies and Why Did She Have To Tell The World. Diana has also produced The New Hustle and the recently released documentary series Founder.

Diana was recipient of Film Victoria’s Key Talent Placement for producing in 2018, and in 2019 became the first recipient of the Screen Australia Enterprise People Fund working alongside Sue Maslin at Film Art Media.

A passionate advocate for gender equality, Diana has been a board member with WIFT Victoria, WIFT Australia, and was founder of the Victorian chapter of Screen Vixens. Diana has also been integral in coordinating various events including the Australian Feature Film Summit, the Raising Films Forum and Time’s Up: A Forum For Change.

Jason Potkins

Director of Screen Incentives, Office for the Arts

Jason Potkins is the Director of the Screen Incentives Section in the Office for the Arts. Jason’s section manages the policy and funding settings that support Australian screen production, including Screen Australia, Ausfilm and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The section also manages and delivers the Location Offset, the PDV Offset and the Digital Games Tax Offset as well as the Location Incentive and the Foreign Actors Certification Scheme.

Matthew Deaner

CEO Screen Producers Australia

Matthew Deaner is the Chief Executive Officer of Screen Producers Australia (SPA), a national organisation that unites the screen industry to campaign for a healthy commercial environment. SPA supports the interests of businesses, large and small, in their production of feature films, television programs, interactive content and games across all genres and formats. Matthew oversees all aspects of Screen Producers Australia’s advocacy work, industrial negotiations, events and operational issues. He also works closely with the SPA Council to set the strategic direction of the organisation as well as identify and execute new business development opportunities. Matthew brings a wealth of knowledge to Screen Producers Australia with his experience as a lawyer in both Sydney and London and in senior policy and strategy positions with Screen Australia and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association.

Driving Change ADVISORY GROUP 

Bus Stop Films has brought together an intersectionality diverse group of industry representatives and advocates to help us shape a broad, dynamic and relevant program of speakers

Brandon Fairley

BSF Ambassador, Indigenous actor and advocate.

Steph Dower

Disability advocate, filmmaker and Access Coordinator.

Chanel Bowen

Disability advocate, filmmaker and Access Coordinator.

Emily Dash

Disability advocate, actor, filmmaker and Bus Stop Films board member. 

Lisa Cox

Advertising consultant and disability advocate.

Nathan Borg

Deaf actor, producer and advocate.

Pip Smart

Producer, recent Co Chair Commercial Producers Council.

Paul Nunnari

Access expert, entertainer, paralympian and BSF advisory board member.

Screen NSW and Screen Australia will also have representatives on the committee, which will be supported by Bus Stop Films and Bus Stop Employment staff.

Bus Stop Films Team

Meet the team at Bus Stop Films behind Driving Change. 

Tracey Corbin-Matchett OAM

CEO Bus Stop Films

Tracey is a proud hard of hearing woman with a passion for film, advocacy and inclusion. As CEO of Bus Stop Films she is advocating for greater representation of people with disability in the screen industry, receiving an OAM in 2023 for service to the arts and to people with disability. Her 25-year career has crossed social housing, women’s domestic violence services, including 6 years as the State Manager of Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Program and the film and television industry, working with a number of industry services including Screen NSW, Event Cinemas and Women in Film and TV (WIFT) NSW. 

Her advocacy work in the screen industry has seen her lead on strategies including “Screenability” and “She Shoots” at Screen NSW and WIFT’s Raising Films Australia and growing the work of Bus Stop Films on a global scale.

Tracey is an Includeability Ambassador on disability employment to the Australian Human Rights Commission and a Director of Deaf Sports Australia and Northcott (Disability Services). She is also a member of the Screen Australia’s Gender Matter Taskforce, Screen Producer’s Australia Respectful Workplaces Reference Group and TAFE NSW Creative Industries Taskforce. Tracey was a member of the Australian delegation of disability advocates to the United Nation’s 15th Conference of State Parties to The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Tracey is Executive Producer of Bus Stop’s slate and co-produced films including Groundhog Night and Valiant.

Tracey holds a Bachelor of Arts, Welfare Studies (WSU) and a Diploma of Business, Frontline Management (UTS).

Dianna La Grassa

COO Bus Stop Films

With over 10+ years of experience in the education sector, an MBA graduate and a NIDA trained actress Dianna is our Chief Operating Officer and resident Producer. Her background in adult education underpins the delivery of our Accessible Film Studies Program.

As the COO it has given her great pleasure to watch the organisation pave ground-breaking pathways for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the film industry and watch the students blossom in these interactive and unique environments, seeing them develop real life skills and opportunities for their passion. Dianna has produced more than 25 film projects with Bus Stop Films including the multi award winning Groundhog Night and What Was it Like? and acclaimed films Filters, Visible and This Is News Radio.

 

Hugues de Robillard

Digital and Media Marketing Manager

Hugues joined the Bus Stop Films team after a storied career in the media, entertainment and digital marketing world. Managing his own integrated creative agency, Guerrilla Films, Hugues worked alongside, consulted and produced cross-platform media campaigns for some of Australia’s most beloved and recognisable brands and institutions. 

Outside of the professional environment, Hugues devotes his time in volunteering and fund-raising for several philanthropic enterprises and local organisations as well as mentoring and training young athletes in the football, boxing and fitness world.

Always up for a chat, a kick, a training session or a surf, Hugues brings his composed and (self-proclaimed) “geeky analytics” approach to the Bus Stop family and community with a smile and dedicated enthusiasm. 

Serena Moran

Events and Marketing COordinator

Serena is from Ireland and has 10 years of experience in marketing working across various sectors from FMCG, hospitality and not for profit. Prior to working at Bus Stop Films Serena worked at hospitality chain Merivale managing top tier events. Serena loves everything about marketing including design, copywriting, project management but where she really excels is anything got to do with event management.

Patient and calm, her personable attitude to work means she can foster meaningful relationships with colleagues, stakeholders and just about anyone. Serena loves creating a distinct tone of voice, positioning and brand mission and vision.

 

Serena has an MSc in Advertising from Dublin Institute of Technology and a BA in New Media and English from the University of Limerick. Serena also works as an ESL teacher in Sydney which fuels her passion for language, other cultures and being of service to others. Serena enjoys reading, Crossfit, seeing her favourite bands and films. She is super stoked to be able to combine her passion for not-for-profitand not-for-profittop-tier and films together.

Bus Stop Employment Team

Madeline Stewart

Stand-up Comedian and Disability Advocate

Disability advocate and award-winning comedian Madeleine Stewart charms audiences everywhere with a sweet demeanor, veiling razor-sharp wit. With over a decade of experience, you may have seen Madeleine perform with Adam Hills, Rove McManus, or Reuben Kaye or caught her episode on Dylan Alcott’s Listen-Able podcast. Creator of viral sketch on Marriage Equality for ABC Iview reaching 2.4mil views on insta, showcased her ground-breaking exploration of disability and Centrelink.

Practicing what she preaches, Madeleine won the AMP Tomorrowmaker award for her production of inclusive, accessible comedy shows- specifically Crips & Creeps. Her short film Inspire Me has just won Best Documentary at the Australian Independent Film Festival (AIFF). Fresh off the Comedy Festival circuit, Madeleine is currently touring her accessible lineup show “Are You Pulling my Leg?” across Australia. Madeleine is a refreshing and exciting voice to the comedy scene.

April Helene-Horton

Body Positivity Advocate AKA the Bodzilla

April Hélène-Horton, also known as “The Bodzilla,” is a passionate advocate for body acceptance, fat positivity and is the epitome of unapologetic authenticity. She’s bold, she’s kind, she’s passionate but above all she’s unfaltering in her pursuit of joy!

April’s never been a fan of labels, she’s much more interested in the human behind them but for the record, she identifies as a queer, fat, neurodivergent woman of colour who has a calm yet fierce stance against fatphobia, particularly at the intersection of racism. She’s on a journey to self acceptance and she’s sharing the wisdom with anyone who will listen, and perhaps more importantly, with those who have often refused. 

April’s journey towards prominence began in 2020 when she created the Instagram account @thebodzilla, with the aim of fostering conversations around acceptance, self-love, empowerment, and fat positivity. However, it was her unwavering commitment to allyship that saw her garner an incredibly loyal following, and emerge as a powerful and impactful voice in the space. Today, she continues to use her platform to uplift marginalised voices and amplify their message to a curated community of incredible humans. 

April’s significant achievements have included becoming the first fat model in a bikini to feature on an Australian billboard. Partnerships with brands like Dove, Bumble and Bras N Things to challenge societal norms all while striving to be the unfaltering queen of confidence. 

With progression always comes resistance, and April is no stranger to trolls but she uses this negativity as further evidence to the importance of her message. In April’s eyes, the definition of a healthy body will always transcend stereotypes. Worthiness will never be on a scale where caucasian, skinny, and sculpted physique reign supreme. It is because of this powerful message, that April has been featured across numerous media outlets and has participated in various panels adding incredible value and insight from her unique lived experiences. She has starred in the SBS documentary series, ‘What Does Australia Really Think About…’, she has also made an appearance as a guest panellist on SBS Insight. Plus guested on every prominent podcast in the country, and this is only the beginning. 

‘The Bodzilla’ emanates an infectious joy and happiness with her passion for life and unwavering dedication to self-expression shining through every word she speaks. This is prominent in her empowering podcast, ‘The Bodcast,’  which is a platform for thought-provoking discussions on everything from racism to ableism, classism to her endless journey for self-love PLUS more nineties pop culture references than pub trivia on a Wednesday night. 

April’s unwavering belief in a collective consciousness fuels her desire to uplift and empower not only those around her but future generations. She hopes that together, we can be a catalyst for change and cultivate a world where self-love and acceptance reign supreme.

Join April, AKA The Bodzilla, on a transformative journey of self-acceptance, and let us work together to embrace our true selves. Together, we can forge a society that celebrates diversity, seeks joy, and is never defined by someone else’s narrative.

Get in the know 

Disability Employment Summit Registration of Interest Form

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