Anna Helme is a filmmaker, video artist and media activist, based in Melbourne, Australia.
She has written and directed short films including MyMy (2014, 14 mins) screening at festivals internationally including Outfest Los Angeles, Frameline San Francisco, BFI Flare London, Queer Streifen (Winner, Best Short) and Continental Drift (2012, 15mins) which screened as part of the Accelerator program for upcoming directors at the Melbourne International Film Festival, was nominated for St Kilda Film Festival’s SBS Award and broadcast nationally on SBS TV’s Shorts on Screen. M.C. G.F.C. (2009, 4mins) screened opening night at the 2010 Melbourne Underground Film Festival and the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Art in 2009, and (with artist Arlene Textaqueen) “SNAP!” for the ACMI/SBS co-production ARTV, screened on SBS TV in 2005, and featured in the Australian Culture Now exhibition at ACMI and the NGV. She trained in Film & TV at North Sydney TAFE while working as a camera-operator, lighting and sound assistant at SBS TV in 1996/97, and in 2013 completed a Bachelor of Film & TV at the VCA (1st Class Hons), for which she received a Lionel Gell Scholarship, a Friends of the VCA award and an Ian Potter Cultural Trust grant. She is currently undertaking her doctoral research into queer and feminist filmmaking methodologies at the VCA, University of Melbourne.
She has co-directed and shot documentaries including Cultural Flows, in collaboration with indigenous nations on the Murray Darling and Friends of the Earth, currently broadcast on NITV and Aquaporko!, winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival.
She is a co-founder of the online video non-profit, EngageMedia (www.engagemedia.org), who focus on social-justice and environmental video from the Asia-Pacific. She has worked extensively overseas for EngageMedia, including organising Transmission video-activist conferences in Rome in 2006 and Java in 2008, presenting at Freedom Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur in 2008, and taking part in the Open Video Alliance founding meeting at Yale University in 2008. She received a Myer Foundation Asialink Dunlop Asia Fellowship in 2007 to travel around Indonesia training filmmakers in online distribution. Since 2009 she has been a project manager of Critical Commons (www.criticalcommons.org), an online film education resource and fair use advocacy project, produced by the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. As a social-change video organiser she has also worked with pioneer UK-based video activists Undercurrents, and founded the regional video compilation Oceania Indymedia Newsreal.
Her video installation work includes collaborative piece Mother’s Not Herself Today (single-channel video, 2015, Underbelly Arts at Cockatoo Island, f-generation exhibition at George Paton Gallery, MIX New York Queer Experimental Film Festival), and MyMy RADIX for Nightcraft at MCA Art Bar 2014. As a live audiovisual artist she has performed in Australia, the UK and Europe, including the PirateTV CanDU tour of the former-Yugoslavia, with Coldcut and Headspace in 2001. She co-wrote, co-directed, and performed the hybrid AV/theatre show Electric Dreams commissioned for Nextwave 2004 (supported by Arts Victoria), and has performed solo and with AV outfit Spoole at venues and events including the Brisbane Powerhouse, Federation Square, Electrofringe and dLux’s Dataterra exhibition in 2003. In 2002 she undertook an Australia Council supported artist placement with Coldcut assisting with the interactive video installation Gridio for the Sonic Process exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She contributed a short video art piece in collaboration with Robbie McEwan to the Tape Projects ARI Flipbook/Lockgroove project exhibited at Electrofringe and in the Esky program at Nextwave 2008.
She has also curated programs that explore the radical edges, unexpected territories and community-based fringes of queer filmmaking for events such as the Bangalore Queer Film Festival in India (2010 and 2012), and the Camp Betty festival in Australia (2007 and 2011) and recently the Wildings sidebar of experimental moving images for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (2017).