ADG appoints Sophie Harper executive director

Sophie Harper.

Sophie Harper will be the next executive director of the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG), succeeding Alaric McAusland.

Harper is currently senior fund manager at Screen Canberra, where she has managed programs such as the $5 million CBR Screen Fund.

From 2009-2015 Harper was based in Denmark, where she held a variety of roles at the European Film College, including vice principal, head creative documentary, principal (acting) and head producing).

On return to Australia, she hosted and created podcast Not By Accident, a memoir series about becoming a single mother by choice. It has been downloaded more than 2 million times.

Harper has also previously worked at Screen Australia and the Australian Film Commission in various roles, including governance and compliance manager.

ADG president Rowan Woods announced Harper’s appointment today, noting she joins at a key time when it is forming collaborations with the Australian Writers’ Guild and others around fairer remuneration for writers/directors and other issues such as streamer quotas and copyright.

“The ADG is a compact and powerful force within the Australian screen industry. Sophie Harper is a great fit for the guild with her background in screen agencies, her outstanding achievements in podcasting and in high-level academic roles at the European Film College in Denmark,” he said.

Harper said she was honoured to be taking up the role and looked forward to working with the team to build on initiatives for the guild’s member base.

“Now is such an important time for the screen industry. I see great potential in building unity across the leading member agencies to excel in our common goal as storytellers as we bring authentic and complex narratives to life,” she said.

“Storytelling on screen is a team sport. It has to be even to begin to reflect the diverse experience of being Australian and capture the imagination of audiences across the globe.”

Harper replaces Alaric McAusland, who departed the guild in January to take up the role of managing director of DNEG Sydney.

Ana Tiwary, ADG strategy and development executive, had been acting as executive director the past few months; she will depart the guild at the end of May after two and half years.

Woods paid tribute to Tiwary’s accomplishments, including steering the guild through its recent transition period, as well as the creation of the ADG website and membership management system, First-Hand webinars, development initiatives like Credit Maker and key events alongside policy strategy.

“We thank Alaric and Ana for their powerful industrial advocacy, innovative cultural initiatives and for building our membership at a time when much was stalling in the screen sector,” said Woods.

Harper will begin May 29.