Gabrielle Kelly and Joan Peters.

Actor and producer Deborra-Lee Furness, director Gabrielle Kelly, cultural advocate Carol Innes, and singer/actress Delta Goodrem have been appointed to the Order as part of this year’s Australia Day honours, while media and entertainment lawyer Joan Peters received a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Peters, who has previously served on the boards of Screen Australia and Screenwest was recognised for service to the performing arts, particularly to film.

Having specialised in entertainment law for more than three decades, her achievements range from negotiating the Irish co-production treaty with the Australian Film Commission in 1996 to showcasing the value of film production to the Western Australian Regional Development Commissions while working as an executive producer on Drift.

Other films she has executive produced include Below, Don’t Stop the Music, Jungle, Hotel Mumbai, Below, Don’t Stop the Music, Jungle, Kill Me Three Times, Last Train to Freo, and The Mary G Show.

Peters is also known for founding Be Kids (Australia) Incorporated, a not for profit, membership-driven, non-governmental organisation committed to aiding children, youth, and their carers in developing countries and elsewhere as the need arises.

Speaking to IF, she said could not have achieved any level of success without the collaboration and support of her colleagues and was indebted to the “tenacity, resilience and passion” of people involved in the performing arts industries, especially filmmakers during this pandemic.

“I love working with young filmmakers with their unbridled creative spirit and innovative ways of storytelling,” she said.

“There have been many highlights over the years; too many to single out individually but I must acknowledge the honour of being able to serve on the board of Screenwest, where we undertook a focus on developing Indigenous talent.

“On a personal note, it is a joy to deliver filmmaking opportunities to the youth in Korogocho Slum in Nairobi through Be Kids (Australia) Inc, a charity I founded in 2006. It continues to effect social change and inspire young women and men to discover exciting new pathways to a better future.”

A total of 25 Officers of the Order (AO) were named for 2022, including Furness, who received the honour for distinguished service to children as an adoption advocate, to not-for-profit organisations as an ambassador, and to the arts.

The actor/producer, who is based in New York, founded not-for-profit charity organisation Adopt Change in 2008, while also establishing National Adoption Awareness Week. As a World Vision ambassador, she has worked with world leaders, travelling through Asia and Africa to raise awareness of the global orphan crisis.

Furness has been involved in the screen industry since the 1970s, having amassed more than 40 acting credits, including roles in films, Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Jindabyne, Angel Baby, The Last of the Finest, Shame, and The Humpty Dumpty Man, as well as TV series Hyde & Seek, Fire, Correlli, Neighbours.

Of the screen industry professionals appointed Members of the Order of Australia (AM), Gabrielle Kelly was given the honour for significant service to business, and to film and television.

After starting out as a high school teacher, Kelly moved into writing and presenting national children’s television in the late 1970s before becoming involved in the documentary sector, producing and directing Prophets and Loss in 1989 and Greenbucks in 1993, both of which centred on climate change.

She is a founding board member of Screen Australia predecessor Film Finance Corporation Australia and chaired the first Australian International Documentary Conference, also serving on the board of the South Australian Film Corporation from 2006-11.

Outside of the screen industry, Kelly was a director of the Adelaide Thinkers in Residence program and founded the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre. She is currently working on a digital/film project that celebrates SA’s achievement in renewable energy.

She told IF that, on a personal level, the award was recognition for the many years of “contribution, vision, supporting younger players, and pushing to drive innovation” that she had put into advancing the systems, by which the industry is organised.

“My work is always fuelled by a sense of purpose: it’s where I get my energy, motivation and ideas from,” she said.

“I work to build a better world and I think that the film and internet industry have a role to play, so I have often had roles that build and strengthen those industries or lead businesses such as Archangel Australia, which is focused on humans and change and climate change in particular.

“I think practitioners in the creative industries and all industry innovators generally have to be part of the financing structures and must help the industry they are in, to advance and modernise.”

Joining her on the list of 155 Order of Australia Members for this year are former Screenwest board member Innes, for significant service to the Indigenous community of Western Australia, and singer/actress Goodrem for significant services to the not-for-profit sector, and to the performing arts.

Overall, the Australia Day Honours List recognised 1040 Australians.

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