Open Channel, Victoria’s Screen Resource Centre, is pleased to announce the appointment of Gai Dunlop as its new Executive Producer.
Gai will be responsible for fostering independent and emerging film, video and multimedia practitioners. This involves developing initiatives, programs and screenings produced by Open Channel, including coordination of the OPENAdvice Production Support Program and support to the Series Producer of the 2007 Raw Nerve program.
Gai started out in television working at the Grundy Organisation, later moving to BTQ7 Brisbane as producer. It was here that Gai made her mark, receiving a ‘United Nations Media Peace Award’ for a late night music and social commentary program she produced. Gai also produced many live events, including the Miss Australia pageants, the Children’s Hospital Appeal telethons, and Brisbane Festival. This was followed by a three-year period at ASTRO, a new satellite television station in Kuala Lumpur, where Gai produced the Malaysian Music Awards for which she was awarded a Silver Promax Award.
In between her stints as television producer, the multi-talented Gai cultivated a burgeoning singing career, travelling and performing in over 40 countries, and appearing with such luminaries as Rolf Harris, Kamahl, Harry Secombe, and Steptoe & Son. As Gai recalls ‘my experiences during these years would fill volumes with some very interesting and unforgettable performances. One gig was the launch of a certain dictator’s multi-million dollar yacht in Baghdad. This gig led to my being held in Iraq along with the BBC Trio who accompanied me; until we escaped. Performing to troops in the jungles outside Belize, I would arrive in sequin attire by helicopter to a make-shift stage in a clearing and perform for appreciative troops!’
Moving to Melbourne, Gai worked at Artist Services where she began her ‘love affair’ with archival footage. She formed her own company FESTCOM in 2002, an independent production company and moving image library devoted to providing footage consultancy to television networks and advertising companies in Australia and internationally. Today, FESTCOM employs freelance specialists who carry out a wide range of services such as footage research and clearance, event management, location management, and aviation consultancy for film and television.
Gai’s unflagging energy sees her continually working on various projects, game show concepts, documentaries and light entertainment for overseas clients and Australian networks. Recently, Gai was appointed as Ambassador to Australia for the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, were she will assist Australian producers submit their programs to the International Emmy Awards. Gai feels that this Academy involvement will ‘benefit our Open Channel members in promoting their productions and with networking contacts.’
As Gai states, ‘It is with the greatest pleasure that I undertake the role of Executive Producer for Open Channel in 2007. I look forward to developing projects which will employ past Open Channel students as production crew, helping them secure that all important ‘first credit’ in the industry.’
The Chair of Open Channel’s Board, Leslie Wood notes: ‘We are delighted to have Gai as our new Executive Producer. She brings with her an extraordinary rich and varied background and is eager to generate many exciting new projects. She is a welcome addition to our talented team at Open Channel.’
Open Channel gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian Film Commission and Film Victoria.