Rowan Woods.

AFTRS head of directing Rowan Woods has been voted the new president of the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG) after Samantha Lang called time on her leadership of more than six years.

Woods burst onto the scene in 1998 with feature film debut The Boys, which won him the AFI Award for Best Director and was an in-competition selection for the Berlinale.

He has since directed Little Fish, which was nominated for 13 AFI Awards, and US feature Fragments, and was the set-up director for The Kettering Incident – winner of Special Jury Prize winner at Series Mania, Paris. Woods has also won the ADG Award for Best Direction in a Telemovie for The Broken Shore and directed all series of Rake for the ABC.

The director said he was excited to take on the role at a time when the ADG was “more resilient, inclusive and formidable than ever”.

“The screen director’s job is to enthral audiences: to make them think, emotionally, intellectually, politically. The ADG is our director’s union and our cultural hub,” he said.

“Through 2020 and 2021 we grew like never before with membership increases and a structural make-over under Sam Lang’s formidable presidency and executive Alaric McAusland’s arrival.

“As a TV and feature director and head of directing at AFTRS, I am excited to continue on the ADG board as president. Our work continues.”

Also taking on a new position within the guild is long time member Partho Sen-Gupta, who joins the board as director.

The Sydney-based writer and director began working as an art director and production designer on feature films, TV series, and commercials in India before making their first feature film Let the Wind Blow in 2004. They followed up the Berlin International Film Festival selection with Sunrise in 2014, and Slam in 2019, both of which were screened at a range of domestic and international festivals.

Of the other board positions, Nadia Tass has been re-elected for a further term to the vice president of feature films and Jonathan Brough has been re-elected for a further term as vice president of television.

The board bids farewell to Lang, who steps down after 12 years of service, half of which was as president. During that time, she oversaw exponential growth in the number and diversity of ADG members, championed the Gender Matters program, and expanded the range of professional development opportunities for ADG members.

“It’s been a great honour to advocate for Australian screen directors across all platforms during my tenure,” Lang said.

“I’m leaving at a moment where the composition and structure of the Australian Directors’ Guild is incredibly robust, and I am so excited that Rowan Woods has agreed to take on the mantle of ADG president.”

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