Bernadine Lim and Marissa McDowell.

Screen Australia’s head of documentary Bernadine Lim will join SBS as commissioning editor, while Marissa McDowell has also been hired as a commissioning editor for NITV.

As a member of SBS’s unscripted team, Lim will work across the broadcaster’s slate of commissioned documentaries.

Lim has been with Screen Australia since 2018, prior to which she was the executive producer of SBS’s long-running international current affairs program Dateline.

“It’s been an amazing time at Screen Australia with a talented team of dedicated people,” she said.

“I’m very excited to make my next move into the creative heart of SBS’s strong factual content team.

“As a passionate storyteller, it’s a privilege to have this type of role across such compelling content and help celebrate multicultural Australia.”

Lim is the second senior departure from Screen Australia in a number of weeks, with head of Indigenous Penny Smallacombe also to leave the agency.

SBS head of documentaries Joseph Maxwell said Lim’s experience reflects her talent and passion for storytelling.

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming Bernadine back to SBS, and bringing her extensive industry knowledge, working across a range of formats, to the documentaries team,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to having her join us as SBS continues to deliver a strong and diverse slate of commissioned documentaries in 2021, and has an exciting mix of projects in development.”

McDowell will working on the development and delivery of commissioned programming for NITV, including documentaries, entertainment and children’s programs reflecting, exploring and celebrating First Nations stories. 

Originally from the Wiradjuri Nation and currently living in Canberra, she has worked to tell Indigenous stories through documentary filmmaking, photography, and writing throughout her career, most recently as a multimedia producer and filmmaker with her production company, Black & White Films.

McDowell said she was excited to bring more attention to First Nations communities from her new position.

“Our people have so many stories which are universal that need to be told,” she said.

“I am excited to be joining NITV, a channel dedicated to telling the stories of the world’s oldest continuing culture, and be able to play a part in bringing these stories to the world,” she said.

McDowell has produced content for various platforms including NITV, and also facilitates filmmaking workshops for youth and community.

In 2016, she was selected as part of Screen Producers Australia’s Ones to Watch development and mentoring program, is a member of First Nations Writer group, Us Mob Writers, and is also a published poet and exhibited photographer.

NITV head of commissioning and programming, Kyas Hepworth, said McDowell’s expertise and strong industry networks would be a “great asset” to the NITV team.

“Marissa’s passion and craft for storytelling is matched by her dedication and commitment to supporting the ongoing development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent in the screen sector,” she said

Bernadine Lim will start with SBS May 3, and Marissa McDowell will join NITV from March 24.

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