We are very excited to announce the judging panel for the 2022 SCINEMA International Science Film Festival. 

Meet the 2022 SCINEMA Judges

Dr Pallave Dasari

Dr Pallave Dasari is a science professional who bring together research, industry, and government sectors to create the innovation economy. She has a strong research background and is an active science communicator who wishes to infect the public with her passion and enthusiasm for science.

She has combined her PhD with Master of Science in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University to be better equipped to address the challenges to translating research outcomes. She couples the skills gained from this degree with her scientific background. She is also the inaugural recipient of the Downer-Rann Scholarship from Carnegie Mellon University.

Her research career began in the Northern Territory in infectious diseases and Indigenous health, and then moved to immunology and breast cancer. She holds an adjunct research position to investigate the immune environment of the healthy human breast and the immunological underpinnings of breast cancer risk in women.

Chuck Smeeton

Chuck Smeeton is the Chief Operating Office of The Royal Institution of Australia. He has been working in the media for over 30 years with organisations such as News Limited, Foxtel, Fox Sports and Australian Consolidated Press as a journalist, editor, publisher, general manager, director and c-suite executive.

Chuck has extensive experience in digital video publishing from his time with Foxtel and Fox Sports with a focus on story telling.

He moved to Adelaide in 2019 to take up his current role.

Jennie Zeiher, MBA, GAICD

Jennie is Head of Business Development at the highly acclaimed South Australian visual effects (VFX) studio, Rising Sun Pictures (RSP).

As a member of RSP’s executive team, Jennie manages day-to-day sales and marketing activities, as well as leading broader strategic objectives. During her time leading the sales team, she has helped cement Rising Sun’s status as a global visual effects’ powerhouse, and a celebrated South Australian success story. In an exceedingly competitive global industry, she has led initiatives to diversify its client base and broaden brand awareness, contributing to the conversion of high-profile projects such as Thor: Love and Thunder, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Star Wars: Andor and Ford v Ferrari.  RSP’s success over the past few years culminated in the company being honoured with the creatives industries award at the Australian export awards in 2019.

Prior to joining RSP in 2008, Jennie managed cutting-edge digital production of large format immersive film and scientific visualizations for clients including Cunard, and the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Jennie has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jennie currently serves on the board of the Australian section of the Visual Effects Society.

Dr Sophie Calabretto

Dr Sophie Calabretto is an applied mathematician, fluids mechanist, and science writer. She is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Macquarie University and Honorary Associate Professor in the Aerospace & Computational Engineering Research Group at the University of Leicester. As an ‘ABC Top 5 Under 40’ alum and two-time Eureka Prize Finalist for Promoting Understanding of Science, she is a passionate advocate for mathematics and science, and spends a good hunk of time demystifying maths to a mass audience to help break the stigma that surrounds mathematics in Australia, especially for young women. Her favourite fluids are blood and gin.

Claire Hughes

Claire Hughes is the Education Manager at the Royal Institution of Australia and has a BSC hons Biosciences with Biomedical Sciences and a Professional Graduate Diploma in  in Secondary Education from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is a highly experienced, enthusiastic, and dedicated scientist with 15+ years’ experience in the education sector. Claire believes in excellence in education for all, through the development of varied and engaging STEM resources.

Claire’s Scottish heritage (natural born communicator, who loves a cuppa) alongside her passion for education crates the ideal opportunity to promote STEM education in her role as education manager at the Royal Institution of Australia.

Meet the SCINEMA Founders

Damian Harris

Damian is a Founding Director of SCINEMA International Film Festival launching the inaugural event in Canberra in 2000. He has worked to install a passion for science across his career, working in science education with Questacon and later with CSIRO in Far North Queensland. Within CSIRO, Damian worked at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technology communicating their exciting research to industry and government partners. Damian is now the Sciences Marketing and Engagement Manager for Griffith University on the Gold Coast.

Cris Kennedy

Cris Kennedy

As a cultural critic, writer and long-time innovator of community arts and community engagement projects, Cris Kennedy has built a large network and experience in communication for science and the arts. Along with Damian Harris, Cris worked as the Co-Director of SCINEMA, growing the Festival to 400 locations annually across Australia and smaller international appearances in England, New Zealand and India from 2000 to 2015. Cris is currently the Director of Visitor Experience at Parliament House in Canberra.

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