Miranda Culley will be the next managing director of Aquarius Films, succeeding Rachel Okine who is departing the production company to be Stan’s head of features and development executive.
Aquarius has also hired Erica Harrison as head of development, with both roles taking immediate effect. Both will report to Aquarius Films co-founders Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford.
In her role, Culley will be responsible for driving new business opportunities and financing models. With the founders she will strategise the company direction, steer the company through the next stages of growth, and handle strategic partnerships.
The executive brings to the business 25 years of experience working across development, production, financing, commissioning, and policy.
Most recently, Culley worked as executive producer, arts at the ABC. There, she formed creative partnerships with the National Gallery of Australia to raise awareness of Australian women creatives via the #knowmyname campaign, and Madman Entertainment, to promote marketplace collaboration through the development and financing of blue-chip feature documentaries telling Australian stories for a global audience.
Prior to, Culley worked at Screen Australia as a development and production investment manager, documentary. Her career has also seen her work as Phil Noyce’s producing partner, in business development at LibertyOne and as managing director and executive producer for Sonar Music. She was also VFX producer on Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge.
Of her appointment, Culley said: “I am very excited to be returning to the independent sector as part of such a dynamic group of women.”
Harrison will manage Aquarius’ development slate across both film and television.
The company has a hefty number of projects underway, including TV series Fight Like A Girl, based on Clementine Ford’s memoir; feature film Most Admired Woman, with Decade Films; TV series The Subjugate, based on Amanda Bridgeman’s novel and to be co-produced with Anonymous Content, and The Geography of Friendship, a TV series with Dollhouse Pictures.
Harrison has more than 10 years experiences as a screenwriter, script producer and in story development. She has served as scripted development manager at Fremantle, with credits that include Netflix’s Beat Bugs and Motown Magic, as well as Facebook Watch’s The Unboxing.
Harrison also penned the AACTA Award-winning short film, A Cautionary Tail, starring Cate Blanchett and David Wenham.
She said: “I’m delighted to be joining the powerhouse team at Aquarius. These are interesting times for scripted storytellers, with a huge audience hunger for daring, distinctive stories from diverse voices. I look forward to collaborating with our leading writers and emerging talent to continue the Aquarius tradition of sharing audacious, entertaining Australian stories with the world.”
In a joint statement, Fielder and Staniford said: “We are thrilled to continue attracting talent to our company with whom we share the same values, including a commitment to continue supporting under-represented voices on the screen. Both Miranda and Erica have extensive and impeccable careers and bring decades of experience working for the most acclaimed filmmakers, companies, and organizations in the industry. We are thrilled to welcome them on board as we continue developing and producing a large and diverse slate of TV series and films.”
The co-founders also paid tribute to Okine, crediting her for steering the company through the challenges of the pandemic.
“She has contributed significantly to the company’s growth in the last 18 months and we want to express our enormous gratitude to her. We wish her success in her new role at Stan and look forward to continuing to collaborate with her.”