Gena Ashwell.

Adelaide-based producer Gena Ashwell is the inaugural recipient of Placement L.A, an annual professional placement in Los Angeles for established female producers from South Australia.

Placement L.A. is a key part of the South Australian Film Corporation’s Gender Agenda, a new suite of initiatives designed to address gender imbalance in the industry and drive established and emerging South Australian female practitioners forward into the next phase of their career.

Ashwell will receive $15,000 and travel to LA next month for a four week placement to work with producer Cassian Elwes (Dallas Buyer’s Club, The Butler, Blue Valentine).

As head of William Morris Independent for 15 years, Elwes arranged finance and distribution for more than 300 films, including Monster’s Ball. Since then, Elwes has also produced and executive produced over 50 films.

Ashwell will also attend at The American Film Market & Conference (AFM).

SAFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan said Ashwell was selected from a very strong field of applicants.

“The knowledge and networks Gena will gain in LA will be of benefit to both her and the broader South Australian screen industry,” she said.

“Developing the talents of women screen professionals to create a more equitable industry is a key priority of the SAFC.”

Ashwell began her film career in the UK, working at Pinewood Studios. She worked in sales and distribution, while going on to become a producer (Bad Day, The Gridiron UK).

Ashwell is currently a partner in Adelaide-based Dancing Road Productions with Helen Leake (Wolf Creek 2).

“I feel this placement has come at a perfect time and I am thrilled to be the first recipient of this exceptional initiative. This is an enormous opportunity to broaden my knowledge and give me valuable experience observing how the industry works in the Hollywood landscape” said Ashwell.

“Our industry is becoming more and more global, so having the opportunity to have a placement with one of the industry’s best independent producers will no doubt enrich my creative and business practices.”


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