Shideh Faramand, Megan Riakos and Heidi Lee Douglas: upcoming artists-in-residence

Shideh Faramand, Megan Riakos and Heidi Lee Douglas are all screenwriters who are currently working on individual feature film scripts. 
"As writers it is imperative for us to take time out of the demands of every day life and fully immerse ourselves into the storyworlds we are creating. This unique opportunity nestled in the natural environment of Gunyah will rejuvenate and inspire us, allowing each of us to work in a peaceful, supportive and collaborative environment, while working to bring to life the first drafts of new screen works and capitalising on our combined skills to catapult these projects forward."
Shideh Faramand, Megan Riakos and Heidi Lee Douglas

Shideh Faramand is an award-winning writer, director and actor, having written and directed over half a dozen shorts. Her standout short films  ‘A Reluctant Bride’ and ‘Amalia Lucia Gomez is Gluten Intolerant’ have screened at prestigious film festivals to audiences across Australia, North America and Europe, and was broadcast on national television in Sweden. In 2016, Shideh had the honour of becoming one of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters recipients’ for the development of her debut feature film Sheeda, with producer Kirsty Stark of Epic Films. She is currently developing several short form, feature and television projects and is an active member of Film Fatales, the Australian Writers Guild, the Australian Directors Guild, and Women in Film and Television.
As a first generation Australian/Iranian, Shideh’s strengths and passions lie in diverse stories, which reflect the ever-changing face of Australia, with a key focus on female driven characters. 
Her Gunyah residency project will focus on the script development of her second comedy feature, AIR NATION.

Shideh Faramand, Directing on the set of 'Amalia Lucia Gomez is Gluten Intolerant', 2013

Megan Riakos is a screenwriter and director with a passion for telling stories that engage and provoke. She recently completed her debut feature Crushed, a mystery thriller set in the wine region of Mudgee. The Australian newspaper calling Crushed “a tense, bloody mystery thriller”; Dread Central noting its “beautiful cinematography and exceptional performances” and The Hollywood Reporter labelling Crushed “A solid debut”. Crushed completed a successful limited theatrical release and screens on Channel 10 in 2018. Megan has also completed over a dozen short films including the psychological thriller The Shed; a 1930’s crime drama 50-50; and experimental dance film The Eye of the Beholder. Megan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Media Arts & Production) at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and has completed both a Graduate Certificate in Screen Drama and a Graduate Diploma in Directing at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). In 2013, she also completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA. Megan is an active member of Film Fatales – a global female feature film directors’ collective and is the president of the advocacy group Women in Film and Television (WIFT NSW).
During her residency at Gunyah Megan plans to work on her survival thriller feature film script Hidden Valley which she plans to direct over the summer of 2018/19.

Megan Riakos, Crushed, 2015, film poster

Heidi Lee Douglas is an award winning Australian director who works across documentary and drama. She has a special interest in strong female protagonists, social thrillers and social change documentaries. An accomplished writer, the First Draft of Heidi’s convict western thriller feature film Unnatural Conduct was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2017, a Semi Finalist Gateway LA Script Development Program 2017, and a Quarter Finalist in the Screencraft Action/Thriller Screenplay Competition 2017 and won the “On the Table” Feature Script Competition WOW Film Festival 2016. Heidi’s drama short Little Lamb, supported by Screen Australia and Wide Angle Tasmania, screened at over 25 festivals worldwide, including Fantastic Fest (TX) 2014 and Flickerfest 2015, and was awarded Best Film, Best Production Design, Best Script and Best Thriller. Little Lamb was  selected for the 7 from Etheria anthology feature, distributed theatrically and through Amazon and iTunes (USA). Her broadcast documentary Defendant 5, about her personal experience being sued by the biggest logging company in the Southern Hemisphere, has been repeatedly broadcast by ABC and Al Jazeera worldwide, and was awarded Best Short Film at Green Film Festival in Seoul 2016 and nominated for the Golden Kapok award at the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival 2016. Heidi recently completed her new horror short Devil Woman and is developing a slate of projects across documentary and drama.

Heide Lee Douglas, Defendant 5, 2014, film poster

Heidi Lee Douglas, Little Lamb, 2014, film poster