Kalani Gacon is a filmmaker from the beautiful small, misty town of Katoomba, Australia who tells the stories of disappearing ways of life, people’s dreams, and the frictions of life facing human beings in the changing world.
He has worked across 4 continents in search of stories that touch the heart. He began his career working in TV and News at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which led him to working professionally in top Hollywood productions in Vancouver. Since a teenager, Kalani has been living and working in Nepal as a social worker and filmmaker, using filmmaking as a medium for change and transformation. He has studied a Masters of documentary filmmaking at AFTRS.
In 2015 he directed/produced ‘Bhukampa’, a hybrid documentary about the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal told from the perspectives of children, which led a successful impact campaign that was able to directly improve the life of the participants greatly.
In 2019 he directed/produced ‘Journey to the Centre of the Heart’, an award-winning feature documentary about outward migration in Nepal, and the inward migration of foreigners to the same land.
In 2020, he wrote/directed/co-produced ‘Sapana ko Awaz’ (The Sound of Dreaming), a short film about lucid dreaming, set in Nepal, which has played across multiple oscar qualifying film festivals: Melbourne International Film Festival, La-Shorts, Busan International Short Film Festival, and winning the Jury Special Mention Award at the prestigious Oldenberg International Film Festival.
Back in his hometown in 2022, Kalani established ‘Mountain of Youth’, a filmmaking mentorship program for youth-at-risk, using storytelling and the filmmaking experience to bring change to the lives of young people.
Riley Saxton is an emerging Creative Producer that grew up in the Blue Mountains. Before entering the film industry he spent his youth making skateboarding videos with his friends eventually going on to become an internationally accredited skateboarding instructor and forming the Katoomba Surf Club. He then shifted lanes into the film industry and has since gone on to gain a depth of experience in the production of music videos, feature and short films, documentary, series and TVC’s. He has worked for leading directors including Nash Edgerton and a range of production companies and streaming services including Netflix, Stan, Warner Bros, Cornerstone films, Compass films, Collider, SBS, ABC and more in a variety of roles. A big advocate of mental health and community engagement, he is eager to share his passion and experience with the next generations and help guide them towards a potential career in the creative industries.
Helena Zadro-Jones, is an actor, writer and producer born and raised in the Blue Mountains. In 2020 Helena graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art with a Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance. Ever since graduating, she has found herself drawn to mentoring, guiding and teaching young people the craft of storytelling through the form of film and theatre.
Over the past few years Helena has worked on a myriad of different projects in multiple roles. For the past two years Helena has starred and costarred in a number of Feature and Short films. In 2021, she wrote, directed and produced ‘Connection in Disconnection’ a Documentary exploring the hardships Blue Mountains locals experienced during the COVID19 lockdown, which is currently in post-production.
More recently, Helena has written, produced and starred in ‘Seeing Me’, an award winning short film that showcases the importance of sisterhood. Helena has a strong passion for mentoring the younger generations and believes in the power of storytelling to give young people a voice and a sense of belonging. Helena has currently partnered with ARN to co-host and write a podcast called ‘What’s Poppin!’ that explores the nuances of pop culture.