Jeni Thornley is a documentary filmmaker, writer, film valuer and lecturer.  Her widely distributed, award winning films include: Island Home Country (2008), To the Other Shore (1996), the co-directed feature film and Penguin book:  For Love or Money: a history of women and work in Australia (1983) and Maidens (1978). She was a contributing director on Australia Daze (1988).

Filming at Kunanyi, Mt Wellington, Tas.

Island Home Country is currently screening weekly during August 2nd – December 12th 2016 in the online Culture Unplugged International Film Festival: watch anytime during Monday August  10:00 AM – Tuesday July 13th 9:59 AM AEST & weekly till Dec 2016 (check times in other regions); watch online here. Island Home Country is a 52min poetic cine-essay about race and Australia’s colonised history and how it impacts into the present.

Jeni writes about documentary film regularly, contributing to The Conversation, Metro Magazine, Realtime and her own blog Documentary. Jeni is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Technology (UTS), where she lectured in Issues in Documentary from 2002-2013 and also completed her doctorate, Island home country : subversive mourning : working with Aboriginal protocols in a documentary film about colonisation and growing up white in Tasmania’.  She also taught history of documentary film at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).


Filmnews Ed board

Film News Editorial Board c1980

Jeni was a pioneering member of the Sydney Women’s Film Group and  Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative where she worked in film distribution, exhibition and wrote for Film News. She worked on many independent films as actress and collaborator, including Film For Discussion, Women and Men Living Together, Woman’s House and Secret Storm.

secret storm

Jeni Thornley & Di Fuller in ‘Secret Storm’ (dir Martha Ansara 1978)

Jeni also worked as a camera assistant at Film Australia and in independent films, including Journey Among Women and Climbers. She was Manager of the Women’s Film Fund and Project Co-ordinator  and film reader in Documentary Development, Australian Film Commission and the NSW Film & TV Office.

In 2015 Jeni  co-curated the ‘Women’s Gaze and the Feminist Film Archive’ Panel and Retrospective at the Art Gallery of  NSW (AGNSW) and Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), with  Margot Nash, filmmaker and artist Loma Bridge (video of the Panel: Vimeo) . SCA photo The ‘Women’s Gaze’ Film Program included historic women’s films: Film For Discussion, We Aim To Please, Maidens, My Survival as an Aboriginal, Size 10, and For Love or Money.

Jeni is currently developing an archival film project, memory=film, based on her super 8 collection (1976-2003),  recently acquired by the National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA);  now awaiting  digitisation.  She is also developing a memoir-essay about neo-colonising in The Kimberley, WA. Jeni’s films are available online (VOD) at beamafilm.

Follow Jeni on Twitter  and  Issues in Documentary on facebook