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).

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 being digitised  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 

Filming at Kunanyi (Mt Wellington, Hobart, Tas)

Island Home Country  Jeni’s  52min poetic cine-essay about race and Tasmania’s colonised history and how it impacts into the present is screening online in the Culture Unplugged International Film Festival:  watch online here. Also you can follow Jeni on Twitter  and  Issues in Documentary on facebook .

Feminism and Film Retrospectives are going strong.  In March 2017 Jeni’s first film  ‘Still Life’ (1974 with Dasha Ross)  screened as part of the ‘Art & Life, Then and Now Program’ in the ‪Melbourne Women in Film Festival. Jeni wrote this essay, ‘Looking at Women’ in the online journal Peephole, Issue 7, 2017  to accompany the screening, along with other essays that tributed the 1975 International Women’s Festival that toured all Australian capital cities.

In June 2017 Susan Charlton curated  Feminism & Film: Sydney Women Filmmakers, 1970s & 1980s for the Sydney Film Festival, and including two film Jeni collaborated on Film For Discussion and For Love or Money.

Women’s Gaze film installation in Future Feminist Archive, Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), Univ Syd. 2015

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,  and Loma Bridge (AGNSW Forum on Vimeo) .  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 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).


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 on 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.