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The Team



Emily Avila is a director and producer based in Brisbane, Australia, who took over the reins of Heart of Gold for the 9th festival in 2016. She returns in 2018 to direct the 11th festival - a milestone for Heart of Gold and the Gympie region. 

In 2016, Emily made her short film directing debut with In a Cane Field, a meditative murder mystery shot on Super 16 in the sugarcane fields of south-east Queensland. Emily has worked extensively for various Australian production companies & film festivals including as assistant to Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman at See-Saw Films in Sydney. In 2017, Emily was awarded the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship from the Sydney Film Festival to direct her new short film Fitting which will premiere at SFF in 2018.


paula JAYNE - festival manager

Paula recently joined the Heart of Gold Team in 2018 and brings broad experience in event management, marketing, advertising, branding and graphic design. For the past two years Paula has been managing the Maleny Film Society’s fortnightly screenings and has worked alongside Festival Director Andrew Wallace to run the Maleny’s Australian Film Festival held in March of each year. 

Since her earlier university days, Paula has had a love affair with arthouse movies and particularly believes short films have so much to give the world with their condensed, intense and clever emotive messages.  So far, Paula has been impressed by the level of passion and dedication Gympie residents and volunteers have for the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival.  You will find Paula in the Heart of Gold office at 232 Mary Street every Monday leading up to the festival.



Maddi returns for her second year at Heart of Gold for its eleventh edition. Maddi is a marketing specialist, theatre maker and artist based in Brisbane. In 2016 Maddi wrote and directed ‘Deal or Ordeal’ a black comedy as part of anywhere theatre festival, and has worked as an actor, marketer and producer in many independent projects. She has a passion for bringing new audiences to the arts, loves strong supportive communities and thinks that 2018 will another exciting one for Heart of Gold!" 



Damien joined the Heart of Gold board in early 2018. An admitted solicitor, he practises at a local firm and his formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Laws (with Honours) and a Bachelor of Business. Hailing from central Queensland he moved to Gympie a couple of years ago and is now a proud local who is looking forward to contributing to the management and direction of the Festival.



Julie is relatively new to Heart of Gold, joining our team in administration in 2015. Married with 5 children and proud Grand Mother to 6, (her busy home life aside) her experience includes over 10 years managing staff and stock as a section manager for a major retail firm. Volunteering for over 10 “not for profit” volunteer organisations in varying roles. Her most recent 20 years as an administrator for a Zone sport organisations roles including, bookkeeping, secretary, and event management, first Aid/ sports medicine. Formal qualifications include cert 2 and 3 in Business administration.



Greg has a Diploma teaching maths and science, a Bachelor of Education Studies and a Graduate Diploma Teacher Librarianship. He retired from teaching after 42 years. During that time he had extensive experience in IT Support, network management and databsase development Married with four adult children, Greg coached junior soccer for eight years and was secretary of Gympie Lions Soccer Club for two of those years. Greg has been a volunteer for the festival since 2014 and was elected to the Board at the 2014 AGM and was secretary during 2015 and in 2016 took on the role of Treasurer.


CLAUDIA granshaw - board member

Claudia has an engineering degree in wood technology from Germany and 20 years experience in the timber manufacturing industry in Queensland. She is married with two children and together with her husband now operates a dairy business east of Gympie. She has been involved with the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival from its very beginning in 2006 in key roles and has first-hand knowledge of running the festival. She accepted the chairmanship in 2015 and has been an asset to Heart of Gold ever since. 



Denise has a Bachelor Degree in Nursing, with post-graduate qualifications in Wound Management, Stomal Therapy and Health Management.  Denise beat out health professionals from across Australia and New Zealand when she was awarded the inaugural Convatec Scholarship to study Wound Management at Oxford University, England.  Denise’s early nursing career was spent working in orthopaedics and theatre followed by 8 years as Clinical Nurse Consultant in Wound Management and Stomal Therapy at Redcliffe Hospital.  Later, Denise went on to undertake the role of Nurse Unit Manager of Adult and Paediatric Specialist Outpatients at Caboolture Hospital.  She is now retired, along with husband Steve, although both are kept very busy with their hobby farm and blended family of 8 children and 12 grandchildren.  Denise and Steve have been involved with Heart of Gold since 2015 when they first began to host the Cedar Pocket Screener’s group.  Denise has since become even more involved with Heart of Gold taking on the role of Art with Heart Coordinator and Board Member.