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Simon Smithers: From Outback to Hollywood Film Pioneer

Simon Smithers, a distinguished filmmaker with over four decades of experience spanning film, television, and digital media, has consistently been at the forefront of technological adaptation and industry innovation. Currently serving as the CEO and Founder of Indyfilm Pty Ltd, Smithers initiated his film career in early 1981, and his remarkable journey has seen him contribute to Australian, Hollywood, British, and other international co-productions in various capacities, including producer, director, sound editor, and film editor.


Simon Smithers headshot
Courtesy of Simon Smithers

By Gerardo Saenz

December 29, 2023 - 2:00 PM EST


Simon Smithers, a distinguished filmmaker with over four decades of experience spanning film, television, and digital media, has consistently been at the forefront of technological adaptation and industry innovation. Currently serving as the CEO and Founder of Indyfilm Pty Ltd, Smithers initiated his film career in early 1981, and his remarkable journey has seen him contribute to Australian, Hollywood, British, and other international co-productions in various capacities, including producer, director, sound editor, and film editor.


With a wealth of experience in broadcast television, Smithers evolved into an executive producer, playing a pivotal role in developing and producing hundreds of hours of quality broadcast television. His keen eye for storytelling and understanding of diverse audience preferences were honed during his collaborations with all major Australian broadcasters and numerous prominent production houses.


In the early 1990s, while lecturing at Charles Sturt University, Smithers embraced digital media production, becoming an early adopter and pioneer of online learning and multimedia production for distance education. Over the past two decades, he has continued to be a digital pioneer, contributing significantly to Australia's leading digital broadcasters and media organizations.


Smithers' innovative spirit flourished during his tenure with News Limited (News Interactive) in 2000, where he led a team that produced over 20 news packages daily, earning awards for their outstanding coverage of the Sydney Olympics. Notably, he developed the first Java pop-up player with thumbnails and a playlist—a feature now commonplace on the web. His capacity for innovation aligns seamlessly with the future endeavors of Blue Pie.


Post the tech-wreck in 2001, Smithers transitioned back into television, undertaking roles in producing, directing drama and documentary, and establishing his own ad agency, which created over 200 television commercials. In 2007, he assumed the position of Senior Producer at Network 10 Digital, where he played a pivotal role in producing behind-the-scenes content for shows like 'Good News Week,' 'So You Think You Can Dance,' 'Recruits,' and 'Masterchef.' His comprehensive understanding of online media delivery and Content Management Systems (CMS) led to the revamp of their online video platform, culminating in the creation of Tenplay.


In the interview with Gerardo Saenz, Smithers provided a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "World of Difference," a documentary capturing the extraordinary journey of musician Sam Pollard cycling across Australia. Reflecting on the challenges faced and the collaborative spirit that fueled the project's success, Smithers shared insights into the diverse Australian landscapes and the unpredictable nature of documentary filmmaking.

Looking ahead, Smithers revealed his current project—an eight-part series delving into the life of Bond Scott, the iconic frontman of AC/DC. This venture, initiated in 2015 and set to finish in March next year, showcases Smithers' dedication to storytelling and commitment to bringing untold stories to the forefront.


In concluding the interview, Smithers offered valuable advice to aspiring filmmakers, emphasizing the importance of kindness, continuous learning, and perseverance. Drawing parallels between filmmaking and a marathon, he encouraged emerging talents to approach their careers with a long-term perspective.


Inaugurating the New England International Film Awards: A Remarkable Recognition

Expressing gratitude for being part of the inaugural New England International Film Awards, Smithers envisioned the festival's growth as a platform for emerging talents. With potential future submissions on the horizon, Simon Smithers continues to be a driving force in the cinematic landscape, leaving an indelible mark with every project he undertakes.




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