We have the core of a strong team, driven by an admiration of dissidents and an awareness of their social importance. The team is experienced in film production, storytelling, and business strategy.
Patrick Lavery is the project director. He studied producing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and while there had the idea for The Lives of the Dissidents. He has degrees in environmental engineering and economics and has worked as a management consultant. As a child he remembers seeing his uncle on TV protesting his status as a political prisoner.
Dr David Court is a founding advisory panel member. He is the founding Director of the AFTRS Centre for Screen Business, and has been involved in the financing of more than a dozen film and television productions, including Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom, Robert Connolly’s The Bank, John Weiley’s Antarctica, Andrew Horne’s Leunig Animated, and Guy Gross’s animated series Old Tom. David was the publisher of the subscription newsletter Entertainment Business Review and with KPMG conducted the feasibility study that led to the development of Fox Studios at the Sydney Showgrounds, Australia. As author of Film Assistance: Future Options (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1986), David was the policy architect of the Film Finance Corporation, established by the Australian Government in 1988. In 2009-10, with Sir Peter Jackson, David undertook a review of the New Zealand Film Commission for the NZ Government. He has recently completed a PhD on the copyright system at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.
Robert Connolly is a founding advisory panel member. He is the writer and director of Balibo and Underground: The Julian Assange Story, and producer, together with his business partner John Maynard, of the award-winning films The Boys and Romulus, My Father. He has won numerous Australian and international awards, including at the Toronto International Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival. He received a Centenary Medal for services to the Australian Film Industry in 2001 and was part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2020 ideas summit in 2008 in Canberra.
Jo-anne McGowan is a founding advisory board member. She has produced award winning documentaries and short dramas including Servant of the Ancestors (Best Documentary Silver Images, Pan African, Zanzibar Film Festival, 2000) and Troubled Waters (Winner, Dendy Award Sydney Film Festival 2002). She has worked as a commissioning editor at Australian TV networks SBS and ABC. In 2010, she produced with Bridget Ikin art + soul, a three-part series on Indigenous art, directed by Warwick Thornton, and was Head of Producing at AFTRS from 2010 to 2012.
Maciej Kos is the CTO. He has graduated from the University of Michigan, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and the University of Gdansk with degrees in Information Science, Economics, and e-Business. He is passionate about understanding human behavior through scientific inquiry. Growing up in the Gdansk area - where Lech Walesa led negotiations between shipyard workers and the communist regime - imbued Maciej with a deep appreciation of human rights activism and peaceful dissent as means of dissolving oppression.