Management team

Hallie Mckeig is the Director of Filmbites having founded it in 2003.  After completing a graduate diploma in film at Curtin University and a bachelor in Communications minoring in screenwriting, Hallie worked as a director at Channel 9 before leaving to work in Taiwan then Canada, where she worked on many major motion pictures and TV series. She had the pleasure of teaching students filmmaking during her stay in Taiwan and on her return to Perth, Hallie created Filmbites. Hallie’s commitment to providing the very best learning opportunities for young people has seen Filmbites grow to an industry leading and well-respected screen skills school with over 5 branches as well as a talent agency with a reputation for the excellence and screen readiness of its actors. Hallie continues to be an active member of the screen industry and is currently on the board of WIFT, Women in Film and Television.


Shanta Surendran is Filmbites’ Head of Screen Acting. She has trained actors since 2005 and has worked with both youth and adults at a range of levels from beginner to elite. Shanta is the creator, writer and head trainer of the acting curriculum. She also trains adults as part of the core training team at Nicholson’s Academy of Screen Acting. Shanta was also one of the key training team for the Diploma of Screen Acting at FTI which trained 2015 Heath Ledger Scholarship Winner, Cody Fern. In addition to acting training Shanta has worked with Jane Norris Casting as an acting coach.

Please email Shanta here for information on applying to Filmbites’ Intermediate, Advanced or Intensive Screen acting courses.


Ben Andrews is Filmbites’ Head of Filmmaking, Production Manager, and Head Writer. After working several years in youth services in Australia, Ben moved to Taiwan in the late ’90s to study Chinese and teach English. There he began writing and performing before being cast in a nationally syndicated TV program that was broadcast three times a day across China and Taiwan. After this minor brush with fame, he leveraged an opportunity to move behind the camera and has worked in film and video production ever since. Ben writes, produces and directs many of Filmbites’ senior-level productions as well as teaches acting and film-making across all levels at Filmbites.

Peta Kalaitzis is Filmbites’ Projects Manager, organising the community division’s workshops, Screen Academy events, marketing and partnerships, and making the occasional bowl of popcorn.  After completing a secondment at ABC TV and graduating from WAAPA in Arts Management, Peta has worked almost exclusively in the arts in events, marketing, policy, partnerships and research roles at the Department for the Arts, Film and Television Institute WA, Sunset Cinema Kings Park, WA Screen Awards and Prospero Productions.  She also enjoyed a few years as a Project Officer at The Department of Premier and Cabinet.  Peta was selected to join the Perth Festival’s Film Review Panel in 2016/17. Peta also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Drama.

Please email Peta here for information and quotes on workshops or to discuss partnership opportunities.


Filmbites Screen Academy Instructors

Jennah Bannear (Screen Acting) is a Performing Arts Graduate from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. She majored in Performance Making and attained skills such as movement and voice fundamentals, clowning, puppetry, script writing, directing, producing, marketing and critical analysis. This formal training compliments 26 years of performance experience ranging from musical theatre, stand up comedy and traditional stage acting through to screen acting. For Jennah, Filmbites has been a great place to both share with and learn from enthusiastic young actors. 



Amelia Burke is a Perth based theatre-maker/actor and director. She is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Performing Arts in Performance Making course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). In her final year, she directed Cookies and Cream, which was presented as part of TILT and received a Highly Commended Award from The Blue Room Theatre. Amelia was also recognised as the stand out director of her cohort, receiving the ‘Director in the Making’ award. Outside of WAAPA, Amelia co-created and performed in Miss Westralia at Downstairs at His Majesty’s Theatre. This new Australian musical has just gone on to finish a sell-out season at The Blue Room Theatre. Amelia loves fusing her love of theatre and film with her passion for working with young people. She has had the pleasure of working with WAYTCO, Black Swan State Theatre Company and Candlelight Productions in this capacity.  


Sam Dunlop discovered his love of acting early when he began acting classes at the age of 8.  Sam first joined Filmbites as an acting student in 2011 and hasn’t left! Sam now has a wealth of acting experience gained from the many films he has been involved in both as a student and teacher. Sam enjoys working with students to create and hone their ideas and hopes to inspire others to feel the same love of acting that he does.




Tim Green (Film-making, Green Screen VFX & Beginner Acting) has been making movies for longer than he could remember. He got his first video camera at eight and never really stopped. He started training at Filmbites in 2008, graduated from Murdoch University with a Bachelor of Media in Screen Production in 2015, and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Media Production in 2016. He has directed numerous short films, including Bodhi which was selected to screen at Cinefest Oz, and worked in the photography, production sound and editorial departments on a variety of projects.



Jessica Hegarty (Screen Acting & Screen Presenting) has been teaching at Filmbites for almost 10 years, starting as a student back in Filmbites early days and then progressing her training at the Film and Television Institute with a Screen Acting Diploma. Jess draws on her own onset experience and the numerous films she’s made at Filmbites to ensure the students get a professional and enriching learning experience.  Jess loves seeing students developing confidence in their own abilities and empowering them to make creative choices whether in improvisation or working with script.



In a past life Lyam Overington (2D Animation, 3D Animation and Gaming) was a Filmbites animation student. He went on to study 2D and 3D animation and game design at both TAFE and university and earned a Bachelor in Creative Industries from ECU.  He now teaches Filmbites’ 2D Animation, 3D Animation and Game Design term and holiday classes. Lyam is famous at Filmbites for his gentle manner and never-ending patience with his enthusiastic students!



Filmbites Community Instructors 

As well as the above instructors, these lovely screen industry professionals join us when they are available to run courses and workshops for local government councils, community groups and schools…

Cody Cameron-Brown (Film-making). After graduating from the WA Screen Academy, Cody was one of ten directors selected worldwide to attend Judith Weston’s Director’s Studio in Toronto. He applied his newly acquired skills to directing two short films, Outline and Watchdog, the latter being funded by Screenwest’s Elevate program and earning him a nomination for Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year at the 2017 Byron Bay Film Festival.  In 2014, Cody  won Best Tertiary Film at the WA Screen Awards and was nominated for Best Music Video for Words From Robin To Batman by The Kill Devil Hills.



Frank Carroll (Film-making) is an English born director represented by local production company Beautiful Pictures and owner of production company Contrast Creative. After graduating film school in 2015, Frank began making independent short films before entering the realm of commercials and advertising.

He has created a range of content for local and national brands such as Specsavers, Telstra, Rocky Bay and Western Australia Police. Frank loves to teach and encourage the young filmmakers of the future.



Deanna Cooney (Screen Acting & Screen Presenting) began training in performance in 1999. She has been a professional, working actor for 18 years, primarily focused on voice work (most recently Deanna was the voice of season 2 of Struggle Street for SBS).

Deanna has worked in all performance mediums across her career. Storytelling is embedded in her acting work, and she also applies her knowledge of acting and the industry as a casting headshot photographer.



Stephanie Davis (Makeup SFX) practically kills actors for a living. Having trained in London in film and television make-up and special effects make-up, Stephanie returned home to Perth in 2011 and works as a make-up artist on many local films. 

She is also a successful producer, having been awarded ScreenWest funding, and applies her film knowledge not only on her film sets but also when teaching SFX to her students during her  gory yet super enjoyable Filmbites workshops.



Tim Galloway (Film-making) is a Bachelor of Arts (Writing and Communications) graduate and qualified Media teacher. 

Tim spent three summers delivering music video, short film and claymation workshops at a US performing arts camp and works in community-services, where he uses filmmaking and arts as a youth engagement tool.

He has created advertising and educational resources for the state government and a range of not-for-profit organisations. 



Jessica Shallcross is a Drama and Dance teacher with a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from Edith Cowan University.

She enjoys working with a wide range of kids, encouraging them to expand their imaginations, develop their skills and have fun. As an actor, Jessica has performance experience across film and theatre. She also enjoys engaging with ongoing training at every opportunity. 

Filmbites Staff August 2, 2018