Amanda taking over the world, one film festival at a time

There are a lot of different career paths that our School of Media, Film and Journalism graduates go down after their time at Monash, but planning world domination is a new one.

Tongue-in-cheek answers aside, Amanda Jane Barbour is dominating with her two businesses, as a translator and director of the FEM&IST FILMS festival.

Here is her profile…

Amanda Jane Barbour.

Name: Amanda Jane Barbour

Course: Bachelor of Arts (double major in French and Film Studies)

Campus: Clayton/Caulfield

Year graduated: 2017

Current position: I have two businesses: one as a sole-trading translator (French/English); and another as the founding director of FEM&IST FILMS, an intersectional feminist film festival that uses cinema to celebrate and critically engage in contemporary feminist discourse.


What was it like breaking into the industry? Was it more ‘who you know’ than ‘what you know’?

It was a combination of what I know, and having the audacity to cold contact those within the industry and say, ‘by the way, I am amazing’. My first interpreting event was at Les Inattendus Independent Film Festival in France while I was on exchange; I translated Q&A sessions between English/Australian directors and the French public. Then I worked at Berlin Feminist Film Week, and that was my inspiration for launching FEM&IST FILMS in Australia.


What is a ‘day in the life’ of your current role?

Coffee, cigarettes, community liaison, emails and general planning of world domination.


What was a key lesson you learnt at Monash that translated into your current work?

Having access to a university e-library is a godsend. Anything you ever needed to know is in there, and all you need to access it are login details and an internet connection.


If you could go back and do your degree again, is there anything you’d change? Subject choice? Time management? Internships?

I would encourage the university to start blind assessments, to counter unconscious bias. Tropfest introduced blind judging this year, wherein film submissions would not have the name, gender, age or ethnicity of the applicants. The only information available to judges was the film, and the number of female finalists skyrocketed from 5% in 2016, to 50% in 2017%. While I have maintained good grades throughout my degree, I find submitting assignments under a student number (as opposed to a student name) a better way to assess an academic piece in its own right.


What skill (or skills) would you recommend students touch up on before getting into the industry?

For languages, find every native speaker you can and become their friend. If you’re not a social butterfly, reach out to exchange students and offer to do a linguistic exchange or mutually proofread each others’ work. For film, get in early and volunteer, and get to know absolutely every potentially useful contact you can.


When you were little, what was your dream job?

Vegetable farmer, not even kidding.


What is your dream job now?

Working in film (in any capacity) in France, with a liveable wage.


Who do you look up to most in the industry?

For translation, probably Helen Scott. She was the interpreter for a series of interviews between Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut in the 1960s, which would become the content of Truffaut’s book Hitchcock/Truffaut (1966) and Kent Jones’ 2015 film of the same name. For film criticism, Siegfried Kracauer is excellent and accessible. Gilles Deleuze is also excellent, but it takes a long time to understand what on earth he’s talking about.


Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow alumni?

I saw Joanna Batsakis speak at the New Directions In Screen Studies II conference last week. She probably thinks its strange that I give her so many compliments, but she’s making some top notch contributions to cinema academia.


Do you follow any sports teams?

Richmond FC, my family bleeds yellow and black.


What’s your coffee order?

Skinny latte if I’m hungry, or a long black with soda water if I’m dead and need to be resurrected.