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Based in Melbourne, Australia, Genepool Productions specialises in creating quality science documentaries for international audiences. Sonya Pemberton, 2012 Emmy award-winner and record breaking five-time winner of the prestigious Eureka Award for Science Journalism, leads the company.

Previous projects include the critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning science documentaries, Immortal (with December Media), Catching Cancer (with December Media), Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines, Vaccines: Calling the Shots and Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.

Genepool’s latest project Vitamania: The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins for SBS, CuriosityStream and ARTE France dissects the multi-billion-dollar vitamin industry and is a finalist for three Jackson Hole Media Awards.

Genepool is currently developing a range of documentaries and series, collaborating with filmmakers and scientists from around the world.


 

The Team

 
 
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Sonya Pemberton
Creative Director

 
 

Sonya Pemberton is one of Australia’s leading factual television producers and she specialises in science. 2012 Emmy Award-winner and record-breaking five-time winner of the prestigious Eureka Award for Science Journalism, her passion is quality science programming.

Previously Head of Specialist Factual at ABC Television, she commissioned and managed over three hundred hours of factual television; her understanding of audiences’ desire for smart, accessible television saw ratings rise across the genres.

Sonya has written, directed and produced over 60 hours of documentary, her films winning over 70 international awards. She also executive-produced many award-winning factual programs, including Crude-the incredible journey of oil and Uranium: Twisting The Dragon’s Tail

As a writer and director her multi-award-winning films include Vitamania: The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins for SBS, CuriosityStream and ARTE; the SBS feature length special on immunisation, Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines, followed by Vaccines: Calling the Shots for PBS NOVA; Catching Cancer highlighting the work of Nobel Laureates Barry Marshall and Harald Zur Hausen, and Prof Ian Frazer; and Immortal which featured the work of Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, won the 2012 Emmy award for Outstanding Science programming.

Sonya has also been honoured with Australian Health Journalist of the Year in 2011 and 2013, the Jill Robb Award in 2015 and the 2016 Stanley Hawes Award for contribution to documentary.

There’s something redemptive in Pemberton’s work. She straddles the categories of art and journalism, entertainment and knowledge. She is a filmmaker who, in respected director Ken Burns’ terms, is really a “tribal storyteller.”
— Graeme Blundell, The Australian

 
 
 
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Harry Panagiotidis
Co-Producer &
Director of Photography

 
 

Harry has more than 40 Australian and US feature films credits as a cameraman, Steadicam operator, and second unit DOP. He also works as Director of Photography on documentaries and factual programs.

Married to director Sonya Pemberton, the husband and wife creative team thrive on tackling stories of science together, most recently on a co- producing role. Recent films together include Catching Cancer (ABC/NGTV), Emmy award-winning Immortal (SBS/Smithsonian), Jabbed – love, fear and vaccines (SBS) and Vaccines — Calling the Shots (PBS NOVA) and Vitamania: the sense and nonsense of vitamins (SBS, CuriosityStream, ARTE).

 
 
 
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Kate Pappas
Creative Producer

 
 

Kate is a hands-on creative producer whose dedication to understanding the world around her has led to a rewarding career in documentary filmmaking. Since cutting her teeth in London in the wonderful world of kids’ science TV, she has worked across a diverse and award-winning slate both in the UK and in Australia.

She has subsequently produced, co-produced, series produced and line-produced close to 30 hours of television and works regularly with Genepool Productions, WildBear Entertainment, Chemical Media and Renegade Films.

Her most recent credits include Producing art/science documentary Deception By Design (ABC/OFT); Feature Doc Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy (NiTV/MIFF Premier Fund/Madman Ent.) as well as Series Producing 14 hours of wildlife films for Blue Ant Media, NatGeo, DRG and ZDFe. She joined the Genepool Productions team in 2018 where she will pursue her passion for telling stories that illuminate the wonder of science and the natural world.

 
 
 
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Daniella Ortega
Director & Producer

 

Daniella is an award-winning Director and Producer of documentary and factual television with a passion for science storytelling. 

In 2017 Daniella created with Sonya Pemberton, a landmark science and history series entitled Lawless – The Real Bushrangers (Foxtel, History Channel). As Series Producer she steered four episodes editorially from concept through to completion. The series approach applied cutting edge science to historical ‘cold cases’ in the form of complex, archaeology and forensic investigations, interwoven with impressionistic dramatic reconstructions and historical analysis. The series was highly critically acclaimed as well as achieving record ratings for the network.

Before embarking on Lawless, Daniella wrote and directed standalone documentary Enigma Man - A Stone Age Mystery (ABC) about the intriguing science of human evolution in Asia. The film was nominated for the 2014 Jackson Hole Science Media Award for ‘Best Human and Social Sciences Film’ and won the 2014 Australian Teachers of Media award for ‘Best Docudrama’. 

Crossing genres such as formatted science TV, wildlife and factual entertainment, her work has screened on networks around the world including ABC TV, SBS, Animal Planet, CuriosityStream and Fox Television. Daniella is a graduate of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and the University of Technology.

 
 
 
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Britt Montag
Production Assistant

 
 

Brittney, originally from the United States, has built her career working for major film festivals and other film related events including The Melbourne International Film Festival, The Seattle International Film Festival and is now in her third year with The Australian International Documentary Conference here in Melbourne. Brittney started at Genepool Productions during the launch of their most recent film Vitamania: The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins and is excited to embark upon what’s next in development.