Philippa Bateman, founder of Enigma Machine Pty Ltd, is a writer/producer/director who works in documentary, feature film, TV drama and screen-based visual arts deploying film, photography and code.
Philippa Bateman is a writer/director and producer who works across documentary, feature film, television drama and screen-based media arts. Her critically acclaimed feature film Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow is her directorial debut.
A recipient of the 2019 Documentary Australia Foundation/Create NSW She-Doc Fellowship, Philippa was embedded at Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions in New York. While in the US, she further developed the US based feature documentary AMERICAN HUNTER (dir. Alex Kershaw) and wrote a feature documentary CRASH. She is currently working on her next documentary, an animated feature film, and working on other Enigma Machine projects that include a TV drama series.
Philippa worked as a senior Creative Executive in the development, production and acquisition of scripted feature films for 25 years in Australia, the US and UK. She began her cinema career in script and story development in Los Angeles working with an Oscar winning screenwriter (William Kelley - Witness) and London. As a creative producer, she has had First Look producer deals with two US studios—Universal and United Artists/MGM (during the tenure of UA President Bingham Ray) for whom she also consulted on acquisitions.
At her former company April Films, Universal Studios (US) appointed Philippa Head of Development and Production and a year later she was promoted to CEO. She developed a 10 picture slate of specialty feature films with Australian screenwriters—both original screenplays and adaptations of international literary properties. Notable acquisitions include: Geraldine Brooks’ March prior to the novel winning the Pulitzer Prize for Literature 2006, Toad Rage by children’s author Maurice Gleitzmann and Jindabyne written by Bea Christian and based on the Raymond Carver story ‘So Much Water So Close to Home’.
April financed, produced and marketed Jindabyne. Directed by Ray Lawrence (Lantana) and starring Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne, the film’s world premiere was at Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2006; it was also selected for Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Berlin Film Festival. A critical hit in Australia and internationally (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian UK’s film critic gave the film five stars), Jindabyne was one of the top 3 grossing Australian hits at the local box office (with George Miller’s Happy Feet at Number 1) and nominated for 11 AFI Awards, including Best Film. Sony Classics acquired Jindabyne for the US and released the film in 2007.
April Films won the SPAA Independent Producer’s Award (2006).
After shuttering April Films in 2010, Philippa had a stint in Paris writing and taking photographs for the online publication The Global Mail. On her return to Sydney, she founded Enigma Machine, to develop her own projects and work with like-minded creatives across a range of modes and mediums (film, media arts, television, drama, books and photography). As producer, script editor and stills photographer, she worked with director/artist Zanny Begg to create The Beehive (2018) about murdered activist and publisher Juanita Nielsen (starring Pamela Rabe). A non-linear documentary and art installation, the work was commissioned by ACMI and Artbank. Held in both collections, The Beehive was recently acquired by the City of Sydney for its permanent art collection. Philippa produced/directed a documentary project and podcast series with journalist Monica Attard for the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. She also produced the large scale interactive artwork Starry Night by Brad Miller for Vivid.
For the past decade, Philippa has also consulted for leading production companies, directors and film festivals. She recently consulted on a screen project for Professor Danielle Celermajer and the Multispecies Justice Project at the University of Sydney which aims to reconceptualise justice and seeks to address the impacts of the most pressing problems of our era, such as climate change, Indigenous rights throughout the world, resource depletion and industrial farming.
Since 2014, Philippa has worked with documentary filmmaker Ian Darling at the Shark Island Institute as a consultant writer/producer on Good Pitch Australia, Voxdocs and as a mentor with the Shark Island Story and Impact Labs with Mark Monroe (Diamond Docs), Kristin Feeley (Sundance) and Jenny Raskin (Impact Partners). Philippa was Executive Producer on Darling’s award-winning documentary feature Alone Across Australia (2004); Darling is Executive Producer of Wash My Soul and the film is a production in association with the Institute.
A published writer since high school (feature articles for Harper’s Bazaar and Elle and an academic research assistant in Art History and Film at the University of Sydney), in the past decade Philippa has returned to writing screenplays and long form non-fiction. Some pieces are published on this site. Her photography has been included in exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Photography. She is also working on a book of her photographs — Ghosts of My Town.
Philippa has a degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of Sydney. Along with cinema, photography and poetry, she has a love of wild parrots and sweats bullets about the climate crisis. She’s lived in many cities around the world, and traveled widely but now resides in the city of Sydney, Australia among other natural-world-loving human barbarians and wild urban creatures.