Margaret McHugh an award-winning documentary filmmaker and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Margaret also lecturers in documentary film at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and is the shorts programmer for Antenna Documentary Film Festival.
Margaret has directed, written and produced 13 short documentary films and video artworks that have screened at over 35 national and international film festivals, galleries and online exhibition platforms. Selected festivals include - Sydney Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, St Kilda Film Festival, Antenna Documentary Film Festival, Berlin Independent Film Festival, Queens World Film Festival - New York, Ethnografilm Festival - Paris and Arte Internacional De Cine Y Arte - Buenos Aires.
In 2010, Margaret completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours from the Australian National University (ANU) majoring in Video Art. Upon graduation, she was awarded the prestigious yearlong professional mentorship with the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). In 2012, she was selected from a highly competitive application process to be 1 of 7 students accepted into the inaugural year of the Graduate Diploma in Documentary at AFTRS. Margaret has also studied visual art, photography and filmmaking at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia in Spain and the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.
In 2015, Margaret’s short hybrid documentary film The Drover’s Boy had its World Premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. The Drover’s Boy has screened at over 20 national and international film festivals and has received 9 Competitive Awards, Special Jury Awards and Director’s Choice Programming selections. In 2017, Ronin Films acquired The Drover’s Boy for distribution. Over 12 tertiary institutions and public libraries have now acquired The Drover’s Boy to be part of their collections, including Kanopy - which streams to over 3,000 higher education campuses worldwide.
Margaret has worked for the Sydney Film Festival, Travelling Film Festival and Antenna Documentary Film Festival as the Marketing & Communications Manager. She has also programmed for the past three years the shorts for Antenna. She has freelanced on the production of numerous promotional videos, interview projects and short documentaries for organisations such as Sydney Film Festival, ABC, AFTRS, YWCA, B’nai B’rith, Legal Aid, and M. contemporary.
Margaret is currently a PhD candidate (awarded the UTS Research Excellence Scholarship) and supervised by Professor Deb Verhoeven. Her research explores the need for deeper analysis on how women’s stories are represented in documentary film and interrogates how existing measures designed to assess drama production might be adapted to monitor this content. Additionally, this research aims to meaningfully engage with broader debates on representation and gender through a film production and innovative media campaign strategies.