Helen’s journey to renowned film producer
Class of 1966 graduate, Helen Leake AM, has explored numerous avenues on her journey through life. From computer programming to setting up the inaugural Seymour Old Clothes Shop, a stint as CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation to running a successful production company for 30 years, Helen’s rich life experience has fostered her creative prowess and invigorated her rise to become a pivotal figure in the Australian film industry.
Helen fondly describes her time at Seymour as a: broad and encouraging environment in which to learn.
Her passion for mathematics and the instilled optimism from her school days drew her to computer programming, a job that took her to the United Kingdom for some years.
Returning home in 1972, Helen began an Arts degree with a double major in politics and psychology. It was at Flinders University that the self-professed cinema lover quickly assimilated and befriended film students, many of whom would go on to become great South Australian directors, producers and eventually colleagues.
After several years of living in Jakarta, Indonesia, and starting a family of four children, Helen moved into the film industry in the early ’90s. She attributes her success as a creative producer to the rich background of business experience, computer skills, travel and, especially, raising children. Helen is now one of Australia’s most accomplished creative producers.
Comparing each new film to a start-up business, Helen considers her work extremely hard, but tremendously rewarding, only made possible by combining the many talented people who work in the industry.
Currently the director of Dancing Road Productions, a small selection of Helen’s vast array of accolades includes production credits for Black and White, a quintessential South Australian story, collaborating with acting royalty Russell Crowe and having her films featured at over thirty prestigious film festivals.
As someone with such rich life experience, Helen’s advice is invaluable. Succinctly, Helen recommends that the students of today, whatever they do, should do it well, because you will use that knowledge and those skills in unexpected ways. Helen says: Be open to change and opportunity – and best of luck!