MR Steve Thomas

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Steve Thomas lectures in documentary filmmaking in the VCA’s School of Film and Television and is an award-winning independent filmmaker.

His most recent documentary feature, Freedom Stories (2015, is the third in a trilogy of films on the subject of asylum seekers. It premiered at the Sydney International Film Festival and was a finalist in the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary. His previous feature, Hope (2008, won the ATOM Award for Best Social/Political Documentary. It was also a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Awards and Australian Directors Guild Awards.

Steve has a particular interest in documentary ethics. In 2010 he completed his Master of Film & Television by Research thesis entitled ‘Hope – Towards an ethical framework of collaborative practice in documentary filmmaking’ (available at He has recently completed a practice-led PhD entitled ‘Reflexivity, collaboration and ethical documentary filmmaking: a practice based approach’ (available at The creative component of the latter is Freedom Stories, which collaboratively explores the stories of former ‘boat people’ who arrived in detention circa 2001 and are now Australian citizens.

Steve’s work as a writer/director/producer also includes:
  • Black Man’s Houses (1992) and Harold (1994): award-winning ABC TV documentaries examining black-white history in Australia. Distributor Ronin Films.
  • The Hillmen – A Soccer Fable (1996): SBS TV and winner of the AFI Award for Best TV Documentary.
  • Least Said, S oonest Mended (1999): SBS TV and winner United Nations Association Media Peace Award. Distributor Ronin Films.
  • Family Foibles (2001): a series of 5 x 26’ family stories which Steve produced for ABC TV with mainly VCA graduates directing. Distributor Ronin Films.
  • Welcome to Woomera (2004). ABC TV. Distributor Screen Australia.

Contact Details

Phone Number: 9685 9018
Fax Number: 9685 9001


Freedom Stories - Shorts


Major Recorded Works

THOMAS S (2015), Freedom Stories
THOMAS S (2008), Hope, Gil Scrine Films
THOMAS S (2004), Welcome to Woomera, Film Australia

Journal Articles Unrefereed

THOMAS S (2015), Freedom Stories: what I've learned from filming Australia's asylum seekers
THOMAS S (2015), Wolfpack and the ethics of documentary making
THOMAS S (2005), Documentary Film: Cinema for Thinkers, RealTime

Audio-visual Recordings

THOMAS S (2003), Hanging Out With Henry, SBS Independent
THOMAS S (2001), Family Foibles, Ronin Films

Full Written Papers Unrefereed

THOMAS S (2006), Woomera, On Space

Book Chapters

THOMAS S (2006), Imagining Reality - The Faber Book of Documentary. In MACDONALD , COUSINS (Eds.), Imagining Reality - The Faber Book of Documentary, Faber and Faber

Journal Articles Refereed

THOMAS S (2012), Collaboration and ethics in documentary filmmaking – a case study, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Vol 10, Issue 3 , DOI: 10.1080/17400309.2012.695979
THOMAS S (2012), Upfront Filmmaking: The Ethics of Documentary Relationships, Metro
THOMAS S (2012), Foreign Exchange: My Thai Bride, Metro

Journal Articles

THOMAS S (2010), Teaching Documentary Filmmaking: Reflections on Ten Years at the VCA
THOMAS S (2010), Strange Birds in Paradise – A West Papuan Story
THOMAS S (2009), Indonesia Calling: Joris Ivens in Australia
THOMAS S (2002), Whatever Happened to the Social Documentary?

Education and Training

  • Master of Film & Television by Research (Documentary) MA by Research , University of Melbourne, 2011
  • Bachelor of Science Honours in Chemistry BSc Hons , Durham University, 1971