Jen Hughes: Documentary-maker



Jen Hughes is the documentary-maker behind Suai Media Space which she began in 2008.

Eleven years of the ten year commitment to the Suai Media Arts Project is up (February 2011). The Suai Media Space and the documentaries have been made possible with the assistance of the Friends of Suai, the Port Phillip Council, sponsors and above all family and friends.

The site is a different ‘take’ on the friendship.  It’s a personal journey that attempts to reveal both Jen’s personal stories and facilitate the voices of the youth and others in Suai. Its aim is also to provide some selected background history of the people in the two communities. It provides access to community members through the suaimediaspace social network and the Friends of Suai for updates on their projects. You can become an author on Suai Media Space by contacting Jen Hughes or Pat Jessen. (See their details in Contact in the footer menu).

The idea for a collaborative documentary about the concept of cross-border friendship utilising electronic technologies and the Internet came in 2000 – well before the possibility of using the Internet as a place for interaction with Suai was a reality. Trips to Timor have been limited by funds and other complications but workshops and documentation have resulted in the content on the site. Some of which has been written or made by youth in Suai and Jen.

The documentation in this site began in 1999 when the leaders of Port Phillip began a 10 year friendship with Suai, East Timor. Friends of Suai. Their hopes were that skills and resources could be transferred from one community to the other. From Port Phillip to Suai to assist the recovery of Suai. See Projects here.

The project in partnership with the Friends of Suai has developed a media group in Suai in the form of YoMaTre the Youth Media Training Centre based in the Cova Lima Youth Centre. The strength of that initiative led to it becoming of interest to the International Centre for Journalists who are providing journalist training and Broadband to Suai in the Covalima Youth Centre and the Friends of Suai Community Centre.

You will find the video and  documentaries here. The first website was a finalist in the ATOM Awards. Jen was also a co-producer of Time To Go John a political documentary compilation in 2004.

Jen Hughes is a documentary-maker with 25 years experience in cultural development in film culture and media in Adelaide and Melbourne and over 10 years experience in business in Australia and Europe. Her tertiary education is in media and cultural studies. Jen’s LinkedIn Profile.

10 year projects are not new to Jen. Her last project was an installation with artist Margaret Dodd in Adelaide.

Titled ‘Forgotten Fruit’ it was a peep-hole video installation in a disused stable. The documentary pieces flickered from tv monitors installed inside a thousand colourful fruit and vegetable boxes that were stacked in the form of a maze resembling a cityscape and a website design. The story was about the demise of a neighbourhood, that was the home of the century-old wholesale fruit and vegetable markets and a vibrant artistic community.

Jen was the Director of the Media Resource Centre in Adelaide for ten years. The remit of the Media Resource Centre was to support independent filmmakers and creative development with the aim of creating a vibrant film culture in South Australia. Jen was Director responsible for implementing the 1975 constitutional aim of the organisation to set up an independent alternative cinema in Adelaider. The e Mercury Cinema opened in the Lion Arts Centre in 1992.

Jen served on many Boards during these years in Adelaide one of which was a government appointment to the Board set up to establish and oversee the building of the Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide’s premier alternative arts precinct.