The SWIFF team

The Sydney Women's International Film Festival is the passion project of a Sydney-based volunteer team of women, all committed to promoting women's roles and greater gender parity in the film-making industry. 

The ongoing lack of gender diversity in the film industry means we aren't seeing enough stories about women, told through the eyes of women. 

SWIFF is our contribution to improving access for audiences to these stories - and to promote the creativity of female film-makers.

We are proud to be supported by the City of Sydney through the City's cultural grants program.

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Festival Director

Clare McCann

Clare McCann is one of Sydney’s most highly sought after Creative Directors and artists and is a multi-award winning multi-racial Director, Writer, Producer and Actress who is known for the international award-winning micro-budget feature film Benefited, leading a campaign to save The Roxy theatre, launching Sydney casino The Star’s Marquee with TAO Group, as well as The Merivale Group’s Pacha.

Clare’s Creative Direction client list includes Coca Cola, Dom Perignon and KIIS1065, to name a few. She has produced and directed hundreds of international live entertainment shows, music videos and commercials and has worked with globally recognised artists such as Will-I-Am, Ruby Rose and Paris Hilton. After playing the lead of Cherry in the hit Foxtel Channel [V] show Blog Party Clare later began developing content for the series before creating Foxtel’s ClubLife.

Clare has studied a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts and Theatre Making at AIM (AADA) and both Cinematography and Production at AFTRS. Clare was recently selected as a TV writer and Film Producer in Sundance’s collab and has also worked as a Drama, Movement and Voice Tutor at NIDA and across numerous Sydney Colleges.


Layal Naji


Layal Naji is an Iraqi-Australian writer, cultural consultant, university lecturer and

optometric physician and vision specialist who is passionate about exploring equity,

orientalism, and all things East meets West.

Layal was the cultural consultant for the SBS screened mini series ‘On the Ropes’

and she is also involved in performance prose, poetry, and animation across a number

of published medias.

Layal dedicates her free time to providing health services to minority populations

including women, migrants, and people with barriers.

Arman Merchant

Official Photographer

Arman is a Sydney Based Award Winning (PSI) Celebrity photographer with 12 + year of experience in Movie Stills, Fashion, Advertising, Events, Corporate, Editorial, Commercial and Portrait photography. Arman knew that photography was her calling at 13 and landed her first Magazine cover shoot at 19 and since then there was no looking back.

Arman went on to become the first female unit stills Photographer in Bollywood and specializes in genres of fashion, editorial & portraits. Arman is known for her bold and cinematic style.

Arman Profile Image.jpg