Canberra, ACT – The Veterans Film Festival (VFF) is delighted to announce the appointment of three new board members. Damien Thomlinson, actor (Hacksaw Ridge), Talissa Papamau, founder of Modern Soldier and author, Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d).

The VFF will return to Canberra in October 2017 to putting the spotlight on stories about veterans’, their families, first responders and the impact warfare has on society.

On his appointment Damien Thomlinson said, “I am honoured to have the opportunity to play such a significant role with the festival. This is a great opportunity for filmmakers and veterans to present their stories on the big screen.”

Damien Thomlinson, President is an Australian veteran of the war in Afghanistan, former Special Forces, author, motivational speaker, actor (Hacksaw Ridge) and Brand Ambassador. Despite losing his legs in the Afghan war, he has never lost his energy and enthusiasm, which he now channels to helping inspire people from around the world.

Talissa Papamau, Vice President is an Afghanistan Veteran, and former Australian Army Combat Medic. Following her medical separation from Defence, Talissa founded the online veteran support group Modern Soldier and is the Executive Director of the Remembrance Foundation. Talissa is a consultant to various Government departments and has had numerous engagements with journalists and the media industry.

‘All films submitted to the official competition category will be eligible to compete for the coveted Red Poppy Awards,’ said Talissa Papamau. ‘In 2016, female filmmakers won most of the awards.’

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d) served as a Nursing Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force for 16 years, with deployments to Timor-Leste in 2000 and 2004; Afghanistan in 2008 as Officer-in-Charge of the Australian Medical Task Force in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. Sharon was seriously injured in a helicopter crash in Timor-Leste in 2004, but successfully fought to continue to serve, despite her injuries. As a result of her personal experience of service and her role in providing care for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families in Australia and overseas, Sharon is a passionate advocate within the field of Military and Veteran’s Health. Sharon is the author of One Woman’s War and Peace: a nurse’s journey in the Royal Australian Air Force, and is a Member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial.