Lisa Daniel’s life has been far from stagnant. Lisa follows the path of her passions, an approach that has led to being the director of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival for 17 years. Currently, she is pursuing her life-long fascination with crime by continuing her tertiary studies after more than 20 years in the workforce.
Lisa’s education actually began at Monash University, where she studied a Bachelor of Arts. She moved to La Trobe in order to pursue her honours year in film. She preferred La Trobe for its friendly environment and collaborative nature; here she made friends she still holds close today.
Although Lisa found herself surrounded by like-minded women, it was Professor Barbara Creed that inspired Lisa to pursue a career in film. Barbara immersed Lisa in the feminist ideas portrayed in horror films and thus began Lisa’s immense fascination with film, ultimately leading to her role as director of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
Lisa loved discovering film directors that were largely unknown and showcasing their work at the festival, a forum that she describes as the perfect opportunity for queer and trans people to come together and unite over a common passion for film.
Despite the usual difficulties faced by a non-for-profit, including funding challenges, Lisa’s stewardship for almost two decades was a feat unbeknownst to most film festival directors. Lisa recalls that, upon commencing at the festival, when crowds would peak at 3,000. Numbers increased to more than 25,000 at her departure in 2015. It was her personal decision to step down from the role to “allow another great creative to allow their imagination to run wild as mine did.”
Lisa is currently in her second year of a Criminology degree at Swinburne, a course that she has excelled in, maintaining distinctions and high distinctions, as well as being named Swinburne Student of the year for criminology in 2017. She has always been intrigued as to what makes humans turn to crime and the psychology behind it. Lisa participates heavily in student mentoring programs, and her ultimate goal is to become an academic in criminology. Lisa also volunteers on 94.9 Joy FM, a GLBTIQ radio station.
When asked what her advice would be for future students, Lisa provided an insight applicable to people of all walks of life: “Always remember life’s path is never concrete. Don’t linger with your blinkers on. Allow your mind to remain open and delve into the unknown where possible.”