Wayne Coles-Janess is an Australian award-winning producer, writer and director of drama and documentary film and TV programs. He was earned acclaim for producing films that define humanity in international situations and engage audiences across cultures and nations.
Coles-Janess studied engineering at an undergraduate level, but changed direction, and graduated from the Film School at the Queensland College of Art.
His short drama, On the Border of Hopetown (1992), received an AFI (Australian Film Institute) nomination. It has been screened at the world's most highly regarded film festivals, including Clemont – Ferrand, Mannheim, and Chicago. It has been shown to audiences at more than 150 international festivals from Turkey to San Francisco Golden Gate Awards.
Bougainville - Our Island Our Fight (1998), a documentary about the civil war in Papua New Guinea (1988-1998) as the island of Bougainville sought independence. It was screened at over 35 international film festivals. It has won numerous international awards, including Best Documentary, Best Video Production and Audience awards. It helped define the issues and contributed to a peaceful political resolution to the 12-year war in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.
His documentary Life at the End of the Rainbow (2002) gives an account of people living on the land in the small rural community of Rainbow, at the edge of the Australian desert. Constructed in part from 1940s home movies, it gives a view of the town's growth and changes among its 500 residents. It attained the second highest rating in ABC’s prestigious True Stories documentary slot. Life at the End of the Rainbow has been shown on the international festival circuit, where it has won numerous awards.
The international award-winning feature In the Shadow of the Palms (2005) is a documentary shot in part during the last weeks of Saddam’s government. It follows the Iraquis into “Operation Shock and Awe” and war. The last third of the film is based on a return to Iraq to document changes in life and society with the newly elected Iraqi Government in place. This was the first Australian film to be entered in international competition for more than 12 years.
It is the third Australian film in the past 15 years to meet the standards for the highly competitive Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. The festival is biannual and selects only 15 films from around the globe. In the Shadow of the Palms was voted the most popular film, winning the Audience Award.
Because of his work, Coles-Janess has been consulted as an expert in Iraq, and South Pacific culture and politics. His essays on related topics have been published in Time, The Age, The ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald, National Geographic Magazine and numerous international media outlets.
He has been a guest and speaker at international film festivals in Turkey, USA, Brazil, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Spain, Germany, and Iran. He has also served as a judge at international film festivals.
Coles-Janess has also worked as producer and director for the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s flagship program - Foreign Correspondent, as well as revamping SBS’s 13-part series front up, and The Movie Show.
List of films
- In the Shadow of the Palms
- Bougainville – Our Island Our Fight
- Life at the End of the Rainbow
- On the Border of Hopetown
- Big City of Dreams
- "Wayne Coles-Janess", New York Times