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Charlie Hill-Smith was born in Adelaide and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. He has a Bachelor of Business in Marketing.
When writer and director Charlie Hill-Smith first visited West Papua in 1998 he knew little about the history of this troubled country or its people. Ten years later, a growing friendship with West Papuan refugees in Melbourne sparked his memory and his interest in the country he first saw as a young traveller. Strange Birds in Paradise, his first feature-length documentary, is the story of this journey of discovery.
It is not the first time Hill-Smith has worked in the factual genre. In 2005 he was the Camera Operator on the SBS Independent documentary Making of Ten Canoes, he wrote and directed Indonesia - Art, Activism and Rock n’ Roll for SBS in 2003, and the shorts S11 Melbourne in 2001 and Under Ground Art for ABC Asia in 2001, the short film Wokabout West Papua in 2000, and Hong Kong Fooey & the Great Chinese Takeaway in 1997.
A long time interest in music, art and comedy led to Hill-Smith to establish the Rhino Room Performance Club in Adelaide (1997 – 2005), the Boltz Café Comedy Club Adelaide (1992 – 1996) and the Silvermine Gallery/Art Studio in Glen Osmond South Australia (1993 - 2001). During this time he also produces a sketch comedy pilot Red Monkey Comedy (2002), a music video Nine Steps Down in 2001, the EPK for the independent feature film Sample People (1999), and a documentary for Sony New York in 1998 on the Ben Folds Five Australian Tour.
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