Megan Riakos is a dynamic filmmaker bringing a distinctive female lens to the world of genre filmmaking. Her debut feature as writer/director/producer of the thriller Crushed received strong reviews with The Australian calling it “a tense, bloody mystery thriller”, and The Hollywood Reporter labelling it “A solid debut.” Crushed completed a successful festival run before a strong limited theatrical release in Australia and acquisitions by channel 10 and Qantas. Megan’s next project is Australia’s first horror anthology feature film Dark Whispers – Volume 1. Megan combined forces with ten other Australian women horror directors as creator and producer while also writing and directing the wrap around segment that unified each segment into the anthology. Dark Whispers was selected for festivals across the world including at Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in Silicon Valley, Seattle International Film Festival, Berlin Final Girls Film Festival, Cinefest Oz Film Festival in Western Australia and MonsterFest. Bringing with it a formidable feminine vibe to the horror anthology genre, it has been hailed by Killer Horror Critic as “A shining example of horror anthology film done right…” and Screen Hub calling it “bursting with ideas and energetic visual approaches”. Megan was also brought on to write and direct Episode 2: No Pain No Gain of the upcoming Deadhouse Dark horror series which premiered at Canneseries and will be released in 2021.
Megan’s screenplays have also garnered acclaim. Her mystery period feature The Last Reprieve was awarded the Grand Prize in the Greater Philadelphia SIP Screenplay competition. Her political drama Victory and Defeat made the semi-finals in the Final Draft Big Break Competition and was shortlisted for the Nate Wilson Award at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Megan compliments her filmmaking with her role as co-founder and board member of the Not-For-Profit organisation Women in Film & Television Australia (WIFT) where she is a vocal advocate for women in the screen industry. Through her work at WIFT, Megan successfully negotiated changes to the AACTA Awards selection process to ensure a more fair and transparent awards, established the Raising Films Australia initiative to address the obstacles facing parents and carers in the screen industry, developed the Safer Workplace Strategies Forum to help combat sexual harassment in the screen industry and launched a number of programs to assist women to advance their screen careers, including MentorHer Mentorship Program and the In The Works test screening night for members’ in progress work. Megan merges these two fields of creativity and advocacy via her company Hemlock & Cedar Films, which focuses on amplifying female voices.
Megan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Media Arts & Production) at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), has a Graduate Diploma in Directing at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and has also completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA.
Megan is an innovative, collaborative and driven filmmaker with a strong visual style and a particular strength in delivering strong performances from her actors. She is a high energy, confident speaker, mentor, teacher and advocate with an infectious enthusiasm for the art and craft of filmmaking.