Sonya Pemberton established Pemberton Films in 2007.
Sonya is one of Australia’s leading documentary writers, directors and executive producers. She has written and directed over 50 hours of television, specialising in science documentary for an international market. Her films have won over 30 awards and she has been three times honoured with the prestigious Eureka Prize for Science Journalism (2003, 2004, 2008).
From 2004 – 2006 she was Head of Specialist Factual at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), where she was responsible for the Science, Natural History, Indigenous, Religion and Ethics, and Education departments. She managed four weekly primetime shows, 100 staff and a slate of 150 hours of programming per year. She also commissioned 25 hours a year of Independent production, including the high rating documentaries HOW KEVIN BACON CURED CANCER and The LIFE Series.
Sonya also executive produced many key science projects including the multi-award winning hit CRUDE – THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF OIL, THE WINNER’S GUIDE TO THE NOBEL PRIZE, and the prime time ratings success, BATTLE OF THE BRAINS.
In 2007 Sonya left the ABC to resume writing, directing and executive producing science films and interactive projects for an international audience.
In 2008 she was writer, director and supervising producer on ANGELS AND DEMONS with Australia’s leading TV presenter, Andrew Denton. This documentary on mental illness won the time slot, gained a remarkable 29% audience share, and generated over 3000 responses from the public. Winning awards, including the 2008 SPA Life Award, 2008 Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Achievement Award, 2008 Media Achievement Award, the film gained significant critical acclaim.
“Programs such as this…redeem television. They take a medium that too often scrapes the bottom of the barrel and show what can be achieved in the right hands.” The Age, April 7, 2008.
During 2009 -11 Sonya wrote, directed and jointly executive produced 8 documentary projects, including ELDERS with Andrew Denton (ABC, series 2) a 6 part television series exploring the notion of wisdom, plus the multi award winning science specials CATCHING CANCER (ABC, NGTV-INT) and IMMORTAL (SBS, NGTV-INT, Smithsonian Channel).
“There's something redemptive in Pemberton's work. She straddles the categories of art and journalism, entertainment and knowledge. She is a filmmaker who, in respected director Ken Burns's terms, is really a "tribal storyteller.” The Australian, October 17, 2009
In September 2011 Sonya joined forces with one of Australia’s most successful production companies, Cordell Jigsaw Productions. Together they formed a new joint venture, Genepool Productions.
Sonya Pemberton with DOP Harry Panagiotidis,
in production on Catching Cancer (2009)