Breaking The Mould explores gender in Australian music

‘Breaking the Mould’ is an independent documentary which explores the ideas of gender in the Australian Music Industry. We caught up with writer and director Jessie Ryan-Allen to find out more about it.

What inspired you to make this documentary?

In 2014 I completed my Honours thesis about the gendered stereotypes of women in Australian music. During this process I was struck by the shortage of information regarding gender in Australian music. Also during that year I found a documentary by Lindy Morrison and Greg Ferguson called ‘Australian Women in Rock and Pop Music’, which inspired me to create the documentary ‘Breaking the Mould’.

How did you choose your subjects?

I wanted to have a selection of Australian musicians that were each trailblazers in their own way. This was particularly important to me because I wanted the audience to connect with our interviewees in different ways and include everyone in discussion about the role of gender in Australian music. We also have cameos from Gold Coast natives Jesswar, Being Jane Lane and Athena Joy.

Did you learn anything during the making of this documentary that absolutely floored you?

Every interview was a game changer for me, as through each interview I gained a greater understanding of the subtle ways gender defines and influences the way we see music, as both fans and creators.

What are your hopes for the film?

The documentary was premiered at the Australian Music Week Film Festival in November last year, so we are hoping to continue sharing ‘Breaking The Mould’ with more screenings this year. As with a lot of documentaries we want it to shake the foundations and inspire our audience to continue the positive evolution of breaking down gender stereotypes through making and supporting local music.

What’s next on the agenda for you?

I am launching a podcast very soon that features long-form interviews with songwriters and music producers talking about the creative process and music, in the vein of Billie JD Porter, Julia Zemiro and Zane Lowe.

Stay up to date with upcoming screenings and check out the ‘Breaking The Mould’ trailer at or

IMAGE (c) Monique Montfroy

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