Prior to filmmaking, Niall’s career involved working with threatened and endangered animals in remote and spectacular wilderness areas. He holds a Doctorate in Zoology and was named the 2012 Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year for founding the multi-award winning Bookend Trust education program. Bookend has been recognised by the Banksia Foundation ‘for creating lasting and positive community impact’ and by the United Nations Association of Australia for being ‘strongly grounded in the community and achieving inspiring environmental and personal outcomes for participants and the broader community’. School and public engagement in this program has led to its expansion across Australia in collaboration with the Australian Department of Education.

Through Bookend, Niall has produced multiple short educational films, and he won the inaugural Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) Film Festival ‘Devil’ Award for Innovation in Filmmaking. 16 Legs: Spider Love and its feature-length bigger sister SIXTEEN LEGS have been his introduction to larger scale film production.

16 Legs: Spider Love (2014) was his Director-Producer debut, telling the behind-the-scenes challenges of filming the natural history components of SIXTEEN LEGS. It had a dual-hemisphere world premiere at the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Festival (Canada, where it was a Festival Finalist) and the 2014 BOFA Film Festival (Australia). It has screened at another 3 international film festivals, and was a Festival Finalist at each of those as well, including the prestigious Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (US) in the Marian Zunz Emerging Filmmaker category. At Jackson Hole, the project was showcased alongside work from the BBC, Discovery and Disney Nature. The footage has also won a Gold Award and an Award of Distinction from the Australian Cinematographers Society.

SIXTEEN LEGS is still in production. It tells the story of one of the oldest Australians, an unusual animal of global significance that has survived past mass extinctions by living in some of Australia’s biggest and deepest caves. This darkly fascinating story features Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, Kate Miller-Heidke, Tara Moss, Adam Hills and Mark Gatiss among others. It was selected as one of seven in-production natural history projects from around the globe for the international pitch presentation at Sunny Side of the Doc in France, and it has been selected by George R.R. Martin to launch his Jean Cocteau Cinema in the US.

2016 Ones To Watch