David Tiley, much-loved ScreenHub Editor, dies

Tiley was regarded not just as a champion and subject matter expert in the screen industry but as a cherished family member, colleague and friend.
ScreenHub's award-winning Rascal at Large David Tiley. Image supplied.

David Tiley, former ScreenHub Editor and a much-loved champion of the Australian screen industry, died yesterday evening in hospital, where he was in palliative care, attended by friends and family.

Tiley was the ScreenHub Editor from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021, with a special interest in policy. He continued to write for the site under my own editorship until recent times and I can only add to what’s sure to be a consensus view of Tiley, that he was one of a kind, and an exceptionally generous colleague.

Tiley took the reins at ScreenHub in 2005 when it was a film and TV website run by John Paxinos and Alex Prior, and continued to thrive in the Editor role after ScreenHub was acquired by ArtsHub’s parent company Creative Hubs Group in 2012.

In addition to screen media, Tiley enjoyed a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, and what he referred to as ‘a side order’ in script editing.

He described himself as someone who ‘values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling’.

Among his many accolades, Tiley won the $5,000 Stanley Hawes Award at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in 2022, presented annually to a producer, director, editor, cinematographer, sound recordist, presenter, facilitator, educator, broadcaster, distributor, commissioning editor or any profession deemed significant within the non-fiction screen sector.

In presenting that award, the AIDC described Tiley as an ‘indefatigable champion of documentary and factual production, and one of our most passionate grassroots commentators on the screen business.

‘Throughout his career, David has worked tirelessly in roles at Film Victoria, the Australian Film Commission, AFTRS, and ScreenHub. With this award, AIDC acknowledges his outstanding contribution to the Australian documentary and factual sector.’

At this year’s AIDC Awards, AIDC CEO and Creative Director Natasha Gadd ended the Awards Presentation with a further tribute to Tiley, describing him as ‘a singular voice on screen business in the Australia media’.

In 2021, former colleague George Dunford described Tiley as a man who ‘defied labels’.

‘David came to ScreenHub after writing his much-loved pioneering blog Barista: Heartstarters for the Hungry Mind. The blog gave him the perfect place for his great intellectual curiosity to thrive. His blog categories alone show off this curiosity as they ramble from Austrapolitics to New Orleans to intellectual property to (by far the biggest category) strangely compelling. David makes connections and forms stories where others don’t.’

Rochelle Siemienowicz, who worked with Tiley from 2018 to 2021 at ScreenHub, described him as a ‘dear friend’.

‘David Tiley was a friend and treasured mentor to crowds of us – at ArtsHub and ScreenHub, and most importantly to the Australian screen industry at large. 

‘Today, I’m remembering David, my dear friend. His curiosity and wit, his moral and physical courage and his irrepressible sense of mischief. 

David Tiley And Rochelle Siemienowicz In 2018. Image Supplied.
>David Tiley and Rochelle Siemienowicz in 2018. Image supplied.

‘David had a unique generosity of spirit. He nurtured talent and celebrated creativity wherever he saw it. He cared deeply about the culture, and about the people and stories involved in making it.

‘When I spoke to him in hospital recently and asked if he had any message to leave behind, it was this, especially to the young folk just starting out: “Don’t sell yourself short. Know your value, and know that you matter”.’ 

Creative Hubs CEO Sol Wise described Tiley as ‘irreplaceable’.

‘David was a beautiful human being that touched many of us with his unique style, candour and humour. He will be missed by many.’

We will have further tributes to David Tiley in the coming days. In the meantime, we offer our deepest condolences to David’s family, friends and colleagues.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites