Katie Bender is a former athlete, independent producer, documentary filmmaker and theatrical marketing creative.
Through her love for film and sport, Katie recently made her directorial debut with one of Australia’s first ever feature-length sports documentaries The Will To Fly about Olympic Champion Lydia Lassila.
Katie's critically acclaimed film The Will To Fly was four years in the making and premiered in Australia on International Women’s Day March 8th, 2016 followed by a successful Australian theatrical release where the film was positively received by critics. The film was quoted “The Most Inspirational Movie Of The Year” by The Huffington Post Australia, and Marie Claire stated, “The film draws comparisons to thrilling sports narratives such as Senna and Touching The Void”. On December 4th, 2016, The Will To Fly was a part of the official selection to premiere in Canada at the Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia. Here Katie was nominated for 'Best Female-Directed Documentary Award,' and The Will To Fly received 'Best World Documentary Award' and 'Best Mountain Culture Film Award'. The Will To Fly was also nominated for 'Best Music for a Documentary' at the 2016 APRA AMCOS Screening Music Awards.
While producing The Will To Fly, Katie secured government and philanthropic funding through Film Victoria and The Lord Major Charitable Foundation. Katie then acquired two successful alternate funding investments through Rebel Sport (Super Retail Group), and KPMG Australia where the film will be used internally for KPMG’s Purpose, Centre for Client Leadership, People Performance, and Culture programs. Additionally, Katie established partnerships with Women’s Health Magazine, Australian Unity, Tanarra Capital, The Australian Olympic Committee and The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia. Katie also worked with The Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) and created a study guide for The Will To Fly which was written primarily for secondary students in Years 7–12. It provides information and suggestions for learning activities in English, Health and Physical Education, Media, and Sport and Recreation. Study of The Will To Fly may also be of interest to students completing TAFE Certificate courses in the areas of Sport, Fitness and Recreation, and Psychology. The study guide is currently being integrated into schools across Australia.
Before making The Will To Fly, Katie represented Australia in Gymnastics before transitioning on to the Australian Freestyle Aerial Ski team where she trained in Park City, Utah before moving to Los Angeles, California where she studied film and digital media at The Fashion Institute of Merchandise and Design [FIDM]. Upon graduation at FIDM, Katie landed an internship at the world’s leading motion picture marketing firm, Trailer Park Inc.
At Trailer Park Inc, Katie began as an intern and then worked in the theatrical movie trailer division alongside the industry's top leading theatrical creatives in Hollywood. Here Katie worked on multiple awards winning marketing campaigns for the highest-grossing franchises to Oscar-winning dramas for clients such as Warner Brothers, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Sony, Lionsgate, Universal, and The Weinstein Company.