Margaret Jones-Owen was born in Sydney in 1944. Her love of cinema was ignited at a young age by the Saturday afternoon matinee of double feature, short and serial at her local cinema.

Margaret enrolled in Engineering at Sydney University, the first person in her family to be tertiary educated. However, her interest in the Humanities and the Arts was led her to Macquarie University, where she enrolled in an Arts degree majoring in German and Social Psychology.

In the middle of her studies, fleeing the conformity of 1960s Australia, Margaret spent two and a half years in Vienna, working as a stringer with the Bulletin and for ABC Rural Radio. Returning to Australia, she finished her degree and enrolled at NIDA, studying screenwriting. She also met and married Hans Pomeranz, founder of Spectrum Films. It was during this period she accumulated knowledge of film and television production and post-production, juggling work and raising two sons.

In 1980 Margaret became Writer and Executive Producer at the newly formed SBS. She established The Movie Show with David Stratton in 1986. Unable to find a female co-host the program, she was convinced to take on the role in the short term arrangement. The show ran until 2004, when it moved to the ABC and was rebadged as At the Movies.

Margaret is known for her fierce loyalty, self-deprecating humour and outspokenness which has made her the focus of both criticism and praise in the turbulent Australian media landscape. Despite her declaration that she is an ‘ordinary girl’, Margaret has often found herself as the focus of media attention, particularly related to issues of freedom of speech and film censorship.

Margaret has served on the Advertising Standards Board and was a member of the inaugural Australian Writers’ Foundation. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 for her service to the film industry as a critic and reviewer, promoter of Australian content, and advocate for freedom of expression in film.

“I lived in Vienna for two years and immersed myself in the music that is so much a part of the tradition of this great city. I didn’t have much money but you could stand through an opera for as little as $1.40. It was an exhilarating time, being exposed to art, music, literature, my intellectual life exploded. I would not have had the career I’ve had without those years in Vienna.”