2015 AWGIE Awards Winners Announced

Ryan Corr and Russell Crowe in The Water DivinerThe brilliance of Australian writing for stage, radio and screen shone through at this year’s AWGIE Award ceremony.

In what the Australian Writers’ Guild says is a sign of the depth, determination and dexterity of the nation’s performance writing industry, there is a tremendous amount of both writer-driven and writer-originated work. And there are decades of dreams and heartbreaks in the stories behind many of the scripts, as always.

AWG President Jan Sardi says the 2015 AWGIEs demonstrate several important milestones for the Australian stage and screen industries.

“Not only are many of this year’s recipients multi-talented across platforms, but they place the writer front and centre in the creative process of taking an idea from imagination into an award winning script that can attract the highest calibre of production, direction and acting talent – and of course money,” says Sardi. “At least that’s the idea!”

Thirty-seven AWGIEs were presented at the 48th Awards night at Doltone House overlooking Sydney’s Hyde Park, in front of more than three hundred of TV, film, stage, radio and online writers and guests from throughout the Australian industry. It is serendipitous, but also a sign of the times, that all four of the nominated adapted screenplays have already had success in other forms at the hands of the writers themselves.

The two screenplays that shared the prestigious Feature Film Adaptation AWGIE were both previously written as stageplays by these talented writers, before being adapted into screenplays. Brendan Cowell first crafted his winning movie Ruben Guthrie as a stage play, as did Tommy Murphy, whose critically-acclaimed adapted stageplay Holding the Man, based on Timotohy Conigrave’s memoir, had its first success on stage in 2006 winning best main stage play of the year.

The other two finalists, Last Cab to Darwin by Reg Cribb with Jeremy Simms made a similarly well-tended journey from stage to screen, and Sucker by Benn Chessell and Lawrence Leung is based on Leung’s own long-running, award-wining one-man comedy show.

The AWGIE for Best Feature Film Original Screenplay went to Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios for The Water Diviner. Knight and Anastasios went on to win the 2015 Major Award for their The Water Diviner script. “This is the first time since 2012 that a Feature Film took out the Major Award,” said Sardi.  “It is truly a beautiful script to read.”

The AWGIE Awards have a unique place in the Australian awards landscape, being judged on the scripts – the writer’s intention – rather than the finished production. Not only the strength but also the breadth of Australia’s performance writing talents were on display this year in the awards in 25 categories spread across stage, screen, radio and online, from children’s theatre to major international movies and musicals.

The 2015 AWGIE Award Winners are:

2015 Major Award
The Water Diviner – Andrew Knight / Andrew Anastasios

Feature Film – Original
The Water Diviner – Andrew Knight / Andrew Anastasios

Feature Film – Adaptation (two winners)
1. Ruben Guthrie – Brendan Cowell
2. Holding the Man – Tommy Murphy

Television Mini Series – Original
Deadline Gallipoli – Jacquelin Perske / Stuart Beattie / Shaun Grant / Cate Shortland

Television Mini Series – Adaptation
The Secret River – Jan Sardi / Mac Gudgeon

Telemovie – Original
House of Hancock – Katherine Thomson

Drama or Comedy, Other Form
The Katering Show – Kate McLennan

Television – Series (two winners)
1. Offspring: Episode 511 – Michael Lucas
2. Wentworth: Series 3, The Governor’s Pleasure – Stuart Page

Television – Serial
Home and Away: Episode 6057 – Louise Bowes

Comedy – Sketch or Light Entertainment
Legally Brown: Series 2 – Joel Slack-Smith

Comedy – Situation or Narrative
Please Like Me: Series 2, Scroggin – Josh Thomas

Jump for Jordan – Donna Abela

Music Theatre
Little Bird – Nicki Bloom

Children’s Theatre
The Boy at the Edge of Everything – Finegan Kruckemeyer

Community and Youth Theatre
The Gap – Patricia Cornelius / Angela Betzien / Melissa Reeves

Theatre for Young Audiences
Marlin – Damien Millar

Children’s Television – P
Guess How Much I Love You: Make A Rainbow – Charlotte Rose Hamlyn

Children’s Television – C
Skinner Boys: Festival of the Ancestors – David Witt

The New Adventures of Figaro Pho: The Fear of Zombies (Romerophobia) – Bruce Griffiths

Interactive Media
Secrets & Lies – Stephen Irwin / Lucas Taylor / Dominic Morris

Radio – Original Broadcast
Like a Writing Desk – Aden Rolfe

Short Film
Welcome to Iron Knob – Dave Wade

Documentary – Public Broadcast
Sam Klemke’s Time Machine – Matthew Bate / Sandy Cameron

Documentary – Corporate and Training
Dying to Talk: Exploring Death and End of Life Issues – Peter Flynn

For Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Australian Writers’ Guild – Tim Pye

For Outstanding Contribution to the Profession – Alan Seymour (Posthumous award)

For Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy – Bill Harding

In Celebration and Recognition of Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre – Finegan Kruckemeyer

The Man from the Moon – Gemma Crofts

The Brooch – Elizabeth Dias

(Generously supported by Kim Williams AM)
Patricia Cornelius
Angela Betzien

For more information, visit: www.awg.com.au for details.

Image: Ryan Corr and Russell Crowe in The Water Diviner