The brilliance of Australian writing for stage, radio and screen continues to shine as the writers of The Code, Ali’s Wedding, Jasper Jones, Barracuda and Please Like Me were among the winners of the 49th Annual AWGIE Awards held at Sydney’s Ivy Ballroom on Friday 14 October 2016.
President of the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG), Jan Sardi, said that at a time when television is experiencing a global renaissance on an epic scale the Annual AWGIE Awards are a way of honouring the world-class talent of Australian screenwriters and playwrights.
“With the advent of streaming services such as Netflix and Stan revolutionising the way we all consume screen content, there is an undeniable buzz and energy around our film and TV industries in particular,” said Sardi. “This heralds exciting times ahead for not only Australian writers for performance, but for the millions of viewers hungry for top-notch content on their screens and stages.”
Hosted by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow, twenty-two AWGIE Awards were awarded across categories covering the full spectrum of performance writing in radio, television, film, theatre and interactive media. Two awards were given for unproduced screenplays, and five special awards were awarded.
Among the 2016 AWGIE Award winners were: Andrew Knight and Osamah Sami, writers of the acclaimed Ali’s Wedding, for most outstanding script for an Original Feature Film, and Shaun Grant and Craig Silvey of Jasper Jones, who received the AWGIE Award for the most outstanding script for a Feature Film Adaptation.
Within the television categories, AWGIE Award winners included: Samantha Strauss for her original telemovie, Mary: The Making of a Princess; Barracuda’s Blake Ayshford and Belinda Chayko for the Television Miniseries – Adaption category; Josh Thomas and Liz Doran for Please Like Me in the Comedy – Situation or Narrative category; Leah Purcell’s Ready for This: ‘The Birthday Party’ took out the Children’s Television – C Classification category, and Andrew Knight scored a second AWGIE Award for his work on Rake.
One of Australia’s leading screenwriters, Shelley Birse was awarded this year’s top writing gong for the second season of the ABC’s The Code. The cyber-thriller also received the AWGIE Award for the Television: Miniseries – Original category. The first season of The Code took out the Major Award in 2014, and this year’s award makes it the only series in history to have been recognised by two Major Awards for both of its seasons.
Winners in the theatre categories included Lally Katz for The Rabbits in the Music Theatre category, A Kid Like Me writers Sally Hardy and Alirio Zavarce won the Community and Youth Theatre AWGIE Award and Angus Cerini took out the Stage category for The Bleeding Tree.
One of Australia’s most well-known writers, comedians, actors and satirists, Barry Humphries, has been presented with the 2016 Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy. Humphries was honoured in recognition of the invaluable contribution he has made to Australian and international comedy writing over a career that has spanned more than 60 years.
The $60,000 David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre was presented to Angus Cerini for The Bleeding Tree – which has just been announced for inclusion in the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2017 program, while Craig Pearce – co-writer of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Charlie St Cloud and The Great Gatsby was presented with the Australian Writers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
For 49 years, the Australian Writers’ Guild has presented the AWGIE Awards to recognise and reward excellence in performance writing. More than 440 entries were received this year, drawn from 79 different nominated works and projects in 23 different award categories.
For more information and complete list of winners, visit: www.awg.com.au for details.
Image: ABC cyber-thriller The Code – courtesy of ABC TV