Long-time Mercury CX supporter, member and workshop participant Jason Chong has won the 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award. The award provides a prize to Australia’s next big competition format show.
“I’ve been a regular attendee of MCX’s Screenmakers Conferences, attended the Screen Makers Lab in 2019 and 2021, was a finalist for the Out of the Box initiative in 2019 and attended this year’s Pitch Lab with Ruth Estelle, where I began refining the pitch for The Second Best Gameshow” said Jason.
In 2019 the SAFC subsidised Jason to attend Screen Forever for the first time, and in 2021 he completed the SAFC Skilling SA training for the AD Department.
The AACTA Reg Grundy Award, offered in 2021 for the second time, saw applications across a number of formats competing for a $50000 prize including development funding.
This year’s winner was determined by a panel of established screen experts including Eden Gaha (President of unscripted television at Shine USA), Cathy Payne (CEO of Banijay Rights), Sharon Wheeler (Award-winning Senior Entertainment Executive), and Marion Farrelly (Speaker, consultant, TV & Film Producer), and Ian Hogg (Media CEO, Advisor, Australian Idol, Australia’s Got Talent, Family Feud).
“A great idea can come from anywhere. It’s our job, as an industry, to make sure such great ideas are heard and their creators are supported. The Reg Grundy Award represents the kind of encouragement and mentorship that has made Australian content what it is today. Now more than ever, this award underpins the importance of new perspectives on entertainment from people of all backgrounds. I see this year’s additional prize for innovative, young, creators as a tremendous way to seed the next great competition format.” said AACTA Reg Grundy Award Judge and President of Unscripted Television at Shine USA, Eden Gaha.
Speaking of the win, Jason said “There’s still loads of work to do, but this is a great chance to say thank you for all the support and opportunities that have been provided by Mercury CX. It has already made a huge difference in my career so far and I really do appreciate it.”
The winners of the South Australian Screen Awards 2021 have been named at a gala awards ceremony at Mercury CX. There were 81 nominees, across 24 awards which were presented to creatives and crew across a range of craft and genre categories including drama, documentary, web series, animation, comedy, music video, screenwriting, directing, editing etc, culminating in the Grand Jury Prize presented by the South Australian Film Corporation.
MYTH – The Go Between and The Recordist have taken out joint honours for Best Drama. MYTH – The Go Between produced by William Littleton, picked up three additional awards including Best Director for Alies Sluiter. The Recordist, produced by Ashleigh Knott and Indianna Bell and directed by Indianna Bell and Josiah Allenalso picked up Best Performance for Brendan Rock along with Best Sound Design for Indianna Bell.
Best Comedy, presented by KOJO was awarded to Producer Lisa Bishop and Writer/Director Gareth Wilkes for Happy Anniversary. Best Documentary, supported by AIDC, was won by My Ba from Producer/Director Alice Yang and Best Animation was The Better Angels for Producer Richard Chataway and Writer/Director Michael Cusack.
In addition five individual awards were presented to acknowledge South Australian screen excellence culminating in the illustrious City of Adelaide Mercury Award, which recognises a South Australian creative’s lifetime achievement and contribution to the screen industry. This award was presented by the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Sandy Verschoor to acclaimed Sound Recordist, Mixer and Sound Designer James Currie. Currie’s 45-year career has seen him work on 146 productions spanning feature films, television series, documentaries and short films. His international reputation has been built working innovatively on sound for directors including Paul Cox, Rolf de Heer and Scott Hicks. Currie said of the award: “I am truly humbled to be the recipient of this year’s City of Adelaide Mercury Award 2021,” adding that hometown recognition was especially meaningful.
Director Scott Hicks said of James’ win “James recorded sound on my very first film ’The Wanderer’, and almost 50 years later he’s working on my current film ‘The Musical Mind’. I’ve lost count of the films we’ve done in between. Many congratulations James – such a well-deserved honour and recognition of your place in the pantheon of South Australian filmmakers. You’re an institution, and I salute you.“
The inaugural Best First Nations Talent Award sponsored by South Australian Film Corporation was presented to actor Natasha Wanganeen for her compelling performance in the short film Djaambi. Another first for 2021 was the inclusion of the Mercury Rising award, supported by the Adelaide Festival Centre and presented to an MCX Member across any award category. The inaugural winner is producer and director Eva Grzelak. The Carclew Foundation presented the Young Filmmaker Award to cinematographer Nicholas Frayne and Media Super presented the Emerging Producer Award to Lilla Berry.
Mercury CX CEO, Karena Slaninka said “I am constantly impressed with the level of talent we have in South Australia and Mercury CX is proud to play an essential role in supporting and celebrating emerging and established talent”.
“The South Australian Screen Awards have helped launch the careers of many filmmakers who have gone from making an award winning short to their first feature and are an important career milestone. We couldn’t offer these awards without the support of our many partners and award sponsors”.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
CITY OF ADELAIDE MERCURY AWARD
GRAND JURY PRIZE
Sponsored by South Australian Film Corporation
MYTH – THE GO-BETWEEN
Produced by William Littleton; Directed & Written by Alies Sluiter
EMERGING PRODUCER AWARD
Sponsored by Media Super
FIRST NATIONS TALENT AWARD
Sponsored by South Australian Film Corporation
Natasha Wanganeen – Actor, Djaambi
YOUNG FILMMAKER AWARD
Sponsored by Carclew Foundation
MERCURY RISING AWARD
Sponsored by Adelaide Festival Centre
> GENRE CATEGORIES
Sponsored by Adelaide Film Festival
Producers: Ashleigh Knott & Indianna Bell
Directors: Indianna Bell & Josiah Allen
Writer: Indianna Bell
MYTH – The Go-Between
Producer: William Littleton
Writer/Director: Alies Sluiter
Sponsored by KOJO
Producer: Lisa Bishop
Writer/Director: Gareth Wilkes
Sponsored by Australian International Documentary Conference
Producer/Director: Alice Yang
Producers: Danielle Tinker, Marcus McKenzie & Daniel Principe
Directors: Marcus McKenzie & Daniel Principe
Deadly Family Portraits: Sansbury Sisters
Producer: Lilla Berry
Director: Pearl Berry
Sponsored by Finders University
The Better Angels
Producer: Richard Chataway
Writer/Director: Michael Cusack
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Sponsored by Music SA
alt. “Devil’s Cut “
Producers: Ashley Pollard & Benjamin Powell
Director: Ashley Pollard
BEST WEB SERIES
Sponsored by Government of South Australia Department for Innovation and Skills
Producer: Kurt Roberts
Writer/Director: Benno Thiel
BEST STUDENT PRODUCTION
Sponsored by University of South Australia
Producer: Kirrily Snape
Writer/Director: Tasman Colquist
Sponsored by CDW Animation
Henosis Brewed Engagement Extended Reality Labs
> CRAFT CATEGORIES
Sponsored by Australian Writers’ Guild
Kate Bonney – Waiyirri
Sponsored by SunJive Studios
Alies Sluiter – MYTH – The Go Between
Sponsored by Pro AV Solutions
Nicholas Frayne – Which Made This Place Home
Sponsored by Channel 44
Tania Nehme – MYTH – The Go Between
Sponsored by Heesom Casting
Kavitha Anandasivam – Possum
Brendan Rock – The Recordist
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Sponsored by Light Adelaide
Brendan Homan & Natalie Homan – Last Meal
BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP
Sponsored by Kryolan Professional Make-up
Bec Troisi – MYTH – The Go Between
Sponsored by The Fabric Store
Hannah Sitters – Secret Pretty Things
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Sponsored by Best FX
Indianna Bell – The Recordist
Sponsored by University of Adelaide Elder Music Conservatorium
Discover the range of activities undertaken by Mercury CX during 2020 with the full Annual Report. From all the productions supported by Mercury CX to the winners of the South Australian Screen Awards 2020, the range of measures of adapting to COVID-19 and the first ever online edition of Screenmakers Conference, discover the breadth of activity from this centre for story excellence.
Warren Clarke is the Head of Scripted Development at Fremantle Media Australia. Early in his career Warren helped develop TV projects including Foxtel’s award-winning political drama Secret City, The Seven Network’s Wanted, and Channel Nine’s Hyde and Seek. He went on to Co-create ACTAA nominated and critically acclaimed ABC series THE HEIGHTS on which he served as Showrunner for two seasons. Warren is also an AWGIE nominated screenwriter. He was the Script Producer for Oddlands, the ABC and Adelaide Festival collaboration with Back to Back Theatre, and wrote for the teen football series Mustangs FC.
1:1 PITCHES –WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR
We are looking for Scripted Television (Drama & Comedy)
We are not looking for features, unscripted projects, animation
Virginia Whitwell is a highly experienced film practitioner and producer with over twenty years in the industry. She is the Head of Production for the newly formed Good Thing Productions after five years as Head of Production at Madman Production Company. She has co-produced and produced many scripted and factual projects including That Sugar Film, Save Your Legs!, A Month Of Sundays, All For One and soon to be released feature documentary 2040 directed by Damon Gameau. Hailing from the UK, she has worked on numerous productions all over the world. Her extensive production experience includes projects for Warner Bros, HBO, Lucasfilm, EON, 20th Century Fox and Universal. Virginia is currently producing The Australian Dream, an Australian-United Kingdom co-production with Passion Pictures directed by Dan Gordon and Below, a scripted feature film directed by Maziar Lahooti starring Anthony LaPaglia and Ryan Corr.