29 October, 2022
Screenwriters James Cripps and Rhianna Malezer have been announced as the winners of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s Monte Miller Awards, the premier awards for unproduced scripts in Australia.
In another standout year for the Monte Miller Awards, the final round and shortlist were dominated by screen projects, reflecting the exciting international boom in high-quality television driven by a writer's unique voice. High Rotation explores the exhilarating and near-impenetrable world of the Australian music industry, while The Stockman is a beautiful examination of family, identity and imagination.
The two winning writers will now share in $10,000 in script development funding, with the prize invested by Scripted Ink. as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the development of great writers and commercially viable projects.
‘It’s a total shock and absolute honour that High Rotation has received such a prestigious award,’ said Cripps. ‘Thank you to the Guild for their continued support of Australia’s emerging screenwriters, and thank you to my co-creators, Catherine Kelleher and Henry Stone. Without them, this script would not exist.’
‘I’m incredibly chuffed to receive the Monte Miller Short Form award. The Stockman is a story very close to my heart, that I also feel is the easiest thing I’ve ever written, as it flowed directly from my spirit. It’s very affirming of how much more impactful my work can be when I am true to my own voice. Thank you to AWG and the panel for recognising this short script, which I hope will end up on-screen and contribute to the diverse representation of First Nations experiences,’ said Malezer.
The Monte Miller Awards are an Australian Writers’ Guild tradition going back to the 1970s. Each year they recognise excellence in screenwriting and playwriting among the Guild’s Associate and Student members, celebrating the exciting future of Australian storytelling.
The winning and runner-up projects are now available to view on AWG's prestigious Pathways Showcase, joining an outstanding collection of projects available for development. Ten highly commended projects made the final round of judging.
The Monte Miller Awards will open for entries in early 2023.
Long Form category
High Rotation by James Cripps [Television – Drama]. After a famous popstar steals her lyrics, a songwriter must fight for the recognition she deserves by breaking into the gated institution of the Australian music industry.
Jane The Waegukin by Ra Chapman [Television – Drama]. Jane, an unsentimental and pragmatic Korean adoptee, has her ordinary life turned upside down when she becomes haunted by a Halmeoni (Korean grandmother)
Everything Breaks by Rob Payne [Feature Film – Comedy]. Things break in life, but sometimes that’s alright.
Family Politics by Penny McNamee [Television – Drama]. Family Politics takes a heart-warming, honest and raw look at grown families, and examines what happens when our careers and civic duties cause conflict between those we love.
In Your Dreams by Amy Parry and Diya Eid [Television – Drama]. Elis Hanna is a hot-headed teenager who unwillingly inherits the ability to enter other people’s dreams and unlock their deepest, darkest secrets. When her sister is murdered, she must harness this new-found power to uncover the buried family secret that led to her sister’s death.
Sun Woman, Moon Man by Lyndal Simpson [Television – Drama]. After a mass shooting reveals their illicit affair, an interracial couple flee into the desert and are transported back in time by a lunar eclipse to colonial-era Australia.
The Replicas by Adam Daniel [Television – Drama]. After passing through a strange electrical storm at sea, the passengers of a transit ferry arrive at their island home to discover that they are duplicated versions of passengers that arrived earlier on the same ferry. After quarantine and detention, they are released and attempt to reintegrate into the community. Having lost their homes, livelihoods, and their families, they bond together as outcasts and form a new family.
The Woman Who Saved an Army by Robert Alan Bruce and Julien Perrottet [Television – Drama]. A four-part limited-series that details the heroic true actions of Gladys Baker and a group of Australian and British citizens who risked their lives to help save and evacuate 240 Australian soldiers left for dead after the fall of New Britain in 1942.
Short Form category
The Stockman by Rhianna Malezer [Short Film – Drama]. When two young cousins visit their ailing Nan, they cope with her illness by escaping into an imaginary world – inspired by a painting of a mysterious Aboriginal stockman.
Pleasant Avenue by Aimée-Lee Xu Hsien Curran [Web Series – Comedy]. The residents of Pleasant Avenue live to protect their idyllic community, but each household is plagued by petty problems that escalate and threaten to unravel its values.
Unloveable by Sophie Smyth [Television – Comedy]. A 20-something almost-not-a-virgin is dumped on her birthday because of her autism and now she’ll do ANYTHING (except anal) (probs) to prove that she! is! loveable!! damnit!!
Baby Shower by Matthew Day [Short Film – Comedy]. A suburban baby shower descends into chaos.
Bazaar by Ray Lich [Short Film – Comedy]. When a young mum decides to rid her contemporary home of a dated piece of furniture, she discovers that participating in the online marketplace is not for the faint-hearted and in an effort to escape her past, she’s introduced to who she truly is today.
Bubba by Hannah Samuel and Nina Buxton [Short Film – Drama]. Claudia has the chance to escape her emotionally abusive relationship, but she won’t take it if it means leaving her beloved dog Bubba behind.
Dirty Road by Sally Alrich-Smythe [Television – Drama]. A queer millennial drives across Australia to help her conservative, recently widowed grandmother track down the woman she once loved.