Writers of Girl Like You, Horizon, The Newsreader, Fires, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris and Ithaka among winners at the 55th Annual AWGIE Awards

16 November, 2022

 55th Annual AWG Awards
A ground-breaking documentary filmed over six years that follows the relationship between a couple as one of them transitions genders has taken home the top prize at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 55th Annual AWGIE Awards, with WA filmmakers Frances Elliott and Samantha Marlowe’s emotional and insightful documentary Girl Like You winning the 2022 Major Award.

On a night that invited guests to look back at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 60 years of protecting and promoting writers’ rights and forward to the exciting future of our industry, Elliott and Marlowe’s win for their debut feature was a fitting finale. Originally conceived as a short film in 2015, the documentary evolved into an intimate portrait of the relationship between the filmmaker’s friends, Elloise Walsh and Lauren Black, as Elle transitioned genders, exploring the fluidity of gender and sexual identity and the complexity of love and long-term relationships. Earlier in the night, they shared the Documentary – Public Broadcast or Exhibition AWGIE Award with celebrated filmmaker Ben Lawrence, who won his fourth AWGIE Award since 2019 for Ithaka, a compelling study of Julian Assange’s father and the fight for his son’s freedom.

Brisbane-based writer Maxine Mellor was awarded the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre for her electrifying play Horizon, which also won the AWGIE in the Stage – Original categoryA visceral and evocative piece of theatre, it follows a young couple on a soul-baring road trip through the Queensland outback. Mellor, who will receive $20,000 in prize money, developed the piece as a Writer in Residence at Brisbane’s Playlab Theatre. They will now receive $80,000 to develop and program a new work for the Australian stage. In a strong night for Queensland theatre, Elaine Acworth received the AWGIE Award in the Stage – Adapted category for My Father’s Wars, an adaptation of her AWGIE-nominated podcast.

Turning to our screens, the AWGIE Awards honoured an exciting mix of emerging and established writing talent, with Del Kathryn Barton and Huna Amweero’s debut feature Blaze taking home the AWGIE in the Feature Film – Original category, while celebrated screenwriter Keith Thompson was awarded the Feature Film – Adapted AWGIE for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, alongside co-writers Carroll Cartwright, Anthony Fabian and Olivia Hetreed. In the television categories, the writing team behind ABC’s gripping anthology series Fires (Tony Ayres, Belinda Chayko, Anya Beyersdorf, Mirrah Foulkes, Steven McGregor and Jacquelin Perske) received the AWGIE for best Limited Series. Showrunner Michael Lucas and co-writer Kim Ho, who had their first television credit on The Newsreader, picked up an AWGIE for episode five of the critically acclaimed series. 

‘I’d like to congratulate all the winners, and particularly the overall winners in Frances Elliott and Samantha Marlowe for their moving piece of storytelling. All our nominees have produced incredible work, and our judges this year have had a very hard job.  

‘We’ve seen Australian stories like The Stranger and Heartbreak High explode overseas. It shows that Australian stories are popular not just here but around the world,’ said Australian Writers’ Guild Group CEO Claire Pullen. 

‘We are already telling incredible Australian stories; the right framework from government and industry would accelerate us into a job-creating and exporting powerhouse. 

‘We know there is a real hunger for Australian stories and there’s so much opportunity before us to grow our industry. Our winners show the depth of talent to support that growth,’ said Pullen.  

Other 2022 AWGIE Award winners:
  • The team behind The Feed (Ben Jenkins, Alex Lee, Jenna Owen, Vidya Rajan and Vic Zerbst) won their third AWGIE in three years in the Comedy – Sketch and Light Entertainment category,
  • Kala Ellis won the Comedy – Situation or Narrative category for Spreadsheet: Season 1, ‘Chlamydia & Nits’,
  • The Interactive Media & Gaming category returned for the first time since 2019 and was awarded to Zoe Pepper for Sun Runners: ‘Radioactive Laser Eyes’,
  • Louise Bowes won the Television – Serial category for Episode 7742 of Home & Away,
  • Tanya Modini won the AWGIE for Short Film with The Moths Will Eat Them Up,
  • The Web Series category went to Jeanette Cronin for It’s Fine, I’m Fine: Season 1, ‘Poo Boy’,
  • Luke Tierney won Children’s Television – C Classification for The Strange Chores: Season 2, ‘Walk Wolfman’,
  • Little J & Big Cuz won a third AWGIE in the Children’s Television – P Classification category, with Samuel Nuggin-Paynter taking home the prize for ‘Levi Learns’, and
  • Ally Burnham’s Metropius: Season 1, ‘Case #001' won Animation.
In the theatre and audio categories, winners were:
  • Emily Steel for Euphoria, in the Community and Youth Theatre category,
  • Dan Giovannoni for House in Theatre For Young Audiences,
  • Tommy Murphy for Untrue Romance: ‘Call You Back’ in Audio – Fiction, and
  • Maria Lewis for The Phantom Never Dies: ‘Fantomen’, which was shortlisted for the AWG and Audible’s 2020 On Air: Audio Originals competition, in the new Audio – Non-Fiction category.
Four special awards were presented on the night: 
  • Philip Dalkin was posthumously honoured with the Dorothy Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession and the Industry. One of Australia’s most respected and prolific screenwriters, Dalkin also worked as a script editor and producer across film and television and was remembered for his illustrious career, prodigious talent and dedication to mentoring the next generation of writers.  
  • Jungle Entertainment’s Phil Lloyd and Trent O’Donnell were awarded the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy, recognising their partnership on iconic Australian comedy series Review with Myles BarlowThe Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife FightingA Moody Christmas and The Moodys, as well as their individual work on series including Here Come the Habibs, SandoNo Activity and Squinters.
  • One of Australia’s most successful writers and producers, Peter Gawler, was honoured with the Hector Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Craft as a Script Producer, Editor or Dramaturg. Gawler has worked across series, miniseries, telemovies and features and is widely acclaimed for his contributions to the definitive Australian crime franchise, Underbelly. His credits include Wolf Creek, Water Rats, Halifax FPThe Postcard Bandit, Little Oberon and A Model Daughter: The Killing of Caroline Byrne.
  • Finally, longstanding Australian Writers’ Guild member Mac Gudgeon was made a Life Member, honouring a career that has included positions on the board of Film Victoria, the Australian Film Television & Radio School, and the AWG, as well as writing some of Australia’s top films and series, including The Secret River, Killing Time, Halifax FP, Ground Zero, Last Ride and Wind.   
For the full list of AWGIE winners, click here. For the full list of AWGIE nominees, click here.
To watch the full 55th Annual AWGIE Awards broadcast, click here.

For all media enquiries and to request an interview with any of the AWGIE Award recipients, please contact: Shannen Usher at [email protected]

The 55th Annual AWGIE Awards were made possible with the support of our generous sponsors:
The 55th Annual AWGIE Awards