Diversity dominates shortlist for annual comp charged with unearthing future of screenwriting

12 February, 2019


The shortlist for the prestigious 2018 Monte Miller Awards announced today by the Australian Writers’ Guild reveals three writers who gained Guild membership through the AWG’s inaugural Diversity Program among the nine shortlisted projects. 

Supported by Screen Australia, the annual Monte Miller Awards are an Australian Writers’ Guild tradition that stretches back as far as the 70s, recognising excellence in screenwriting and playwrighting from within the Guild’s Associate Membership. 

Each year, the number of entries received smashes the prior year’s record, as was again the case this time around with close to 450 entries received. What was new this year, however, was the eligibility to enter scripts of more than 30 new Associate Members, inducted into the Guild via its inaugural Diversity Program launched in June 2018. 

Speaking on behalf of the AWG’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Full Member Kodie Bedford (Mystery Road, Grace Beside Me) said: ‘The AWG has been tremendously successful through its Diversity Program in spotlighting new talent and new stories, something that is a priority for the Guild.’ 

‘We’ve been beyond excited to see the outcomes of the program generally, and these writers now claiming highly sought-after places on the prestigious and career-changing Monte Miller Awards shortlist is proof that the talent is out there, and just waiting to be recognised.’ 

Three writers from the program appear alongside 10 others in this year’s impressive shortlist of nine projects, which features drama, mystery and comedy writing across both film and television formats. AWG Diversity Program alumni Michael Gupta, Steven Arriagada and Michael Bates’ scripts If Pain Persists and The Anti-Socials were shortlisted through a blind-judging process alongside seven other scripts, including the grim and unpredictable thriller Home by Nir Shelter and a comedy feature about a time-travelling hula-hoop in Catherine Prosser and Paul Bissett’s Hoop.  

The winners of Monte Miller Awards will be announced at an industry event hosted by comedian Tom Ballard in Melbourne on Tuesday 26 February 2019.  

The 2018 Monte Miller Shortlist

Short Form Category – Shortlist

Michael Gupta for If Pain Persists

Alice Jones for Any Different

Nir Shelter for Home

Steven J. Tandy and Melissa Fletcher for Junk

Long Form Category – Shortlist

Steven Arriagada, Michael Bates and Bryan Chau for The Anti-Socials

Jules Duncan for The Big Yarn

Catherine Prosser and Paul Bissett for Hoop

Alex Von Hofmann for Locked In


The Monte Miller Awards are made possible with support from Screen Australia 


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