In a shining example that in film, the best storytelling is about much more than words, a dialogue-free animated short film about a knitted toy dinosaur who must completely unravel himself to save the love of his life has taken out the highest honour of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual AWGIE Awards, the 2018 Major Award.
Bradley Slabe’s Lost & Found was first awarded the AWGIE for the Animation category before going on to win the Major, which is selected from the winners of each of the 18 AWGIE Award categories. Slabe, who has just two writing credits to his name, impressed judges with his Japanese-inspired stop-motion short. ‘Compact and elegant in its simplicity, Lost & Found is a beautifully crafted script which is exquisite in its originality and construction,’ said a statement from the judging panel. ‘It is a genuinely outstanding piece of work.’
Adorning the walls of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s national office are many photographic stills – among them is the iconic image of Geoffrey Rush from Shine, wearing nothing but an open trench coat and a walkman, jumping on a trampoline. AWG President Jan Sardi’s script for Shine detailed that unforgettable trampoline scene, and a photo of that page from Sardi’s script sits alongside the photo of Rush on the wall. The message is clear: the writer is behind not just the words, but also the most striking action and imagery in the screen and stage content we enjoy.
‘Writers often maintain a quiet anonymity and lack recognition, particularly when it comes to their role as the architects behind Australia’s most iconic screen and stage moments,’ AWG CEO Jacqueline Elaine said. ‘In Lost & Found, we have a winner which showcases that a script is so much more than just dialogue.’
Also honoured on the night with the AWGIE Award for Music Theatre and the 2018 David Williamson Prize was PJ Hogan for Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, which was a hit for both Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures in 2017 and is set for a return season in 2019. The David Williamson Prize for excellence in writing for Australian theatre is awarded each year to the most outstanding script selected from the winners of each of the four theatre categories of the AWGIE Awards, and is worth $100,000, with $20,000 of the Prize awarded to the playwright of the winning theatre script, and $80,000 of the Prize going to the theatre company that commissioned and developed it for the stage, with the express purpose of the prize money being used to commission, develop and program a new Australian work.
Saving Mr. Banks, Mabo and Brides of Christ screenwriter Sue Smith was the recipient of the 2018 Australian Writers’ Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award proudly presented by Foxtel, one of the most prestigious honours in the industry, in recognition of the enduring mark her work has made on the Australian cultural landscape.
2018 also saw a number of Indigenous writers winning categories, including Steven McGregor with David Tranter for Sweet Country (Feature Film – Original) and Erica Glynn for her episode ‘Where’s Aaron?’ of Little J and Big Cuz (Children’s P Classification).
Other 2018 AWGIE Award winners included:
In the theatre categories, winners were:
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