A “searing indictment on gender politics” and a sci-fi movie filmed in the Outback have won this year’s John Hinde Awards for Excellence in Science Fiction writing.

The 2016 prize for best produced script was won by Jesse O’Brien for his filmArrowhead. In the unproduced category, the prize went to Penelope Chai & Adam Spellicy for Mary Mary.

Funded through a bequest from the late film critic John Hinde, the Australian Writers’ Guild each year awards $10,000 for the best-produced script and professional support for the best-unproduced script submitted.

Arrowhead is a tale of survival set amongst the distant stars and filmed by what O’Brien calls “a ragtag team in the hot deserts of Coober Pedy, struggling in 40-degree heat to create something that we all knew would be unique and rare”. StudioCanal has confirmed an Australian release of Arrowhead digitally and on DVD later this year.

The judging panel described Arrowhead as “a taut, evocative, marooned-in-space thriller; it delivers everything we expect from the sci-fi genre, but never forgets we need more than just what we’ve already seen, matching tremendous ambition with great execution”.

Restoration by Stuart Willis with Matthew Clayfield together with Tom Taylor’s The Deep Episode 4: Digging Deeperwere highly commended in the produced category.

Judges for the unproduced script category said Mary Mary by Penelope Chai & Adam Spellicy “stood out as being a searing indictment on gender politics, where male benefactors are as much prisoners in a nightmare future ‘utopia’ as their (seemingly) powerless female clone wives”.

“Written with great command of form, genre and story, the script would seem eminently producible and its authors deserving of the further support winning the award will provide.”

The writers received support from Screen Australia and the project was shortlisted for the AWG’s INSITE Award for Unproduced Screenplays, which meant they were invited to join the AWG Pathways program which links talent with opportunity and helps forge relationships between writers and producers.

“It was a joy to get the creative juices flowing once more,” they said. “We have Pathways to thank for the inspiration.”

The prizes will be presented at the AWG National Screenwriters’ Conference at Phillip Island in Victoria from 9-11 March 2016.

The shortlisted writers in the unproduced category were:

·       Shane Brady and Priscilla Cameron for Croak;

·       Chris Kennett with Martyn Pedler for Wasting Time (Pilot);

·       Meegan May for Viewers (Pilot Episode); and

·       Joanne Min Fa for The Waiting Room (Pilot Episode: Brave New World)

The long-listed writers for the unproduced category were:

·       Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause with Noel O’Riordan for Submerged;

·       Jacklyn Bassanelli for Evergreen (Pilot Episode),

·       Adam Ciancio for An Ending;

·       Brett Cousins for Refuge City;

·       Phil Davey for The Birdsville Jurisdiction;

·       Suvi Hannah Derkenne for Stella; and

·       Carissa Pritchard for Two Days Twice

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The Australian Writers' Guild is calling for entries for the 51st Annual AWGIE Awards. Open to produced works across film, television, documentary, theatre, radio, interactive and children's television, each year these prestigious awards celebrate and honour the very best in Australian stage and screen writing. The only industry awards given by writers to writers, the AWGIE Awards are judged exclusively on the basis of the writer’s own vision, the script. In 2018 entries are open to all eligible produced works that finished principal photography or production or had a first performance in 2017. See below the Conditions of Entry for details.

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