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Screenwriter of acclaimed Indigenous superhero series Cleverman wins 2016 John Hinde Award for Science Fiction

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Michael Miller, screenwriter of the ABC’s acclaimed Indigenous superhero series, Cleverman, has won the $10,000 Australian Writers’ Guild’s 2016 John Hinde Award for Science Fiction.

Miller took home Australia’s richest sci-fi sceenwriting prize for episode five of the series, which aired on ABC TV in June 2016 and whose second season has just been announced for ABC TV’s 2017 line-up.

Cleverman, co-written by Miller, Jane Allen and Jon Bell, is a gripping sci-fi drama set in the near Australian future which sees a group of non-humans from ancient mythology battling to coexist in a world where humans are trying to silence, exploit and kill them.

Based on an original concept by Ryan Griffen, it is rooted in Aboriginal mythology and has met with praise in both Australia and the US, where it premiered on SundanceTV in June this year.

Miller said sci-fi is a form that allows a writer to say things and make points that might not always be so easily said in traditional formats.

‘That was definitely part of the logic behind setting Cleverman in the future. It’s exciting to think that Cleverman is one of several sci-fi-inspired shows on television at present.

‘Science-fiction is clearly alive and well at the moment and awards like this help to keep the dream alive. So again thanks to John Hinde for his vision in supporting and celebrating sci-fi in this country.’

The AWG judges said Cleverman won the award for its intelligent and meticulous worldbuilding, fearless foregrounding of science-fictional elements and its creative exploration of current social issues.

AWG Board Member Shayne Armstrong praised the series: ‘Cleverman poses big questions about humanity through the prism of future or alternative worlds – which is a hallmark of almost all truly excellent science-fiction writing.’  

The annual AWG John Hinde Award, which was first presented in 2008, is funded by a bequest from the late, iconic film critic, John Hinde.

The award has two categories – one for a produced script, won by Miller, and one for an unproduced script, which this year was awarded to Graeme Burfoot for his screenplay, Red to Blue.

The judges praised Burfoot’s script for ‘its intelligent, brave and commendable foray into “hard” science-fiction while never forgetting the purpose of a screenplay is to engage, entertain and provide context for the reader.’

Burfoot will receive professional support for the development of his screenplay, including a meeting with an industry professional handpicked for the project and entry into the AWG’s Pathways Program, which links talented writers with industry opportunity.

Miller and Burfoot will be presented their awards at an industry event held at Brisbane Powerhouse this evening (Wednesday 9 November 2016).

Previous John Hinde Award winners in the produced category include feature films Arrowhead, by Jesse O’Brien, and the Spierig Brothers’ Predestination.

Previous unproduced winners include Simon Butters’ screenplay Min Min and Penelope Chai and Adam Spellicy’s screenplay Mary, Mary, which won the 2016 Monte Miller Long Form award at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 49th Annual AWGIE Awards held last month.

Vicki Madden’s gothic supernatural series The Kettering Incident was highly commended in the produced category while Michael Kratochvil’s The Paradise Syndrome was highly commended in unproduced.  

The 2016 shortlisted entries in the unproduced category were:

The Paradise Syndrome by Michael Kratochvil

Portalgate by Ella Roby and Zahid Gamieldien

Lost in the Dark by Chris Bailey

Lucid by Philip Denson

The 2016 longlisted entries in the unproduced category were:

Recycle by Anthony Curtis

No Man’s Land by Tom Midwood

Splitters by Brooke Goldfinch


Primary4:51 - 22.9.2017

The 2017 Monte Miller Awards are now open for entries! 🎉 Open to scripts of all genres and formats, the Monte Miller Awards are dedicated to finding the best new scripts from AWG's Association Members. Head to the website for more information:

Australian screenwriting competitions worth entering? This one!!!! https://t.co/fecShHAknc

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The 2017 Monte Miller Awards are officially open for entries! For more information and to enter head to:… https://t.co/hCLoIqa5H6

Primary4:03 - 22.9.2017

It’s time to polish off those final drafts and put your best script forward as the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 2017 Monte Miller Awards are officially open for entries. Dedicated to uncovering the best new scripts and talents among AWG’s Associate Membership, the 2017 Monte Miller Awards are your opportunity to put your work in the spotlight and showcase your talent to the industry. Find out more at: www.awg.com.au/2017-monte-miller-awards/

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Wonderful speech for #MakeItAustralian from Shareena Clanton at the Melbourne launch. https://t.co/tFYnZRZAIU

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We need Australian content quotas & funding so we can tell our own stories #makeitaustralian and while you're at it… https://t.co/9HEhgtqS1c

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Joining us tonight at the launch of the #MakeItAustralian campaign? Make sure you're up to date with the latest times and venues around the country: SYDNEY: 6pm, Event Cinemas George Street MELBOURNE: 3pm, ACMI PERTH: 4pm, Luna Cinemas, Oxford Street, Leederville ADELAIDE: 5pm, Media Resource Centre BRISBANE: 6pm, William Galloway Auditorium, QCU HOBART: 5.30pm, Fullers Bookshop

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Writers, performers, producers, directors and crew are joining forces to campaign for the future of the screen industry. The campaign will be launched on Monday 18 September at venues around the country. Join Australian Writers' Guild, Australian Directors' Guild, Screen Producers Australia and MEAA by registering yourself to attend the event near you. Events to be held across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and Adelaide. #MakeItAustralian

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Primary6:33 - 12.9.2017

Join us tomorrow night as we chat to one of the nations's best writers, Andrew Bovell. Andrew’s staggering body of work across film, theatre, and television, places him at the very pinnacle of our industry. Andrew is the critically acclaimed writer or co-writer of The Secret River, Lantana, Edge Of Darkness, The Book Of Revelation, Iris, Strictly Ballroom, and Who's Afraid of the Working Class? Andrew, in discussion with playwright and director Brett Cousins, will draw from his 30 years of writing experience, including his journey into the industry, his fight with crippling writers block, and advice on how to achieve excellence in your writing.

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Bus Stop Films and Write Night (AWG) are hosting a free event aiming to help screenwriters craft authentic characters with a disability, confidently. To have a diverse film and TV landscape we need to give writers the tools and confidence to write diverse and authentic stories! Join us for an illuminating keynote by the Guardian's film critic, Luke Buckmaster on the representation of disability in Australian Cinema, followed by a panel discussion with esteemed filmmakers Daniel Monks, Emily Dash, disability arts veteran Alison Richardson and Creative Director of Robot Army Ryan Chamley . Hosted by Genevieve Clay-Smith, Co-Founder of Bus Stop Films and 2015 NSW Young Australian of the year.

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Want to learn from the best? Come along Wednesday night and spend an evening with Andrew Bovell, 13 September, 6.45pm, at the Dan O’Connell. Andrew, in discussion with playwright and director Brett Cousins, will draw from his 30 years of writing experience, including his journey into the industry, his fight with crippling writers’ block, and advice on how to achieve excellence in your writing.

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Huddle against the darkness and gather around the fireside in one of Tasmania’s most historic (and haunted) hotels with three of Australia's most prominent genre writers (Vicki Madden, Shayne Armstrong and Shane Krause) and listen to tales that promise to send a chill up your spine and heed ominous words about how to create terrifying tales and sinister stories of your own. You'll uncover the secrets of how and why genre premises live or die in the national and international film and TV industry as well as how to set and write scenes that wreak maximum tension. There will be sweat-inducing tales from the industry to share and then – if you dare – stay the night in one of Tasmania's oldest and most haunted pubs. This unique overnight experience will begin at 4pm (just before twilight) where introductions will be made, followed by a pub meal before retiring to an open fire in an historic convict pub. Next morning (if there is one) there will be one on one meetings with our ghoulish guests to discuss your own project. When: 4pm Saturday 14 October to midday Sunday 15 October 2017 Where: The Ross Hotel, 35 Church Street, Ross, Tasmania (approximately an hour south of Launceston and 1.5 hours north of Hobart) The Tasmanian Genre Writing Retreat is supported by the Tasmanian Government through Screen Tasmania

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We've got your Friday listening sorted! OzPod has 34 of the best, brightest and most innovative names in podcasting in Australia and from around the world presenting a full day of panels, presentations and workshops. Listen along on ABC Extra or through the ABC listen app. For updates follow @OzPodConference on Twitter or join the conversation using #OzPod2017.

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