AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow, AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA and AFTRS alumnus David White with Oscar in the AFTRS foyer. AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow, AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA and AFTRS alumnus David White.

Dec 21 2016

The link between Australian Film Television and Radio School and the Oscars has come to life this year. Two AFTRS alumni won Oscars in 2016, and now one of the gold statues has taken pride of place in the foyer to inspire another generation.

Margaret Sixel took out the Academy Award for Best Film Editing and David White was awarded the Oscar for Best Sound Editing for Mad Max: Fury Road, as a part of the record haul of six awards for George Miller's box office smash. David who studied at AFTRS for three years received the School’s Honorary Degree (Doctor of Arts) at the school’s graduation ceremony.

With an eye to nurturing future talent David White has generously lent his Oscar in perpetuity to the School. He hopes this will help inspire students at the School to aim for the highest levels of achievement in their craft.

It takes a lot of dedication, hard work and passion to be nominated for an Academy Award, let alone win one. This certainly did not come easily. I'm loaning my Oscar to the AFTRS as a sign of what can be achieved, and to acknowledge the huge effort put in by the crew on this gargantuan film.  The school enabled me to develop my creative expression and skills, and helped build the self belief that anything is possible.

- David White

Inspiration is essential, but recognition is gratifying, as many AFTRS alumni found this year.

In the UK, Margaret Sixel won again for Mad Max: Fury Road taking out the BAFTA for Best Film Editing and 2012 alumni Brendon McDonall was nominated for his first BAFTA for his film Spoilers.

Back home at the AACTA Awards, alumnus Lucy Gaffy and Kiki Dillon won for Best Short Fiction Film for their drama Dream Baby. Peter Duncan won the AACTA for Best Direction in a Television Drama or Comedy for Rake, Jo Porter won for Best Television Drama Series for Wentworth, Tara Webb and Peter Grace took out Best Sound for Hacksaw Ridge, Matteo Zingales won Best Original Music Score In Television for The Kettering Incident Episode 1 and Antony Partos received Best Original Music (feature film) for Tanna, marking his sixth AFI or AACTA Award for an Original Music Score in film, television, or documentary.

News in from Sundance last week, three AFTRS alumni were selected for next year's festival. Cate Shortland's Berlin Syndrome is one of twelve feature films in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition line-up. Red Dog: True Blue, the prequel to 2011’s global hit Red Dog from director Kriv Stenders will have its North American premiere and thriller Killing Ground from writer/director Damien Power will also screen at the prestigious festival.

At the ADG Awards, Rachel Perkins won Best Direction in a Telemovie for Redfern Now, Kacie Anning for Best Direction in an Original Online Project for Fragments of Friday Series 2, Darlene Johnson was awarded Best Direction in a Short Film for Bluey,Shawn Seet took out Best Direction in a TV Mini Series for Peter Allen - Not the Boy Next DoorEpisode 1 and Sue Brooks won the ADG/DGA Finders Award for Looking for Grace.

In other highlights, Warwick Young was awarded Best Foreign Film at the Beverly Hills Film Festival for Stuffed. Vanessa Gazy received the Festival Honours Award for Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking (Best Foreign Short) at Newport Beach International Film Festival for Foal while her new film Highway was selected for the prestigious London BFI Film Festival. Burak Oguz Saguner won Best Cinematography at the St. Kilda Film Festival for Driftwood Dustmites.

AFTRS alumni also took out top awards for screen music this year. At the AGSC-APRA Screen Awards Caitlin Yeo won Best Music for Documentary, Antony Partos and Matteo Zingales won Best Music for Feature Film and Adam Moses Best Music for Short Film.

In Radio AFTRS dominated the ACRAs this year, taking out seven awards; Tim Blackwell (from NOVA’s Kate, Tim and Marty drive show) won the Best On-Air Team, Metro FM (the highest award at the ACRAs), Kent Small (or Smallzy) from NOVA nights – Best Entertainment/Music Presenter, Stephen Cenatiempo – Best Current Affairs Presenter, Provincial, Rod McLeod – Best News Presenter Country & Provincial, Michael Moffett – Best Program Director Provincial, Matt Dickson – Best Station Produced Commercial and Sally Knight - Best Digital Radio Format for Kinderling Kids.Speaking at the 2016 Graduation, AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA spoke of the School’s impressive students and of the School’s ambition to nurture students to become creative entrepreneurs in a dynamic world of change.

“Creativity is at the heart of innovation, but making it real requires skills and knowledge – how to tell a story that is compelling, how to use the technology, how to build an audience, how to use the technological tools and languages that drive it.

“It also requires imagination, to envisage something that wasn’t there before, to explore other worlds, to be empathetic and open to other ways of seeing.”

- Julianne Schultz AM FAH, AFTRS Chair


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.