Several AFTRS alumni have been honoured at the 2019 Australian Directors’ Guild Awards, collecting several awards at the ceremony, held at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.
Warwick Thornton (Bachelor of Arts (Film and Television) Cinematography, 1995) has continued to garner loads of acclaim worldwide for his feature Sweet Country and he took home the top prize of the night: Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget $1M or over).
In the feature film category, Thornton was competing against Joel Edgerton for Boy Erased, Anthony Maras for Hotel Mumbai, and Garth Davis for Mary Magdalene.
Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Thornton explains that while it’s set in the past, the film is also about experiences he had growing up in Alice Springs. “I grew up in complete and blatant racism,” he said. “I spent my life window-shopping because I was too afraid to walk into the shop because I knew I’d get followed.”
Sweet Country has been recognised worldwide, and other accolades include the Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize and six AACTA Awards including Best Film and Best Direction.
Thornton should probably also get an award for his excellent acceptance speech.
Also receiving an award on the night, alumna Rachel Perkins (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Producing, 1995) was recognised for her work on Mystery Road winning Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Series.
Best Direction in a Documentary Short Subject went to Richard Jasek (Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television) Television Directing, 1987) for Making a Mark.
Zoe Pepper (Graduate Certificate in Directing Fundamentals, 2012) also received an accolade on the night, earning the award for Best Direction in an Online Comedy Series for The Big Spaghetti.
FULL LIST OF 2019 WINNERS:
Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget $1M or over) – Warwick Thornton, Sweet Country
Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget under $1M) – Dustin Feneley, Stray
Best Direction in a Short Film – Alyssa McClelland, Second Best
Best Direction in a Student Film – Simon Direen, A Life Together
Best Direction in a Documentary Feature – Paul Damien Williams, Gurrumul
Best Direction in a Documentary Series – Cian O’Clery, Employable Me (Series 1, Episode 1)
Best Direction in a Documentary Short Subject – Richard Jasek, Making a Mark
High Commendation: Annamaria Talas, The Kingdom: How Fungi Made Our World
Best Direction in a Children’s TV or SVOD Drama Program – Nicholas Verso, Grace Beside Me (Series 1, Episode 4)
Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Series – Rachel Perkins, Mystery Road (Series 1)
Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Serial – Scott Major, Neighbours (Episode 7776A)
Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Mini Series and Telefeature – Jeffrey Walker, Riot
Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Comedy Program – Colin Cairnes, True Story with Hamish & Andy (Episode “Lisa”)
Best Direction in an Online Drama Series – Billie Pleffer, Deadlock
Best Direction in an Online Comedy Series – Zoe Pepper, The Big Spaghetti
Best Direction in an Animation Project – Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe, Lost & Found
Best Direction in Commercial Content – Nicholas Carlton, I Am Mehreen Faruqi (The Australian Greens)
Best Direction in a Commercial Advertisement – Tim Bullock, Armoured Truck (Lotto NZ)
Best Direction in a Music Video – Kate Halpin, Sympathy (Artist: Iluka)
Best Direction in an Interactive or Immersive Title – Lynette Wallworth, Awavena