For the first time in the event’s history, the 2020 Australian Directors’ Guild Awards streamed live to the ADG’s website and Facebook. The awards celebrate the work of Australian screen directors, judged across 19 categories including short and feature films, television, documentaries, animation, online, music videos and interactive media.
As reported earlier this year, AFTRS alumni and students received a total of 21 nominations. And, at this year’s ceremony, they snapped up five gongs.
First off the mark was alumna Kacie Anning (Graduate Diploma in Directing (Fiction & Non-Fiction), 2011), who was awarded the Esben Storm Award for Best Direction of a Children’s TV or SVOD Drama Program for her work on Episode 6 of ABC series, Hardball. Anning recently made her US directing debut on Amazon Prime’s hit comedy, Upload, working with The Office (US), Parks and Recreation and King of the Hill creator Greg Daniels.
Best Direction of an Online Comedy Series went to Michael O’Neill (Advanced Diploma in Producing: Story, Audience, Finance, 2015) with co-director Dylan Hesp for Australia’s Best Street Racer, who, along with the prize, have received a $1000 Screen Director’s Identity Package. The series can be viewed in the AFTRS Good Content playlist.
Continuing a fierce winning streak on the festival circuit, Karen Pearlman claimed Best Direction of a Documentary Short Subject for her film, I Want To Write A Film About Women. Pearlman has won prizes at St Kilda Film Festival, CinefestOZ, Brisbane International Film Festival for the film, which is also nominated in four ATOM Awards categories.
Best Direction of a Short Film, and a $5,000 camera package prize, went to alumna Melissa Anastasi for Chlorine. Since making its debut at the 2019 Sydney Film Festival, Chlorine has screened at BFI London Film Festival, Flickerfest, St Kilda Film Festival, CinefestOZ and recently at Nashville Film Festival for its North American premiere.
Academy Award-nominated screen composer Alies Sluiter has emerged in full force as a director, earning ADG’s Best Direction of a Student Film for her short film, Ayaan, which had its world premiere at this year’s Sydney Film Festival.
The live broadcast was co-hosted by 2019 Talent Camp participant Nina Oyama (Utopia, The Project, Tonightly with Tom Ballard, You’re Skitting Me) and Greta Lee Jackson (Tonightly, with Tom Ballard, SBS’ The Feed, Drunk History Australia, Whovians). Award category presenters included alumni screen composers Antony Partos and Caitlin Yeo as well as Emmy-Award-winning AFTRS Artist-in-residence, Lynette Wallworth.
Outgoing ADG President and AFTRS alumna Samantha Lang said, “The films, television shows, music videos, student films and commercial work of directors nominated and awarded tonight are a shining example of the creative, cultural and fiscal success of Australian content. It’s also heartwarming to see an immense diversity of Australian directors awarded tonight – a reflection of who we are – both as content creators – and audiences.”
See the full list of winners here.
ALUMNI WINNERS AT THE 2020 ADG AWARDS
Esben Storm Award for Best Direction of a Children’s TV or SVOD Drama Program
Kacie Anning (Anning (Graduate Diploma in Directing (Fiction & Non-Fiction), 2011) – Hardball – Episode 6
Best Direction of an Online Comedy Series
Winner Prize $1000 Screen Director’s Identity Package
Michael O’Neill (Advanced Diploma in Producing: Story, Audience, Finance, 2015), & Dylan Hesp – Australia’s Best Street Racer
Best Direction of a Documentary Short Subject
Karen Pearlman (Master of Arts (Film & Television) Editing, 2000) – I Want To Write A Film About Women
Best Direction of a Short Film
Winner prize $5,000 Camera Package
Melissa Anastasi (Graduate Diploma in Directing, 2012; Graduate Certificate in Directing, 2011) – Chlorine
Best Direction of a Student Film
Alies Sluiter (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Screen Composition, 2005) – Ayaan