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All the Winners from the ADG Awards' 40th Anniversary Edition

Master of Arts Screen graduate Andréas Giannopoulos accepting the Best Direction in a Student Film prize at the 2021 Australian Directors' Guild Awards for his capstone work, 'Friends of Mine'
Master of Arts Screen graduate Andréas Giannopoulos accepting the Best Direction in a Student Film prize at the 2021 Australian Directors' Guild Awards for his capstone work, 'Friends of Mine'

This afternoon, the Australian Directors’ Guild Awards ceremony streamed live across the nation from the Actors Centre in Sydney. The 40th anniversary edition of this prestigious annual event brought together industry heavyweights with the next generation of Australian storytellers, recognising impactful work across short and long-form film, television, online and beyond.

Nearly 30 AFTRS alumni were in the running for the coveted ADG trophies.

Recent graduate Andréas Giannopoulos won Best Direction in a Student Film for his 2019 Master of Arts Screen capstone work, Friends of Mine. Shot on 16mm and set on the inner-city streets of Melbourne, this accomplished short film follows young essayist Lou who is dealing with a case of writer’s block while also struggling to express his romantic feelings to Sylvie, a woman nine years his senior. Lou embarks on a journey to complete his essay and increase his understanding of love.

Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget Under $1M) was awarded to Thomas Wilson-White for a film he started at AFTRS in his Master of Screen Arts. The Greenhouse, a deeply personal story, was completed with the help of a $10,000 grant from Queer Screen in association with the Mardi Gras Film Festival. The Greenhouse follows a woman named Beth who has been grieving the passing of her mother. Beth wakes up one night to discover a portal to the past which she finds in the forest surrounding her family home. Through this portal she is faced with memories of the past, unaware of the struggles that await in her future.


Though not in attendance, AFTRS alum Shannon Murphy was the toast of the town with her impressive double win: Best Direction in a Feature Film Budget $1M or over for her acclaimed debut feature Babyteeth and Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Series Episode for hit series Killing Eve.

Chloe de Brito won the award for Best Direction in a Music Video for Sonny Grin’s ‘Keep it Up’ and Claire McCarthy’s work on The Luminaries (Episode 2) earned her the Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Miniseries prize.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.


Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget $1M or over)

  • Seth Larney – 2067
  • [WINNER] AFTRS alum Shannon Murphy – Babyteeth 
  • AFTRS alum Maziar Lahooti – Below
  • AFTRS alum Robert Connolly – The Dry
  • AFTRS alum Unjoo Moon – I Am Woman
  • Glendyn Ivin – Penguin Bloom

Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget under $1M)

  • AFTRS alum Serhat Caradee – A Lion Returns
  • David O’Donnell – Under My Skin
  • [WINNER] AFTRS alum Thomas Wilson-White – The Greenhouse
  • Catherine Hill – Some Happy Day
  • Michael Bentham – Disclosure

Best Direction in a Short Film

  • [WINNER] Cloudy Rhodes – Beautiful They
  • Jordan Giusti – Grevillea
  • Lucy Knox – Hot Mother
  • Alisha Hnatjuk – Jean
  • Jasmin Tarasin – The Story of Lee Ping

Best Direction in a Student Film

  • AFTRS alum Mariella S. Solano – Alba
  • AFTRS alum Stephanie Begg – Echo Pines
  • [WINNER] AFTRS alum Andréas Giannopoulos – Friends of Mine
  • AFTRS alum Marko Cvijanovic – Kafana
  • AFTRS alum Jenny Hicks – The Stranger

Best Direction in a Documentary Feature

  • Catherine Dwyer – Brazen Hussies
  • [WINNER] AFTRS fellow Wayne Blair, Nel Minchin – Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra
  • Christopher Amos – Hating Peter Tatchell
  • AFTRS alum Matthew Walker – I’m Wanita
  • AFTRS alum Kriv Stenders – Slim & I

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Documentary Series Episode or Documentary One-Off (TV one-hour)

  • [WINNER] Laurence Billiet – Freeman
  • Cathy Henkel & Sam Lara – Laura’s Choice
  • Cian O’Clery – Love on the Spectrum
  • Nial Fulton & Sarah Ferguson – Revelation
  • Tosca Looby – See What You Made Me Do

Best Direction in a Documentary Short Subject (Under 45 mins)

  • Rachel Lane – Faithfully Me
  • Derek Ho – Forgiveness Day
  • [WINNER] Jaina Kalifa and Amelia Paxman – Lost Contact
  • Sophie Raymond – Recorder Queen
  • AP Pobjoy – Why Did She Have to Tell the World?

Best Direction in a Movie Made for TV or SVOD

  • [WINNER] Christiaan Van Vuuren – A Sunburnt Christmas
  • Chrys Phillips – Madison and the Happiness Jar
  • Rosie Lourde – Romance on the Menu

Best Direction in a Children’s TV or SVOD Drama Program Episode

  • [WINNER] Richard Jeffery – Bluey: Sleepytime
  • AFTRS alum Peter Andrikidis – The New Legends of Monkey
  • Hayley MacFarlane – Dive Club
  • Darren Ashton – Hardball: Staties!
  • Guy Edmonds – Hardball: You’re A Star

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Series episode

  • [WINNER] AFTRS alum Shannon Murphy – Killing Eve (S3 E5)
  • AFTRS alum Jocelyn Moorhouse – Wakefield (S1 E8)
  • Nash Edgerton – Mr Inbetween (S3 E1)
  • AFTRS alum Daniel Nettheim – Halifax: Retribution (S1 E7)
  • AFTRS fellow Wayne Blair – Mystery Road (S2 E4)
  • Gracie Otto – Bump (S1 E6)

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Serial episode

  • [WINNER] David Gould – Home and Away (E7591)
  • Scott Major – Neighbours (E8573)
  • Tenika Smith – Neighbours (E8490)
  • Tenika Smith – The Heights (S2 E24)

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Miniseries Episode

  • Daniel Nettheim – Line of Duty (S6 E1)
  • Natalie Bailey – Run (E5)
  • Kate Woods – The Good Lord Bird (E6)
  • [WINNER] Claire McCarthy – The Luminaries (E2)
  • Natalie Bailey – The Unusual Suspects (E3)

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Comedy Program episode

  • Jonathan Brough – Aftertaste (S1 E1)
  • [WINNER] Max Miller – Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun (S1 E1)
  • Helena Brooks – Drunk History: Australia (S1 E3)
  • Jonathan Brough – Rosehaven (S4 E1)
  • Jessie Oldfield and Adam Murfet – Why Are You Like This? (E3)
  • Shaun Wilson – The Young Offenders (S3 E3)

Best Direction in a Web/Online Drama Series Episode

  • AFTRS alum Megan Riakos – Deadhouse Dark (E2)
  • Libby Butler – Loving Captivity (E5)
  • AFTRS alum Logan Mucha – Scattered (E33)
  • Stevie Cruz-Martin – The Tailings (S1 E5)
  • [WINNER] Hannah Lehmann – Two Sides (S2 E8)

Best Direction in a Web/Online Comedy Series Episode

  • [WINNER] Henry Stone – A Life in Questions: Wisdom School with Aaron Chen
  • Joelene Crnogorac – All the Way to the Top (E1)
  • Grace Feng Fang Juan – Girl, Interpreted
  • AFTRS alum Joshua Longhurst – Ding Dong I’m Gay (S1 E6)
  • Nick Kozakis – Earners
  • Jenna Owen & Vic Zerbst – The War on 2020

Best Direction in an Animation Project

  • Alexs Stadermann – 100% Wolf
  • Jacquie Trowell – 100% Wolf: Legend of the Moonstone (S1 E22)
  • [WINNER] Jake Duczynski – Cooked
  • David Webster – Kangaroo Beach
  • Sarah Harper – LEGO: Monkie Kid (S2 E10)
  • Pablo de la Torre – SPACE NOVA (S1 E7)

Best Direction in Commercial Content

  • Jemma Cotter – Respectful Intimate Relationships
  • Gemma Lee – Live Liberated
  • Matisse Ruby – Love and Transfiguration
  • Toby Morris – Space: A Skate Odyssey
  • [WINNER] Stef Smith – Shower Talk with Celeste Barber

Best Direction in a Commercial Advertisement

  • Michael Spiccia – Aware Super: Brand 90′
  • Sanjay De Silva – Flybuys: Give a Flybuys
  • [WINNER] Sanjay De Silva – Google: Helping You Help Others
  • Michael Spiccia – Hyundai Santa Fe: Little Angels
  • Tim Bullock – Toyota Highlander: Heroes

Best Direction in a Music Video

  • Riley Blakeway – ‘Gold Chains’ by Genesis Owusu
  • [WINNER] AFTRS alum Chloe de Brito – ‘Keep It Up’ by Sonny Grin
  • Mick Soiza – ‘Miracles’ by Jarryd James
  • James Chappell – ‘Supermarket Riots’ by LUPA J
  • Sanjay De Silva – ‘Times Up’ by Sampa The Great

Best Direction in an Interactive or Immersive Title

  • AFTRS alum Samantha Lang – Boumiera (Brown Lake)
  • [WINNER] Aaron Wilson – IOPU
  • AFTRS alum Zoe Pepper – Sun Runners
  • Matthew Sleeth – The First Cut Is the Deepest