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AFTRS Alumni celebrate award-winning weekend at the 2024 AACTA Awards

It was a weekend to celebrate for AFTRS Alumni at the Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) Awards! A total of 17 alumni were honoured at the Industry Awards ceremony across Film, Television, Short Film, Documentary and Online.   

After premiering at the 76th Cannes Film Festival and opening last year’s Sydney Film Festival, Warwick Thornton took home the AACTA Award For Best Cinematography in Film for his film, The New Boy. The critically acclaimed film was nominated for 12 awards, with Warwick himself nominated for another two, including Best Direction in Film.   

Fellow 1995 alumna Rachel Perkins was also a winner, awarded the AACTA Award for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television and Best Documentary or Factual Program for The Australian Wars. Rachel’s inaugural AACTA Awards follow previous nominations in 2018 and 2019 for her work on the award-winning series Mystery Road and Total Control.   

While in the Best Indie Film category, alumni Ivan Sen and Greer Simpkin, alongside David Jowsey, won for their film Limbo, following on from its Grand Prix success at the 2023 Brussels International Film Festival.   

An impressive five awards were presented to AFTRS alumni across the Documentary categories, including Best Cinematography in a Documentary to Sherwin Akbarzadeh for The Giants, Best Editing in a Documentary to Andrea Lang for The Australian Wars, Best Original Score in a Documentary to Caitlin Yeo and Damien Lane for The Dark Emu Story, and Best Sound in a Documentary to David Williams for Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story.   

Also celebrating are Liam Heyen, who won Best Online Drama or Comedy as a producer on SBS Digital Originals series Latecomers, and Jess Milne and Nick Bolton, who picked up the Best Short Film award for Finding Addison.   

The ceremony continued on Saturday, 10 February, on the Gold Coast, with the remainder of the awards being presented at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) and announcing the full list of Award winners, including the AACTA International Awards and public-voted Audience Choice Awards. 

The Newsreader was recognised amongst a wealth of high-quality Australian screen content, with AFTRS alumni Joanna Werner and Michael Lucas winning once again Best Drama Series and Hunter Page Lochard being awarded Best Supporting Actor in a Drama.    

On Sunday, 11 February, AFTRS presented the panel Adventures in Screen: an Insider’s Guide to Careers in the Industry, sharing insights on career paths in the screen industry.  

In this session, AFTRS alumni and industry friends shared their insights on the screen sector and advised on building a rewarding career in conversation with a vibrant audience of emerging Queensland talent. 

Congratulations to all alumni winners and nominees at the 2024 AACTA Industry Awards. A complete list of alumni winners is below, including those they shared their awards with. 


Best Documentary or Factual Program 

The Australian Wars – Darren Dale, Rachel Perkins (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Producing, 1995), Belinda Mravicic – Blackfella Films Pty Ltd (NITV, SBS)  

Best Online Drama or Comedy  

Latecomers – Liam Heyen (Graduate Diploma Producing, 2014), Hannah Ngo, Angus Thompson, Emma Myers, Nina Oyama, Madeleine Gottlieb, Alistair Baldwin – Mad Ones Films & Lazy Susan Films  

Best Direction in Nonfiction Television  

The Australian Wars (Episode 1) – Rachel Perkins (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Producing, 1995), Dylan River, Tov Belling   

Best Original Score in Television  

Deadloch (Episode 1) – Amanda Brown (Graduate Certificate in Screen Composition, 1999)  

Best Production Design in Television  

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Episode 1) – Melinda Doring (Master of Arts (Film and Television) Design, 1997)  

Best Cinematography in a Documentary  

The Giants – Sherwin Akbarzadeh (Graduate Diploma Cinematography, 2011)  

Best Editing in a Documentary  

The Australian Wars – Andrea Lang (Master Arts Editing, 1998), Mark Atkin, Hilary Balmond  

Best Original Score in a Documentary  

The Dark Emu Story – Caitlin Yeo (Graduate Diploma Screen Music, 2002), Damien Lane (Graduate Diploma Screen Music, 2011)  

Best Sound in a Documentary  

Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story – David Williams (Graduate Diploma in Commercial Radio Broadcasting, 2006)  

Best Cinematography in a Film  

The New Boy – Warwick Thornton (Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television) Cinematography, 1995)  

Best Indie Film  

Limbo – Ivan Sen (Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television) Directing, 1997), David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin (Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (Creative Industries), 2010)  

Best Short Film   

Finding Addison – Francisca Braithwaite, Jess Milne (Master Screen Arts & Business, 2014), Nick Bolton (Master Screen Arts & Business, 2014)  

Best Cinematography in Television  

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Episode 1 – Sam Chiplin (Advanced Lighting Skills Short Course, 2014) 

Best Drama Series 

The NewsreaderJoanna Werner and Michael Lucas (MA Screenwriting, 2005)  

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama 

The NewsreaderHunter Page Lochard (Graduate Certificate in Story Development and Screenwriting Fundamentals, 2012)