AUSTRALIANS IN FILM ANNOUNCES THE RECIPIENT OF THE 7th ANNUAL HEATH LEDGER SCHOLARSHIP
At the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles on June 1, 2015, Matt Levett was announced the winner of the prestigious 2015 HEATH LEDGER SCHOLARSHIP and Emilie Cocquerel and Lily Sullivan were named the runners up.
For the high calibre judging panel, the choice was not an easy one to make. Emmy award winning casting director, Laray Mayfield (Fight Club, Gone Girl, House of Cards, The Social Network), who joined the panel for the first time this year said, ‘It was inspiring to be on a judging panel where every person was passionate and invested in the result. The decision was not easy as each of the applicants are talented and unique and we are sure they will have long and lovely careers."
'Ultimately our decision was to award the scholarship to Matt Levett. We are all excited about watching his talent and career continue to grow and we are also looking forward to seeing the work the runners up Emilie Cocquerel and Lily Sullivan will do,' she continued.
Each year Heath’s father, Kim Ledger, Patron of the Scholarship, contacts the winner to advise them that they have won.
He said, “It is always such an exciting phone call to make because we know that the scholarship makes such an impact on a young performer’s career.
"For the seventh year, the scholarship has gone to a deserving recipient in Matt Levett. This is a wonderful initiative run by Australians in Film and we wish Matt every success.”
Heath's mother, Sally Bell, and sister, Kate Ledger, attended the dinner to announce Matt as the winner. Kate said, "Matt, a big congratulations on behalf of the Ledger family, for winning the Heath Ledger scholarship. Take it as an absolute honor that you have been selected by such a highly acclaimed group of judges. We are delighted that this scholarship has become so well respected and acknowledged in the film industry over here. With people often commenting on how they now regard the Heath Ledger scholarship winner as Australia's best. It will open doors, create networks and provide support and guidance for you."
ABOUT MATT LEVETT:
Matt Levett graduated from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 2009. Whilst at WAAPA he was awarded both the Sally Burton prize for Most Outstanding Performance in a Classical Text, and the Lesley Anderson award. Matt’s screen credits include the AACTA and Logie award winning Matchbox Pictures mini-series Devil’s Playground, lead in the critically acclaimed Australian feature Drown, Channel 7’s hugely popular A Place to Call Home, Home & Away, Two Twisted and All Saints. Matt directed the Tropfest Film Festival short Unwanted Friend and is a member of ScreenInkMedia, a collective of young filmmakers who have just completed their latest short Kid which Matt wrote and directed.
ABOUT EMILIE COCQUEREL:
Emilie Cocquerel also undertook the prestigious WAAPA acting program. At the end of her first year of study she attended a three-month exchange program with the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique de Paris (CNSAD) where she studied under renowned director Daniel Mesguish and Jean Damien-Barbin. While still studying at WAAPA, Rachel Ward cast and directed Emilie in the ABC tele-movie An Accidental Soldier. Emilie recently shot a small role in Lion opposite Rooney Mara and is currently on location shooting a role in Joe Cinque'sConsolation, based on the novel by celebrated Australian writer, Helen Garner.
ABOUT LILY SULLIVAN:
Lily Sullivan recently wrapped opposite Timothy Spall in Australian feature film Sucker, written by Lawrence Leung and to be released this year. She co-starred in Rhys Graham’s feature Galore, which was in competition at Berlin International Film Festival in 2013 and earned her a ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award at 2014 Cinema des Antipodes Saint-Tropez. Lily made her feature film debut in 2012 in P.J. Hogan’s Mental, opposite Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber and Anthony LaPaglia for which she earned an AACTA Award nomination for Best Young Actor and a Film Critics Circle of Australia Award nomination for Best Performance by a Young Actor.
The 2015 finalists are: Mojean Aria (Hybrids), David Berry (A Place to Call Home), Shareena Clanton (Wentworth), Emilie Cocquerel (An Accidental Soldier), Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues, Gallipoli, Galore), Taylor Ferguson (The Turning, Strangerland), James Fraser (Devil’s Playground, Deadline Gallipoli, The Water Diviner), Reef Ireland (Puberty Blues, Wentworth), Joel Jackson (Deadline Gallipoli, Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door), Travis Jeffrey (Unbroken, Gallipoli), Brandon McClelland (Anzac Girls), Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood (A Place to Call Home), Jordan Patrick Smith (Neighbours, Unbroken, Banished), Adele Perovic (The Code), TJ Power (Underbelly, The Sapphires, The Little Death), Harry Richardson (Looking for Grace), Millie Samuels (The Gods of Wheat Street, Around the Block), and Geraldine Viswanathan (Dysfunktion). Reef Ireland, Ashleigh Cummings, Millie Samuels, James Fraser and TJ Power have all been Heath Ledger Scholarship finalists in previous years, which is testament to their talent and increasing profiles.
Since its inception in 2008, the HLS Finalists’ List has emerged as an important international and local industry reference tool for highlighting Australian talent to watch. The scholarship was established in honour of the late Academy Award® winner, Heath Ledger, and aims to provide a bridge for actors who have achieved a level of success in Australia, to establish themselves as working actors in the United States. It is an exciting and ultimately life-changing opportunity for the finalists, often boosting their profile with agents and managers in America and introducing them to a network of professionals who can support them throughout their career.
Check out what Heath Ledger Scholarship winners Cody Fern, James Mackay and Anna McGahan, and recent runner up, Charlotte Best, have to say about the scholarship:
Levett receives a USD$10,000 cash fund, a two year scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles, he flew to Los Angeles flying Virgin Australia to attend the announcement ceremony and will receive a second flight when he is ready to transition to the United States, a 7 day Californian trip from Visit California, USD$5,000 worth of visa and immigration services from Raynor and Associates and complimentary lifetime membership to StarNow. The scholarship also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry.
Cocquerel and Sullivan will receive a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles courtesy of Virgin Australia where they can profile themselves in the US market and for the first time, they will also receive a scholarship to attend Masterclasses at Screenwise Film & TV School for actors in Sydney.
Benefactors to the program include the Ledger family, Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Rose Byrne, Alex O'Loughlin, Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Adam Schroeder, Deborra-Lee Furness, Phil Noyce and Baz Luhrmann.
Applications for the 7th Annual Heath Ledger Scholarship are closed.
Information on the 2016 scholarship, including judging panel and criteria, will be made available next year.
AiF's Agency of Record
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