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Heath Ledger Scholarship

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AUSTRALIANS IN FILM HONORS CODY FERN WITH 6TH ANNUAL HEATH LEDGER SCHOLARSHIP
RUNNERS UP ARE CHARLOTTE BEST AND AXLE WHITEHEAD

Australians in Film is proud to name CODY FERN as the winner of the 6th Annual Heath Ledger Scholarship. AiF announced the news at a fundraising dinner on June 12, 2014 at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. 

The scholarship- established in 2008 in memory of Australian actor Heath Ledger, who served as an ambassador for AiF-includes:
  • $10,000 cash fund
  • Two return flights to Los Angeles on Virgin Australia, the exclusive airline of the scholarship; including attendance at the announcement ceremony and a second flight when Fern is ready to break the market in LA
  • A two year scholarship at Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in LA
  • A 10-day California trip from Visit California
  • $5,000 worth of Visa and Immigration services from Raynor & Associates
  • and complimentary lifetime membership to StarNow.

It also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry; for example Manager Rob Marsala and Agent Steve Alexander at Resolution, personal mentoring from Heath Ledger’s father, Kim Ledger, who is patron of the scholarship. It also gives the recipient access to the wider AiF network including Stella Adler Executive Director John Jack Rodgers who provides a regular mentoring program with Stella alumni including Gary Ross, Mark Ruffalo and Benicio Del Toro.

“It's hard to put into words just how deeply honored I am to be receiving the Heath Ledger Scholarship, not just for the invaluable support it offers in my career, but also for what it means to me personally,” said Fern. 

“Growing up in a small country town, Heath's journey from Perth to Hollywood acts as an inspiration for me, always fueling my passion and reminding me to dream big. I am so grateful to the Ledger family and Australians in Film for affording me this incredible opportunity.”

The two runners up, Charlotte Best and Axle Whitehead will receive a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles courtesy of Virgin Australia where they can profile themselves in the US market and network to gain opportunities to further their careers internationally.


“Congratulations to Charlotte and Axle as Runners Up in a super amazing field of applicants. We were so excited by the sheer numbers across such a broad range of talent, in every sense,” said patron of the scholarship, Kim Ledger. “To the final winner, Cody Fern, we have no doubt you will gently lift the mantle from James and project forward your fabulous talent in Heath's good name, and go on to carve a place in film history."

ABOUT CODY FERN
Chosen from a group of 20 finalists, Fern was born and raised in Southern Cross, a small mining town in the outback of Western Australia.  He was the first in his entire family's history to attend University, achieving Honors Status with a Double Major for his Bachelors Degree in Commerce. Leaving the world of commerce behind to pursue his acting career in Sydney, he has since performed in a number of Professionally lauded plays, most notably: Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare WA) and Albert in the globally acclaimed National Theatre of Great Britain'sWar Horse. He played Richard in The Last Time I Saw Richard, a multiple award winning short film, most recently receiving an Australian Oscar. Cody has trained with world renowned actors, directors and practitioners, including: Ellen Burstyn, Susan Batson and Elizabeth Kemp, all of the famed Actors Studio; as well as Ivana Chubbuck, Larry Moss and Howard Fine. He is about to undertake a new Bachelors degree in Psychology and Literature and is in the process of completing his first novel.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE BEST
Charlotte Best was born on the Central Coast and has been acting, singing & dancing for as long as she can remember. She has been working in the industry from an early age, known for her roles in Home & Away, Puberty Blues, Breathe & feature film Is this the real world. Best is shortly to begin working on her second Australian film, Teenage Kicks. 

ABOUT AXLE WHITEHEAD
Born in Melbourne, Axle Whitehead grew up on his family's farm in country Victoria. While his dad toiled in the fields, his mother would drag Axle and his two older brothers out to live music shows and at home, someone would always be playing music somewhere. The sounds of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon or Creedence Clearwater were never far away. Axle eventually moved back to Melbourne to attend the prestigious VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) to study music and in 2003, he came to prominence as a contestant on the first series of Australian Idol (reaching the final 20). After being spotted on Idol, Network Ten hired him to front the television music show, Video Hits. Video Hits was, and still is, the highest-rated music show on Australian TV and it gave Axle the opportunity to travel the world and interview the likes of Justin Timberlake, Oasis and Duran Duran. In 2009, Axle discovered another passion and joined the cast of Home and Away as rocker Liam Murphy, who created some waves in Summer Bay.

The 2014 finalists are: Dominic Allburn (Jack Irish: Dead Point)Natasha Bassett (Mental)Charlotte Best (Is This The Real World)Matilda Brown(Rake)Tilda Cobham-Hervey (52 Tuesdays)Matthew Connell (The Boy Castaways)Jared Daperis (The Cup)Maeve Dermody (Beautiful Kate)Abby Earl (A Place to Call Home)Cody Fern (The Last Time I Saw Richard)Laurence Fuller (Mother and Brother)Remy Hii (Neighbours), Catherine Mack(Home and Away)Jerome Meyer (Cat)Tim Pocock (Camp)Millie Samuels (Around the Block)Lizzie Schebesta (Underbelly)Toby Wallace (Lucky Country), Axle Whitehead (Home and Away), and Alex Williams (Underground: The Julian Assange Story).




Past Winners



Previous recipients of the Scholarship are: 
Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Ryan Corr, (Wolf Creek 2Oliver Ackland (The Slap, Cloudstreet), Anna McGahan (House Husbands) and James Mackay (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark).

The 2014 Scholarship judges span across the entertainment industry and included:
 actors Colin Farrell (Total Recall), Miranda Otto (The Lord of the Rings) and Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games), directors Gregor Jordan (Two HandsNed Kelly) and Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde), Australian-based casting director Ann Fay (Anzac GirlsPacked to the Rafters) and Vice President of Feature Casting at Walt Disney Studios, Randi Hiller (The AvengersIronman 2).

Founding Benefactors of the Heath Ledger Scholarship include
 Nicole KidmanNaomi WattsHugh JackmanDeborra-Lee FurnessMichelle WilliamsPhil NoyceBaz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin.


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The Heath Ledger Scholarship relies on the annual support of individuals, corporations and friends of Heath who contribute each year. 
Become a HLS Benefactor: http://www.australiansinfilm.org/hlsdonate


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If you have any questions, please contact HLS@australiansinfilm.org



         
   
   


         
   
   

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ABOUT AUSTRALIANS IN FILM
Founded in May 2001, in celebration and support of Australian film and television artists and their work, the Los Angeles based non-profit organization holds regular screenings, seminars and labs, and currently has over 500 members. For further information please visit www.australiansinfilm.org.

ABOUT VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

With constant innovation at the heart of everything we do, Virgin Australia is proud to support up-and-coming Australian talent awarded the Heath Ledger Scholarship four years running as the exclusive airline of Australians in Film. Our superior products and award-winning service set us apart from our competitors and lets you enjoy a world-class experience on every flight. Whether you're flying for business or leisure, experience the difference with Virgin Australia. For more information, please visit www.virginaustralia.com.

ABOUT VISIT CALIFORNIA

Visit California is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures total $106.4 billion annually in California, support jobs for 917,000 Californians and generate $6.6 billion in state and local tax revenues. According to preliminary overseas visitor arrival forecasts, 546,110 Australians visited California in 2012 and spent $959 million. For more information about Visit California go to www.visitcalifornia.com or www.visitcalifornia.com.au.

ABOUT VILLAGE ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT GROUP 

Village Roadshow Entertainment Group is a leading global entertainment company building premier, content-rich businesses in the entertainment industry. VREG employs innovative strategies to produce, acquire and deliver intellectual properties with timeless appeal, while maximizing group-wide strategic and operational efficiencies. VREG is the holding company of Village Roadshow Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures Asia. For more information on Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, please visit http://vreg.com.

ABOUT ANIMAL LOGIC

Animal Logic is one of the world's most accomplished digital studios producing award winning, ground breaking and trail blazing animation, visual effects and design. Established in 1991 when lunches were long and to buy a graphics computer meant to mortgage one’s house, Animal Logic has been at the forefront of digital content production. From humble beginnings as a 10 person enterprise, Animal Logic is now one of the world’s most prolific digital studios, collaborating with revolutionary directors and producers to create spectacular and memorable imagery. For more information about Animal Logic, please visit www.animallogic.com.

ABOUT SCREENWISE


Screenwise was established fourteen years ago to provide specialist, career-focused training in acting for film & television by employing the crème de la crème of industry professionals - award-winning actors, directors & casting consultants who are articulate and inspirational teachers.

Overseen by Denise Roberts (Schapelle, The Moodys, Cliffy, Mrs Biggs, Packed To The Rafters, Blood Brothers, Razzle Dazzle, Always Greener, GP), Screenwise offers full-time and part-time intensive creative and technical screen acting programs which are accredited and up to date with Australian and International film industry standards.For more information on Screenwise, please visit www.screenwise.com.


ABOUT AUSFILM


Ausfilm connects the international film community with Australia’s screen incentives, talent and facilities.
Ausfilm markets Australia’s Screen Production Incentive Scheme which comprises the Location, PDV (post, digital and visual effects) and Producer Offsets. Ausfilm is an Australian industry – government partnership. It comprises Australia’s Federal and State Governments and the major studios and the leading post and digital effects facilities and production service providers. www.ausfilm.com.au


ABOUT FILMINK


FilmInk Magazine is a consumer movie magazine read by movie lovers, both in the industry and looking in. FilmInk's movie love is palpable, and we ask the questions that matter, presenting articles in a knowledgeable, engaging and often irreverent style, fully aware of the 100 plus years of cinema that has come before. Each issue is brimming with exciting content including previews of upcoming releases, reviews of the latest films, exclusive interviews with filmmakers, actors and those behind the scenes, DVD and Blu-ray reviews and much more. You can enjoy all that FilmInk has to offer every month in either print or digital formats. www.filmink.com.au


ABOUT STARNOW


StarNow is the world’s leading website for online auditions and jobs and connects talent with casting professionals. As a StarNow member you can, apply for auditions and jobs, find an agent, be scouted in our Talent Directory and work with some of the biggest names in the industry. For more information on StarNow, please visit www.starnow.com

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