The Industry Association for Australian Filmmakers and Performers in the U.S.

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  • Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:42 AM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Hunter Page-Lochard, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist

     

    Hunter Page-Lochard has already built an impressive list of acting credits throughout his young career so far, rivaled perhaps only by his equally impressive list of awards and nominations. His performance in the 2015 Belvoir Theatre Company production of Brothers Wreck saw Hunter nominated for a Helpmann Award and take home both the Sydney Theatre Award and Sydney Glug Award for Best Newcomer. Most recently, he was nominated for The Graham Kennedy Newcomer Award at the 2017 TV Week Logie Awards for his lead role performance in the ABC/Goalpost Pictures television series Cleverman. The Sydney-sider has also appeared in numerous feature films including Around the Block The Sapphires and Bran Nue Dae as well as notable guest roles on television programs Wentworth and Water Rats.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    HPL:    Home for me is Sydney – I am a Camperdown boy, born and bred.

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    HPL:    It feels like I’ve been acting and wanting to act ever since I could think [laughs]! My parents are both dancers so I’ve grown up in a performing arts family and always been around the limelight. I just remember wanting to be an actor ever since I could actually comprehend what a movie was.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    HPL:    Creativity inspires me so much, the whole spectrum of creation and media across the board! I love that we all have the power to achieve anything we set our sights on through creativity – it’s our superpower. From architecture to religion to mathematics…everything we experience in life has been created and that’s so exciting to me.

    AiF:     Who are some of your favorite actors and filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    HPL:    That list changes a lot for me! And so often I find I’m inspired by new people just starting out in the business but I really like English actor and rapper Riz Ahmed, his performance skills are awesome. I’m also a huge fan of Birdman director Alejandro González, his naturalism really inspires me.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    I performed in the theater production of Brothers Wreck for the Belvoir Theatre Company in Sydney in 2015 and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life so far. The play was directed by the amazing Leah Purcell and I felt like I really “went there” with my character who was dealing with a family member’s suicide. The play ran for sixty nights so it was pretty intense and in a case of art imitating life, I was unfortunately dealing with a similar situation in real life. But the role was such a therapeutic experience for me and I ended up being nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor (up against Hugo Weaving!) and won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Newcomer.

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    HPL:    [Laughs] I’ve got big ambitions! But if you don’t have big dreams then you’re not really putting anything out to the Universe I guess. I would love to be acting consistently in the States and raising my profile over there. And I hope in the years to come I’ll be in more “rooms” more often and in a position to be an inspiration to others with respect to the whole diversity movement right now. I’m also a big fan or writing and directing and just wrote, directed and starred in my first short film. I’m a huge advocate of creating your own work if the roles aren’t there.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    HPL:    I feel like I’ve always known about it – it’s such a big deal in the Australian film industry. This is the second year I’ve applied and I’m so happy to be a finalist.

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    HPL:    I’m lucky enough to have a U.S. passport because my mum is from New York but I’ve always seen myself living in L.A. because it’s really where it’s all happening and where all the creative projects are. Even the Uber drivers in L.A. want to be writers or actors! And I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about California, it’s such a big cauldron of creativity and it inspires me so much.

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    HPL:    Los Angeles is my favorite part of California for sure! I have a lot of friends who live there and I’m always so in awe and inspired by the literal characters you meet there every single day. When you’re a writer you love that! No wonder so many people who live there are artists.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    HPL:    Being indigenous and being a part of that diversity it would be such a huge privilege. And I so want to get to L.A. and really give it my all or nothing! Winning the Scholarship would provide so many great opportunities for me to learn and network and hopefully see my career start to really blossom. It would be awesome.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.


  • Monday, May 15, 2017 6:08 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Daniel Monks, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist


    Actor and filmmaker Daniel Monks was also the recipient of the Arts and Fashion Award at the 2015 NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards and is one of the first eight participants in the Screenability NSW internship program, an initiative launched by Screen NSW to create opportunities for people with disabilities in the screen industries. The AFTRS graduate is currently playing the lead in The Farm – a dance theater production with the Berlin Dance Theater Company and WA's contemporary dance company co3 – and recently completed his first feature film Pulse, which he wrote, produced and starred in.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    DM:     Home for me is Sydney but I’m a Perth boy originally so I do go back to Western Australia quite a bit.

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    DM:     Well that’s quite a funny story! My mum was an actor who trained at NIDA actually and when she was seven months pregnant with me she performed a one-woman theatre show called From Here to Maternity so technically I started very, very early! And I remember always loving the idea of acting from such a young age, a favorite memory was adapting Peter Pan into a musical that I wrote, directed and starred in when I was in Year 2 at primary school so it’s fair to say I was very much a performing kid.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    DM:     My family! I was 11 when I became disabled and it really bonded us together. They truly mean the world to me and I’m constantly inspired by them and how close we are.

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    DM:     There are so many actors whose careers I am in awe of – the late Philip Seymour Hoffman was so incredible as a film and theater actor and director. I also love Viola Davis who is such a talent and a real trailblazer in Hollywood too, and I think Kathryn Hahn is an amazing and hugely underrated actress.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    DM:     Making my first feature film Pulse is definitely a milestone I’m immensely proud of – I spent the last eight years writing, producing, playing the lead role and editing the film with my best friend and it was entirely crowd-funded and self-financed with no government support. It’s been so exciting to see Pulse began its festival life this year including being accepted at Australia's most prestigious film festival, the Sydney Film Festival in June, plus some exciting international festivals in the latter part of the year. It’s been a long process but such an incredibly rewarding experience.

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    DM:     I just really want to work with likeminded, creative people and artists I really admire. Ryan Murphy is someone who comes to mind instantly, so too director Kimberly Peirce – I was so moved by her film Boys Don’t Cry. And I would love to be in a position to successfully move between acting, developing and writing for the screen as well as theater.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    DM:     I first heard about the Scholarship the very first year it was launched actually – my Mum became a casting director back in Western Australia when I was two years-old and she’s still one now. Anyway, when Heath was in high school she saw him in a school production and cast him in his first two shows coincidentally enough, So as a family, we were always very aware of how special he was and there is such a feeling of love and kinship for him.

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    DM:     My personal hero is Harvey Milk, the American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office, so California represents such an open-minded and progressive place that provides enormous opportunity for people who are different. And that’s so awesome!

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    DM:     Definitely San Francisco – I remember walking through The Castro District and just loving it. It’s such a beautiful and wonderful city.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    DM:     Just being a finalist means so much to me but winning the Scholarship would be beyond incredible. I have a physical disability and historically the film and television industry is so prohibitive to people with disabilities let alone sustaining a successful career. Winning would mean breaking through some long-standing barriers and that would be amazing.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.


  • Sunday, May 14, 2017 5:48 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Ratidzo Mambo, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist


    Born in Zimbabwe and raised by a single mother, Ratidzo Mambo knew she wanted to be an actor at the age of eight. She was cast in the lead of her first feature film, the multi-award-winning Yellow Card, at the age of fifteen and soon after, was relocated to Australia when her family was forced to leave Zimbabwe due to the political unrest. From her new home base in Melbourne, Ratidzo enrolled at the 16th Street Actors Studio and landed her first Australian television recurring role on Wicked Science 2 on Channel Ten and well as other notable credits including the theater production of Cruel and Tender with the Melbourne Theater Company and Neighbours. Now based in Los Angeles, Ratidzo has appeared in the GLEE 100th Episode and recently won Best Actress at the 2016 Hollywood Short and Sweet Play Festival for her performance in The Tyger and the Lady. She is currently working on her own comedy web series #Moms – which she co-created, co-wrote and stars in multiple roles – as part of the NBC Diversity incentive.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    RM:     I’ve been living in Los Angeles on and off for the last five years, the last three years solidly. I’m originally from Melbourne but was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Australia when I was seventeen on a Rotary Club exchange. 

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    RM:     My dad never lived with us growing up so when I was about seven or eight I used to make up these stories about him being this amazing person. We used to watch TV shows like Full House and Family Matters and I guess I wanted a family like that so much that I just created a make-believe one. And the narrative made me feel so happy that ever since then I’ve just loved acting.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    RM:     There are so many aspects of humanity and human beings that inspire me. Growing up in Africa, I’ve seen so much genuine love and happiness coming from people who have so very little and whenever I’m feeling down I always think back to my childhood and remember that finding joy in the little things is what’s really important in life. I’m so lucky and appreciate all that I have in life, especially the love and sacrifices my mother has made for my little brother and I.

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    RM:     I really admire the British actresses Sophie Okonedo and Naomie Harris but if I had to choose just one it would be Viola Davis, even more than Meryl Streep [laughs]! But they are all women who play roles that aren’t stereotypical and not the color of their skin – it’s about the work for these ladies. It’s about their skills and passion and that makes them such class acts and actors I’ve always tried to emulate.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    RM:     I started shooting my first feature film Yellow Card when I was 15 and wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for that role. It was such a tumultuous time for me too – being a fifteen year old was hard enough but my dad had just passed away, my mum was adapting to being a single mum and I’d just learnt I’d be moving to Australia. It was a time in my life where I felt like I had to grow up overnight and the film was such a blessing for me, it was a true healing process and I’m so proud about how huge a success it was at the box office and with all the awards it won too. 

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    RM:     I work so hard and I really want to remain authentic and genuine in my career choices and tell the stories that are burning in heart. It’s important to me that I am seen and heard by not in vanity way of “wanting to famous”, but because I’ve felt so invisible in Australia and just couldn’t find the work or roles for people who look like me. That struggle has spurred me on so much to fly the flag for all my friends who aren’t visible either, and I truly hope my career can shine a light on, and change the narrative of, how multi-cultural Australia is despite what’s traditionally presented on screen.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    RM:     I’ve known about the Scholarship for some time now but never thought to apply before because I didn’t think I was worthy of it. I know now this is such a silly way of thinking because how does anyone get the opportunities to succeed if they’re not putting their hands up? Anyway, I applied this year at the very last minute and what do you know, I was shortlisted as a finalist! It’s truly been so amazing and very exciting.

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in

    life?

    RM:     Hollywood and California are just magical in my eyes and honestly that’s why the struggle has been so worth it. I’ve made it from Harari to L.A. and being here I feel like anything can happen and it can happen as soon as tomorrow. There’s real opportunity and magic in the L.A. air!

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    RM:     I love San Francisco – the food and wine scene, the technology, Chinatown…even the airport is cool! But it’s the diversity of the city itself that I really adore. I love how it’s one of the first cities in the world to truly accept and allow the LGBT community to be themselves, and that everyone is free to be a weirdo in San Fran, albeit very smart weirdos.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    RM:     It’s impossible to express how much this would mean to me. My mother sacrificed so much for my brother and I so we could pursue our dreams – she lives in Chicago now and moved her life here for us, working as a babysitter and taking cleaning jobs so she could pay for our college fees. And never once did she question my choice to be an actor. It would be incredible, for me and my family.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.

     

     


  • Saturday, May 13, 2017 5:17 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Morgan Griffin, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist

    With eleven feature film credits already to her name, it’s little wonder Morgan Griffin has been steadily dividing her time between Australia and the U.S. since the age of seventeen. Born and raised in Sydney, Morgan most recently wrapped production on the thriller Bad Blood (2017) alongside Xavier Samuel and has also appeared in Spin Out (2016), San Andreas (2015), Unbroken (2014), Nim’s Island (2007) and Charlie & Boots (2009). She is perhaps best known to younger audiences for her starring role as Charlotte “Charlie” Anderson in the Nickelodeon series The Sleepover Club, as well as playing a young Delta Goodrem in the music video for Innocent Eyes.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    MG:     Sydney is home for me right now – I was living in London for eighteen months or so before I landed the part in Spin Out and was just spending my time traveling and auditioning. It was great fun but also very exciting to fly home to Sydney for my first feature film lead role.

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    MG:     From memory I think it happened quite young for me and my Dad says I was about five years old when I informed him I wanted to act! I can’t remember who or what it was that first inspired me, probably The Sound of Music, but once I knew that was it.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    MG:     Anything that really moves me, and that can range from theatre or film to a beautiful piece of writing or any piece of art. I love anything that explores the human condition and makes me feel more alive, especially when I’m performing.

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    MG:     I have so many but at the moment Marion Cotillard is so inspiring for me, especially her performances in the films Two Days, One Night (2014) and Rust and Bone (2012). She’s such an incredible actress and so honest. I love how she utterly exposes herself onscreen and the films she chooses for me are an ideal balance between big commercial films and smaller projects that really mean something.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    MG:     When I first started working in bigger roles I had just turned sixteen and landed the part in Charlie and Boots (2009) alongside Paul Hogan and Shane Jacobson. My character had to sing and play guitar in the film and I’d only just started playing guitar in real life so I was nervous about pulling it all off. But I proved to myself that I could and it was such a great experience and sense of achievement for me.

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    MG:     Like everyone else I just want to be working! And if I could continue doing so here in Australia for my entire career that would be amazing, but there are so many filmmakers and opportunities in the U.S. that I’d love to work with and experience. It would be wonderful to have a really fulfilling career in the States, make great films and hopefully be one of the best of my generation.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    MG:     I actually entered the Scholarship a few years ago when I’d just finished Charlie and Boots but didn’t know I could re-apply again until only recently! So it was literally a month before the applications closed for 2017 that I thought, maybe I should do it? I am a massive fan of Heath’s and to be a finalist is such an honor.

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    MG:     There’s just so much opportunity coming out of California and it represents real possibility for career success for me. So many of the very best in the industry started out there and I guess it’s kind of unavoidable in a way and also very exciting. I love that there’s such a great film industry network over there and even though it can be quite daunting, there is so much work going on and you can feel there is this energy and positivity that “I can do this”. Everyone is so understanding and accepting of this and that’s really affirming for me.

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    MG:     Most of the time I’ve spent in California has been in L.A. but I’ve also spent some time in San Francisco and absolutely loved it there, it’s such a cool city. I’ve also spent some time in Mount Washington just on the other side of Silverlake and loved being there – it’s so great you can find pockets in L.A. that are really special and make it feel so much more comfortable.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    MG:     It would mean everything and I would be so grateful, honored and proud to fly the flag for the Scholarship and emerging Australian actors for 2017. And it would just fuel me even more to be the best and be focused and driven, and to have the resources and support to make it happen would be incredible. There is nothing more that I want than to have a successful career.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.


  • Friday, May 12, 2017 6:24 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Sam Delich, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist


    Sydney-based Sam Delich graduated from the prestigious Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 2011 and most recently wrapped production on his first feature film, an indie horror shot in rural NSW called The Marshes. His other credits include Gallipoli: The Power Of Ten (2014) on Channel Seven and numerous short films and professional theater productions in Sydney and his home state of Western Australia.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    SD:      I am originally from Western Australia but home for me is Sydney.

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    SD:      I was 16 years old and although I had studied drama in high school I’d never been in an actual production, but my drama teacher Belinda Massey asked me if I’d every thought about pursuing a career in acting and the idea just clicked. So I entered a monologue competition and won that but being from Perth, I had no idea how to be an actor and pursue it as a career so Belinda helped me with applications at NIDA and WAAPA and I was accepted at WAAPA when I was 17.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    SD:      [Laughs] I have this love and hate relationship with the film industry in the sense that it’s so unknown! I work at a bottle shop right now and I’ve had every bad job under the sun – the longest I’ve lived off acting is 2 months I think. But it can all change so quickly and significantly for absolutely anyone at any time and I find that very inspiring.

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    SD:      I’m such a big fan of Aussie actors Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke They both took a while to make it and I think they’re so much better for it. I really admire the bold choices they make in choosing roles and it’s such an inspiration to see them crush it in L.A. now. I also really admire Tom Hardy) because he’s such a risk-taker and sometimes it works for him and sometimes it doesn’t but no risk, no reward. 

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    SD:      I’ve done a lot of professional theater gigs that I’m really proud of but shooting the indie horror feature film The Marshes last year in rural NSW was such a rewarding experience for me. It was long and pretty hard at times but so great to be a part of that production.

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    SD:      Work is work in my opinion – I don’t come from a place where I’m used to picking and choosing things – so as my career continues to unfold I just want to be working, whether it be a TV series here in Australia or a U.S. feature film alongside someone massive like Brad Pitt! I’m only twenty-four years old but in the next ten years I’d love to have a steady career in TV and film. And I also love comedy and writing and directing so definitely hope to do that at some stage too.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    SD:      I probably first heard about the Heath Ledger Scholarship three or four years ago when I graduated from WAAPA. Last year was the first time I decided to enter though and although I wasn’t successful in becoming a finalist I went to the ceremony and was encouraged by a number of people there to enter again this year. So I thought I’ve got nothing to lose and I’m so glad I did!

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    SD:      The film industry is such an international one these days and you can really be working and making great content from anywhere right now, but I do see California as the place most likely to launch my international career. And I do love the strong sense of industry L.A. has.

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    SD:      I love Silverlake and Venice and West Hollywood is easily my favorite area in Los Angeles but San Francisco is definitely my favorite part of California. It is such a beautiful city and amazing to visit and experience so much culture – I like how it’s big but also really relaxed too. And there’s a little town called Carmel-by-the-Sea on California's Monterey Peninsula that I could definitely see myself spending more time in if lived in the U.S. It’s tiny and so beautiful.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    SD:      It would be so amazing and the boost I need in my career right now. This is my fourth year in the industry and I’ve had so many close calls but have yet to do something really major. Being successful in L.A. relies so much on the heat around you and I know this would open so many more doors for me.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.


  • Thursday, May 11, 2017 4:37 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)



    Tilda Cobham-Hervey, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist


    Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s first professional acting gig was at sixteen, when she was handpicked to play the lead role in the Australian coming-of-age drama film 52 Tuesdays. Directed by Sophie Hyde, the film was shot every Tuesday over the course of an entire year and screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. Tilda has since landed supporting roles in the American-Australian feature film Hotel Mumbai alongside Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, as well as starring roles in the sold-out theater show Things I Know To Be True and the short films Eaglehawk , The Suitor and Marcia and the Shark. It was at the of age thirteen however that Tilda first started working professionally in the creative arts, even founding her own multi-award winning circus theater company Gravity and other Myths with a group of friends at the age of fourteen. And as further proof of this emerging actor’s unmistakable talent and versatility as an artist, Tilda was most recently nominated for the prestigious Graham Kennedy Award at the 2017 TV Week Logies in recognition of her performance as Eliza Grayson in The Kettering Incident.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    TCH:    A suitcase is my home right now! I am originally from Adelaide but I have been moving around quite a bit lately following work which is a rather strange feeling but also very exciting. For the next little while I will be based in Los Angeles though.

     AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    TCH:    I come from a family of “makers” – my Mum is a dancer and my Dad is a lighting and event manager – so art has been a huge part of my family ever since I can remember. I was nine years old when I first started circus performing and ended up specializing in hula hoop and trapeze, but I wasn’t very good at tricks so focused more on the talking-side of performance.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    TCH:    Art in its many forms is my number one source of inspiration in life, it’s a hobby and a passion as well as the industry I work in and always want to be a part of. I could happily walk around museums and go to theater shows for the rest of my life and remember so fondly my parents picking holidays based around unusual art festivals for us all to experience..

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    TCH:    There are millions and they change every single day for me but from about the age of fifteen I discovered American film director, screenwriter, actor, author and artist Miranda July whose work includes film, fiction, digital media presentations and live performance art. She has been a source of inspiration for me for a long time and I just love how her brain works on so many different levels. I’m also always so impressed by Tilda Swinton who seems like a creature not from this world.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    TCH:    I am very lucky because I feel like everything I’ve worked on so far in my career has been so different and because of that reason I’ve learnt so much from them all. If I had to pick one though it would be 52 Tuesdays because it was such an incredible production to be part of. Funnily enough I fell into that role by accident when I attended the open casting call in Adelaide with a lot of friends from high school who were auditioning. I was initially intending to just go to the audition to catch up with a friend working on the production but when I met director Sophie Hyde we really hit it off and they offered me the part. It was such a magical experience to see the film in full for the first time at Sundance.

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    TCH:    I really feel in this business that the ball is not always in your court and honestly, all the jobs I’ve worked on so far were such a big surprise to me! I hope I just have the opportunity to keep working on projects that are surprising and different, whether they’re different forms or genres, as long as they authentically represent human beings I feel a connection with. And ideally inspire others just as I was so inspired as a child.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    TCH:    I heard about the Scholarship maybe four or five years ago when I was in high school after (52 Tuesdays director) Sophie Hyde sent me the application form, but I didn’t think living in the U.S. was right for me so soon after Sundance and I was still in high school. I’ve applied three or four times since then though and was shortlisted in 2014 so it’s very exciting to be a finalist again this year.

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    TCH:    I find L.A. to be a really interesting place! I was nineteen when I first came here and I found it quite overwhelming to be honest. It’s simultaneously incredibly familiar and foreign but I really love the energy of the city and I find everyone here is so supportive. It’s a true creative melting pot and a land of many contrasts that I’m still trying to figure out, but I do love that everyone is here to tell stories that are important to them.

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    TCH:    I love the Downtown L.A. Arts District – I’ve found it really exciting to visit in the sense that it feels like a new area and so similar to New York.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    TCH:    It would mean so much to me! It is such an honor to be nominated and I love that the Scholarship is all about celebrating young artists which is so rare. Winning would completely change my life right now – to have the funds and resources to set myself up in a new place would be incredible.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.


  • Wednesday, May 10, 2017 5:39 AM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Shalom Brune-Franklin, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist

    Originally from the United Kingdom, Shalom Brune-Franklin moved to Perth with her family in 2008 with her natural acting ability drawing the attention of her high school drama teacher and netting her the school’s drama award for high achievement. Furthering her acting studies at WAAPA, Shalom graduated in 2015 and has since appeared in the Marvel Studios-produced hit feature film Thor: Raganarock as well as the BBC Production’s television show Our Girl Channel Nine’s Doctor Doctor and ABC TV’s Barracuda.. In 2016 Shalom was also the inaugural recipient of the Chris Edmund Scholarship and most recently, was nominated for the Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding Newcomer at the 2017 TV Week Logie Awards.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    SBF:    Home at the moment is an apartment in Cape Town, South Africa for at least the next three months but my real home is Perth in Australia. 

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    SBF:    I was in year twelve at high school and failing miserably in my math class so I changed to drama thinking it would be a walk in the park but everything changed for me once I got there. I ended up graduating with the highest mark in my school and performed my OSP (Original Scripted Performance) at Perth’s His Majesty Theatre in front of a sold-out audience. That’s when I knew this was what I wanted to do!

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    SBF:    My family mostly – I'm so inspired that my parents decided to change their lives from living in a London council flat where we had almost nothing, to moving across the world to Australia. It was the most incredible thing they could have ever done for us. And now my mother has just been accepted into the police force in Western Australia and I’m so proud to see her flourish in her own right. If I'm honest, I'm also inspired by my younger self because I really didn't have much and I longed for so much – just to be able to have my own home and afford food every night.

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    SBF:    Growing up I was obsessed with Edward Norton and I loved every film he was in because I thought his choices were so interesting and different. Now, Stephan Graham is one of my favorite actors – he honestly makes me forget where I am when he acts and he just nails every role every single time. Then there’s Denzel Washington who is just Denzel and I also really love Ethan Hawke because he is so easy to watch and so talented. And Viola Davies is also a huge inspiration for me – she is just mind-blowing and has knocked so many doors down for so many other women of color can come forward.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    SBF:    I wrapped a job at the beginning of the year with Peter Kosminksy called The State on Channel 4 in the UK. The show is about teenagers radicalized by ISIS and follows their cross-border journey into the Islamic state and what happens to them all when they get there. I worked with actors from around the world and it was such an enriching and incredible experience and such a daring and well-researched production. I’m so proud to be a part of it!

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    SBF:    I would love to continue being part of great work – projects that really mean something to me. It’s important for me to not feel inhibited in playing roles because of my skin color, I want to play all the roles and I want to play roles that tell incredible stories. I’m currently playing one of the first women to join the frontlines of the British army, which will be a reality as of 2018, and these kinds of compelling roles are the ones I will always chase.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    SBF:    I was at WAAPA when I first heard about the Scholarship and a friend of mine was a finalist last year but I’d never really thought to apply before as I didn’t understand the process or what you had to do to be eligible. My agent Mark really encouraged me to go for it though and now here we are [laughs]!

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    SBF:    For me it’s interesting – on the one hand I think California is the place where it all happens, the biggest place in the world for what I do, so it’s only the right step to end up there. But it also seems like a place many kids can get lost in too so I’m in no real to jump there too quickly without being ready and having the tools to do so. If I can secure projects in the U.S. that would be the final piece of the puzzle for me as I’m currently working in Australia and the U.K.

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    SBF:    I have never been to the U.S. – I’ve never travelled anywhere even close to it – so I don’t know what my favorite parts of California will be but it’s so appealing because it really is the entertainment capital of the world. I do know I want to see all the studios in Los Angeles and do all the tourist stuff. And I really want to check out all the beaches, I think that’s where I would spend most of my time.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    SBF:    I honestly don't know how to put into words what it would mean to me…everything! It would give me an introduction to the industry in the U.S. that I could only dream of right now, and I know it would set me off in the right way on the right path there. It would also really help me to achieve everything I have just spoken about. It would just be insane.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.


  • Tuesday, May 09, 2017 6:42 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Mojean Aria, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist

    For Mojean Aria, 2017 marks the third year he’s applied and been shortlisted for the Heath Ledger Scholarship, a significant achievement in it’s own right. This talented actor has been drawing attention to his acting chops since pre-school days however and even participated in the adult classes at NIDA as a fourteen year old. Now based in Los Angeles, Mojean has already landed his first big budget film role playing a young Jake LaMotta in The Bronx Bull, a part first made famous by Robert De Niro in the classic Raging Bull.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    MA:     I made the move to the U.S. a few years ago and live in Koreatown in Los Angeles, which is such a great area. I am originally from Sydney though.

    AiF:     When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?

    MA:     From a very young age! Back when I was kindergarten one of my teachers told my Mum that my personality would be really suitable to acting and it’s just always felt like home for me my entire life. I have immigrant parents and there were certainly times growing up in Australia, during the Cronulla riots for example, when it felt hard to find other like-minded people to be around. But acting classes were such great escape for me and it was wonderful to feel so free and at home with other creative and sensitive people.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    MA:     I am really inspired by movement and martial arts and train almost every day. I love the focus on breathing and control and movement and find that there’s such a lovely correlation between this form of training and the arts.

    AiF:     Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?

    MA:     [Laughs] That is the toughest question on the planet for me! Mainly because I like to take pieces from so many incredible artists but the one person whose arc speaks to me the most is Montgomery Clift. He was a film and stage actor renowned for his sensitive and vulnerable portrayals and for me he was just all heart and such an inspiration in that regard.

    AiF:     What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?

    MA:     There are two very different projects so far that I’m most proud of – my first big budget feature film The Bronx Bull, based on the story of legendary boxing champion Jake LaMotta, was an incredible experience. I played the lead in the first half of the film so there was lots of pressure and a really intense training schedule in the lead-up to production but I learnt so much. And secondly is the human rights film Aban & Khorshid in which I played a gay Iranian character who was hanged for simply being in love. I originally turned the part down but after meeting with the director it was just too beautiful and compelling a story to turn down. Part of the purpose of my work as an actor is to speak for people who can’t and it was of the most fulfilling artistic experiences of my life. I am so proud the film was screened at the United Nations Council to support human rights as well as winning the American Filmmaker Award at Cannes and the Best of the Festival Award at Palm Springs.

    AiF:     How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?

    MA:     I am truly obsessed with human behavior and how we’re all evolving in so many new ways right now and I believe it’s time for the acting profession – one of the world’s oldest – to evolve in much more spiritual, enlightened ways too. I think this was very much where Heath was heading with his own career actually…as artists it’s really important for us to be consciously aware of taking acting to that new level and I see myself being pivotal in that evolution.

    AiF:     When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?

    MA:     I remember hearing about the Scholarship not too long after Heath passed away but always thought it was for very raw and undiscovered Aussie actors. Anyway, a few years ago I saw the list of finalists and was so excited to know so many names on the list so thought I should give it a go. This is my third year applying and my third year as a finalist too so I’m hoping it will be a case of three times a charm!

    AiF:     What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?

    MA:     Los Angeles to me represents one big studio and a place where everyone comes to realize their dreams or find themselves…or ideally both at the same time! It’s one of the most unique places in the world and such a cultural hotspot that has reach and influence over pretty much the entire world. I love that L.A. remains such a big creator of commercial cinema and believe we should be making art for the masses.

    AiF:     What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?

    MA:     I love that I can be in Los Angeles then drive two hours and be somewhere entirely different and very spiritual like Joshua Tree National Park or Big Bear. And then there’s the diversity of the areas within the city itself like the cool, arty elements of Downtown L.A. or the iconic Beverly Hills where you can see the most intense phase of where our culture has evolved.

    AiF:     What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?

    MA:     It would mean so much for so many different reasons and would truly tie everything together for me right now. Coincidentally I met Heath when I was only eleven or twelve years old at a Fox Studios screening of one of his films in Sydney – I remember being so captured by his energy and aura and sensitivity during the Q&A session and it inspired me to focus on pursuing an acting career and embracing the sensitive side of myself.

    Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm. 

    AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 7:48 AM | Carly Einfeld (Administrator)

    Screenwise Australia's Leading Film & TV School for Actors

    Extends Multi-Year Funding for the Heath Ledger Scholarship

    Screenwise's Denise Roberts (Center) with Cody Fern, 2014 HLS Recipient, Kim Ledger, 

    Ashleigh Cummings, 2016 HLS Recipient and Oliver Ackland, 2009 HLS Recipient 

    at the Heath Ledger Scholarship dinner on June 1st 2016

    Screenwise, Australia's Leading Film and TV School for Actors, and long-running sponsor of the Heath Ledger Scholarship, is continuing it's commitment as one of the Presenting Partners and financial contributors of Australia's most prestigious acting scholarship.

    Denise Roberts, Principal Director and CEO of Screenwise, said "The Heath Ledger Scholarship is so dear to so many peoples' hearts and really is an incredible, potentially life-changing opportunity for a young Australian actor.

    "AiF has grown dramatically over the past two years and it's wonderful to see the evolution. I visited the AiF creative workspace at Raleigh Studios the last time I was in Los Angeles and it has such an inspiring energy about it. Screenwise is excited to support AiF's continued growth as it helps young and emerging Australian actors achieve their goals." Denise said.

    Kate Marks, AiF President, said: "Screenwise, led by the incredible Denise Roberts, has been a wonderful and generous partner of the Heath Ledger Scholarship over the years and we are thrilled she has signed this new multi-year commitment. "This partnership provides AiF the necessary funds to provide opportunities for recipients of the Scholarship to further their skills as an actor. On behalf of the AiF Board, we sincerely thank Denise and Screenwise," Kate said.

    Applications for the Heath Ledger Scholarship have just closed, with the ten finalists announced in May 2017. The winner of the scholarship will be announced in front of members of the Ledger family in Los Angeles on June 1st 2017.

    Screenwise was established with the purpose of providing specialist, career-focused training in acting for film & television. Overseen by multi-award winning actress Denise Roberts (Schapelle, The Moodys, Cliffy, Mrs Biggs, Packed To The Rafters, Blood Brothers, Razzle Dazzle, Always Greener, GP) the school is inspired by the tenacious, dedicated and professional nature of the 'Roberts Method' upon which it is based.

    The school employs the crème de la crème of industry professionals - award-winning actors, directors and casting consultants - providing students with the rare opportunity to network and train closely with accomplished and experienced filmmakers who define what it means to have a practical and rewarding career in the film and television Industry.

    Screenwise attracts students from around Australia and the globe, including current Heath Ledger Scholarship recipient Ashleigh Cummings and high profile actors including Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas and Yvonne Strahovski.

    Further information about Screenwise can be found by visiting: screenwise.com.au

    Further information about Australians in Film and the 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship can be found at: www.australiansinfilm.org/heathledgerscholarship


  • Monday, April 17, 2017 10:56 AM | Carly Einfeld (Administrator)

    APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR PROGRAM RUNNING 8 MAY - 3 JULY

    The Australians in Film Writers Room is an eight-week program led by screenwriter, playwright and writing mentor Richard Barrett, designed to give emerging writers the opportunity to refine their craft and provide them with the necessary tools to workshop and make progress on their scripts, whether for television, film or the web.

    The room is limited to eight writers who meet weekly on Monday evenings at AiF members' workspace, The Creative Collective at Raleigh Studios, to workshop their material. Writers will work with several partners over the course of the eight-week period to gain various perspectives.

    We will be holding another Writers Group in September, 2017.

    At the end of each session, each writer will have clear direction of what to work on before the next meeting. The meetings aim also to serve as a support group to help motivate, educate and prepare our fellow Aussie writers to break into the competitive screenwriting industry.

    Writers Room News

    Two writers - Joe Osborn (Cured) and Davina Willett (South of the 10) previous alumni from The Writer's Room were finalists in this year's Gateway-LA script development competition. Davina also won the Best TV pilot with South of the 10 at the LA Femme Film Festival.

    Address: AiF's Creative Hub, - Raleigh Studios, Suite B134 - 650 N Bronson Avenue.

    Please do not apply unless you are reasonably certain that you can attend the following schedule:

    Monday, 8th May

    Monday 15th May

    Monday 22nd May

    Monday 5th June

    Monday 12th June

    Monday 19th June

    Monday 26th June

    Monday 3rd July - A Writer's Room alumni guest speaker and networking drinks.

     

    Applications will close Friday, April 28, 2017 at 5PM PDT

    The program is open to current Australians in Film INDUSTRY Members only.

    Not a member? Join here


Australians in Film
Raleigh Studios
5300 Melrose Avenue
Suite #B211, Bronson Bldg 
Hollywood, CA 90038

Phone: 323 433 1464

   

    

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