Spotlighting First Nominees

Last week, on Wednesday 29 August, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced 12 nominees for the categories of Best Feature Length Documentary, Best Short Animation and Best Short Fiction Film competing in the 2ndAACTA Awards.

Here’s a recap of the information we unveiled in our press release. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our FREE e-News for more information about the AACTA Awards season – screenings, voting,  further nominations and the celebrations of the 2nd AACTA Awards, which will be held in Sydney in early 2013.

And if you’re not already an AFI or AACTA member, now’s the time to join up to be a part of the excitement of your industry’s premier Awards.

Nominees for the AACTA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary

  • A Common Purpose. Mitzi Goldman
  • The Curse Of The Gothic Symphony. Veronica Fury
  • Dr Sarmast’s Music School. Beth Frey
  • Storm Surfers 3D. Ellenor Cox, Marcus Gillezeau

This year’s nominated feature documentaries are characterised by real life drama and high passion, both within Australia and beyond.

These range from a dramatic and unjust murder trial in Apartheid South Africa (A Common Purpose), to a new music school in war-torn Afghanistan (Dr Sarmast’s Music School), and from world famous surfers risking life and limb on a search for giant waves (Storm Surfers 3D), to an orchestra battling a ‘curse’ in order to climb the ‘Everest of classical music’ – tackling British composer Havergal Brian’s notorious First Symphony (The Curse Of The Gothic Symphony).

Nominees for the AACTA Award for Best Short Animation

  • The Hunter. Marieka Walsh
  • LEGO® Star Wars®: The Padawan MenaceTMDavid Scott, Mark Thorley, Amber Naismith
  • The MakerChristopher Kezelos, Christine Kezelos
  • Sleight of HandMichael Cusack, Richard Chataway ACS

The painstaking craft of animation is on display in all its variety in this diverse collection of nominees for Best Short Animation.

Academy Award-winning studio, Animal Logic, presents a 22-minute digital animation LEGO® Star Wars®: The Padawan MenaceTM, applying the latest CGI technology to a nostalgically beloved children’s toy, and marrying this with a classic sci-fi movie universe.

At the other end of the spectrum is Marieka Walsh’s unique handcrafted sand animation of The Hunter, captured with an antique 35mm camera to tell the story of a hunter searching amongst wolves for a boy feared lost.

The tactile, textural stop motion animation of The Maker  (from Christopher and Christine Kezelos, nominated for Best Short Animation for Zero in 2010) depicts a strange insect-like creature racing against time to make the most beautiful creation of its life.

Also using the hands-on techniques of classical stop motion animation is Sleight of Hand – written, directed and animated by Michael Cusack, whose previous films Waltzing Matilda and Gargoyle won the AFI Award for Best Short Animation in 1985 and 2006 respectively.

Nominees for the AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film

  • B I N O. Billie Pleffer, Rita Walsh
  • Dumpy Goes To The Big SmokeMirrah Foulkes, David Michôd, Michael Cody
  • JulianRobert Jago, Matthew Moore
  • TransmissionZak Hilditch, Liz Kearney

This year’s Best Short Fiction Film nominees arrive in competition already bearing multiple awards and accolades from Berlin, to Sydney, to St Kilda, to Flickerfest.

Billie Pleffer’s B I N O is a strange, sweet tale of an albino boy (Edvard Hakansson) who realises that happiness is only truly experienced when it is shared. Receiving two prizes at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival – Best Short Film from the International Jury and a special mention from the Kinder Jury – B I N O was also nominated for Best Student Short Film at the 2012 Australian Directors Guild (ADG) Awards.

Dumpy Goes To The Big Smoke shows another isolated individual; Dumpy (Emily Tomlins) is a lonely young woman who lives in a caravan with her surly boyfriend (Anthony Hayes), surrounded by cats, and yearning for escape to the big city. A chance encounter with a ‘handsome gentleman caller’ changes her world. This film has already seen first time director Mirrah Foulkes (best known for her work as an actress in films including CrossbowSpider and Animal Kingdom) win the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Short Film Director at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival. The film was produced by David Michôd and Michael Cody, shot by Adam Arkapaw, edited by Nash Edgerton and sound designed by Sam Petty.

Julian presents another youngster, this time a headstrong ten-year-old boy (Ed Oxenbould) who persists in speaking out against a bully in the grade four classroom, even if it means being sent to the Principal’s office for being a ‘dobber’. Written and directed by actor Matthew Moore, the slyly funny Julian won the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film (Generation Kplus) at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, and the 2012 Flickerfest Audience Award.

Written and directed by WA filmmaker Zak Hilditch, Transmission is another story of childhood under siege, this time against a bleak apocalyptic backdrop. Following a deadly pandemic, a father (Wayne Davies), tries to prepare his daydreaming nine-year-old daughter (Angourie Rice) to survive without him as they travel through sweltering outback Western Australia attempting to reach the ‘safe zone’. Supported by Screen Australia through its Springboard program, the 13-minute Transmission was made to support the upcoming feature film These Final Hours, now in pre-production in Perth. Transmission won the Best Short Film Award at the 2012 St Kilda Film Festival.

Also revealed last week were the 24 Feature Films in Competition. Nominees in the Feature Film categories, as well as in the Television and remaining Non Feature Film categories, will be announced later this year.

For more information on how the Non Feature Film Nominees were determined, the Nominations Announcement for remaining categories, and the AACTA Awards Screenings in Sydney and Melbourne, click here.