The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) today announced the feature films in competition for this year’s AACTA Awards – Australia’s highest screen acknowledgement. AACTA also today launched the 6th AACTA Awards presented by Presto | Official Screenings Program, a four- week program that brings Australia’s leading screen professionals together with screen fans to watch, discuss and judge the Feature Films in Competition, and the nominees in the Short Film and Feature Length Documentary categories.
A total of 24 Feature Films will compete for the 6th AACTA Awards presented by Presto: A FEW LESS MEN, A MONTH OF SUNDAYS, BEAST, BOYS IN THE TREES, DOWN UNDER, EARLY WINTER, EMBEDDED, GIRL ASLEEP, GODS OF EGYPT, GOLDSTONE, HACKSAW RIDGE, JOE CINQUE’S CONSOLATION, LOOKING FOR GRACE, PAWNO, RED BILLABONG, SCARE CAMPAIGN, SPEAR, SPIN OUT, SPIRIT OF THE GAME, SUCKER, TANNA, THE DAUGHTER, THE MENKOFF METHOD, and WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD.
The screenings offer AFI and AACTA members the opportunity to see the finest Australian films of the last 12 months, including films which have not yet been released – A FEW LESS MEN, BEAST, BOYS IN THE TREES, JOE CINQUE’S CONSOLATION and HACKSAW RIDGE.
The Official Screenings Program, running throughout August and September, will open with a preview screening of A FEW LESS MEN, in Sydney on Monday 29 August at Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction, and in Melbourne on Tuesday 30 August, at Cinema Nova.
This year will also see the Feature Length Documentaries and Short Film nominees screened in Perth for the first time in AACTA history, from 12 – 19 September, via an extended partnership with Event Cinemas. AFI | AACTA members in Perth will this year be able to see this collection of nominees in cinema at Event Cinemas Innaloo in addition to AACTA TV.
“I thank Event Cinemas for their ongoing partnership. The extended activity into Perth is something we are confident will be welcomed by members and is something we hope to build upon in years to come,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.
In addition to the cinema screenings, the majority of Feature Films in Competition, plus all the nominated Feature Length Documentaries and Short Films will be available as part of an online film festival via AACTA TV from 9am Monday 29 August – accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device.
This year’s mix of Feature Films in Competition reflects a strong year in Australian filmmaking, particularly for women in film with 19 female producers vying for an Award, up from nine last year. These include past AFI and AACTA Award winners Jan Chapman (THE DAUGHTER) and Julie Ryan (SCARE CAMPAIGN). There are also two female composers, a field that is generally dominated by men, in competition this year: Amy Bastow (EARLY WINTER) and AFI Award winner Elizabeth Drake (LOOKING FOR GRACE).
It is also exciting to see some of our top home-grown film actors returning to Australian screens, including Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto and Anna Torv (THE DAUGHTER), Aaron Pedersen, David Wenham and Jacki Weaver (GOLDSTONE), Radha Mitchell and Richard Roxburgh (LOOKING FOR GRACE) and Oscar winner Mel Gibson’s HACKSAW RIDGE, with Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving and Rachael Griffiths.
“A highlight of each AACTA Awards season is the wide-ranging showcase of the latest Australian filmmakers and performers competing alongside industry luminaries,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.
“The feature films in competition showcase an extensive rostrum of exciting new talent, with directorial debuts for almost half of the competing directors. These include Rosemary Myers who arrives at this year’s Awards with international festival hit Girl Asleep (Winner Grand Jury Prize Seattle Film Festival), and Nicholas Verso, who just two years ago received the AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film, with his feature film debut Boys in the Trees – a career path we’re delighted to see and help support.
“These emerging directors are competing alongside past AFI and AACTA Best Director nominees and winners including Sue Brooks (Looking For Grace), Ivan Sen (Goldstone), Matthew Saville (A Month Of Sundays) and Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge).
“There’s also been a reemergence of world class Australian feature documentaries in the last 18 months that are finding an audience in local cinemas as well as gaining international attention. We are presenting the four finalists in the Feature Length Documentary category as part of the Official Screenings Program, including Sydney Film Festival winner In the Shadow of the Hill, Adelaide Film Festival winner Remembering the Man, George Gittoes’ critically acclaimed Snow Monkey and Australian Oscar- winning documentarian Eva Orner’s Chasing Asylum. It’s the most competitive line up of nominees that we’ve had in many years, and is a very encouraging sign for our local documentary industry.
“It’s an exciting time for Australian film, with several highly anticipated releases scheduled for later this year, including Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge,” Trewhella said. “I encourage everyone to join AFI | AACTA in time to attend this fantastic showcase of new Australian films that we present each year to our members”.
Voting will take place following the Official Screenings Program, with the remaining nominees for the 6th AACTA Awards presented by Presto scheduled to be announced in October 2016.
The AACTA Awards are proudly supported by the New South Wales Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.