'Japanese' crowd do well at AFI Awards


The AFI Awards were held last Friday. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to attend this year so no-post awards goss. Those that did get to go witnessed “Japanese Story” getting the gong for best film, Toni Collette walking away with a statuette for the same film, and David Wenham getting deserved recognition for his atypical turn in “Gettin’ Square’. It’s been a bit of a weird year for Aussie film, but none the less some deserving winners came out of the night.

Here’s the official media release:


After The Deluge & MDA Win Three AFIs Apiece

Toni Collette, David Wenham, Sacha Horler,
David Ngoombujarra, Angie Milliken, Shane Bourne & Essie Davis Winners Too

MELBOURNE, November 21, 2003— The story of a Japanese businessman and an Australian geologist travelling through the Australian outback has triumphed at the 45th AFI Awards 2003, winning eight of fourteen gongs in the feature film category.

At a star-studded celebration of the Australian screen at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne tonight, Japanese Story won the Showtime AFI Award for Best Film, Empire Magazine AFI Award for Best Direction (Sue Brooks), Jan Logan AFI Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Toni Collette), Parker Pen AFI Award for Best Original Screenplay (Alison Tilson), Complete Post AFI Award for Best Editing (Jill Bilcock), AFI Award for Best Cinematography (Ian Baker), AFI Award for Best Original Music Score (Elizabeth Drake), and AFI Award for Best Sound (Livia Ruzic, Peter Grace and Peter Smith).

David Wenham took out the Film Finance Corporation Australia AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his mullet-headed performance in Gettin’ Square. Sacha Horler won the AFI Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as a lonely outback wife in Travelling Light and David Ngoombujarra won the Macquarie Bank AFI Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of a doomed man in Black and White.

Ned Kelly was voted the best looking film, winning both the Contemporary Hotels AFI Award for Best Production Design and the Contemporary Hotels AFI Award for Best Costume Design. The AFI Award for Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source went to Tony McNamara for The Rage in Placid Lake.

In the television category, After The Deluge and MDA shared the honours, winning three awards each. After The Deluge won the AFI Award for Best Telefeature or Mini-Series (Richard Keddie, Andrew Knight and Andrew Wiseman), AFI Award for Best Actress in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama or Comedy (Essie Davis) and AFI Award for Best Direction in Television (Brendan Maher).

MDA won the Holding Redlich AFI Award for Best Drama Series (Denny Lawrence), Max Factor AFI Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Television Drama or Comedy (Angie Milliken) and KMPG AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Television Drama or Comedy (Shane Bourne).

John Safran’s Music Jamboree was the surprise winner of AFI Award for Best Comedy Series – Sitcom or Sketch, with John Safran also winning the AFI Award for Open Craft in Television for his original and innovative programme. Enough Rope with Andrew Denton won The Como Melbourne AFI Award for Best Light Entertainment Series (Andrew Denton and Anita Jacoby), and Out There won the AFI Award for Best Children’s Television Drama (Michael Bourchier). …/2


In the non-feature section, Cracker Bag won the Atlab AFI Award for Best Short Fiction Film (Glendyn Ivin), Wildness the Film Australia AFI Award for Best Documentary (Michael McMahon), and Oscar-shortlisted Harvie Krumpet the AFI Award for Best Short Animation (Adam Elliot).

The Byron Kennedy Award For Outstanding Creative Enterprise, together with a $10,000 cheque, went to Dion Beebe, the Brisbane-born cinematographer, for his unique and daring eye venturing a wide range of styles from the documentary Eternity to the films of Jane Campion and Gillian Armstrong to last years’ Academy Award-winning film Chicago.

The Harper’s Bazaar AFI Screenwriting Prize, in the form of a $10,000 cheque, was presented to Alison Tilson for Japanese Story, at a pre-Awards lunch ceremony.

The AFI Award for Best Foreign Film went across the Tasman to Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Peter Jackson, Barrie M Osborne and Francis Walsh), while the AFI Young Actor Award went to the UK home of British/Geelong youngster Liam Hess for his endearing role in Don’t Blame the Koalas

The AFI Global Achievement Award went to Melbourne actor Geoffrey Rush, recognising his outstanding achievements and his continuing commitment to the Australian film and television industry. His 2003 film credits feature the two biggest box office films of the year, Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo, and Intolerable Cruelty, Ned Kelly,Swimming Upstream and Harvie Krumpet.

Yet another special accolade of the evening was reserved for Ted Robinson, who was awarded the Longford Life Achievement Award for his major contribution to Australian television as the Producer/Director of a long slate of Australia’s most significant satiric television comedy. Among his numerous achievements have been The Gillies Report, Good News Week, The Glass House and Live and Sweaty.

AFI Chairman Denny Lawrence, who earlier in evening had a personal win with MDA, said that “winning an AFI Award continues to reward, encourage and recognise the talents of Australia’s small but highly talented film industry. Whilst it’s important to preserve that industry, the AFI Awards is a celebration of extraordinary achievement, a time to enjoy a job well done."

AFI CEO and Awards EP Felicity Cockram said, “We congratulate all who were on stage collecting their awards tonight, as well as the thousands of people working behind-the-scenes to bring our Australian stories alive for the world to see. We are very proud of our Australian film industry.”

Thanks to ‘Bronwyn’