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  • Friday, June 02, 2017 9:46 AM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Kim Ledger and 9th Annual Heath Ledger Scholarship Recipient, Mojean Aria


    At the Sunset Marquis Hotel, West Hollywood this evening Mojean Aria was announced as the 9th Annual Heath Ledger Scholarship recipient.

    “Heath is such a huge inspiration for all of us actors and so many people looked up to him. Just to be connected with Heath Ledger and being able to have this platform, it is a dream come true.” Mojean Aria, The 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship recipient

    2017 marks the third year the talented Sydney born, LA based actor has applied, and been short-listed for the prestigious scholarship. In 2016 Aria played Jake LaMotta, the lead in The Bronx Bull, a part first made famous by Robert De Niro in the classic Raging Bull. This film is based on the story of the legendary boxing champion.

    Carrie, I LOVE Dick, Boys Don’t Cry Director and one of this year’s judges, Kimberly Peirce: “I’ve long been a fan of the extraordinary talent coming out of Australia and always look to Australia when I cast TV and Film, having cast Abbie Cornish in her first US role! [And I taught at NIDA]. It was an incredible experience and a great privilege watching all these stunning young Australian actors. Mojean’s work is rich, nuanced, precise, beautiful, authentic, emotive and fierce.  I hope the scholarship provides him the necessary support and tools to explore his talent and interests, develop his craft and further his career here in Hollywood and wherever it takes him.”


    Kim Ledger, AiF President Kate Marks, Kate Ledger, 2017 Heath Ledger Recipient Mojean Aria, Sally Bell, Ashleigh Bell and AiF Chairman Simonne Overend 

    AiF Board member and sister of the late actor Heath Ledger, Kate Ledger: “I am so proud to see the HLS evolve over the past 9 years to become what it has today.  The scholarship provides a launch pad for emerging actors to help forge their international careers in Hollywood. We wish Mojean all the best and are excited to watch him grow and develop as an artist.”

    Aria will obtain a USD$10,000 cash fund, private acting tuition from the Lisa Robertson and Nancy Banks Acting Studio, 2  Qantas return flights to LA, a 7-day Californian trip from Visit California, USD$5,000 worth of visa and immigration services from Raynor and Associates, Business Management and Australian/US Taxation advice from the Protea Group, US$5,000 Rent assistance, USD1000.00 transportation credit to get around LA. The Scholarship also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry and a lifestyle package (Training Mate gift card, Yoga Works 3 month voucher and more).

    This year’s judging panel included Naomi Watts (Birdman, The Impossible, King Kong), Ryan Murphy (Writer |Producer|Director: Fued, American Horror Story, Glee,) Gary Oldman (Actor: The Dark Knight Rises, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Bruna Papandrea (Producer: Big Little Lies, Wild, Gone Girl) Kimberly Peirce (Director: Carrie, Boys Don’t Cry), Emile Sherman (Producer: Lion, The King’s Speech), Jacqueline McKenzie,(actor The Water Diviner, Desperate Housewives) Gregor Jordan (Director: Two Hands, Ned Kelly) and Ronna Kress (Casting Director: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Fault in Our Stars, Deadpool).

    Benefactors to the program include the Ledger family, Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Rose Byrne, Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Alex O'Loughlin, Deborra-Lee Furness, Phillip Noyce, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gregor Jordan and Nicole Kidman.

    We would like to thank our sponsors Visit California, Qantas, ausfilm, Screenwise and Penfolds. 

  • Monday, May 22, 2017 1:24 PM | Carly Einfeld (Administrator)


    2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist Dakota Shapiro

    An expat life spent living in numerous countries around the world has exposed Dakota Shapiro to a wealth of different cultures, insights into the human condition and wisdom beyond his young years. His father was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, while his mother hails from New Mexico in the United States, but the family settled in northern NSW for most of Dakota’s childhood. At the age of fourteen, Dakota moved to the U.S. to attend performing arts boarding school for four years and then after graduating, he moved to the United Kingdom to study acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the National Conservatoire of Wales. After twelve months, he relocated to New Mexico to work and save enough money to pursue the ultimate acting dream – moving to Los Angeles where he now happily resides.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    DS:      I moved to Los Angeles a little over a year ago but Australia will always be home for me! I was born and raised in Mullumbimby which is a little coastal town near Byron Bay in Northern NSW. 

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

    DS:      It happened pretty young for me – I just adored my older brother when I was little and remember him saying he wanted to be an actor so I said to my Mum that I wanted to be one too! I quickly discovered it’s such a genuine and beautiful way to express who you are, and it’s also really helped me to understand the world around me. When I was fourteen I was lucky enough to move to the U.S. to attend performing arts boarding school at Idyllwild Arts Academy in California for four years and that was an amazing experience.

    AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    DS:      Relating to and connecting with other people really inspires me, regardless of who they are or where they come from. It’s when I feel the most alive and it’s what makes me feel the most at any one time – it’s the reason why I’m here I think, and why I act. I love getting to know people and being reminded that none of us are here alone.

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

    DS:      A filmmaker I really relate to is Richard Linklater – I loved Before Sunrise (1995) and I’m always so touched by how deeply philosophical but uniquely human his storytelling is. Tom Hardy is such an exceptional actor and his portrayal in the film Bronson (2008) was extremely formative experience for me. And then there’s Gary Oldman – and it’s such an awesome coincidence about the scholarship this year – but I’ll never forget the first time I saw Léon: The Professional (1994), it’s one of the films that made me want to be an actor.

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

    DS:      In high school a really good friend of mine wrote and directed a play that I starred in and the response was so incredible. We were floored by the positive reception and it was one of those seminal moments in life where I knew this was the right path for me.

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

    DS:      I really hope I have the opportunity to just do what I love! I want to play complex characters with depth and bring integrity to my performances whereby I truly relating to people and hopefully touching someone’s life. Much in the way I was so touched by the actors and filmmakers who made such a significant impact on me when I was growing up.

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

    DS:      I remember first hearing about the Scholarship when I was in high school and my teachers were talking about how well regarded it is. And then my acting teacher Lisa Robertson mentioned it most recently and I guess that reignited my interest in it so 2017 is the first year I’ve actually applied.

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

    DS:      California represents the possibility of everything I want coming to fruition for me – it’s the hub of the movie industry, it’s where I’m meeting and making great business contacts and it’s where all the people I adore and want to work with are. I really feel like I’m in the throng of it here!

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

    DS:      Definitely Los Angeles! I love this city – no matter what you’re seeking out it’s available to you here, from a multitude of metro areas to small towns and the beaches and desert and mountains. California is such a cool place.

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

    DS:      In all honestly, becoming a finalist has affirmed so much for me already and really validated my decision to be here and follow my dreams. Moving to a new city when you’re just twenty-one can be really hard at times though and winning the Scholarship would make such a huge and positive difference. [Laughs} I guess in a way I’m the ideal candidate for it! And truly there just aren’t words to describe how appreciative I would be to do so.

    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 18, 2017 11:12 AM | Carly Einfeld (Administrator)

    Moderator Kylie Speer with Warwick Young, Martin Copping, India Dupre and David O'Donnell

     AiF’s Member’s Film Night held on Thursday 11 May was a showcase of five short films created by a group of diverse and talented emerging filmmakers. Screened on the night were: Stripped – written, produced and directed by India Dupré; Safety First – directed by Shane Connor and produced by Martin Copping, who also stars in the short; Stuffed – written, produced and directed by Warwick Young; Picture Wheel – written, produced and directed by David O’Donnell; and Peekaboo – written, produced and directed by Damien Power.

    Four of the filmmakers were on hand to participate in the post-screening Q&A session and share with the audience their invaluable experience and insights into what it takes to successfully create a short film. AiF also interviewed the four filmmakers about what it took to see their visions realized and their top five filmmaking tips to get your own short from script to screen.

    India Dupré – Stripped

    For writer, producer and director India Dupré, Stripped tells the very personal story of her own childhood migrating to Australia and becoming one of the countless victims of the “stolen generation”. It’s also a story about motherhood, the struggles faced by so many single-parents and the accidental icon India’s mother, Margaret Dupré, became in Australia during the 1980’s.

    Set in 1981, Stripped stars Katheryn Winnick (Vikings) as Margaret Dupré, a shy yet determined British mother who moves her young family to Australia with the promise of a better life before facing the horror of having her three young children abducted by the government and placed in work camps as part of a “Keep Australia White” scheme. Becoming a stripper to survive, Margaret kidnaps her children back and flees across Australia while the government hunts them down.

    The 12-minute short was created as a proof of concept to assist in the development of a feature film version – both were written through AiF’s Writer’s Room program – and funded in part by the Kevin Spacey Foundation after India won the 2015 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artist of Choice grant.

    Stripped premiered last year at the Los Angeles Short Film Festival and has also screened at the Edmonton International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Choice Award for Best Dramatic Short, the Cleveland International Film Festival and the Gold Coast Film Festival.

    India’s Top 5 Short Filmmaking Tips

    1.     Ask for help – set a date and create a call sheet (they are free online), start filling it out with the crew you have even if it’s just yourself and then look at the positions you need to fill: producer, DP, gaffer, etc – it makes people believe it is really happening. And then ask people, big people! People are kind and willing to give back if you show them how determined and passionate you are.  Find a way to get a great actor involved. Film Festivals love a big name attached to a project but are also good with great talent. SAG-AFTRA help short films hire union actors so I paid my actors the minimum required by SAG-AFTRA…but if budgets are super tight you can also ask actors to defer their payment (and it is less paperwork). And help others with their projects and they will help you.  My crew went above and beyond and when they created their short films, I did the same for them. Getting on film sets is a great way to meet crew and work for free (if necessary) at any position you can. It’s such a great way to observe, learn and save the call sheet with phone numbers.

    2.     Make sure your sound is sound –ask incredible musicians to score and or write original songs for your short, if they are inspired by your idea, they may enjoy creating music for it. And remember that recording on set is crucial. Make sure you hire a great sound person!

    3.     Tell a good story – the script is most important but know it will change on set due to weather, time, actors, etc so be flexible. Have a clear beginning, middle and end. Be provocative. Make it personal and make it something new. And if you can, plan to make your short 12 minutes in length or under – shorter shorts are more likely to be programmed at festivals than longer ones as they can squeeze more into the program’s time slot. 

    4.     Clearly Communicate your vision – start with stick figure storyboards to clearly convey your vision to your DP and crew. Just like getting a haircut, it’s much better to take a photo of what you want than try to explain it to your stylist and rely on their interpretation! Then film your rehearsal with actors to get camera angles…and make a digital storyboard from it by creating screen-shots. And watch films you admire and chose specific references. This is the fun part! The clearer your vision and mood board, the more you will achieve what you want. Look on eBay for authentic props, costumes and set pieces. I found cassette players, a tent and Barbie doll clothing from the 70s. 

    5.     Apply for grants – The Kevin Spacey Foundation is brilliant and just one example, if you search the web for grants you will find so many. Apply to them all! The most important expenses on a short film are equipment and insurance, then crew, location and food.

    Martin Copping – Safety First

    Directed by Shane Connor (Wolf Creek 2, Moby Dick) and produced by and starring Marty Copping, Safety First tells the tale of three bumbling Aussie burglars who decide to overcome the political uncertainty of a Donald Trump-presidency by robbing an L.A. bank before leaving the U.S. for good…in the safest way possible.

    The stellar cast also includes Ashleigh Brewer (Neighbors, Days of Our Lives), Tyler Atkins (Puberty Blues), Ryan Porter (Out of the Blue) and David Ross Patterson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Saving Mr. Banks, Frost/Nixon), with the film edited by longtime Robert Rodriguez collaborator Ethan Maniquis (Machete, Sin City).

    For Marty, the short also served as a test of his filmmaking skills acquired over the last fifteen years working as an actor and producer in Australia and the U.S., and an invaluable experience in the lead up to making his feature film directorial debut. A graduate of the St Kilda National Theatre, Marty is well known to Australian audiences from starring roles in Neighbours, Rush, Stingers and Blue Heelers. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has landed several roles in U.S. productions including the action-thriller feature film Zombie Hunter (2013) and television shows Hawaii Five-0 (2014) and Hand of God (2015).

    Martin’s Top 5 Short Filmmaking Tips

    1.     Surround yourself with good people – the trigger for my journey with Safety First was that I'd just come from producing a feature in Louisiana where I wasn't the lead producer and it wasn’t my project. And because I hadn't had the opportunity to build the crew I wanted, I couldn't restructure the team when we ran into trouble or take as much of the initiative or the responsibilities I wanted in order to guide the team through the inevitable production hurdles we faced. This doesn’t make for a very satisfying creative experience to say the least! So when it came to Safety First I made sure the majority of the production team involved had as much, or more, experience as I did. This really is the best way to grow and learn…and also create something you’re going to be really proud of. Having Shane Connor directing all our performances was tremendous – he’s a very unique artist with an incredible eye for nuance and being a veteran actor, he has the ability to bring honest and electric performances to the screen. Chris Ekstein is a visionary DP and collaborating with him and Shane on the visual aesthetic was a privilege. And then having Darren Maynard save my ass in post and create a soundscape that I couldn’t be happier with was awesome. Surrounding yourself with the most talented and experienced people you can find really is a must.

    2.     Get as close to your mentors as possible – following on from my first point, don’t be afraid to reach out to your mentors and get as close to them as possible. I love immersing myself amongst inspirational artists and on Safety First I was lucky enough to have the support of two of my film heroes, composer Cezary Skubiszewski and editor Ethan Maniquis. I’ve followed both their careers for a long time and feel very honored that they were prepared to lend me their support, even when the money wasn’t there.

    3.     The project must always come first – be clear about what you what from the very second production starts, and clearly express this vision and your intention for how you will handle the process to all the cast and crew as soon as they come on board. This helps minimize speed bumps along the way. It’s always important to be flexible but without a clear direction you’re just floating in the open waters.

    4.     Be a creative diplomat – as artists and working in the film industry, creative differences are always going to be areas that need to be delicately navigated and this is something I'm always trying to better my skillset at. As people, we are all so different and our opinions always differ with every person and in every situation we are in. Being able to negotiate these creative differences is always a challenge but so important. 

    5.     Prepare to spend more than you’d planned and utilize your support networks – I had originally hoped to make Safety First for nothing (which I’ve done before) but then there were some equipment ‘must have’s’ and they cost money so out came the credit card! Then, I pitched the idea to an old drama school friend who is now a very successful businessman and he helped to arrange our financing which was such a blessing. As a filmmaker, raising finance always seems to be the biggest challenge but having those additional funds for Safety First literally afforded me the ability to make the film the way I wanted. Like many others, I work full time creatively and don’t get paid for the majority of my work – reaching out to people who not only believe in what we do but are willing to support of our community and projects is a necessity.  

    Warwick Young – Stuffed

    Since 1995, Warwick Young has worked as an actor in theater, film and television in both Australian and International productions. It was during his Master of Screen Arts (Directing) degree, completed in 2013 at AFTRS, that Warwick wrote and directed the multi-award winning short Stuffed. The film tells the tale of Peter, an introverted postal worker who still lives with his mother in rural Australia and fills his spare time as a taxidermist. When the local pharmacist Ellen shows romantic interest in Peter, he struggles to leave the comfort of home and the security blanket it has become for him.

    So far in it’s festival run, Stuffed has accumulated an impressive list of nominations and awards including: 2016 Beverly Hills Film Festival Winner Best Foreign Film; 2015 Cannes Film Festival – Official selection; 2015 Cleveland International Film Festival – Official Selection; 2015 St Kilda Film Festival – Official Selection; 2015 Flickerfest International Film Festival – Official Selection Best Australian Short Film; 2014 Sydney Film Festival Nomination – Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director; 2014 Australian Directors Guild Award Nomination; and the 2013 European Union Film Award Winner.

     

    Warwick’s other credits include writing and directing the short films Reconciliation (2012), Refuge (2012) and U-Turn (2007). Currently, Warwick is in development on the feature film version Stuffed and the feature film adaptation of the critically acclaimed stage play Brilliant Monkey.

    Warwick’s Top 5 Short Filmmaking Tips

    1.     Tell stories with substance – make sure whatever tale you’re telling is about something that really means something to you. If your story has substance it will resonate with audiences because it has a level of authenticity about it. And make sure maintaining the integrity of the story is your number one priority in every sense, for example; don’t intentionally make the film’s length fit into a festival if there’s any chance of it compromising the narrative.

    2.     Don’t make a film that you can’t afford – you will so often see a film that was made for $5,000 that should have been made for $50,000 and in many cases you’re better off just not going there in the first place. There are always ways to be more creative and efficient/economical when it comes to filmmaking but because the integrity of the story must always come first, you have to make sure you can tell it the way you want it to be told

    3.     Surround yourself with likeminded mentors – make sure you surround yourself with people who you trust and who resonate with you. Someone might have amazing credits and a body of work that’s really impressive, but if it doesn’t say something to you then you’re kind of behind the eight ball. Fred Schepisi is a longtime mentor of mine and has been so great, he’s walked away from so many projects because he knew he couldn’t tell the story in the way he wanted to and I’ve learnt so much from him in that regard.

    4.     Choose your co-collaborators wisely – this not only comes down to experience and professionalism but in many cases is a matter of taste. Ask yourself, is your cinematographer looking at the shots coming through in the same way as you? Are the heads of departments onboard with your vision and even more importantly, the interpretation of your vision? To ensure the greatest chance of success for this you have to completely know your story, the world you’ve created and your characters inside and out. And you have to be a great communicator because everyone is coming at this from different perspectives.

    5.     Story rules – in short filmmaking and filmmaking in general every decision you make has to be about story. You could have the most beautiful shot in the world but if it doesn’t support the story, it’s worthless. Story rules, it has to. And you are the custodian of the story – it’s your job, your priority and why people are looking to you as the leader on a production.

    David O’Donnell – Picture Wheel

    Picture Wheel, a Grant Larson, Blk & Ginger and Five Lip Films production, was written, produced and directed by David O’Donnell and produced by Alex Russell and Tom Fox-Davies. Based on the premise that people often get stuck living in the past and let memories clutter their lives, the concept creatively plays out on screen in a world where memories are literally carried around in the form of photographs attached to metal headpieces. The film’s main protagonist, a heart-broken office worker called Elliott, is played by James Hoare who also stars in the upcoming remake of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

    Since graduating from WAAPA in 2007, David O'Donnell has starred in numerous Australian theater, film and television productions including Blue Water High (ABC), Underbelly (Channel 9), Cops LAC (Channel 9) and Ghosthunters (SyFy). He established Five Lip Films with producing partner Alex Russell (Chronicle, Carrie, Unbroken).

    David’s Top 5 Short Filmmaking Tips

    1.     Don’t skimp on the art department – in low budget films people often skimp on art department costs and/or neglect them entirely. You can have the best camera gear but if what you’re shooting isn’t interesting then it’s pointless so investing time, consideration and money (if you have it) in this first really is a must.

    2.     Have a great script – this may sound obvious but apart from how compelling it’s going to make the final product, having a great script will also help you to get people on board with the project initially. Especially if you don’t have much of a budget.

    3.     Make use of your pre-production – pre-production really is a time to make sure you’re as prepared as possible, that you’ve got the best locations, you’ve spent quality time on your recces, etc. For example in Picture Wheel, the DP and I went to the office location to work out what the shots were going to be and ending up spending half a day re-working a number of them because he initially didn’t think the location was going to work. Considering the most important thing when you’re shooting is the shot, it’s imperative to be prepared and know you’re getting the most interesting and cinematic pictures in the can in the time you have available. And if you’re super prepared, you can more easily roll with the punches and have more time to be flexible on the day. Another tip for filmmakers in California is to consider going outside the Los Angeles county limits to avoid paying permit fees – we shot Picture Wheel in Riverside County and they have a great site with lots of information about locations. Check out http://www.filmriversidecounty.com/Home.aspx for further information.

    4.     Assemble a great team – when you’re reaching out to people initially to get them onboard with your project, make sure you’re prepared and show them that you’re serious about seeing this through. Have a strong vision, go in with the ball already in motion, inspire confidence in your cast and crew by showing them you’re not an amateur. On Picture Wheel we went in with a very art-heavy script and had our headpieces made up in advance so it was easy to communicate our vision. And if people are onboard with your vision from the very start, they’ll take much more ownership of its success – it’s vital to cultivate a team of collaborators on your short film projects.

    5.     Be bold – when it comes to the scripts you’re writing all the way through to the way the film is shot and how post-production is handled; make something different! Don’t settle for generic at any stage of the filmmaking process – make it interesting for you and for your cast and crew…and ultimately your audience as well. Projects like this will resonate and they will be remembered, like all great art should.

  • Wednesday, May 17, 2017 5:16 PM | Sarah Noye-Davies (Administrator)


    Mitzi Ruhlmann, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist

     

    
At the tender age of 18, Mitzi Ruhlmann has already amassed an impressive list of acting credits. She made her feature film debut in the Nicholas Verso-directed Boys in the Trees (2016) and has also appeared in Home and Away (2010), the multi-award winning sci-fi short Yard Bird (2012) and indie thriller Killing Ground (2016) which had its premiere at Sundance this year.

    AiF:     Where do you call home right now?

    MR:     Home for me is Sydney – I grew up in Bronte.

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

    MR:     Very young! My dad is a cinematographer so it’s been a part of our family for as long as can remember. I was around five years old when I asked my mum how people got on TV and she said they had agents so I asked for one there and then.

     AiF:     What inspires you in life?

    MR:     I am inspired by love, not necessarily being in love with someone or something or romantic love, but I constantly fall in love with things every day. Strangers…music…light…anything really that makes me feel love.

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

    MR:     Spike Jonze is definitely one of my favorite filmmakers, he’s such a great director and screenwriter. I also really love English filmmaker and former actress Andrea Arnold and Aussie Neil Armfield is another one of my favorite directors.

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

    MR:     In February of this year I shot a short film called Bodies directed by Laura Nagy. It’s about a toxic friendship between two teenage girls and although I haven’t seen it yet, it was such wonderful experience and I’m so proud of the family we created during production.

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

    MR:     Basically I’m just focused on doing what makes me happy! I definitely want to be working solidly on projects I am inspired by, and playing a part in telling stories that really need to be made.

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

    MR:     I’ve known about it for years just by being in the Australian film industry and I’m thrilled that this is first year I’ve been able to apply now that I’m 18 years old.

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

    MR:     With my dad’s career as a cinematographer I’ve spent a bit of time in California already and I guess it represents an abundance of opportunities for me in the industry with like-minded people. 

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

    MR:     I love Echo Park! It’s so beautiful and to me it doesn’t actually feel like L.A. but more like Berlin in a sense. I adore Malibu too because I love being by the ocean and West Hollywood is always such a great area to be in because there are so many Australians living there.

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

    MR:     It would be pretty huge – I guess the prospect of transitioning to the States is pretty daunting considering how young I am but the Scholarship provides so much wonderful support thanks to Australians in Film so it would be an incredible experience.

    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 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.


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

Phone: 323 433 1464

   

    

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