Entries open for 2012 SA Screen Awards


The Media Resource Centre (MRC) is calling for entries for South Australia’s premier screen awards – the 2012 South Australian Screen Awards (SASAs).

Established in 1999, the SASAs exhibit, celebrate, support and promote South Australian talent through the presentation of 20 awards encompassing short film, feature film and emerging local talent. In the lead-up to the Gala Awards Night on Friday 20 April 2012 there are several ‘Best Of’ Screenings for nominated films and winning films are later toured throughout regional South Australia.

Over the last decade the event has grown consistently alongside the local film industry.  To reflect the growing amount of features being made in South Australia with South Australian key creatives, the Media Resource Centre introduced the Best Feature Film Category in 2009, with a prize sponsored by the Mercury Cinema. The prize is a four screening session of your film at the Mercury Cinema with free venue hire plus 100% of the Box Office takings. Valued at over $3000 with the potential for Box Office earnings of up to $11,000 in cash it is a considerable prize for films that have not yet secured commercial distribution.

“The Mercury Cinema is pleased to again offer this award, which promotes local independent feature filmmakers,” says Gail Kovatseff, MRC Director. “Winning these four free screening sessions gives the filmmakers the opportunity to ‘test’ that their film has an audience, and to create public awareness of their film and raise funds to market it further both nationally and internationally.”

With the phenomenal amount of recognition South Australian filmmakers have received over the past year in festivals around Australia and internationally, it is anticipated that the standard of entries in 2012 will be very competitive.

“It is exciting to see so much quality filmmaking occurring in South Australia, and for our films to receive such critical attention nationally and worldwide is a credit to the emerging film industry in South Australia,” says Shane McNeil, MRC Manager of Programs and Development. “The SASA Awards allow emerging filmmakers to have an event where they can celebrate and enjoy their successes and achievements amongst their peers.”

Entry forms and guidelines for the 2012 SA Screen Awards can be downloaded from the Media Resource Centre’s website: http://www.mrc.org.au. Forms are also available at the Media Resource Centre and Mercury Cinema (13 Morphett Street, Adelaide).

The entry deadline for the short film categories is 4pm Friday 20 January 2012.
The extended deadline for short film entries is 4pm Friday 10 February 2012.
The entry deadline for the feature category is 4pm Friday 2 March 2012.

… See Page 2 for full list of individual award categories & more information regarding the SASAs event itself (dates, booking info etc):

2012 South Australian Screen Awards – categories:

Feature Film

·                              Best Feature Film (Drama or Documentary – 60 minutes and over)

Short Film – Genre Categories

·                                Best Film

·                                Best Drama

·                                Best Comedy

·                                Best Animation

·                                Best Documentary

·                                Innovation in Digital Media – rewards excellence and innovation in interactive DVD, interactive on-line, cross platform, and portable screen projects. Games are excluded.

·                                Best Non-narrative (eg. experimental, dance)

·                                Best Music Video

·                                The MRC People’s Choice Award

Short Film – Craft Categories

·                                 Best Cinematography

·                                 Best Composition

·                                 Best Direction

·                                 Best Editing

·                                 Best Performance

·                                 Best Production Design

·                                 Best Screenplay

·                                 Best Sound Design

Early Career Categories

·                              Emerging Young Filmmaker Award – recognizing the best achievement in a creative or technical role by a screen practitioner who is 26 or under as of 10 February 2012.

·                             Emerging Producer – recognizing outstanding potential by a practitioner who has not yet produced a feature length work or a commercial work for television of one hour or more.

The Mercury Cinema and Media Resource Centre (MRC) are located in the Lion Arts Centre at 13 Morphett Street, Adelaide.  Tickets for all events at the Mercury may be purchased in advance by telephoning the MRC on Ph: 08 8410 0979 or purchased in person from the MRC offices.

2012 SA Screen Awards – Ticket Prices:

‘Best Of’ Screenings (Friday 13, Saturday 14, Sunday 15 April): $15/$12 concession

Gala Awards Presentation (Friday 20 April): $40 (including the after party)

Book early for the awards as it is always a full house!

Let’s Make Web TV

Love YouTube? Want to tell stories online? Then let our industry tutors help you develop and produce your own webseries over two amazing weeks!

Let’s Make WebTV! is an intensive, two week workshop run over the January summer holidays, targeted at 14 – 26 year olds.

Designed to simulate the ‘pressure-cooker’ environment of TV and web production you will be in charge of writing, directing and shooting your own webisode.

Aimed to kick-start your digital media career, the workshop uses a combination of case studies and practical production exercises which culminates in a week of filming.

People interested in attending Let’s Make WebTV! must first complete an Enrolment Form. This will help professional workshop facilitators understand the interests, skills and abilities of each student.

Participants will then be divided into respective production teams, before being taken through the stages involved in creating a webseries from conception to online broadcast.

Dates: 9th – 13th & 16th – 20th January
Venue: Media Resource Centre
13 Morphett St, Adelaide
Time: 10am – 4pm
Cost: $350 (includes lunch daily!)

Download the Course Enrollment Form

For more information or to enroll email info@mrc.org.au or phone 8410 0979

Digital Storytelling – Not for the faint hearted

Digital Storytelling (DS) has been around for quite a few years now. The MRC first started incorporating it into their programs around 4 years ago under the passionate command of Martin Potter. It is a form of audio-visual storytelling that is simple in form, short in length and for those who are not necessarily filmmakers but interested in the form.

The professional screen industry does not embrace this artform as a matter of course, placing it in the ‘community programs’ basket. While I was around the MRC when Martin was setting up our DS program, I had not engaged with it until I undertook a course in the 2010 Seniors on Screen program. I was young enough to be the grand daughter of some participants but that did not matter; I was there to learn. The film I made called Rain, a 2-minute piece for my son, explaining why we named him Rain.

It was by doing rather just observing I was able to experience the powerful force of DS. Not for the faint hearted, the tutors encouraged participants to share their story – a moment in their life – then peel away the layers to get to the heart of its emotion and core. There were tears and laughter as everyone openly shared their stories, with relative strangers, in what we call the ‘story circle’. The next phase was marrying those words with pictures and sounds to create short digital stories.

Using industry professionals and broadcast standard equipment the MRC delivers an intense yet comprehensive short course. With participants writing, recording and editing their stories in just 3 days (no mean feat).

Over the past few weeks, followers of MRC’s tweets would have heard rambling words of awe and inspiration from me as I conducted a series of DS workshops for our Mindshare website (to be launched during Mental Health Week). By stepping out of the course and overseeing it I was able to see the full force of what DS can do.

Most participants were mental health clients and embraced this opportunity to share with the world how they came to terms with their illness. They are not downbeat or unfortunate stories but ones of strength and hope. By the end of the course they were liberated and empowered.

The mental health clients and support workers we worked with stood strong with their stories. They shared their heartbreak, their hurdles and some even shared stories they have been trying to write for years.

My team and I are very proud with what we achieved over the past few weeks. It was a refreshing reality check on what we as filmmakers can really do.

– Louise, MRC Digital Media Officer

No Budget Filmmaking, Part One

Our entry level initiative, Got Genre?, gives up to three teams a $2,500 in-kind budget, and that’s it. No cash to splash out – the equipment is taken care of, and that’s it. It is No Budget filmmaking. For 2011, teams are working on heist comedy The Burger Joint, sci-fi thriller Isis, and cel animation The Dream Lodge. We’ve asked members of each team to tell us a bit about the experience.

“No budget” filmmaking is a challenging but rewarding process. After working on a feature film late last year with a large cast and crew, it has been extremely refreshing to take on a smaller-scale production outside the University environment. Thanks to the MRC and the wider availability of DSLR cameras now, it is becoming more and more affordable and practical to achieve a high-quality product on a little-to-no budget. Of course, you still have to be smart about you go about making a film with no budget and you must be able to pull people and resources together from all sorts of different places. Preparation really is the key and it is especially important to be efficient when cast and crew are donating their time to be there. Having said that, no-budget filmmaking would not be possible without their generosity, nor would it be possible without donations of equipment from the MRC and other production houses, as well as catering contributions from friends, family and small businesses. Whilst there are certainly still plenty of limitations imposed by working without a budget, I find no-budget filmmaking to ultimately be an inspiring and liberating way to make films.”

– Aaron Nash, producer Isis

MRC and SA Films Have Success Around The Country

South Australian filmmakers again had great success at the Sydney Film Festival, with a South Australian film winning the Dendy for Best Live Action Short for the second year in a row. This year, the award went to The Palace, written, directed and co-produced by former MRC Board Member Anthony Maras, with his co-prodcer Kate Croser, a current Board Member, former MRC staff member, and ex-Raw Nerve production supervisor.

The Palace

Dario Russo, creator of Italian Spiderman and the up-coming SBS series Danger 5, winner the Innovation Award, also has MRC connections, making the short film Voodoo and Lou with us in 2006, several films under our TradeFilms initiative and a former member of our Members Production Group.

The award for Best Australian Documentary went to Life In Movement. MRC member Bryan Mason, who directed the film about dancer and choreographer Tanja Ledke, is frequently involved as a mentor on MRC Initiatives, and fellow co-director and co-producer Sophie Hyde has shared her expertise as a SASA Judge. Life in Movement won Best Feature at the 2011 South Australian Screen Awards (SASAs).

Films developed through MRC Initiatives have also been experiencing great success on the national film festival circuit in recent months. The Dungog Film Festival screened 2010 Raw Nerve films Daddy Daddy and Murder Mouth, 2010 Animation Initiative film Top Dog, 2010 Tropfest film A Moment of Grace, and 2011 Tropfest Short Film Production Initiative film Sumo Lake, which has also had more than 130,000 hits on Vimeco.

Murder Mouth also screened at the St Kilda Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Documentary, screening alongside MRC Supported film Toot Toot, nominated for Best Original Score and Best Achievement in Cinematography. Top Dog will soon have its international premiere in the prestigious Palm Springs International Shortfest this week.

Congratulations to all MRC members involved in these films, and all South Australian filmmakers having their shorts screened and awarded across the country and around the world.

2011 South Australian Screen Award Winners

The South Australian Screen Awards (SASA) were announced last night (Friday 13 May) at a gala event at the Mercury Cinema. Presented by the Media Resource Centre (MRC), SASA winners represent the best of South Australian screen practice across the broad spectrum of 19 genre and craft categories. The primary focus of the awards is short films, however there is an award for best feature film, which celebrates local features made by South Australians.

The event was hosted by Adelaide media identity, Tim Noonan (891 ABC and Channel Seven) and attended by the who’s-who’s of Adelaide’s up-and-coming new generation of feature film and television makers, including Matt Bate (Shut Up Little Man: An Audio Misadventure), Dario Russo and David Ashby, (Spiderman and Danger 5), Kate Croser (Danger 5 & My Tehran for Sale), Murali Thalluri (2:37), Sieh Mchawala (Barefoot in Ethiopia) and Sophie Hyde and Bryan Mason (Life in Movement). Also in attendance were film identities Richard Harris (CEO, South Australian Film Corporation), Adele Hann (Associate Artistic Director, Adelaide Film Festival) , screenwriter Stephen Sewell (The Boys) and members of the West End’s art precinct, Stan Mahoney (Format Collective) and Josh Fanning (Magazine).

The big success story of the night was The Kiss, which took out five awards including the $3000 cash BEST SHORT FILM (Producer, Sonya Humphrey), BEST SHORT DRAMA (Producer, Sonya Humphrey), BEST SCREENPLAY (Ashlee Page), BEST DIRECTOR (Ashlee Page) and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (Nick Matthews). Taking the local top prize was the icing on the cake for the makers of The Kiss, which has already won Best Short and Best Cinematography at the 2010 AFIs and won director Ashlee Page the award for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the 2010 Melbourne International Film Festival.

Sophie Hyde and Bryan Mason won BEST FEATURE with their beautiful documentary, Life In Movement, about choreographer, Tanya Liedtke, who tragically died the night before taking up the position of Artistic Director of the Sydney Dance Theatre. Sophie and Bryan were the 2009 winners of Best Short Film at SASA with Necessary Games and were the co-producers of Shut Up Little Man, the Adelaide feature which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

The poignant tale of a young African boy in a war zone, Paper Planes was nominated for five SASAS and won BEST SOUND DESIGN for Michael Darren. Its scriptwriter and director, Storm Ashwood was highly commended in the BEST DIRECTION category.

One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of BEST PERFORMANCE to Adelaide actress Chantal Contouri for her role in the delicately sublime film, Unfinished Thoughts, based on the Italian short story by Felix Calvino. Chantal whose family established the Original Barbecue Inn on Hindley Street, which she now runs, began her career in the 1970s on Number 96 and in the family favourite, The Sullivans. Unfinished Thoughts was nominated for eight SASAs.

The Director of the Media Resource Centre, Gail Kovatseff said

“It was a wonderful night celebrating what has been an outstanding year in local filmmaking. Judges found the final decision making extremely difficult as there were so many deserving films and filmmakers.”

FULL LIST OF 2011 SASA Award Winners & Prizes

1. Pro AV Award for Best Non-Narrative

Winner: A Moment of Grace (MRC)

Prize: $1000 equipment hire from Pro AV Solutions

2.Total Photographic Award for Innovation in Digital Media

Winner: Portrait Mode

Prize: Studio and equipment hire to the value of $1000

3. The Cutting Room Award for Best Music Video

Winner: Frown (by the Giveaways)

Prize: $2000 editing time at The Cutting Room – including colour grading – to produce their next music video

4. GooRoo Animation Award for Best Animation

Winner: Sumo Lake (MRC)

Prize: MovieMagic 7 Budgeting software, a signed GooRoo collector’s edition DVD plus a collection of animation books valued at over $1200.

5. AIDC Award for Best Documentary

Winner: Chasing Shadows

Prize: Gold Pass Membership to all sessions at the 2012 Australian International Documentary Conference, valued at over $1000

6. Best FX Award for Best Comedy

Winner: Cropped

Prize: Surround Sound Mix at Best FX valued at $3000

7. Oasis Post Award for Best Drama

Winner: The Kiss

Prize: $3000 post facilities hire at Oasis Post

8. Mercury Cinema Award for Best Feature Film

Winner: Life in Movement

Prize: Three free feature session hires at The Mercury Cinema valued at over $2,200

9. SASA People’s Choice Award

Winner: Murder Mouth (MRC)

Prize: Full MRC Membership plus Gold Pass Membership to Adelaide Cinematheque plus a year’s subscription to Collect magazine valued at $250

10. The Carclew Youth Arts MRC Emerging Filmmaker Award

Winner: Madeleine Parry (MRC)

Prize: $1000 cash, MRC membership plus $1000 worth equipment hire from the MRC

11. The Independent Arts Foundation MRC Emerging Producer Award

Winner: Rose Tucker (MRC)

Prize: $1000 cash courtesy of IAF, MRC membership, plus 6 months free office rental and mentorship at the MRC to produce their next short film

12. The SASA Award for Best Production Design

Winner: Jessie Mills for Aurora

Prize: $600 of gift vouchers to spend within any Ted’s Camera Stores

13. The Chapel Lane Award for Best Sound Design

Winner: Michael Darren for Paper Planes

Prize: $1000 worth of studio recording services

14. The Music SA Award for Best Composition

Winner: Christopher Larkin for Toot Toot

Prize: Cash prize and courses valued at over $1000

15. The Canon Australia Award for Best Cinematography

Winner: Nick Matthews for The Kiss

Prize: Canon 60D DSLR Camera with a kit lens valued at over $1600

16. The Photographic Wholesalers Award for Best Editing

Winner: Cleland Jones for A Moment of Grace (MRC)

Prize: NEC Colour Profile Monitor valued at over $1000

17. The Actors Ink Award for Best Performance

Winner: Chantal Contouri for Unfinished Thoughts (MRC)

Prize: $2000 worth of Actors Ink Courses and support

18. The SASA Best Screenplay Award

Winner: Ashlee Page for The Kiss

Prize: One year’s Associate Membership of the Australian Writers’ Guild plus free attendance to all AWG courses and programs offered in 2011-12 valued at over $600.

19. The Picture Hire Australia Award for Best Direction

Winner: Ashlee Page for The Kiss

Prize: $1000 worth of equipment hire from Picture Hire.

20. The SAFC Award for Best Short Film

Winner: The Kiss

Prize: $3000 cash courtesy of the SAFC

Crossing over

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by the SAFC and MRC to attend XMedia Lab in Perth, What’s Your Story? Having attended a few XML’s over the past few years I thought I knew what the day entailed; a few cases studies, the latest in hardware development and really cool international speakers.

Well not only did I get this but so much more. This XML was the most relevant one I had been to yet. In fact it was the most relevant for our industry, it focused on story in an interactive and collaborative space.

The first speaker, Esther Lim from The Estuary set the stage, this is all about creative community collaboration. Scary? Far from it, this is blurring the line between fiction and reality while allowing masses of people to go through the same story experience at the same time but from anywhere in the world. Now that’s exciting stuff.

And we can’t fight it anymore, hence my first tweet of the day:

“Beware auteur, community collaboration is happening whether you like it or not.”

While my call to arms may sound scary, Prof Duane Varan of Murdoch University demonstrated that just because it’s interactive we don’t throw the rules away. In the 10 Commandments of Interactive Storytelling, when it comes to cross platform narratives we embrace the same principles of linear storytelling. We just have to acknowledge that audiences live in cross platform worlds, but the trick is not to share the same content across platforms but intersect them.

Too much to get your head around? Well let Marshall Vandruff help clear it up for you, the things that stay constant are;

The Journey – takes us on one, not a tour.

The Thrill – through ups and downs; reversals, turning points/twists, build to a peak of tension, that way everyone cares about the outcome.

But most of all, give some meaning to our lives through that story.

Just when we thought we had it all down pat, Dominic Knight from The Chaser came to the stage to remind us that when it comes to storytelling, there are so many ways you can be innovative. It can be from setting to situation to character to dialogue to platform. But most importantly if you can nail storytelling then you can go far but if you don’t get that right you lose your audience.

If your story is good enough it will get out there, just make sure it is not about fixed media but evolving media. Renowned Australian producer Robyn Kershaw knows this and has picked up on it quick. Through her teenage children she has found a generation of stars who are broadcast on YouTube with cult followings.

Focusing on My Chonny she refers to this generation of viewers who do not engage in traditional forms of story as Screen-agers. And Chonny is not alone; there is Natalie Tran, Shane Dawson and Peter Chao. These are not just raving attention seekers; they are creative personalities with their own cult followings. The numbers of views on their absurd and off the wall clips reach over 1 million hits.

Transmedia can be daunting for traditional filmmakers but that’s because of a lot of misconceptions about it. Henry Jenkins broke down these as the 7 myths of transmedia;

1. it refers to any strategy involving more than one platform

2. it is a promotional tool

3. it means games

4. it is for geeks

5. it requires a large budget

6. everything should go transmedia

7. it is so 10 minutes ago

Once you wrap your head around all this you will soon see that: “In the brave new world of transmedia content is still king, conversation is just something to talk about.”