Kurdish genocide survivor, Rahel Romahn reaches milestone as a finalist for the prestigious Heath Ledger Scholarship

Rahel Romahn, a Western Sydney-based actor, known mainly for his roles in The Principal, Here Out West, Alex and Eve, Australian Gangster, and many more, is among the six finalists selected for a prestigious Hollywood acclaimed scholarship.

Australians in Film, a Los Angeles-based non-profit film, television, and digital content foundation that supports and promotes Australian screen talent and culture in the United States, have announced the finalists in the prestigious career and life changing Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2021.

As a Kurdish genocide survivor who came to Australia at the age of four, Rahel certainly exceeded all expectations and became one of Australia’s best young actors with a Logie and AACTA award nomination for his role in The Principal and now being selected as one of the six finalists out of 600 applications.

The Heath Ledger Scholarship is awarded to an emerging Australian actor with extraordinary ability and dedication to their craft who wishes to work and train internationally. It is named in memory of Ledger, the Perth-raised actor who sadly passed away in 2008, aged just 28. Ledger made his mark in Hollywood in films including Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight, and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Rahel Romahn has appeared in many Film, Television, and Theatre productions in the last 15 years with multiple awards, for his performance in the internationally acclaimed The Principal. He has in the past year, worked on multiple films and US TV shows, one of them being God’s Favorite Idiot, starring Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. He is also the lead character in the upcoming Australian film Streets of Colour.

The other five actors in the running for the scholarship are Max Brown (The Tourist, The Gloaming), Mabel Li (The Tailings, New Gold Mountain), Andrea Solonge (Privileged, Girl, Interpreted), Zoe Terakes (Wentworth, Nine Perfect Strangers) and Harvey Zielinski (Don’t Look Deeper, My First Summer).

The 2018 scholarship winner Charmaine Bingwa, who has gone on to star opposite Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, and Mandy Patinkin in the Chicago-based series The Good Fight announced the finalists on Australians in Film’s Instagram page.

The scholarship has been awarded 10 times previously and previous recipients have included Bingwa, Bella Heathcote (Relic), Cody Fern (American Horror Story), Ashleigh Cummings (Citadel), and Mojean Aria (The Enforcer).

“We had a staggering 600 applications this year, which is a record for the scholarship. Leading Australian and US Casting Directors, including, from the US; Barbara McCarthy, Alyssa Weisberg, Jason Wood and John McAlary, and from Australia; Ann Fay, Anousha Zarkesh and Amanda Mitchell, had the hard task of narrowing the field down to just six finalists. We thank them enormously for their passion in finding new Australian talent for the world.”

“The intelligence, dedication, commitment and talent of the six finalists really shined through in not only their auditions, but their applications, in which they had to talk about what being a HLS recipient would mean to them. Given their combined lived experience, they were indeed powerful reads. On behalf of the Ledger family, the Patrons of the Scholarship and the Board of AiF we congratulate them all.”

The six finalists have now recorded additional material, which will be sent to the final scholarship jury, made up of iconic Australian actors Chris Hemsworth and Jacki Weaver, acclaimed director Rachel Perkins, leading casting director Nina Gold and award-winning US actor Alia Shawkat.

Prizes this year include a US$10,000 cash prize to support the recipient with living expenses in the US while studying, a return economy flight to the US, plus a stack of educational training and career preparation worth over AUS$50,000.

The scholarship winner will get speech and dialect coaching, private acting coaching, headshots, immigration advice, personal styling, and even meditation classes.

The Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Is Now Available From Walt Disney Records

Available now from Walt Disney Records, the Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs by Tony®- and Grammy®-winning songwriter/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton,” “Moana) with original score by award-winning composer Germaine Franco (Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Little,” “Tag).   The soundtrack also features Colombia, Mi Encanto by Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra performs the original song Dos Oruguitas” in Spanish in the film, as well as the English language version of the song, in the end-credits. The physical soundtrack will be available on Dec. 17. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto opens in Australian cinemas on December 2, 2021.

On diving into the music of the Colombian-set story, Miranda said A lot of the rhythms are familiar to me, but the instrumentation and orchestration are different and often unique to Colombia.  One of the most fun things is that the accordion is so central to the music. It was really a joy immersing myself in artists I didnt know and doing deeper dives into those Ive grown up lovinglike Carlos Vives, who were lucky enough to work with on this movie. This entire process has been about falling in love with Colombian music and culture and getting to play in that space.

Miranda wrote and produced eight original songs for Encanto. Mike Elizondo (“96,000” from In The Heights,” “My Shot (Rise Up Remix) from The Hamilton Mixtape) co-produced the songs. I hope audiences come away singing these songs just like so many classic Disney movies, said Elizondo. There are so many positive messages about family and our relationships to one another. I also hope they realize how much variety there is in Colombian music. I learned so much about their rhythms and styles during the production process and I hope the audience can use the soundtrack as a gateway to discover Colombian music.

The Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs and a full original score, plus one reprise and one end-credit version of a song from the film. The digital version of the soundtrack also includes instrumental versions of the songs. 

Award-winning composer Germaine Franco is behind the original score for Encanto. Franco worked closely with filmmakers and Miranda to create a signature score that complemented the songs and story.

Commenting on the score, Franco said, Collaborating with Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Charise Castro Smith, and Yvett Merino was a dream!  We created new textures and sonorities, using traditional Colombian instruments such as tiples, bandolas, cununos, marimba de chonta, arpa llanera from Latin America mixed with orchestra. The sound of the score is infused with many Colombian rhythmic styles including bambuco, mapalé, cumbia, and joropo. The score weaves in and out of the beautiful songs of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I hope that the musical imagery of the score evokes the resonant landscape of Colombia, the tenacity of our lead character, Mirabel, the strength of family, and our shared humanity.

Encanto is directed by Jared Bush (co-director Zootopia) and Byron Howard (Zootopia,” “Tangled), co-directed by Charise Castro Smith (writer The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez) and produced by Yvett Merino, p.g.a., and Clark Spencer, p.g.a.  Castro Smith and Bush are screenwriters on the film.

In the film, the magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to healevery child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional familys last hope. The voice cast includes Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, Wilmer Valderrama, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Jessica Darrow, Rhenzy Feliz and Carolina Gaitán. 

You can watch the Music Featurette below:

A New Trailer For “Nightmare Alley” Is Now AVAILABLE

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Release date: In Cinemas January 20, 2022

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn

Synopsis: In Nightmare Alley, an ambitious carnival worker (Bradley Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is. A film by Guillermo del Toro.

The Official Poster & Trailer For Wyrmwood: Apocalypse Has Just Dropped

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is a post-apocalyptic zombie film that follows soldier Rhys who lives in a zombie-infested Australian wasteland. Rhys is on an arc of redemption as he turns against his evil bosses and joins forces with a group of rebel survivors to help rescue a girl who holds the cure to the virus.

The film which has been hailed as ‘Mad Max Meets Dawn Of the Dead’ – has picked up an audience award at the 2021 Sydney Film Festival for Best Feature Film.

Release Date: February 10,2022

Cast: Luke McKenzie as Rhys, Shantae Barnes Cowan as Maxi, Jake Ryan as the Colonel, Bianca Bradey as Brooke, Tasia Zalar as Grace, Jay Gallagher as Barry and Nick Boshier as the Surgeon General

Directed By: Kiah Roache-Turner

Written By: Kiah & Tristan Roache-Turner

Produced By: Tristan Roache-Turner & Blake Northfield

Check out the trailer below:

Walt Disney Australia Release Schedule As Of November 2021…The Countdown Begins NOW

2021 has been a tough year for the movie industry. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to drastically affect the world, the year’s biggest films were caught in the crossfire which resulted in a number of setbacks and cancellations brought upon by the pandemic. However, Walt Disney Australia has decided to put some of these skepticisms to rest, with the company revealing their Australian release schedule for all their films until 2023. Without further ado, check out Walt Disney Australia’s release schedule as of November 2021.

The Trailer & Release Date For BERGMAN ISLAND Has Just Dropped

Maslow Entertainment has recently announced the release date for, BERGMAN ISLAND. Directed and written by Mia Hansen-Løve (Eden, Things to Come) and starring Mia Wasikowska (Judy & Punch, Tracks, The Kids Are All Right), Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, OLD) and Anders Danielsen Lie (22 July, Personal Shopper, The Worst Person In The World), the beguiling drama about life, love, and art is set to arrive in Australian cinemas nationally on January 6, 2022. The film will be distributed by Maslow Entertainment in partnership with Umbrella Entertainment.

A filmmaking couple, Chris (Krieps) and Tony (Roth), retreat to the breathtaking and mythical Fårö Island in Sweden for the Summer, a place where the legendary director Ingmar Bergman shot some of his most celebrated films. While hoping to find creative inspiration, but spending most of their days apart, memories of Chris’ first love are evoked and the lines between reality and fiction progressively begin to blur, ultimately making her question her current relationship.

‘BERGMAN ISLAND’ WILL BE AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIAN CINEMAS NATIONALLY ON JANUARY 6, 2022

Check out the trailer below:

A New “Sneak Peek” At Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” Just Dropped

Rachel Zegler as Maria and Ansel Elgort as Tony in 20th Century Studios’ WEST SIDE STORY. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Walt Disney Company released a new sneak peek  at Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielbergs film adaptation of the musical West Side Story, which will open in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day, 2021.

Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, West Side Story tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian dArcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno – one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony®, and Peabody Awards  also serves as one of the films executive producers. 

Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the films creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer; Tony Award® winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award®-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (Anastasia), who arranged the score, Tony Award®-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie), who supervised the cast on vocals; and GRAMMY®-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago), who serves as executive music producer for the film. The film is produced by Spielberg, p.g.a., Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a. and Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. West Side Story” has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway show. Original choreography by Jerome Robbins, based on the stage play, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, play conceived, directed, and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, music by Leonard Bernstein. 

From 20th Century Studios, The Walt Disney Company will release West Side Story in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day, 2021.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Vanessa Lastro of Disney

The Trailer For Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch Has Just Dropped

From Director WES ANDERSON

Starring BENICIO DEL TORO, ADRIEN BRODY, TILDA SWINTON, LÉA SEYDOUX, FRANCES MCDORMAND, TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET, LYNA KHOUDRI, JEFFREY WRIGHT, MATHIEU AMALRIC, STEPHEN PARK, BILL MURRAY and OWEN WILSON

Synopsis: THE FRENCH DISPATCH brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city.

Check out the trailer below:

Sydney Multicultural Film Awards 2021: Meet The Judges

SMFA (Sydney Multicultural Film Awards) has just announced the list of nominees and finalists for the 2021 Sydney Multicultural Film Awards. The festival received over 110 film submissions from directors and producers all over the world across 15 categories and is set to announce the official winners on November 20th, 2021.

SMFA is an award ceremony that celebrates the talent coming from creatives from all around the world, with a focus on inclusion, diversity, and multiculturalism. Set in Sydney, this festival offers a beautiful backdrop and is home to the awards ceremony.

After considering a strong field of 110 submissions, our judges have voted to determine this year’s nominees and finalists. These submissions represent the best and most affecting short films to come out of the past year. Let’s meet the face behind the judges of this year’s finalists:

Yolandi Franken

Yolandi Franken is a film and TV producer, TV host, and an industry all-rounder. She’s currently the editor-in-chief of FilmCentral magazine. She started studying and working in the film industry almost exactly 21-years ago now and although it’s a difficult industry to be in love with due to its inconsistent nature, she still wouldn’t change it for the world. Her job has enabled her to meet some amazing people and travel the world. She has worked in China, Hong Kong, South Africa, India, Dominican Republic, and the USA and she will forever be thankful for the opportunities that were presented to her and the people who helped her grow.

She was a producer of three feature films; Turbines, Tabernacle 101, and Streets of Colour, a two-part documentary series called Yols Discover, two TV series; The Fast lane and Miss Multiverse Australia, and hundreds of shorter format stories (music videos, short films, TV Ads, Corporate videos, etc.) Many of these got accepted into countless prestigious film festivals, some even winning some awards. These productions are available worldwide on streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Tubi, Google Play, Apple TV, and many more. Tabernacle 101 also had a US cinema release and The Fast Lane was aired on television sets throughout South-East Asia.

She’s currently a part of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) Australia and is Co-Chair of their NSW Committee and Chair of their National Virtual Arm where she’s involved in organising face-to-face and virtual events and workshops with industry leaders, educators, suppliers, funding bodies and guilds. She personally had the privilege to work with Disney, Niki Caro, Mandy Walker ASC ACS, Steph Power, Jill Bilcock, Bonnie Elliott, Arri, all the amazing people on the WIFT Australia Board, and many more.

As a secondary passion, she also works in front of the cameras. She hosted Teal Wings, Indie Film World, Yols Discover, The Fast Lane, Miss Multiverse Australia, and Miss Multiverse International. Some of these are available on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and some aired on Television. As far as acting goes, she’s had a number of smaller roles in Australian TV-series and Films and even a tiny role in the Hollywood Blockbuster, Kingsmen – The Secret Service. In her younger years, she was also a model but she ended her modelling career after representing Australia three times on a world level in Mrs. Globe, Mrs. World, and Miss Multiverse.

In 2014 she started a charitable film festival called Cause Film Festival which she ran for three years before passing on her role as Festival Director to Suki Foster. The festival is still running and has housed some of Australia’s most talented filmmakers and actors. Furthermore, she was actually nominated as “Australian of the Year” in 2015 for the work she does in the community and for various charities.

Waheed Nadafi

Waheed was brought up in the UAE until he was 17. After that, he migrated to Australia for his education and work. He lived in Australia for 12 years and has been working in the filmmaking industry since he was 18 years old. His regiment was to go to his 11th-grade high school while interning at different production companies in Perth WA. While at University, he was working and studying in the film industry.

Waheed’s short films have been recognized and won in many different festivals around the world. His greatest highlight was when he won the audience award at the Palm Springs International and was a finalist at the Down Under Berlin Film Festival and Kinotropa Film Festival. On the advertising commercials side of things, he has worked with Colenso BBDO on a three-add campaign for Dog Haven/SPCA.

Recently, Waheed has one of his features to get into the semifinals of Screencraft writing competition and was also in the top 10% of Coverfly. In addition, he has been working on new scripts with his editor/mentor, a seven-time Emmy Nominated Screenwriter, Ron Osborn. This is another step for him to achieve his goal of being an Auteur.

His motto has always been to stick with your strengths, listen to those who are trying to help you with your career, and always be humble.

Nicole Pastor

Nicole Pastor is a Film and Television Actress born in Sydney, Australia. Not only does she bring over a decade of experience to our screens but she has worked with the likes of director Alex Proyas (Gods of Egypt, I robot, the crow) working as the solo actress on his upcoming short horror film “Box”, and stars opposite Actress Jacqueline McKenzie in “Ruby’s Choice” which is led by the legendary Jane Seymour, Directed by Michael Budd, and has a supporting role in Australian Feature Film “Water Horse” Directed by Jennifer Van Gessel. Nicole has also spent the last decade working on various commercials, music videos, and print campaigns across Australia and Internationally as both an Actor and Model. She identifies as gay, maintaining a strong connection with the LGBTQ+ storytelling community.

Aska Karem

Aska Karem is a Kurdish woman who came to Australia as a refugee from her home country of Kurdistan. She can speak in Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish. She is doing an internship in order to get licensure as a psychologist upon completion of the programme. Aska completed a number of acting courses at NIDA, including Advanced Acting Studio, Acting Ensemble, Screen Acting Technique, and a variety of other programs. She recently appeared in George Miller’s film “Three Thousand Years of Longing.” Aska Karem is also a writer, with a nonfiction book currently in development. She is devoted to culture and diversity, ensuring that their stories and experiences are presented in a variety of ways.

Clifford The Big Red Dog New Trailer & Featurette Available Now!

Darby Camp and Jack Whitehall star in CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Introducing CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG… The more you love him the bigger he gets!

Check out the BRAND NEW TRAILER & FEATURETTE for CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, coming to cinemas DECEMBER 30.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS:

When middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese) who gifts her a little, red puppy, she never anticipated waking up to find a giant ten-foot hound in her small New York City apartment. While her single mom (Sienna Guillory) is away for business, Emily and her fun but impulsive uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) set out on an adventure that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat as our heroes take a bite out of the Big Apple. Based on the beloved Scholastic book character, Clifford will teach the world how to love big!