Actor Spotlight: One On One With Jonathon James Williams

Jonathon James Williams is an Australian-born filmmaker finding ways to make his dreams a reality in Los Angeles. Back in Australia, Jonathon started out as a carpenter and construction worker making a living working tunnel construction and carpentry. During those long hours, he found himself daydreaming of sunshine and living the Hollywood dream. Following a near-death workplace accident, he decided to follow his lifelong dream and step into the California sun. He traded in his construction hat for a plane ticket, and never looked back.

Once Jonathon arrived in Los Angeles in 2013 he enrolled at the world-famous Stella Adler Academy of Theater in Hollywood. He cut his teeth there during his full-time studies and then began to produce and direct high-concept short films. He was also a former Masterclass Film director student of Academy Award-nominated actor James Franco. From there, he was able to jump into this industry and has been blessed with various opportunities to showcase his talents. Currently, he has spent the last two years producing, directing, and acting in “I Want To Thank The Academy”. This movie is in the spirit of Crocodile Dundee, but on the streets of Hollywood, where they deep dive into the actor’s world through the lens of an outback Australian farmer.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jonathon to discuss his journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

What do you like most about acting?

The chance to embody another character. To be in a story that can bring joy, happiness, sadness, or education.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Keeping the faith and trusting your vision. There is limited support or celebration prior to delivering a great movie. Until that moment arrives, it is solitude and isolation. At times, I am the only one working on the project and which does lead me to find ways to keep the motivation going.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to viewers what they want?

It can be a mix. All the movies I have ever directed reflect original storylines, but cinema does have a great history of norms, that sometimes have to be nodded to.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Keep dreaming and keep the faith.

What was an early experience where you learned that films had power?

As a kid, I grew up in a troubled home with an alcoholic mom in a suburb that borders the world-famous Broadmeadows in Victoria, Australia. But, every Tuesday my dad would rent 5 movies for $5 from Blockbusters and we would have them for a week. I used to watch movies all day, and it became my escape and set me froth on my future path. Movies help, they foster dreams and help people when they are down. They inspire, motivate, and can change hearts and minds. They educate people on the wonders of this world along with the cruelty of it. Since my childhood, I focus on creating a storyline that can help others. Just like past movies have helped me.

Can you tell us more about your latest film?

I just can’t think of too many Australian movies that were made in the United States. There was the Dundee’s, but apart from that, there’s been none. Until now. That’s what makes “I Want To Thank The Academy” so special. It will blow away the audience. A movie like this has never been done and this story has never been told and I’m more than happy to say it is going to be one of the greatest independent movies made. In the movie, Richard Wilken is an Australian cattle farmer who moves to Hollywood to chase his childhood dreams of becoming an actor. Richard takes the audience on an outrageous and audacious journey through Hollywood and life, as he moonlights with an unusual job and grinds away in an attempt to achieve his unlikely dream of being an actor. “I Want To Thank The Academy” is littered with a powerful ensemble of known actors: Rick Peters, Justine Wachsberger, Bruce Katzman, Cami Storm, Katarzyna Wolejnio, Noel Gibson, Steve Krahel, Tarek Tohmne, Jeff Alan Lee, Carolyn Crotty, Samantha Mahurin, Jonathon Williams, Jason Trevits and other notable names. We have a great collection of well-known actors that have done substantial international work. We have over twenty nationalities representing our cast and crew and several immigrants cast in this film. It is a movie that represents Australia in strong and fun light, showcasing the Aussie Spirit. Viewers will relate to the feeling of pride found in pursuing dreams in life and can watch it all unfold on the Hollywood stage. It truly is an extraordinary effort and the bar has been set high to deliver a multimillion-dollar movie on a fraction of that budget through hard work and hustle.

What inspired the story? How did it come about?

The original concept of the central character came from a misadventure on set. I was hired by a big time film director who has worked with the likes of Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Sir Anthony Hopkins and so on. I was cast as this Australian character in a supporting role and I was told to be super Australian and come to set prepared. At the time, I got no camera time, a few scenes and I believe the schedule got so backed up, I was forgotten. But it planted the seed for Richard Wilkin’s going forward. I then mustered together all of my wild and unusual experiences I have had in Los Angeles and in the acting world, then coiled them into the script and movie. Therefore, the movie is loosely based on real events. After that, it has been nonstop hustle; hard work; thousands of crazy hours of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this movie.

What makes this story unique and why should people watch it?

This movie is one of a kind and centers on a story that has never been told. It is the only Australian movie since Crocodile Dundee to be filmed in the great United States.

What was the production process like?

Fun and daring, but before filming, we spent over a year on the script and then worked in some of the most iconic locations in Los Angeles, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Blvd, Rodeo Dr, Santa Monica Pier and many more. It has been a blast and a film that shows the awesome and vibrant life of Los Angeles, and the acing world, but through the eyes of an Australian farmer. So, we had a wild and fun ride.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the project to light?

Did anything funny or exceptional happen on set? We had multiple scenes in some of the most iconic locations that are full of tourists and spectators, the main character Richard is dressed as if he is from the early 1900s so he sticks out like a sore thumb, so it is super funny for the average viewer watching us film.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Directing and acting in my upcoming film, “I Want To Thank The Academy” I have mastered being patient in the process. By developing this skill, I have been able to spend time creating a movie that ultimately showcases the Australian culture right here in Hollywood. It takes time to artistically contrast the spirit of Australia along with the Los Angeles backdrop, but with dedicated work, it has successfully been done. By patiently believing in my vision, I have had the opportunity to create a movie that is in the vein of Crocodile Dundee. We have filmed at some of the most iconic locations in the world; Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood Sign, Rodeo Drive, and the Santa Monica Pier. It has been an incredibly amazing experience and it will live in cinema history. “I Want To Thank The Academy” is littered with a powerful ensemble of known actors: Rick Peters, Justine Wachsberger, Bruce Katzman, Cami Storm, Katarzyna Wolejnio, Noel Gibson, Steve Krahel, Tarek Tohmne, Jeff Alan Lee, Carolyn Crotty, Samantha Mahurin, Jonathon Williams, Jason Trevits and other notable names. This movie is audacious and amazing and it is from a whole collective of people from all walks of life that have brought this movie together. We represent almost every culture in the world with this incredible and diverse cast and crew and we feel that this movie does also represent the heart of Los Angeles and more so, the dare to dream which is in every single heart.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Other artists and creatives. People who have overcome challenges. Los Angeles is filled with immigrants coming to America to chase a dream. I have had profound experience getting to know the struggles of others as they have come here to live a better life. It has humbled me and I am grateful. They are all unique and different in they own way. Los Angles is such a melting pot of culture and so many people of different walks of life. We can always learn from anyone.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

When I first moved to Los Angeles, director, and actor, Carlos Bernard always took the time to explain directing, storytelling, and life operating on big movie sets. But the greatest nugget I got from him was “you know what looks good on the monitor, and shoot for that”. It just simplified the process of having a very clear target to focus on when you have so many other components around you that can be daunting at times.

What advice would you give to a newbie director who wants to make it in the industry?

Dream, hustle, create, and do not give up.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

A young Harrison Ford, we both started off as carpenters.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently in the festival phase and distribution of “I Want To Thank The Academy” which is going to be huge. I just got booked to direct a pilot titled “Home”, and then I’m tacking a movie on the Alien phenomena.

Is there is anything else or interesting you can tell us.

This upcoming film is a testimony to anyone out there with a dream. I grew up in the Los Angeles equivalent of South Central LA in the 1990s. The probability of a kid like me growing into the person I am today was slim. My entire childhood was something out of a Lifetime movie, and yet, I made it to Hollywood. What is interesting is how film saved me. It gave me the opportunity to triumph over my past. What is also interesting, is that anyone has the chance to make it. Often, the harder the struggle to get here, the more you have to express in your art.

Director Spotlight: Find Out More About Julie Kalceff

FIRST DAY SEASON 2_Director Julie Kalceff_photo credit Matt Byrne

Julie Kalceff is an Emmy award-winning Australian writer, director, and producer best known for writing, directing, and co-producing the television series First Day. This ground-breaking story of a 12-year-old transgender girl starting high school was the first Australian series to star a transgender actor in the lead role. It sold to multiple territories worldwide including Hulu (US) and CBBC (UK). In 2021, the series won the International Emmy Award for Best Kids Live-Action Series. That same year, First Day won the Rose d’Or, and a GLAAD Media Award (Children and Youth) which honour media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQIA+ community and the issues that affect their lives. The second season of First Day was released in March 2022 and is available on Hulu in the US and ABC iView in Australia. 

In 2020, Julie was part of a “powerhouse female directing team” that spearheaded the feature film anthology drama Here Out West.

Julie first gained international attention when she created, wrote, directed, and produced the global hit digital drama series Starting From Now. Attracting critical and popular acclaim, it is one of the most-watched web series in the world – amassing over 190 million views in 230 countries. The series was also sold to and played on broadcast television in Australia.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Julie to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

 Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started in the industry?

I started in the industry as a screenwriter. I used to read a lot as a child. My mum worked in the library at my primary school. Every day after school I’d go to the library and read while I waited for her to finish work. I got my love of books and stories from her and always wanted to be a writer. When I was nearing the end of high school I was encouraged by the teachers at my school and the adults in my life to find a “real” job. They saw writing as a hobby at best and not something that should be pursued as a career. It was considered wise to have “something to fall back on”. Lacking the confidence in myself as a writer and not having the courage to stand up to them, I did what they said and trained as a high school English teacher. It was only after I’d been teaching for 5 years that I realised I had to make a change or I’d regret it for the rest of my life. I resigned from my job and started teaching myself screenwriting. I was accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in 2001 and completed a two-year Masters of Film and Television (Scriptwriting). While there I had my first taste of directing when I co-directed a short film I’d written called ex.

FIRST DAY SEASON 2_Evie Macdonald, Jackson Evans, Director Julie Kalceff_photo credit Matt Byrne

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

For me, the most difficult part of the artistic process is sustaining self-belief. You have to be incredibly persistent in this industry in order to make inroads. I spent ten years post-film school struggling to find my place in the industry. It was another three before I had my first TV credit. Those first ten years were especially difficult. I had no idea if I would ever have a breakthrough in my career. The one thing I knew was that if I gave up, that breakthrough would never happen. 

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to viewers what they want?

I don’t think these are an either/or proposition. I believe viewers want to watch screen content that is original. The breakthrough in my career that came ten years post-film school only came about because I decided to make a short-form online drama series called Starting From Now. At the time, people argued that drama wouldn’t work online, that only stand-alone comedic episodes that can be shared amongst friends stood any chance of attracting an audience. We made five seasons of Starting From Now over three years. I wrote and directed all thirty episodes, which quickly became my film school as a director. The series sold to SBS and has accumulated 190 million views to date. In short, there are a lot of viewers who want to watch content they haven’t seen before.

FIRST_DAY_S2_Elena Liu as Olivia and Evie Macdonald as Hannah_photo credit Matt Byrne

Where do you draw your inspiration for your stories?

When I graduated from the AFTRS I thought I had to write films and television series similar to those that already existed. I thought this was the only way to get something made, to land that first credit. The problem with that approach is you’re not writing from the heart. You’re trying to imitate, rather than create. A major turning point for me was when I realised I had to write the types of stories I wanted to see. I had to write from the heart and put myself on the page.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

You will find your place in the world. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

What was an early experience where you learned that screen content had power?

The audience response to Starting From Now took me by surprise. We received countless messages from viewers saying how much it meant to them to see a show about four women who happened to be lesbians but their sexuality wasn’t the focus of the series. The simple act of seeing complicated and complex characters who weren’t tortured by their sexuality or ostracised by society meant a great deal to our audience who had been historically underrepresented on screen.  You can’t underestimate the power of seeing yourself and people like you on screen. As long as these depictions are multi-dimensional characters who aren’t mined for cheap laughs or trauma, they can lead to a greater sense of self-worth, inclusion, and acceptance.

Screen content is incredibly powerful. It not only has the potential to do a great deal of good but it also has the potential to cause harm. As a filmmaker, I’m responsible for the work I put out into the world. I have to be mindful of the impact of my work and, as such, am very particular about the types of projects I choose to work on.

Can you tell us more about your latest film/television project?

My latest project is First Day (Season 2). First Day is a 4 x half-hour family television series about Hannah Bradford, a transgender girl in her second year of high school. It stars Evie Macdonald as Hannah and is produced by Kirsty Stark (Epic Films) and Kate Butler (Kojo). Kirsty produced the first season, as well as the stand-alone 20 minute episode on which the series was based. Both Seasons 1 and 2 of First Day are available on ABC iView in Australia and Hulu in the US (with more territories to follow).  

Has it won any awards or had any big achievements yet?

Season 1 of First Day won an International Emmy Award, a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming, the Rose d’Or for Best Children and Youth Series, a BANFF World Media Festival Rockie Award for Best Live-Action Series (Children 0-10), a Kidscreen Award for Best Live-Action Series, First Prize in the Live-Action Television Category at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, and the ATOM Award for Best Children’s Television Program. It was nominated for two AACTA Awards – Best Children’s Program and Best Screenplay in Television, the SDIN (Screen Diversity Inclusion Network) Award and was a finalist in the Screen Producers Australia Awards.

It has sold to multiple territories around the world including the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, Israel, Brazil, Taiwan, and South Africa.

FIRST DAY SEASON 2_Director Julie Kalceff, Elena Liu, Max Vasquez_photo credit Matt Byrne

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Find people you trust and work with them whenever possible.

What advice would you give to a newbie writer/director who wants to make it in the industry?

There isn’t just one pathway into the industry. Work hard, never stop learning, treat everyone equally, and, I know it’s difficult, but try not to compare yourself to others. If you keep doing those things, you might just find your own path.     

What are your future plans?

I’m currently in the development of a couple of longer-form TV series and a feature film. I’m also attached to co-direct a feature documentary that’s slated to shoot later this year. The majority of my work has been as a creator/writer/director and while I’d like to continue doing that, I’m also interested in directing more projects I haven’t created or written. I have US management and hope to work in both the US and Australia in the future.

Meet The Man Behind The March 2022 Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Rahel Romahn

Download Now

Rahel Romahn is a Western Sydney-based actor, known mainly for his roles in The Principal, Here Out West, Alex and Eve, Australian Gangster, and many more. He has appeared in several Film, Television, and Theatre productions in the last 15 years, with multiple awards, for his performance in the internationally acclaimed The Principal. He has worked on numerous films, and US TV shows in the past year, 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.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Rahel to discuss his journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I am an avid fan of theatre, playwrights, cats, all animals, motorcycles, talking to myself in the mirror, films, and cinema, creating my own unique style of fashion, food, playing football (soccer), and Liverpool FC.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I was an oddball recluse who loved to mimic people and accents. I realised there was employment for my unconventional talents. I heard about a film course on the radio when I was 13, and that is where my journey into acting began. After that, I started doing screen acting workshops in a rundown old building for $30 a night, doing a new scene each week with a new partner. It was a very underground class, nestled deep in the mean streets of Sydney.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

Which factors do you think contributed to your success as an actor?

Obsession. You have to be obsessed with the art form or career you are involved in, and only then can you achieve maximum success. If you are not thinking about it and improving your ability all day, every day, you better believe someone out there is, and their tenacity will subsequently be the reason they attain great heights and book the job that was destined for you.

Which do you consider to be the standout roles of your career to date?

The first major supporting lead role I played was Tarek Ahmed in The Principal for SBS. It was an important moment and role as it finally offered me the chance to truly put into action my ability in the craft of acting. My character was conflicted, confused, angry, sad, strong, vulnerable, scary, and gentle. It is not often someone of colour in Australia gets the opportunity to showcase such a complex character, and it has been my favourite released TV Series role thus far.

My first feature film leading role followed soon after, and I played Nick in Down Under. This dark comedy film was a fantastic role for me to showcase my comedic ability and timing. I was able to bask in the joy of a larger-than-life-failed thug who wants nothing more than to enact rage on others as he has not accepted himself. It was an excellent way to include a commedia dell’arte style character who was driven by physical urges.

My second feature film leading role was Tez in a film called Streets of Colour. This film was dear to my heart as it was a character who was fighting for the right to be able to see his son. He is a troubled young man, deeply in need of some encouragement and direction in his life to that he can ultimately change his life for the better. It was such a wonderful emotional journey, and I look forward to people seeing it.

A role I had great fun performing was Little Crazy in a show called Australian Gangster. I was given full freedom to improvise with this role and was able to tread the fine line between someone hilariously funny to psychotically scary—such a wonderful dichotomy.

The role people have not yet seen is my character in the soon-to-be-released Apple TV Series Shantaram. I cannot divulge too much at this point, but one word I can use to describe my character is a psychopath. I believe he will be a standout character due to his sheer vividness.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

I am not sure if an actor can have weak points. I believe it is all about adding many techniques to your artistic palette, so to speak, and once you have a vast array of hues, you can polish and shade them with more detail, specificity, accuracy, and delivery. I will always go to acting class. I want to learn until my last days. That is the beauty of admitting you will never know everything, the excitement of discovery.

What has set me apart from most is my propensity for intensity and versatility. I can adapt to any genre, tone, speed, or atmosphere and do it while performing at optimum levels with absolute precision. I don’t need to sell it; the work will speak for itself.

What have you learned from the Directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

I have learned that the Director’s most important role is casting the right actor. That is 90% of the job complete. They pick the right person with the right feeling, musicality, physicality, energy, and demeanour. Once on set, it becomes about nuance, specificity, choices, guidance, and examination of the deeper meanings and subtext of a circumstance, atmosphere, or psychology. A Director helps guide the performer to achieve maximum potential as the Director has the vision ingrained in their psyche. Much like designing a piece of art, whether it be Edvard Munch’s The Scream to Norman Rockwell’s Homecoming Marine. Each frame is carefully crafted, with the actor being either the salient aspect or the object of subtle neutrality.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

The difficulty of the acting business is the sheer number of people involved in it – the ratio of available roles to the amount of out of work actors. You also have to perform at your absolute best every time you act, as first impressions matter. You want your first time being seen to be memorable and exciting, as this will propel you into an energetic forward trajectory. You also have to have the right team that knows you and your instrument, so they can best support and facilitate your journey.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

This may differ for many actors, but I absolutely love bringing a script to life. It is where I can stamp my uniqueness, my instrument, my colour, and the qualities that make everyone an enigma. The biggest issue about bringing a script to life is feeling strongly about the way a scene is played out and being challenged to perform in a manner that does not feel justified or in agreeance with your own impulse and vision. The key to sorting out that issue is to articulate your points very distinctly, listen to the opposing views, and work out an artistic compromise. Or you could just shoot two different takes.

What do you do when you are not filming?

Mostly, I work on my acting, play football (soccer), watch lots of movies, TV shows, and theatre, and always try and learn a new skill. This year, I learned how to ride a horse, ride a motorcycle, and learn a few stunts. I also love to hang out with my close friends and discuss everything from career to activities and what to eat for lunch.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far? Or career highlights?

There are a few memorable events. It is being nominated for an AACTA and Logie award, being artistically supported by Larry Moss, being able to make my family proud and recently I was in a TV Series where my character who was meant to be killed off in episode 6, got written in until episode 12, as the Producers loved my performance. The most recent highlight was being named the 11th recipient of the prestigious Heath Ledger Scholarship, presented by Australians in Film, which is the biggest honour an actor can receive in this country. The list of judges who had chosen me as the winner included Jacki Weaver, Chris Hemsworth, Alia Shawkat, Nina Gold, and Rachel Perkins. Heath Ledger is one of the most important actors of all time and to be associated with him and his family is something I will cherish for eternity.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

This is a tough one. I find all people interesting. I like to watch and observe behaviour, voices, tones, emotions, and subtext. It can become mentally exhausting and unbearable at times, but human beings fascinate me. I often feel like an alien from outer space until I realise, I am also human. I would say, in the industry, I have been lucky to meet and work with Peter Andrikidis, Kriv Stenders, Steve Lightfoot, Bruce Marshall Romans, Charlie Hunnam, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Abe Forsythe, Kip Williams and Luke Pasqualino. Those are just a few of the top of my head names. I have been blessed to meet and work with so many more amazing industry pioneers.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Al Pacino. No need to even think about that one.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I want to achieve the absolute greatest heights a person can achieve in an artistic career and then help others achieve the same. I know one person cannot put an end to all of the world’s problems, but if I can at least help one person, it’s something.

Is there anything else interesting you can tell us about you?

There is no language or accent that I cannot learn for a role. Try me.

Who is your representation at the moment?

I am currently represented by the agency Shanahan Management and managed by More/Medavoy based in the USA.

Robert Eggers’ The Northman Announced For SWIFF’22 Opening Night Gala

SWIFF’22 has announced The Northman, directed by acclaimed director Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) as the feature for the Opening Night Gala, marking the start of the Festival on Thursday 21st April. 

One of the most highly anticipated films of 2022, The Northman is a Viking revenge thriller that tells the tale of a young prince, Amleth, played by Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), on a quest to avenge his father’s murder and save his mother from his traitorous uncle.

The film features a formidable cast including Oscar-nominated actors, Nicole Kidman (Destroyer – SWIFF’19), Ethan Hawke (The Truth – SWIFF ‘20), and Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), as well as Grammy-nominated musician, Björk (Dancer in the Dark, Best Actress Cannes 2002).

The Opening Night Gala will lead off a 16-day, 130-session strong music, and film line-up. Tickets are now on sale. The full SWIFF’22 program is to be announced on March 18th.

Australian International Documentary Conference Announces Awards, Nominees & Stanley Hawes Winner

Today, the Australian International Documentary Conference announces the nominees for the annual AIDC Awards, and is also proud to announce screen journalist David Tiley as the winner of the $5,000 Stanley Hawes Award for 2022. The 2022 AIDC Awards Ceremony will be held in-person, at ACMI, Melbourne on Wednesday 9 March.

Successfully launching in 2021, the AIDC Awards recognise the outstanding work of new Australian documentary and factual content across six different categories. Alongside the 2022 Stanley Hawes Award recipient, David Tiley, AIDC is excited to celebrate the talent and achievements of the nominees during AIDC 2022.

Natasha Gadd, CEO/Creative Director, AIDC, said, “After the extraordinary response to the inaugural AIDC Awards in 2021, it was clear that our industry is wholeheartedly embracing a new initiative that celebrates and acknowledges the craft and talent of Australian documentary and factual content. We are so excited to once again present the AIDC Awards to recognise excellence in our field across six categories. We congratulate the 21 nominees for their achievements and thank our generous partners, the Awards jurors and the pre-selection committee members who have contributed to this year’s AIDC 2022 Awards.”

AIDC AWARD NOMINEES

The 2022 AIDC Awards Presentation will be held on Wednesday 9 March at ACMI, Melbourne.

The remarkable expertise and work of Australian practitioners will be recognised across six award categories: Best Documentary Feature, with a $5,000 cash prize presented by Film Finances; Best Documentary/Factual Series; Best Documentary/Factual Single; Best Audio Documentary, with a $3,000 cash prize presented by AFTRS; Best Short Form Documentary; and Best Interactive/Immersive Documentary.

A full list of award nominees is below.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

This award is supported by completion guarantor Film Finances with a $5,000 cash prize. Dan Read, Film Finances CEO said, “AIDC has always been an important and exciting event for us. It’s an opportunity to connect, learn from and celebrate the incredible talent of the nonfiction industry. We are excited to further support documentary makers, and honoured to present the Best Feature Documentary category at the 2022 AIDC Awards.”

I’m Wanita
Matthew Walker, Carolina Sorensen, Clare Lewis, Tait Brady | PEOPLE PRODUCTIONS, 2020

My Name is Gulpilil
Molly Reynolds, Peter Djigirr, David Gulpilil, Rolf de Heer | VERTIGO PRODUCTIONS & ABCG
FILM, 2021

The Bowraville Murders
Allan Clarke, Stefan Moore, Dan Goldberg, Susan Lambert, Adam Kay | MINT PICTURES & JUMPING DOG PRODUCTIONS, 2021

Valerie Taylor: Playing With Sharks
Bettina Dalton, Sally Aitken | WILDBEAR ENTERTAINMENT, 2021

BEST DOCUMENTARY/FACTUAL SERIES

Laura’s Choice
Sam Lara, Cathy Henkel, Ryan Hodgson, Melissa Kelly | VIRGO PRODUCTIONS, 2021

Life in Colour with David Attenborough
Adam Geiger, Colette Beaudry, Sharmila Choudury | SEALIGHT PICTURES AND HUMBLE BEE FILMS, 2021

The School That Tried to End Racism
John Karabelas, Deb Spinocchia, Johnny Lowry | SCREENTIME AUSTRALIA, 2021

See What You Made Me Do
Tosca Looby, Karina Holden | NORTHERN PICTURES, 2021

BEST DOCUMENTARY/FACTUAL SINGLE

Brazen Hussies
Catherine Dwyer, Andrea Foxworthy, Philippa Campey | FILM CAMP, 2020

Our African Roots
Santilla Chingaipe, Tony Jackson, David Collins | CHEMICAL MEDIA, 2021

Stackorama!
Scott Baskett, Jared Nicholson, Naomi Just, Gene Geoffrey | RUN WILD PRODUCTIONS, 2021

BEST AUDIO DOCUMENTARY

This award is supported by AFTRS, with a $3,000 cash prize.

samsn’s STRONGER
Felicity Blake, 2021

Stuff The British Stole
Marc Fennell, Zoe Ferguson | ABC, 2021

Tender: Roia Atmar
Madison Griffiths, Beth Atkinson-Quinton | BROADWAVE, 2021

BEST SHORT FORM DOCUMENTARY

Capturing Change
Chris Phillips, Katy Roberts | MELT STUDIO, 2021

Freedom Swimmer
Olivia Martin-McGuire, Brooke Silcox, Ron Dyens | NO THING PRODUCTIONS & SACREBLEU PRODUCTIONS, 2021

Lost Contact
Amelia Paxman, Jaina Kalifa, 2021

Where Is My Darling?
Adam Finney, 2021

BEST INTERACTIVE/IMMERSIVE DOCUMENTARY

Eastern Market Murder
Emma Ramsay, Andy Yong | TRUE CRIME GAMES, 2021

Ravi and Emma
Kylie Boltin, Ella Rubeli | SBS, 2021

Gondwana
Ben Joseph Andrews, Emma Roberts | PERNICKETY SPLIT, 2022

2022 STANLEY HAWES AWARD

The winner of this year’s Stanley Hawes Award is screen journalist, David Tiley.

An indefatigable champion of documentary and factual production, and one of our most passionate grassroots commentators on the screen business, David has long been a singular voice in the Australian media. Throughout his career, David has worked tirelessly in roles at Film Victoria, the Australian Film Commission, AFTRS, and ScreenHub – acting as editor since 2005 before becoming the Content Lead for Film in 2021. With this award, AIDC acknowledges his outstanding contribution to the Australian documentary and factual sector.

David Tiley said, “I am so happy with this I can’t uncurl my toes. And really delighted that the Stanley Hawes Award recognises that documentary is a broad passion and not just a bunch of shows. I am so honoured (and relieved) that wordsmiths are seen as part of the movement.”

The Stanley Hawes Award was established in 1997 to honour documentary producer and director Stanley Hawes, Producer-in-Chief of the Australian National Film Board and Commonwealth Film Unit from 1946-1969 – and recognises the significant support he gave independent filmmakers in the documentary sector. Since its inception, 23 recipients have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the documentary and factual sector in the tradition of Stanley Hawes. The recipient receives a $5,000 cash prize.

2022 AIDC Awards Presentation, ACMI, Melbourne, Wednesday 9 March
More information: www.aidc.com.au

ABOUT AIDC

The Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) is Australia’s premier event for documentary and factual content servicing the screen and digital media industries, and has been held in Melbourne since 2016. A not-for-profit established in 1987, the organisation remains committed to the sustainability of nonfiction storytelling. Serving both the commercial and creative needs of the industry, AIDC organises a marketplace for documentary and factual product, showcases the work of Australian and international producers, and creates a forum to discuss content, craft, technology and future directions. AIDC’s goal is to connect creators, purveyors and viewers of nonfiction screen and digital media content in ways that promote business, inspire creativity and ignite social change.

Actor Spotlight: Find Out More About Angelo Montano

Acting came early for Angelo Montano, appearing at the age of four in the fondly acclaimed Australian series A Country Practice in 1981. For the next 40 years, he has built on his career as an actor, taking on roles in award-winning Aussie dramas like UnderbellyPacked to The RaftersBikie Wars, and Neighbours

Angelo has not been limited to playing characters on television, having also tackled big-budget international tent pole movies with Disney’s Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and fighting alongside Asia’s No. 1 Mega Star Jackie Chan First Strike

With a long list of productions, movies, and streaming series, currently underway locally, Angelo’s has recently scored a major movie role set to start filming on the Gold Coast this summer. His long list of credits has placed him in the envious position of being asked to audition for three other roles before the end of 2021, which includes a new children’s streaming series.

His olive complexion and good looks, born from Italian heritage, have benefited casting agents when looking for cultural diversity. Angelo slips into the part with ease, whether taking on drama or comedy. From performing on stage in theatre productions to television commercials, he learns and hones his craft and love for acting. 

For Angelo, his acting can benefit from his personal growth, using his life lessons and bringing that to the characters and roles he plays. He also knows that you have to keep working at it with anything you love and put the time in to broaden your education. So, he enjoys nothing more than attending a peer workshop, hoping to improve on his passion so he can put everything into each performance and gig.

After recently taking a forced break for two years to look after his seriously ill young Daughter, who needed full-time care, Angelo has returned to acting. 

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Angelo to discuss his journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? 

Well, what can I say? I enjoy making people laugh and putting a smile on people’s faces; everyone has an amazing story to tell; I enjoy acting, or as I call it, my role play. I love impersonating characters and being funny, nothing better than seeing people happy. I also do many charity works for sick children and help those less fortunate. As I always say, there’s always someone worse off out there. So things are never as bad as it seems.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry? 

I was four years old, living in Sydney in 1981 when a friend from school’s father worked on A Country Practice – he needed a boy to play a hospital patient, so me being an out-there child, jumped at the chance. I was always the entertainer in my family and, as you could say centre of attention (laughs). I then went on a year later and played an autistic child on the show. My love of television was known as a child, sitting like a metre away from the television, learning, and copying every show I watched, even romper room. I always wanted to be famous. Because to me, it was something inside that said if people around you are smiling and laughing, you keep doing what you are doing. I had a loving family around me that always laughed and smiled even if times were tough. From then on, I did everything in the entertainment industry, from school lead roles in musicals and cameo television appearances to even being on young talent time as a junior performer. My mum and grandad were my rocks; they took me and sacrificed a lot for me at a young age to follow my dreams.

What do you like most about acting? 

I’ve probably answered that already – getting to play various roles and challenging myself, and being in the moment. As I got older, I learned to act differently; being younger, I was more worried about being seen on a film or television or showing off (laughs). But after years of experience, my goal was to really take on the person I’m playing and be him – focused on playing the best part I can with what I have at hand. You might have an idea of what the role is but so do others. I used to focus on getting the script right and making sure directors were happy. But I took a different approach and thought to myself, hey, be the guy, show them who you are, and always stay in character. As I call it – be the person I’m playing to be. The best thing I love about acting is seeing people say, wow, you were great; it gives me self-satisfaction and determination to do more because I’ve done right by the character and right by the public. Meeting so many wonderful people who share your enthusiasm and passion for the industry is satisfying. But mainly, it’s to tell stories through different people I have played and hope that I do the character justice and deliver an amazing performance.

How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer? 

Good question. They are totally different in a lot of ways. I’ve worked on many American and Australian productions, and it’s such a massive difference. I enjoy working on large films; sometimes, you feel like just a number or not famous as the main cast. Because of its large scale, it’s a lot more rushed and more pressure, a lot more crew watching your work which is a good thing though you feel like a celebrity at times (laughs). TV series is great because you get to meet many local talented people, make good friends, and network in the industry. I have done lots of various roles in short films as well. In my spare time, I helped many film students and did many projects to challenge myself for future productions. TV series is also good because you can be known for that character and remembered if you execute an outstanding or memorable performance.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them? 

Well, I guess my weak points were focusing too much on the script in my earlier years, worrying about stuffing up the lines, and not focusing on the character I would play. As I grew older, I learned not to worry so much and take on that character and be that person without being in their shoes for real. I always try to use my life experiences and what I’ve learned to better or improve my skills to adapt to the character.

What are your strong points as an actor? 

Being believable and having people say, wow! I guess I naturally have that ability now without sounding egotistical. But it’s taken a lot of hard work and experience to get to where I am. Some are luckier in a sense, while others take time. But if you believe in yourself, you never give up, and I have done this my whole life. My strong points would be my dedication and training to be better to move with the times, the diversity of characters I can play from gangster to policeman to father to villain, and even drama. I love new challenges so I can break away from my stereotypical look.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career? 

Wow, tough question! Directors love filming and have chosen that path, and I love acting to make it come alive for them. Many directors are set in their ways, and they have an idea of what they want to achieve on set. Others have asked me for input to make scenes jump out, so I guess you could say I learned creativity from them, and in the end, we are the same. We all have a story to tell; they do it from behind the camera, we have to make their story and their dream come to fruition through our performance. In the end, it’s a mutual effort for all.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business? 

It’s definitely a lot easier in a sense now with technology. We used to have composite cards and written resumes back in my day. Our agents did the best they could, having so many on the books, so you had to stand out. I remember getting in trouble for watching too much television (laughs). I had to explain to my parents that I was sitting there with a notebook taking down casting directors and directors’ names so I could write them a letter and send my composite cards to them and hopefully have a meeting or a chance to audition for upcoming films or shows. There’s also competing with so many talented people when the roles you thought were perfect for, cast someone totally different from what they wanted. I was lucky in so many ways as I always connected well with panel auditions and directors and casting directors. Nowadays, it’s pretty much a screen test, and I believe it’s like a lottery because nothing beats an actual performance on the spot like an improv or an audition face to face. I think we worry too much now; there are so many difficulties around us in this world with acting and film that we just have to do the best with what we have and do an amazing job to the best of our ability.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life? 

Doing the same character as the scriptwriter envisaged to create and make that person appear in real life. Also, making sure you do the character justice and be creative with it from many angles, I always like to give a different vision as well but mainly stick to the task at hand. It’s also the actors around you that make this magical if you have a talented bunch that gel together; this is where movie magic happens. I love to work with actors who have that natural ability to flow with each other, and this is where it comes to life.

What do you do when you’re not filming? 

Usually, apply for more roles and try to keep myself busy and keep training or networking with others. I love spending time with my beautiful wife Elsa, my little princess Valentina, and my immediate family and friends, who are all so supportive. Nothing is better than being at home after being on set for so long – it’s the precious times we spend with our family and friends that mean the most; after all, they have all supported my journey, and I can’t thank them enough.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far? 

There’s too many to mention. I’d say going to the Logies as an invited guest in 2011 for Underbelly on channel 9 – that was a dream come true. To be in the same room with so many Australian actors and actresses whom I’ve watched on television and being around them was so surreal at that time; I felt I had achieved so much personally. One highlight that has stayed with me was meeting Nicolas Cage while on the set of Knowing; he was an amazing man. I’ve probably forgotten the thousands I’ve met across the years, but they are all special to me as we are all in this field together.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far? 

I’ve become great friends with Ian McFadyen, the writer, and director of the comedy Company, Let the blood run free, and many more productions he has done over the years. I looked up to him as comedy was my life as a child. He is currently directing and writing for our new show called meet the Guido’s; it’s amazing to have such a great man with a wealth of knowledge to learn from and actually fulfill another of my life’s dreams to work with – a man I watched as a child on television.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you? 

Hopefully, me, of course (laughs). Probably John Travolta or Christopher Walken; I get compared a lot to these two actors in my work, so that can be interesting. Otherwise, Al Pacino or anyone from the Sopranos.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

It’s a busy time ahead for me. I’ve been cast in some major productions coming up so far. So I have some major lead roles in some big upcoming productions – look out for me on the big screen next year. I’m spending as much time as I can with my family, enjoying my time, and seeing my gorgeous little girl Valentina grow day by day. Other than that, it’s reading scripts and working on my projects on hand and, of course, talking to you beautiful people at FilmCentral magazine.

Is there is anything else or interesting you can tell us.

I’ve had longevity in the industry, and I want to thank all the people who have believed in me and given me opportunities to fulfill my dreams and my love of acting. I spent a lot of time helping out sick children in hospitals collecting for charity’s; it’s very close to my heart, pardon the pun, as my daughter, Valentina, was diagnosed with a major heart condition from birth, and it’s been a wild journey, to say the least having her heart operation – it really shocked our family. I spent weeks walking around the hospital to help sick children to put a smile on their faces. I always said we were lucky because there is someone worse off out there than us at the moment; this gave me personal satisfaction more than anything I had achieved. It made me feel complete to give something back to those less fortunate or going through worse situations than us.  

Meet The Man Behind The November Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Andy Trieu

Download Now

Andy Trieu is a producer, host, and TikToker based in Sydney. Currently, he is the lead content creator and face for SW Health TikTok, generating over 8 million views with his daily COVID-19 TikTok updates. Andy is also a renowned voice in Australia’s Asian pop culture industry, working at SBS for 8 years as a founding host of SBS PopAsia’s TV, radio, podcast, and in-flight Qantas programs. He has interviewed the world’s biggest Asian pop celebrities, from K-pop group BTS to ‘Parasite’ Oscar winner Bong loon-ho.

SBS PopAsia reached 1.2 million social media followers and completed over 1000+ shows and was named one of the best home-grown TV shows of the decade by Street mag The Music’ in 2020. From the success of the program, Andy has worked on Triple J’s The Hack, ABC RN, The Drum, Eurovision, 2dayFM with Ash and Angus, Sunrise, Cleo Magazine, and SBS News. Andy played a lead acting role in Screen Australia and Screen NW-funded program Street Smart, on TEN, and Australia’s first Kung fu TV series Maximum Choppage, on ABC.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Andy to discuss his journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I’m mainly a presenter, and producer plus I also act and do some stunts here and there.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I competed in Martial Arts which led to jobs being on film and TV sets of all shapes and sizes. I eventually landed more full-time work on Channel Nine then Foxtel and SBS.

What do you do in the entertainment industry?

I’ve presented on TV, in-flight entertainment, podcast, radio, and online – jack of all trades, master at none? In a nutshell, I collaborate with many in the industry to create, hopefully, something great.

Tell us some of your achievements.

For channel Nine, I was a co-host on the kid’s TV show Kitchen Whiz and we filmed 475 episodes over 7 seasons, being the first ninja host on weekday Australian TV.

I was one of the founding hosts and content producers for Australia’s biggest Asian pop show SBS PopAsia for 8 years, interviewed stars from BTS to Oscar-winner Bong Joon Ho.

I’ve contributed to great teams that performed martial arts and action on Wolverine, MARVEL’s Shang-chi, Hacksaw Ridge, Tomorrow When The War Began, and others.

Finally, I had the honour to be the series lead on TV shows Maximum Choppage on ABC and Channel TEN’s Street Smart.

Tell us about your Martial Arts experience and achievements.

I trained for many years in Kung fu and specialised in different performance swords. I was fortunate to compete on a national and international level earlier in my career and had some success with a handful of first places here and there.

How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?

They are all really fun and challenging, I think the main difference would be the time frame and the pacing of production, I really enjoy both when I get the opportunity.

Do you prefer working in front of the camera or behind the camera?

I’m a born performer of some sort, so I really enjoy being in front. I have found it also fulfilling to work behind the camera with other creatives! I hope to continue to do both.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I think I’m good at coming up with random ideas! I’m always a yes man, that would be my weakness perhaps.

What has been your biggest lesson in the industry so far?

It’s important to create authentic work.

What are some of the difficulties of the entertainment business?

Convincing people to love your idea as much as you do.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

I love cooking and watching Netflix. I have been getting into games a tad too!

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Hosting a major kpop event called KCON! Also working on the MARVEL Shang-chi project was an experience, met some lovely people that I still keep in touch with.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

BTS? Officially the biggest boy band in the world, it was an honour to be in the presence of these talented kpop idols.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Simu Liu?

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I would love to continue to create content that people like and are authentic to me.

If there is anything else or interesting you can tell us

Thank you to Yolandi for the interview, she’s an amazing person!

Actor Spotlight: One On One With Martin Dingle Wall

Martin Dingle Wall has been a series regular in a string of television series in Australia such as ‘Home & Away’ (Logie Nomination: ‘Most Popular New Talent’) ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Underbelly – A Tale of Two Cities’ (Logie Winner: Best New Series), ‘Rescue Special Ops’, and he also starred in his own police drama ‘COPS L.A.C.’ He won the ‘Best Actor’ Award in 2014 for his performance in ‘We Men Do’, he produced and starred in the feature film ‘The Nothing Men’ (nominated for Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival) which has a Rotten Tomato Audience score of 100%, starred alongside Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes in ‘Strangerland’ (Sundance Competition) and played the romantic lead of American Movie Star Michael Barclay in the film ‘All that Jam’ – it was shot in Russia wherein Martin learned and spoke the entire film in Russian. Afterward, he played the lead role of Warren Novac in the action thriller ‘Happy Hunting’ (Winner ‘Best Actor’, ‘Best Film’, ‘Audience Choice Award’, ‘Best Cinematography’) which sits on the prestigious Thrillist at No.13 for Best Horror Films of 2017 and holds the Rotten Tomatoes Reviewers ranking of 100%. Martin then went to Chile to film “Gun Shy” with Antonio Banderas and Olga Kurylenko Directed by Simon West. Currently, he plays Will Scott, the lead protagonist in the series “Cypher” which was shot on location in Los Angeles – he plays an ex FBI Agent and eminent cryptographer. He also plays Luke Hadler in The Dry opposite Eric Bana and stars as the lead Billy Nordic in the new series Unleashed which was shot on location in Los Angeles and directed by Alison Eastwood.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Martin to discuss his journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

Will the defendant rise. Explain yourself! Ha. I’m born and raised in Bondi Beach. It was a rougher place in the ’70s, and 80’s than today’s mecca. Not fitting into the conventional school curriculum my parents sent me to apply for Art school at the end of year 10, lied about my age, and passed the entrance design test. I graduated with a Graphic Design Diploma at 18 when my friends were finishing the HSC. This soon led to applying for Walt Disney TV Animation in Sydney and again passing the illustration test & got onto their production line as an in-betweener.

I did this for 3 years and at 21, I took my earnings and experience and headed to Europe to travel. It was on my travels I would discover street theater and realized this is where my interests were most electrified.

I returned to Australia at 24 and took my first drama class.

Unable to attain entry into any of the Drama Schools, I got rep with an Extras agency. I was just fascinated by the mechanics and process. You’d never find a more fascinated or attentive extra than I was. I watched & learned for years. I did theatre wt short films and freelanced as an illustrator to pay my rent. I’d learn their lines by watching them and then think about how I might do it.

An editor friend eventually cut me a one-minute reel out of a bunch of short films. This ‘Reel’ was shown to a new agent in town. This agent took a chance on me. I soon booked a National Condom Commercial. A while after being submitted to actual casting companies, I got an audition for a Dr. Flynn Saunders on Home & Away at Mullinars.

What do you like most about acting?

I have an absolute love for the process of players agreeing on a situation as stipulated by the scene and together creating a spark of life in a moment in time that can transport you and move you emotionally. It’s the most intoxicating drug, the most exhilarating experience a human can have in my opinion. I literally have lifelong friends born out of sharing a pure moment of truth in a magnificent scene together. This is Magic. Timeless. Through the Eons and Ages.

How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?

There is of course a difference – Film is a microcosm. Where stillness is your power. It’s an even more internalized process. TV sometimes you will allow your body to attune with its more natural impulse to move with a feeling. But when all is said and done. The doorway of taking some words, allowing them to inform a reality within you and your full surrender to that creation is the journey and understanding of anyone involved with screen acting.

My preference is honestly governed by the story and how excited I am by my knowledge of the directors’ ability to successfully translate it to the screen.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

I think perhaps we are always seeking to release any control despite knowing where we need to take a scene of where it wants to take us. Humans are creatures of control. An incredibly alluring part of this practice, discipline, or craft is the releasing of control in the otherwise entirely controlled and insular Universe that film and television making is.

So being, present, available yet in charge simultaneously is the perpetual requirement and contradiction of this work and world.

What are your strong points as an actor?

Maybe my willingness to be in a moment with my fellow actors and have an excitement about what could happen, where it could go, what we might discover, or where it could take us and be ultimately committed to our world between action and cut.

This reads as the basic requirements of the actor, but sometimes I think actors can hide, or wobble in their conviction if it goes off track and into the wild, and I think I am a fairly reliable scene partner in trusting that occasionally the scene will overtake and have plans of its own. I feel I stay in the saddle pretty well until the director wants to call cut.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

That there are so many, many different versions of them. Some just want the edit points, some want the coverage for lack of clarity of vision, some want to be led by the actor. So it’s always best to get a chance to meet them as people as much as possible. I’ve signed onto several jobs because the Director was telling the story to me and I could see so much clarity in their vision. Sure enough, these various projects have been some of my biggest successes.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

Well, it’s not linear. And as beings that seek control & security, we operate in a linear function. The acting game is somewhat philosophical to me. If we approach it like its combat, we will find that. If we think someone can take a part, then that will restrict our flow, so to speak. In practical terms, show up. Before I got the rep I wanted in LA, I was self-submitting. It’s sort of the garage sale of the industry. But there are films being made in the self submit isle. Any submissions I made and got invited to, I turned up ready. Frequently few actors would turn up. Sometimes no others. Sometimes auditions were cancelled because actors were a no-show. I showed up every time and was ready. Eventually, it’s just the law of averages working in your favour as well. Everything helps. Every audition made an impact.

I booked my first US feature film lead through these channels. It’s called HAPPY HUNTING. We won 23 festivals and gained 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. After the fact it was discovered the director Louie was Mel Gibson’s son. This is why you go to Hollywood. This stuff happens there. It gave me my first Hollywood Reporter Review as a Leading Man and ultimately led to the opportunity to be seen for CYPHER. My current US TV Series Lead.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

You learn this stuff very early. As you are learning the craft, you discover there is a safety veil between you and the words, scene, or fellow actor. This veil often gets exposed and destroyed through the pure fear of losing control. That’s why doing classes or practicing is essential. You can f*** up, and every time you lose control you get closer to your actual strength as an actor. You need to be scared to death a few times I think, even naturally gifted actors. When you are scared you reach out to rely on your scene partner & in those moments actually feel the connection that you seek in life. The tangible. And then maybe you realise you have been in scenes with people but in your need to control, not actually been with them. The veil disappears upon the moment of real connection.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

Raise my son, travel, swim, go on adventures, build cubby houses, climb, skate, watch movies, stretch, hydrate, create, draw, write, produce, collaborate, read, google, cook, meditate, stretch, train, flirt, date, strum, teach, learn, explore, be a friend, be a brother and son, drive my van, give thanks for my life.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Going to Hollywood, never signing with an Agent, only a Manger, and having a couple of Feature Film Leads – two current TV Series Leads is an active yet memorable blessing. The reason that bears stating, is that we are told there are ways this happens.

I didn’t go to the US with a film at Festivals. I didn’t go with Agent intros. And no one owed me that. I just went. And my journey as an actor, let alone in that town, is only just starting.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The most interesting people I have met have also been the most attractive creatively. I mentioned earlier, there are some directors I met that when they had offered me the leads in their productions we then met properly. When you meet someone that doesn’t give you a sales pitch. They just tell you their vision. The excitement you feel of them knowing how to take their vision to the screen and that you get to enjoy being submerged in their skill is the greatest delight. They are the most desirable and interesting to me,

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

I’ll be submitting pretty solidly for that part. Or if it’s after the fact, my son can play me.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

Future Plans? Keep dreaming. I want to work with Ridley Scott, and Spielberg – I want to work with the greats. I am going to keep seeking roles that talk about stuff that fascinates me. I’ve done reasonably well so far in attracting a variety of roles. I know that at some point when you become visible you have a brand, and so far the kind of roles I’ve been attracting that are getting me some visibility are characters that I don’t mind being branded with.

Is there is anything else or interesting you can tell us?

I was given some great advice by an Italian actor Franco Nero. I took a flight some years back with him back to London. He said that movies are called this because every frame is moving. TV is still sometimes. Never in ‘Movies’. He said your best friend is the cameraman and the lighting guys. Understand the relationship between camera and light. If your director tells you to hit a mark and move your head here on this line then you do that. If he is good it’s because his cameraman had told him to. And that’s because the lighting is in place for that position. For you, If you know your work, your craft, your team, and you can listen to what they are telling you when your head is on a 50-foot screen – you do your work as an actor, but you hit that mark the cameras has asked of you.

This is when you see the complete artistry that is the collaboration of the Director, Actor, Camera, and Light. And that alchemy is where the medium can touch and change the world emotionally, with the right sound!

This is why we are fans of movies and this is why we became Moviemakers.

Rising Star Spotlight: Introducing George Pullar

Accepted at the age of 17 years old, George Pullar attended the prestigious, Western Australian Academy Performing Arts, where he trained extensively in theatre and screen in its coveted three-year acting degree. Since graduating in 2017, he has forged an impressive stamp on the Australian screen and more recently, established himself in the United States and abroad.

Fresh out of drama school, George played Larry Gray on Foxtel’s A Place to Call Home for which he was recognised by the Australian Academy of Film and Television and nominated as best new talent. In the same year, he also played a supporting lead on Foxtel’s acclaimed miniseries Fighting Season about returned soldiers from Afghanistan. In 2018, he was listed by the Casting Guild of Australia as one of the nation’s rising stars. He is recognised for his work as Daniel Fletcher on Chanel 10’s hit show, Playing for Keeps, and was involved in all episodes of its two seasons.

He also voiced the role of Bradley Burrows in the Universal Animated Film, Combat Wombat. Shortly after, George played the lead role of Tyler in the Australian Feature Film, Moonrock for Monday. He was awarded by the Australian Screen Network Industry, best lead actor in a feature film. In late 2019, George scored his international break, working alongside golden-globe winner Michael Chiklis, on Paramount Plus’ Coyote. He was directed by Michelle Mclaren who is known for work on Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Since returning back to Australia in 2020, George wrote, acted, and produced his own dark comedy short film, Stonefish, set for a festival run in 2021. George has recently wrapped on the feature film It Only Takes A Night, where he plays the romantic lead. The film is also set for release in late 2021. Currently, George is filming the ABC Series, Barrons, in which he plays American Businessman and co-leading role of Bernie Hunter Junior.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with George to discuss his journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I grew up in Queensland and base myself out of Currumbin on the Gold Coast when I’m not filming. I’m a twin (with a girl) and one of four kids in a very adventurous, chaotic, big family. Proud owner of a Senior Labrador, Lord Archibald (14), and an over energised British Bulldog, Theodore (4). I love to travel particularly anywhere near the ocean or the snow and am a diehard Brisbane Lions fan.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

Honestly, I chose drama as a bludge subject in Year 11 to balance out a heavy workload. Then I broke my leg quite badly on a holiday and Drama had turned out to be my best subject. My drama teacher encouraged me to audition for the school play, seeing as I was injured and had the time, and so I did, and that was that. Pretty quickly discovered it was the only thing I’d studied that came quite naturally to me and my teacher really planted the idea that I could pursue this and make something of it. So, I auditioned for WAAPA at 17, not really expecting to get in, and then I did and that really set me up. I think teachers are pretty amazing in the way they can impact an entire life.

What do you like most about acting?

I’ve always been very curious. I ask too many questions, too quickly, I’m told. Acting gives me a chance to really satisfy that curiosity about people and life in general. I love stories of any kind, children’s books, sporting legends, at the pub, in the cinema, or over a family dinner, I feel like I’m always looking to appreciate the joy and confusion and shortcomings in humanity. I suppose because I’ve always felt that way myself and acting in a strange way, helps me understand who I am and perhaps why I’m here. It also just beats sitting at a desk or shovelling concrete.

How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?

I think they’re becoming more similar. Typically, TV can feel a lot more formulaic and the shooting pace is a lot faster. In my experience, film feels a bit more collaborative. There’s something comforting in knowing where it ends, the director has a vision that starts and finishes and so you can really arch out where your character travels. Whereas TV there’s a lot more guessing and working the fly. But ultimately it doesn’t affect how I approach it. It’s all the same for me.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

I think I still suffer a bit from wanting to be ‘likeable’. That’s only natural. You want the audience to like you. But that’s not actually my job and that’s not really how it works. Audiences invest in authenticity. When they see something on the screen that they know exists or could exist in their world, they’ll invest. It’s my job to just be true to the character. Even if that means doing things or behaving in a gross way. It takes courage to do that because it’s very revealing of your own demons and flaws. But that’s what great acting is. Exposing yourself. I’m trying a lot harder to create characters you pity rather than are jealous of or impressed by. And all I have to do is watch any of Phillip Seymour Hoffman to remind myself of what this is all about.

What are your strong points as an actor?

I just genuinely care. I always care about the person I’m playing and don’t think about them as a ‘character’. I think when you truly care, you bring your own heart to it and perhaps some real vulnerability. And that’s what I like to watch on screen. I also would like to think I’m fun to work with and am always open to whatever another actor has to throw at me. I love surprises!

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

Telling the Story is the single most important thing. I know that sounds kind of obvious, but on a set, it can be very easy to be distracted by superficial details or your own self-interest. Screenplays are written as emotional machines. They’re engineered with a specific structure with peaks and troughs and escalating story beats and tension that we should all adhere to. Simplicity is key. Great directors are good at reminding you we’re just here to tell this story. That’s what it’s about. Not your abs or your need to be constantly smoking in every scene.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

In a word, uncertainty. Uncertainty about your next job. Uncertainty if what your doing is any good. Uncertainty about what your filming schedule looks like for the next 5 days because of the weather. Uncertainty whether that film you shot will ever see the day of light. Uncertainty whether your nose looks very strange on that big screen! (It’s brutal watching yourself.)

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

I think the first challenge is making sure everyone, across all the departments, is trying to bring the same script to life. Sure, the words remain the same for everyone, but we all need to be visualising the same film, and the same tone. Once you’ve got that cohesion from the production design to the actors to the DOP and so on, you give yourself a chance of creating a world that is true to that story.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

I surf. Play with my dogs. Chill with my girlfriend. And read and write a lot.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Getting to act in the first thing I’d written and being directed by one of my best friends, Megan Smart, in our first short film – Stonefish (set for release later this year). I can’t wait to act on more stuff I write and produce. It’s all-consuming and deeply satisfying.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I recently shot a US Series in Mexico alongside Michael Chiklis. He’s had an amazing career and has become somewhat of a mentor to me. He had some Hollywood stories that blew my mind. But I think everyone that works in the film industry is interesting. It’s a bizarre and bold thing to do with your life and naturally draws a fascinating crowd. I’ve always been impressed by Unit Operators, those guys and girls that set trailers up at insane hours, first to arrive, last to leave, and always seems the happiest and funniest on set. I think some of them should have been actors.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Aside from the physical differences, I reckon my little sister would crush it. She’s always been a great mimic and quick to point out the flaws I struggle to see in myself. Her interpretation would be tough to watch but probably fairly accurate.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

Make my own movies. Act in them. Act in other people’s movies too. Surf. Have a family. With lots of dogs and maybe one day write children’s books. At least for my own kids.

Is there is anything else interesting you can tell us about yourself?

I have a crippling addiction to peanut butter and black coffee.

Breaking: Buddy-Comedy “Carmen & Bolude” The Only Australian Project Invited To IFF At TIFF 2021

Australian producers Yolandi Franken and Michela Carattini of Draw Your Own Box Productions were ecstatic when they received the news their feature film “Carmen & Bolude” was selected for the highly competitive Ontario Creates International Financing Forum 2021 (iff 2021) at TIFF (or Toronto International Film Festival). “All of us know this project is magic,” says Franken, “that there is a force greater than us at play.”

The news came on the heels of preparing their Generate Development Funding acquittal for Screen Australia, and Bolude Watson and Carattini, who is also the co-writer of the script, had only just finished the final draft due for the acquittal. The project had already been seven years in the making, but the final shooting script had to be written together across 13,000km, with Watson unable to get home to Sydney from Edmonton, Canada due to the pandemic. 

“Bolude would be writing dialogue into her phone in the middle of the night while breastfeeding and trying to toilet train,” says Carattini, “I was in lockdown with two young kids of my own, and I thought to myself, ‘we can do it like this, we can do it differently – however works! The entire process for us has been profoundly similar to giving birth, and on all counts, we are privileged and blessed to have an enormous amount of support and encouragement.” That support, which included Anthea Williams as script editor, Beatrix Christian as script consultant, Paul, and Akala Newman as Gadigal consultants, a Sydney-based “Quarantine Writer’s Group” and household members generously looking after children whenever possible, saw the final script completed two weeks ahead of schedule, to the celebratory news of being one of only 20 international projects – and the only Australian project – chosen for the premiere financing forum.

Now in its 16th year, the premiere two-day market serves international and Canadian producers developing mostly English-language projects and takes place in association with Toronto International Film Festival. Selected international and Canadian producers are brought together with international sales agents, US distributors, agents, equity financiers, and executive producers for brokered meetings and exclusive networking opportunities. This year the forum, which runs September 12th and 13th, 2021, will be an all-virtual event due to the pandemic. “Of course, there is nothing like those in-person networking events,” says Franken, “but being in lockdown in Sydney, we wouldn’t have been able to attend if it weren’t online this year – so that accessibility is a huge relief.” 

Projects include diverse and LGBTQ-themed narratives, female-driven stories, comedies, romance, and drama from all over the world, including teams from the UK, Brazil, Croatia, El Salvador, Finland, Greece, India, Israel, Scotland and the U.S. Event producer Larisa Gutmanis stated in the ‘IFF at TIFF 2021 Kickoff Panel,’ available on the Ontario Creates website, that IFF looks for projects in the US $1M-15M budget range of any genre except documentary and animation. “We look for originality – something we’ve never seen before,” she remarked, “All the executives want to see original material, and why a project is important now.” 

“‘Carmen & Bolude is based on Michela and my lives” says Watson, “That was the reason we wrote it: we were desperate to see a story we could relate to on the subject of multiple cultural identities and being constantly asked to choose.” Carattini adds, “For us, Australia has a unique light to shed on the subject, and we’re seeking to engage the conversation from a perspective we haven’t seen before, using laughter as a means of connection and accessibility, while still holding space for the depth of human experiences on this issue.” 

For more information, go to www.carmenandbolude.com