2023 WA Screen Culture Awards Winners
Lights, camera, celebration! The curtain has fallen on the 2023 WA Screen Culture Awards (WASCAs), an ode to the creative spirit of screen practitioners in Western Australia.
Held at Luna Cinemas Leederville on Sunday 26 November, and hosted by the hilarious YouTuber and comedian Ethan Marrell – AKA Ozzy Man Reviews, the WASCAs are a vibrant tribute to our local industry.
Organised by the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, the WASCAs stand as a testament to the vibrancy of the state’s screen landscape, acknowledging excellence across all forms from new, established and emerging screen practices.
“The consistent quality of the WA screen scene across all its forms never ceases to be a source of inspiration for us,” says Revelation Director Richard Sowada.
“Over the last few years, the leaps and bounds in moving image art, short films, independently produced features and computer games have had locally and largely under their own power is as good as anything in the country and finding their feet on the international stage. We’re so proud to fly their flag and celebrate their success.”
The night’s standout was David Vincent Smith’s directorial debut, He Ain’t Heavy, a compelling drama inspired by true events, set for release in 2024. Produced by creative partner Jess Parker of No Labels Media, the film secured an impressive four awards out of seven nominations. Noteworthy recognitions include Innovation in Narrative Feature Film (budget over $1m), Outstanding Achievements in Cinematography or Visualisation (Lewis Potts), Performance (Sam Corlett), and Production Design (Emma Fletcher).
Steven J. Mihaljevich’s low-budget horror flick Violett claimed two awards for Innovation in Narrative Feature Film (budget under $1m) and Outstanding Achievement in Performance Under 18, credited to the talented actress Valentina Blagojevic.
Kaleb McKenna’s poignant short film Raising Thunder also earned two awards for Outstanding Achievement in Sound/Sound Design and Original Music.
Films with distinctly Western Australian imprints shone through including the powerful short film The Grey Line, recounting the experience of Noongar woman Helen Dwyer from the
Stolen Generation. The narrative-driven social impact documentary Black Cockatoo Crisis, shedding light on the plight of WA’s iconic and endangered species. Additionally, Ningaloo Nyinggulu, a mesmerising exploration of one of the Earth’s last intact wild places, written and narrated by acclaimed author Tim Winton, with additional writing from Peter Rees, also earned WASCAs.
Each winner, representing 21 Award Categories and two Special Industry Awards, received a meticulously crafted trophy made from responsibly sourced WA Blackbutt. Designed by filmmaker and screen industry advocate Ryan Hodgson in collaboration with Geographik, Squarepeg Home and Artcom Fabrication, these handmade timber trophies symbolise the union of artistry and sustainability.
Judged by an esteemed panel comprised of industry experts and seasoned professionals including directors Kriv Stenders and Daina Reid, director/producer/editor Richard Lowenstein, multidisciplinary artist and animator Marc O Matic, film critic and programmer Zak Hepburn, and writer/actor/comedian Judith Lucy to name but a few, it’s now time to announce the full list of winners:
- Narrative Feature Film with budget under $1m
- Narrative Feature Film with budget over $1m – presented by Spinifex Brewery
- He Ain’t Heavy
- Feature Documentary / Non Fiction – presented by Zarephath Wines
- Black Cockatoo Crisis
- Short Film / Animation – presented by City of Vincent
- The Grey Line
- Student Film
- School Makes Me…
- Television – presented by Broadcast Gurus
- Ningaloo Nyinggulu
- Music Video – presented by AO Let’s Go Print and Distribution
- Studio Orange – Healthy Hygiene Behaviours
- Game Design – presented by City of Vincent
- Commercial Content
- Wizard Pharmacy: Xmas Rap!
- Moving Image and Installation – presented by PAV
- A Leap of Faith
- Virtual Reality, 360° or Augmented Reality – presented by XR:WA
- Wiluna Martu Rangers – Protecting Culture and Country
- Web Series or Online Content – presented by RevStream
- Dr Russell’s World of Curiosities
- Narrative Feature Film with budget under $1m
- Tee Ken Ng – Ella Wright
- Cinematography or Visualisation – presented by Raz Rentals
- He Ain’t Heavy – Lewis Potts
- Bird Drone – Clare Toonen
- Performance – presented by PAC Screen Workshops
- He Ain’t Heavy – Sam Corlett
- Performance Under 18s – presented by The Ali Roberts Studio
- Violett – Valentina Blagojevic
- Production Design – presented by Bonnet Distilling Co
- He Ain’t Heavy – Emma Fletcher
- Editing – presented by Sandbox
- The Grey Line – Scott Quayle
- Sound or Sound Design – presented by Soundbyte
- Raising Thunder – Brad Habib, Holly Miller, Jake Isard, Tam Glover, Brendan Hill, James Brock
- Original Music – presented by RTRFM 92.1
- Raising Thunder – Robert Woods
The 2023 WASCAs also recognised outstanding industry leaders with two prestigious Special Industry Awards. The Independent Spirit Award was bestowed upon Ian Hale, Managing Director of The Backlot and HALO Films, while the Contribution to the Industry Award went to Celia Tait, Managing Director of ARTEMIS MEDIA.
Ian Hale, a luminary of the Western Australian film industry with over 30 years’ experience, emerged as a deserving recipient of the Independent Spirt Award. With a career spanning diverse roles from film distribution to logistics, sales, marketing, publicity, promotions, exhibition, projection and film production, Ian’s expertise is unparalleled.
Ian’s journey includes significant roles as State Branch Manager for WA/SA/NT for Paramount Pictures (Transmission Films) and United International Pictures, representing major studios. His portfolio boasts executive producer credits on several local feature films, including Meal Tickets, The Furnace and The Xrossing, showcasing his commitment to fostering independent Australian cinema.
As the Managing Director of HALO Films, an independent film distribution company, and The Backlog Perth, a private cinema and event space with world-class post-production facilities, Ian wears many hats. Despite his busy schedule, he dedicates time to create and executive produce Backstage WA, a podcast offering exclusive behind-the-scenes insights into the local scene.
In 2022, Ian was honoured as the West Australian Cinema Pioneer of the year, a testament to his significant contributions to the industry. He continues to provide mentorship to filmmakers, passionately advocating for the growth and development of the screen sector in WA.
Celia Tait, Managing Director of ARTEMIS MEDIA, received the Contribution to Industry Award for her exemplary contributions to the Australian documentary landscape. With ARTEMIS MEDIA established in 2000, Celia has spent the past 23 years mentoring and employing talent from both WA and the east coast, fostering a vibrant local documentary industry.
Celia’s multifaceted career includes roles as a writer, producer, director and executive producer, with national and international awards adorning her work. ARTEMIS MEDIA is celebrated for producing high-quality factual TV for domestic and international networks, with a focus on stories that inspire, delight and inform.
Notable productions under Celia’s leadership include the Walkley-nominated Saving Andrew Mallard, the hit series Who Do You Think You Are and impactful documentaries such as Don’t Stop the Music and Every Family has a Secret. Celia’s commitment to emotionally engaging storytelling, reflective of the nation’s rich diversity, extends to impact campaigns that address critical issues.
In addition to her role as Chair of the Industry Advisory Group Committee (IAGC) at Screenwest, Celia serves as Committee member of Screen Voice, an association for Australian independent screen producers.