Gracie Otto & David Michôd Among Australian Filmmakers Supporting Emerging Talent in Short Film Competition

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Some of Australia’s leading filmmakers are getting behind the country’s next generation of top filmmaking talent as they go head-to-head in a national online short film competition, which launches today.

The Australian Film Institute and Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AFI | AACTA) today announced Australia’s Blue-Tongue Films collective – comprising Joel and Nash Edgerton, David Michôd, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Luke Doolan, Mirrah Foulkes and Spencer Susser – together with Australian filmmaker Gracie Otto as Ambassadors for the AFI | AACTA #SocialShorts Powered by Genesis competition, in which short films are watched and voted for online by the public across three categories – Comedy, Drama and Independent.

Otto, whose documentary The Last Impresario received an AACTA Award nomination for Best Feature Length Documentary, started her career in short filmmaking, as did many of the Blue-Tongue Films collective, who have since gone on to make some of Australia’s biggest films including AFI Award-winning crime drama Animal Kingdom and AACTA Award winning dramas, Wish You Were Here and The Rover.

Launched in 2014 in partnership with Hyundai, #SocialShorts will run for three weeks in its second year, allowing each category to own the spotlight for one week exclusively. The competition, which includes a cash prize, tickets to the 5th AACTA Awards Luncheon and a unique mentorship with Gracie Otto for category winners, provides a platform for filmmakers to have their short films seen, shared and acknowledged by film enthusiasts and the Australian film industry – a concept which Otto gives her full support to.

“The Australian screen industry is full of talented filmmakers producing great short films but it’s a very competitive space, and funding has a lot of to do with which films get seen. AFI | AACTA is helping bridge this gap via #SocialShorts Powered by Genesis, not only providing a new avenue for promotion but a new way for audiences to see these films – without the impact of funding,” said Otto, whose career spans short films, documentaries and acting, and who launched The Dollhouse Collective with fellow filmmakers Rose Byrne, Krew Boylan, Shannon Murphy and Jessica Carrera earlier this year.

AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said securing some of Australia’s most respected filmmakers as Ambassadors attests to the important role the competition plays in discovering and nurturing emerging talent.

“Given the success of last year’s competition, with more than 14,000 viewers exposed to great new Australian filmmaking talent and films, and with some of Australia’s most exciting filmmakers in the Blue-Tongue Films collective and Gracie Otto on board as Ambassadors and mentors, this year’s #SocialShorts Powered by Genesis competition will be bigger and better.”

“We know from last year’s winners that #SocialShorts provides tangible results. In addition to building audiences via online viewing, the filmmakers behind one winning short film from last year, Chip, put the prize money straight into their next project – an animated self-funded TV series. Winners said they also found the opportunity to discuss future collaborations with industry contacts at our AACTA Awards Luncheon invaluable.”

Competing films will provide viewers with a strong delivery of quality films, with many, including The Gallant Captain, Eric and The Kingdom of Doug, already national and international film festival favourites. A celebration of great Australian acting talent will also be recognisable with AFI Award winner Emma Booth (Glitch) in Tango Underpants and James Fraser (The Water Diviner, Deadline Gallipoli) in Nineteen, and a fresh approach with student-produced films, including Embrace, Kharisma and Object.

To cast a vote, audiences simply ‘like’ their favourite short films on the #SocialShorts website and share via Facebook – the short film with the most ‘likes’ in each category will win. The winning film for each category will be announced at the end of each week.

#SocialShorts entrants comprise some of the short films which entered but were not nominated for the 5th AACTA Awards, as well as some of the short films which entered but were not nominated for the 4th AACTA Awards.

This year, the voting audience also has a chance to win tickets to the 5th AACTA Awards Ceremony and Official After Party held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney on December 9, including flights and accommodation courtesy of Hyundai.

Hyundai is the presenting partner of AFI | AACTA #SocialShorts Powered by Genesis. Hyundai’s new Genesis brings next-generation design, engineering and technology to the Australian market. Genesis takes traditional concepts of luxury and evolves them as only Hyundai could dare.

“Genesis signals a new era in the evolution of Hyundai. The #SocialShorts initiative is an exciting opportunity for emerging filmmakers and we’re proud to be supporting Australia’s film industry and its new generation of talent,” said Oliver Mann, Hyundai’s Director of Marketing.

For further information on #SocialShorts and to vote, visit the #SocialShorts website, and share your favourites on social media. To keep abreast of the competition, follow AACTA on Facebook:

The AACTA Awards are proudly supported by the New South Wales Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

The Australian Film Institute | Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts connects the public and the screen industry with great Australian screen productions, and the talented people who make them. Membership of the AFI (open to all) and AACTA (open to screen professionals) includes access to year- round screenings and events. The AACTA Awards – the nation’s highest screen accolades – recognise, encourage, promote and celebrate film and television excellence in Australia. The AACTA Awards Luncheon (date to be announced) and the AACTA Awards Ceremony & Official After Party (9 December 2015) are held annually in Sydney. The AACTA Awards are proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and are a key creative industries event on the NSW Events Calendar. The 5th AACTA Awards follow four highly successful Awards seasons since the launch of AACTA by the Australian Film Institute (AFI) in 2011.


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Official hashtag: #AACTAs #SocialShorts hashtag: #SocialShorts Facebook: /AACTAawards
Twitter: @aacta
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