Australian Directors’ Guild announces 2020 Nominees

There were nearly double the entries this year, with a slew of new and established directing talent recognised. Watch these names.

The Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG) today announced the nominees for the 2020 ADG Awards, with winners to be revealed in Sydney at an awards ceremony at the City Recital Hall on 19 October. It goes without saying the gala will go ahead pandemic permitting while this year’s awards dinner is only open to ADG members.

A record 202 entries were received, up from 117 in 2019.

The ADG has been engaged in an outreach and membership drive in the last few months under the leadership of new ADG Executive Director Diana Burnett, with free Associate Memberships available in recognition of the hardships of this year.

In the media release announcing the nominations, Diana Burnett said: ‘At these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we come together as a creative community to celebrate our achievements of the past year. Australian directors are creating fine work across all forms and genres and these nominations reflect the depth of talent in this country.’

The peer-judged awards celebrate the outstanding work of Australian screen directors over the past year across 19 categories including film, television, online, animation, documentary, music and advertising.

The awards recognise excellence in the craft and art of directing as well as honouring individual contributions by Australian screen directors to the industry. They mark the only opportunity for Australian directors and their work to be acknowledged by their directing peers.

Read more: ADG Opens Doors, Slashes Fees

Six directors are up for Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget $1M or over): Thomas Wright for Acute Misfortune, Sophie Hyde for Animals, John Sheedy for H is for Happiness, Ben Lawrence for Hearts and Bones, Natalie Erika James for Relic and Wayne Blair for Top End Wedding.

The newish talent up for the Best Direction in a Feature Film in the Budget under $1M category are: Josephine Mackerras for Alice, Imogen Thomas for Emu Runner, Lucy Colman for Hot Mess, Luke Sullivan for Reflections In The Dust and Samuel Van Grinsven for Sequin In A Blue Room.

Vying for Best Direction in a Documentary Feature are Ian Darling for The Final Quarter, Maya Newell for In My Blood It Runs, Peter Hegedus for LILI and Allan Hardy for Viva The Underdogs.

Sophie Hyde and Jeffrey Walker have both been nominated twice in this year’s awards. They are two of the four directors nominated for Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Mini-Series. The nominees are Mat King for Bloom – Episode 5, Sophie Hyde for The Hunting – Episode 4, Jeffrey Walker for Lambs Of God – Episode 1 and Emma Freeman for Stateless – Episode 3.

The nominees for Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Series are Jeffrey Walker for The Commons – Episode 1, Nash Edgerton for Mr. Inbetween – Episode 4 Season 2, Peter Andrikidis for Reckoning – Episode 4, Tony Krawitz for Secret City – Episode 1 Season 2Rachel Perkins for Total Control – Episode 4 and Kevin Carlin for Wentworth – Episode 10 Season 7.

Rebecca O’Brien has been nominated for Best Direction in a Children’s TV or SVOD Drama Program for The Unlisted – Episode 13, a role she received support through the ADG/Gender Matters shadow directing program. Lucy Gaffy and Darlene Johnson, also supported previously through this program, have likewise been nominated today.

A full list of nominees across all 19 categories is below, in order of project title: 

Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget $1M or over)

  • Thomas Wright – Acute Misfortune
  • Sophie Hyde – Animals
  • John Sheedy – H is for Happiness 
  • Ben Lawrence – Hearts and Bones
  • Natalie Erika James – Relic
  • Wayne Blair – Top End Wedding

Best Direction in a Feature Film (Budget under $1M)

  • Josephine Mackerras – Alice
  • Imogen Thomas – Emu Runner
  • Lucy Coleman – Hot Mess
  • Luke Sullivan – Reflections In The Dust
  • Samuel Van Grinsven – Sequin In A Blue Room

Best Direction in a Documentary Feature

  • Ian Darling – The Final Quarter 
  • Maya Newell – In My Blood It Runs
  • Peter Hegedus – LILI
  • Allan Hardy – Viva The Underdogs

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Series 

  • Jeffrey Walker – The Commons – Episode 1
  • Nash Edgeton – Mr. Inbetween – Episode 4 Season 2
  • Peter Andrikidis – Reckoning – Episode 4
  • Tony Krawitz – Secret City – Episode 1 Season 2
  • Rachel Perkins – Total Control – Episode 4
  • Kevin Carlin – Wentworth – Episode 10 Season 7 

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Mini-Series 

  • Mat King – Bloom – Episode 5
  • Sophie Hyde – The Hunting –- Episode 4
  • Jeffrey Walker – Lambs Of God – Episode 1
  • Emma Freeman – Stateless – Episode 3

Best Direction in a Documentary Series

  • Rosie Jones – The Cult Of The Family – Episode 1
  • Cian O’Clery – Love On The Spectrum – Episode 1
  • Genevieve Clay Smith – Perspective Shift – Episode 1

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Comedy Series 

  • Matthew Moore – Diary Of An Uber Driver – Episode 2
  • Amanda Brotchie – The Letdown – Episode 1
  • Trent O’Donnell – The Letdown – Episode 4 Season 2
  • Matthew Saville – Upright – Episode 5

Best Direction in a Children’s TV or SVOD Drama Program

  • Kacie Anning – Hardball – Episode 6
  • Isaac Elliot – The Legend of Burnout Barry
  • Lucy Gaffy – The Unlisted – Episode 10
  • Rebecca O’Brien – The Unlisted – Episode 13

Best Direction in a TV or SVOD Drama Serial

  • Renee Webster – The Heights – Episode 15
  • Darlene Johnson – The Heights – Episode 22
  • Arnie Custo – Home and Away – Episode 7117
  • Danny Raco – Home and Away – Episode 7225 
  • David Gould – Home and Away – Episode 7271
  • Tony Gardiner – Neighbours – Episode 8325

Best Direction in an Animated Project 

  • Jo Boag – Alice Miranda: Friends Forever
  • Holly Hargraeves – Bonnie The Elephant

Best Direction in Commercial Content

  • Nicholas Carlton – A Future For All Of Us (Australian Greens)
  • Lucy Coleman – Koala Presents: Mattress (Ex)orcism (Koala Mattress)
  • Craig Melville – Unexpected Journeys (TBWA)
  • Allan Hardy – Volvo Penta Makes Australian Farming Possible (Allabah Pastural Co.)

Best Direction in Commercial Advertisement

  • Ven Gia – Made Here. By Us. (Corowa Distilling Co.)
  • Luke Shanahan – Little Fibs (NZ Post)
  • Tim Bullock – New–Australia Land (Meat and Livestock Australia)

Best Direction in an Online Drama Series

  • Husein Alicajic – One Sided // The Acquired Inability To Escape

Best Direction in an Online Comedy Series

  • Max Miller – Aunty Donna: Glennridge Secondary College
  • Michael O’Neill – Australia’s Best Street Car Racer
  • Miley Tunnecliffe – Molly and Cars
  • Eliza Reilly – Sheilas

Best Direction in a Documentary Short Subject

  • Dr. Karen Pearlman – I Want To Write A Film About Women 
  • Stefan Bugryn – War Mothers: Unbreakable
  • Logan Much – We’re All In This together
  • Rob Innes – Youth On Strike!

Best Direction in a Music Video

  • Lucy Knox – I’m Not Afraid (Artist: G Flip)
  • Lucy Knox – If I Could Give You (Artist: Clare Bowditch)
  • Matthew Thorne – The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island (Artist: The Howl & The Hum)
  • Nick Waterman – Ready (Artist: Montaigne)
  • Riley Blakeway – Whenever You Are (Artist: Kodaline)

Best Direction in an Interactive or Immersive Title

  • Matthew Sleeth – A Drone Opera – 3 Channel Gallery Installation

Best Direction in a Short Film

  • Simon Croker – All Good Things
  • Melissa Anastasi – Chlorine
  • Sam Lara – Featherweight
  • Michael Shanks – Rebooted
  • Lydia Rui – This Perfect Day
  • Lewis Attey – Three Stories Inside a Rental Van 

Best Direction in a Student Film

  • Dylan Ferenc Nyerges – Arthur, Blessed
  • Alies Sluiter – Ayaan
  • Alex Wu – Idol
  • Peter Skinner – Lost Boy
  • Eva Justine Torkkola – ЩОСЬ В ЛIСI ЗДОХЛО (Something Has Died In The Forest)
  • Naomi Fryer – This River

This year the Awards Ceremony returns to Sydney’s City Recital Hall and will be followed by a Gala Dinner at the Ivy Ballroom. There are several ticketing options available.

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