Corrie Chen wins the Screen Presence Trailblazer Award

Chen, who has directed Australian series such as Bad Behaviour and New Gold Mountain, is the inaugural winner of the award.

Australian filmmaker Corrie Chen has been announced as the recipient of the inaugural Screen Presence Trailblazer Award, presented at the Screen Presence 24 showcase at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Sunday 7 April.

The award, say its organisers, acknowledges ground-breaking industry contribution by an Asian-Australian creative.

Read: Finding Your Tribe: An interview with director Corrie Chen

Established by the Museum of Chinese Australia History, the aim of Screen Presence is to grow the representation of Asian Australians in the screen industry by creating, mentoring, and securing work in the mainstream industry.

Chen is a highly sought-after, award-winning writer and director who works in drama and comedy. She directed the AACTA-nominated Stan Original mini-series Bad Behaviour for Matchbox Pictures, which premiered at the 2023 Berlinale in Official Competition, and also helmed the multi award-winning Goalpost/SBS mini-series New Gold Mountain, set on the frontiers of the Australian gold rush from the Chinese perspective – for which she won the ADG award for Best Direction in a miniseries.

Read: Bad Behaviour review: malice, manipulation and hope

She has been named one of the Asian-Australian Leadership Awards 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians. Most recently, she completed The Artful Dodger for Disney+ starring David Thewlis and will soon be directing the crime comedy Good Cop / Bad Cop for The CW and Stan.

Read: The Artful Dodger, Disney+ review: leaves us wanting more

Chen said: ‘I am incredibly grateful to have received this award from the Museum of Chinese Australian History. Screen is a cultural mirror, and it has shaped every aspect of how I have seen my identity. I have spent so much of my career trying to find a place of belonging, an award like this is a reminder of the power of a community that already exist to help me feel less alone.

Read: TV Review: New Gold Mountain is a captivating achievement

‘Don’t give up just because the mirror tells you nobody like you has ever done it. I’d also like to acknowledge the many, many other faces of change making incredible work that continue to inspire me every day, pulling me into a loud, creative Asian-Australian family I’m so happy to be a part of.’

Curator of Screen Presence, Lisa Wang, said: ‘Corrie Chen is truly a trailblazer, bringing recognition and understanding to the audience through her work, be it comedy or drama. She represents for me all that is unique to those who spin their magic in front of, around and behind the camera.’

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites