Warwick Thornton wins American Society of Cinematographers Spotlight Award

Australian director Warwick Thornton has taken home the prestigious Spotlight Award at the ASC Awards 2024.

Warwick Thornton, director of The New Boy, took home the Spotlight Award at last night’s 38th American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards. 

Cate Blanchett, a producer and star of the film, attended the awards as Thorton’s guest. ‘We couldn’t be happier that Warwick’s unique cinematic gift is getting the recognition he so justly deserves with The New Boy,’ she said. ‘We’re excited its universal message resonates wherever it is seen.’

This latest win follows a string of prizes awarded to The New Boy, including the prestigious Golden Frog cinematography prize at the EnergaCamerimage Film Festival. The New Boy also won five Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards in February, including a Best Cinematography win for Thornton himself. 

The New Boy stars Aswan Reid (recently named Best Actor at Australia’s AACTA Awards) in his debut in the title role alongside Blanchett as Sister Eileen. The film also stars Deborah Mailman as Sister Mum and Wayne Blair as George. The New Boy was shot on location in South Australia and features a score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

The film follows an Aboriginal child who arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun. There, the new boy’s presence disturbs a delicately balanced world, and reveals the cost of hiding oneself away to survive.

Our reviewer, Norah Masige, wrote of the film:

‘Thornton’s talent as a cinematographer is clear in this film as he accentuates the magnificence of the South Australian landscape. This is not only prevalent in the opening shots but throughout the film, from the new boy playing in the vast fields of wheat to the haunting dawn landscape. Sometimes the shot is simply of wheat swaying in the breeze in time with the music. The strong connection to the land is also revealed as the new boy begins climbing a tree (but is promptly told to climb down) and in his effortless ability to interact with animals.’

Read: The New Boy review: an enchanting and intriguing film

The film is produced by Blanchett and Andrew Upton for Dirty Films, Kath Shelper for Scarlett Pictures and Lorenzo De Maio of De Maio Entertainment. Co-producer is Georgie Pym with Coco Francini serving as executive producer for Dirty Films and Gretel Packer as executive producer for Longbridge Nominees. The film received production funding from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department, Screen NSW and the South Australian Film Corporation, alongside Fremantle and Longbridge Nominees.

The New Boy, which has also just collected eight nominations from Australia’s Film Critics Circle, opens in cinemas in the United Kingdom and Ireland this month, distributed by Signature U.K.

A release date for North America is yet to be announced.

The New Boy is now available to stream on Binge or Prime Video in Australia.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports

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