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South Australia shines at 2021 AACTA Awards

09 December 2021
L-R Josh Lawson as Kano in Mortal Kombat, David Gulpilil in My Name is Gulpilil, Jason Chong.

South Australian screen practitioners and SAFC supported productions have shone at the 2021 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, Australia’s version of the Oscars.

Held over two nights this week in Sydney, the AACTAs are an annual celebration of the best in Australian screen.

Legendary actor and celebrated South Australian David Gulpilil was honoured with the Longford Lyell Award, the industry’s highest accolade, celebrating his outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture. The late actor was also celebrated with projections of his image and work on the sails of the Sydney Opera House ahead of last night’s ceremony.

SAFC supported documentary My Name is Gulpilil won Best Documentary, as well as Best Editing in a Documentary for South Australian editor Tania Nehme.

South Australian made blockbuster Mortal Kombat won the awards for Best Production Design in film, and Best Sound in film, with South Australian screen sound practitioners Adrian Medhurst and Des Kenneally named in the honours.

Comedian Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas – directed by South Australian director Madeleine Parry – won Best Stand-Up Special, while Life in Colour with David Attenborough from South Australian producer Carolyn Johnson won Best Sound in a Documentary.

And South Australian practitioner Jason Chong was awarded the coveted 2021 Reg Grundy Award, winning $50,000 in cash and development funding for his new television competition program idea “The Second Best Game Show”, which takes the quiz show format and destroys it by asking one question: “What would happen if it’s the person in SECOND PLACE that takes home the prize money?”

A recent graduate of the SAFC’s Skilling SA program, where he trained in the AD Department, Jason has been a passionate and engaged member of the SA screen sector for several years. As well as having worked at Adelaide community broadcaster Channel 44 and running his own business 1UP Digital, Jason has built his skills and networks in the screen industry with support of the SAFC through attending the Screen Forever conference for the first time in 2019, and through the Mercury CX‘s Screenmakers Conferences and Screenmakers Lab.

Jason says his idea for “The Second Best Game Show” was honed at this year’s Mercury CX Screenmakers Pitch Lab.

“I think it’s important to show the support I’ve been given by South Australia’s two major industry bodies, the SAFC and Mercury CX, and along with my time at Channel 44 and through 1UP Digital, the momentum it’s helped me generate,” he says.

“There’s still loads of work to do, but this is a great chance to say thank you for all the support and opportunities that have been provided by the SAFC.  It has already made a huge difference in my career so far.”

South Australian practitioners and SAFC supported productions scored multiple nominations for the AACTA Awards this year, including Adelaide PDV studio Rising Sun Pictures for Best Visual Effects or Animation for their work on SA filmed blockbuster Mortal Kombat, and Disney’s Jungle Cruise, both of which were supported by the SAFC’s SA PDV Rebate; SAFC supported documentary My Name is Gulpilil for Best Sound for SA’s Tom Heuzenroeder; feature film A Sunburnt Christmas from SA producer Lisa Scott of Adelaide Studios based Highview Productions for Best Miniseries or Telefeature, Best Cinematography in Television and the Audience Choice Award for Best Film; and Aftertaste by Closer Productions, also based at Adelaide Studios, for Best Narrative Comedy Series.

SA creative Madeleine Parry was nominated for Best Direction in Non-Fiction Television for Hannah Gadsby’s comedy special Douglas, while Life in Colour with David Attenborough from SA producer Carolyn Johnson was nominated for Best Documentary or Factual Program. SA’s Fiona Rees-Jones was nominated for Best Hair and Makeup for her work on feature film Nitram.

Mortal Kombat was nominated for seven awards including Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Sound, Best Production Design and the Audience Choice Award for Best Film, while Adelaide Studios shot sci-fi 2067 was also nominated for Best Production Design.

See all the AACTA winners and nominees at

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