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South Australian screen sector triumphs at 2023 Ruby Awards

11 December 2023
2023 Ruby Awards winners

It was a great night for the South Australian screen sector at the 2023 Ruby Awards, South Australia’s highest honour for the state’s arts and creative industries sector, with five wins for SA made productions, creatives and screen events.

Acclaimed First Nations actor and filmmaker Natasha Wanganeen was named the winner of the Stevie Gadlabarti Goldsmith Memorial Award, which recognises outstanding artistic or cultural achievement or contribution by a South Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person or group. A proud Ngarrindjeri, Narungga, Kaurna and Noongar woman, Natasha has appeared in over 30 projects since her breakout role as a teenage actor in SAFC supported film Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), later winning the AFI Award for Best Young Actor for her role in Jessica (2004). Most recently Natasha starred alongside Simon Baker in Ivan Sen’s 2023 desert noir Limbo, receiving international praise for her portrayal of Emma, the sister of a missing girl in Coober Pedy.

Natasha Wanganeen receives her Ruby Award

SA made short film Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) took home the Ruby Award for Outstanding Regional Event or Project. Written and directed by SA filmmakers Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne with producers Matthew Thorne, Patrick Graham and Duncan Graham of Other Pictures and Switch Productions, and made with support from both the SAFC and the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund (AFFIF), the acclaimed docu-fiction film has won international acclaim including the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) and the Teddy Queer Film Award for Best Short Film at Berlinale 2023 and the $20,000 Documentary Australia Award at the 2023 Sydney Film Festival. Voiced completely in Yankunytjatjara, Marungka Tjalatjunu follows Derik, an initiated Anangu and queer-identifying man, on a road trip to Country for spiritual healing in what he describes as “reconciliation through film”.

Derik Lynch receives the Ruby Award for Outstanding Regional Event or Project; the Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) team with their Ruby Award

Adelaide filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou’s feature debut Talk To Me received the Ruby Award for Outstanding Work or Event Within a Festival for its sold-out Gala screening at Her Majesty’s Theatre at the Adelaide Film Festival 2022. The global smash hit horror film, which was supported by both the SAFC and the AFFIF, has grossed over $140 million in worldwide box office, becoming one of the biggest films of the year internationally. As well as being a runaway popular hit, Talk to Me has been hugely appreciated by young audiences for its positive and unique representation of young, contemporary, diverse Australians on screen.

Danny Philippou accepts the Ruby Award for Outstanding Work or Event Within A Festival from afar; members of the Talk To Me team with their Ruby Award

The award for Outstanding Work or Event Outside a Festival went to Adelaide’s Windmill Pictures for its SAFC supported TV series Beep and Mort – S1, which premiered on ABC TV and iview in 2022. The whimsical live-action puppet-based series comes from SA director/producer Rosemary Myers and SA producer Kaye Weeks, and a writing team including SA’s Simon Butters. Beep and Mort and their magical world of Mollyvale have already returned, with season two filmed at the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios earlier this year, and premiering on ABC TV last month.

Kaye Weeks accepts the Ruby Award for Outstanding Work or Event Outside A Festival; members of the Beep and Mort team with their Ruby Award

And the Adelaide Film Festival received the Ruby Award for Outstanding Collaboration for its Adelaide Film Festival EXPAND Lab 2022 in collaboration with Samstag Museum of Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Illuminate Adelaide and the Balnaves Foundation. The initiative connects practitioners from across diverse creative areas, bringing together their combined expertise and skills to generate new moving image artworks.

The SAFC was also delighted to see multi award-winning SA Sound Designer, Sound Recordist and Mixer James Currie shortlisted for the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. With a film and television career dating back to 1977, James is recognised as one of Australia’s most experienced and important film sound designers, with his work over the decades playing a significant role in establishing and growing South Australia’s screen industry. Last year the SAFC honoured James among six of South Australia’s longest-serving crew members at our 50th anniversary celebrations.

AFF team with their Ruby Award; acclaimed sound creative James Currie

The Ruby Award winners were announced at an elegant awards ceremony on Friday 8 December at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, hosted by SA comedian and filmmaker Jason Chong. The SAFC congratulates all the 2023 winners and nominees.

Named after late arts patron Dame Ruby Litchfield, the annual Ruby Awards recognise artistic excellence, creative achievement, innovation, community involvement and inspirational leadership.

For the full list of winners, click here.

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