2021
Submissions open

About the Prize

The Betty Roland Prize ($30,000) is offered for the screenplay of a feature-length fiction film, for the script of a documentary film, for the script of a play or documentary for radio, or for the script of a television program (whether fiction or non-fiction). A script will be eligible for consideration if a film or radio or television program has been first publicly screened or broadcast between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020. Scripts written by more than four authors are not eligible for the Scriptwriting Award. Only one episode, per writer, per series can be considered. Only the writer’s original work will be considered for an award.

In the case of a feature-length film, the final shooting script should be submitted; in other cases, shooting and production scripts, which may differ from the original script, may be submitted only if accompanied by the original script. 

Assessment will be made entirely on the literary merit of the written text, and not on the merits of the resulting film, radio or television program. 

The judging panel

Jane McCredie

Senior Judge

Jane McCredie is an award-winning journalist, writer and reviewer who has been widely published in Australia and internationally. A former book publisher, she is the CEO of Writing NSW and the founder and director of the Quantum Words Festival of writing about science. She is the author of Making Girls and Boys: Inside the science of sex and was coeditor of the 2013 anthology of The Best Australian Science Writing.

Jane is a graduate of the Australia Council’s arts leaders program and has previously chaired both the Christina Stead and Douglas Stewart panels of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Photo of Anna Broinowski

Anna Broinowski

Chair

Dr Anna Broinowski is a multiple AACTA and Walkley-winning filmmaker who documents subversive and political subjects. Her documentaries include Aim High in Creation! (about North Korean propaganda cinema); Please Explain (about populist Senator Pauline Hanson); Forbidden Lie$ (about hoax-author Norma Khouri); and Helen’s War (about anti-nuclear crusader Dr Helen Caldicott).

Anna’s written two books, The Director is the Commander (2015) and Please Explain: the rise, fall and rise again of Pauline Hanson (2017). A Screen Arts lecturer at Sydney University, Anna is working on a new magical feature film set at Uluru, and researching the rise of Deep Fakes and synthetic media online.

Craig Batty

Craig Batty

Craig Batty is Professor and Head of Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney. He is the author, co-author and editor of 15 books on screenwriting and screen production, including Script Development: Critical Approaches, Creative Practices, International Perspectives (2020), Writing for the Screen: Creative and Critical Approaches (2nd ed.) (2019) and Screen Production Research: Creative Practice as a Mode of Enquiry (2018). He is also a writer, script editor and script consultant, with experiences in short film, feature film, television and online drama. He has assessed scripts for many industry bodies and competitions over the past 17 years, as well as led many screenwriting workshops in the UK and Australia.

Reg Cribb

Reg Cribb

FILM and TELEVISION: 

LAST TRAIN TO FREO (Film adaptation of THE RETURN):  Directed by Jeremy Sims, was shown at the New Zealand International Film Festival and the Melbourne Int. Film Festival where it was voted most popular Australian film. A film adaptation of BRAN NUE DAE by Jimmy Chi directed by Rachel Perkins and starring Geoffrey Rush was released in commercial cinemas nationwide – it currently sits in the top 20 all time Australian box office hits and is the most popular Indigenous film ever. It recently won the Audience Award at Melbourne Internat. Film Festival as well as being accepted into the Toronto Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival and Sundance. LAST CAB TO DARWIN was adapted by him from his play into a feature film  Starring dual Oscar Nominee  - Jackie Weaver and Michael Caton.  It premiered in August – 2015 and featured at the 2015 Sydney International Film Festival where it was voted most popular Australian Film, opened The 2015 Revelation Film Festival and was part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival – It was  nominated for 8 AACTA Awards – 2015 where it won for Best Adapted Screenplay – Reg Cribb & Jeremy Sims and Best Actor  _Michael Caton. THE GREAT MINT SWINDLE - A Channel 9 Tele Movie about The Mickelberg Bros   (Screenplay by Reg Cribb), was shown at primetime, March – 2012.  It rated over 1.2 million.

PLAYS include:

THE RETURN: (Seasons in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, U.S.A, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Scotland and London) LAST CAB TO DARWIN: - Starring Barry Otto and Jacqui Weaver. ( Seasons at the Sydney Opera House, Octagon Theatre, and national tour. ) GULPILIL: (Seasons at the Adelaide International Arts Festival 2004, Brisbane International Arts Festival 2004 and Belvoir St. Theatre - Sydney). CHATROOM: (Season at Rechabites Hall for Perth Theatre Co. and national tour in 2006). RUBY’S LAST DOLLAR:  starring Jacqui Weaver: ( Seasons at the Sydney Opera House and Octagon Theatre). UNCLE VANYA  - Adaptation for Black Swan Theatre. UNAUSTRALIA – WAAPA graduation play – 2007 – Subiaco Theatre Centre and La Mama – Melbourne - 2010 & 2012 . THE HAUNTING OF DANIEL GARTRELL  -  2008 – Perth Theatre Company season and Straightjacket Prod.  – Melbourne season starring John Wood and National tour starring Max Gillies - 2013 . KRAKOUER – 2009 – Deckchair Theatre season. Touring nationally – 2011.  BOUNDARY ST – Brisbane & Perth Festival – 2011. THE DAMNED – Black Swan Theatre season – 2011.   COUNTRY SONG  – QTC – 2015 QTC Season. THOMAS MURRAY AND THE UPSIDE DOWN RIVER – 2016 – Griffin Theatre Season.

AWARDS:

LAST CAB TO DARWIN won the 2003 Qld Premiers Literary Award, 2003 Patrick White Playwrights Award, the 2003 W.A Premiers Award for Best Script and the overall W.A. Premiers Award ( First play to ever win this award) and the 2003 W.A Equity Award for Best New Script. It was also shortlisted for The Victorian Premiers Literary Award, The N.S.W Premiers Literary Award and 2003 Australian Writers Guild Award.

THE RETURN won the 2001 Patrick White Playwrights Award, but this was overturned due to it having an impending production. and was shortlisted for the 2001 Qld Premiers Literary Award.

CHATROOM was shortlisted for the 2004 Patrick White Playwrights Award, The 2005 Qld Premiers Literary Award and The 2005 W.A Premiers Literary Award.

GULPILIL was shortlisted for a 2005 AWGIE Award.

RUBY’S LAST DOLLAR  - Nominated for Vic. Premiers Literary award 2006 and W.A Equity Awards 2006.

The Screenplay for LAST TRAIN TO FREO  - Nominated  - Victorian, and  Qld Premiers Literary Award 2006. Winner W.A Premiers Award 2006. Nominated For AWGIES 2006 and for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay – AFI Awards 2006.  Critics Circle Awards 2006 – Best Adapted Screenplay.  

BRAN NUE DAE – Nominated – AWGIES 2009 – Best Adapted Screenplay. AFI AWARDS – 2011 – Best Adapted Screenplay as well as 8 AFI Awards including Best Picture

BOUNDARY ST – WINNER – Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award – 2009

THE DAMNED – Shortlisted – 2010 Patrick White Playwrights Award, 2010 – Griffin Award. &  WINNER - NSW PREMIERS LITERARY AWARD 2013

BURIED COUNTRY – WINNER – RODNEY SEABORN AWARD 2013

Reg is a proud member of the AWG and sits on the National Playwrights Committee. He lectures in performance writing at Curtin Uni and WAAPA. Most of his plays are in print with Currency Press.

About Betty Roland

Betty Roland (1903-1996) was an Australian writer of plays, novels, screenplays, children’s books and comics. Roland left school at sixteen to train as a journalist, working for Table Talk and Sun News-Pictorial. She began writing plays in the mid-1920s. Her best-known play The Touch of Silk being first performed in 1928 by the Melbourne Repertory Theatre company. 

Roland lived in Russia for several years while being in a relationship with Guido Baracchi, one of the founders of the Australian Communist Party. She returned to Australia in 1935 writing a number of political plays, but became disillusioned with the Communist Party.

Roland also wrote the screenplay for what is claimed as the first Australian feature length "talkie" movie Spur of the Moment (1932) credited as Betty M. Davies. 

Roland began writing for the radio, including The First Gentleman, Daddy Was Asleep and The White Cockade. During the 1950s she worked as a freelance writer in London, but returned to Australia in 1961 and moved on to write a number of highly regarded children’s novels. Roland is most-admired for her three volumes of autobiography, the first being Caviar for Breakfast (1979).

Past winners and shortlists

2020

The Cry
Synchronicity Films
Joint winner
Girl in the woods
SBS
Joint winner
Two teenage girls lying on their backs looking up to the sky
Happiness Film Productions
Shortlisted
Two teenage boys standing in front of a stack of blue barrels
Causeway Films
Shortlisted
Man kissing a teenage girl on the forehead
Lingo Pictures
Shortlisted

2019

photo from jirga film
Winner
3 women dressed in period clothing from picnic at hanging rock tv show
Shortlisted
Riot
Shortlisted
Mystery Road Episode 1
Shortlisted
Seoul City Sue
Shortlisted
judy davis in mystery road
Shortlisted

2018

deep water image
Blackfella Films
Winner