The Judging Panel
Craig Batty is Professor and Dean of Research (Creative) at the University of South Australia. 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.
Vanessa Alexander is an award-winning writer, director and producer who works between Australia, the US and the UK. Internationally, she has written for the Emmy-nominated series The Great, the new Netflix Vikings spinoff Valhalla and the UK/Canadian crime drama Tin Star.
She has also written for the Australian series Love Child and The Wrong Girl, the latter garnering her an AWGIE nomination in 2018. Vanessa has worked extensively in both comedy and drama writers rooms around the world where she is a sought-after storyliner with a great flair for poorly-behaved but endearing female protagonists.
Prior to moving to Australia, Vanessa worked extensively in film and television in New Zealand and was one of the first females to direct The Power Rangers.
Reg Cribb is an award-winning writer for stage and screen; he has won an AACTA for Best Adapted Screenplay and been nominated for another two, the Patrick White Playwright’s Award, two WA Premier’s Literary Awards, the major WA Premier’s award, a NSW Premier’s Literary Award, a QLD Literary Premier’s Award and he has been nominated for six AWGIE awards.
Reg adapted his play Last Cab To Darwin as a feature film starring Michael Caton and Jackie Weaver. It premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and made $7.5M at the Australian box office. Other screenplays by Reg include The Great Mint Swindle, Bran Nue Dae, Last Train To Freo.
Recent plays include Country Song, Krakouer!, Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River, The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell, Unaustralia, The Damned and Boundary Street among others.
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 2020 and 30 September 2021. 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.
Past winners and shortlist
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).