2022 - Winner
This feature script explores the very complex life of Martin (Nitram) Bryant in the years leading up to the tragic 1996 Port Arthur massacre. In particular, it threads together the deliberately unnamed protagonist’s unusual relationships with his parents and millionaire ‘lover’ Helen Harvey, with his downward spiralling mental health and self-control. Nitram is an outsider in his family and his community. We see him make many attempts to create his own path and follow his own way, however crooked. The massacre events aren’t seen, just heard for a moment, making this a non-gratuitous film that is more interested in witnessing the signs of deep danger.
The script doesn’t make comment on the events in Nitram’s life, nor does it explicitly point blame — instead, it listens and invites readers to contemplate the effect his experiences might have had on his ultimate choice. While this is, in many ways, a quiet film, on the page the writing is electric. Mood and tone are evident in every line of the screen directions, and character motivation and perspective in every line of dialogue. Reading this script was as rewarding as watching the film itself.
The level of craft in NITRAM's script provides a masterclass in screenwriting. It doesn’t need the film to make the story — the script itself is an incredibly enjoying, moving read. The characters are drawn within an inch of their life, making scenes rich, textured and working as hard as they possibly can. The plot moves forward carefully and concisely, tightly strung for maximum dramatic impact, with readers knowing all the while what will eventually come. The levels of subtext are incredibly sophisticated. NITRAM is a script of international quality.