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2023 - Winner


Judges' Comments

This is a stunning script, vivid in its visual language and inexorable in its conclusion. Character and theme are universal, yet placed in a contemporary world and plotted with social issues that reverberate with today’s audience. It provides us with such an interesting and evocative take on a crime that has resonated down through centuries. Puppetry and animation give the work a thematic and stylistic twist, and the mid-story turning point is sharply spun.  

The script weaves the untidy threads of trauma and healing into a clear vision of dragons, disassociation, and a personal sacrifice that pumps through a young girl, taking her across the uncomfortable threshold of childhood and into her own power. This is controlled, devastating writing that pushes the limits of genre, opening up possibilities for new storytelling trends. Del Kathryn Barton and Huna Amweero have created a truly refreshing and bold offering that marks a milestone in Australian screenwriting. 

We are excited to present this year’s award to Barton and Amweero. While writing teams are common in film, the pairing of a visual artist and a screenwriter here creates a dynamic collaboration that draws on different yet complementary storytelling traditions to create a landmark genre film. If the job of screenwriting is to make manifest emotions and social concerns, this feature screenplay succeeds, with the heat turned up. The screenplay page is an experience in itself, pulling readers along dramatically and thematically through vivid imagery, powerful plot, and dangerous dialogue.