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Up flag! On 18 September 2017, the AWG, ADG, SPA and MEAA invite all members to join with other writers, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, sound, post, composers and all professionals involved in creating content in Australia to attend A NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION for the launch of a cross-guild campaign to protect Australian content and production and preserve Australian stories for Australian audiences on all screens. See below for an important message from the Australian Writers Guild. (Poster courtesy of the AWG).

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MAKE IT AUSTRALIAN − NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION!

The Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) has this important message for all professionals involved in creating content for Australian audiences, including performance writers, authors, journalists, musicians and performers. 

AWG President, JAN SARDI, says: ‘As many of you will know, the right to tell our own stories from our own perspective and in our own voice is not something that just happened, it’s a battle that was fought by the Guild and the industry in the Make It Australian campaign of the 1970s. The battle was won, but the war to keep it Australian has never ended and it’s now entering a new, critical phase.

'Commercial TV broadcasters want to walk away from any requirement to create children’s content and are lobbying the government to abolish local content quotas. New players like Netflix, YouTube, Stan, ISPs and Telcos are making billions of dollars from the Australian market with no obligation to create local, original content for the Australian audiences it exploits.

'If we let this happen there will be no more scripted drama, no kids’ TV and our screens will be flooded with foreign content and reality shows. We will lose our jobs, our unique Australian voice and our culture and, because of the Free Trade Agreement, once it is gone it is lost forever. The time has come to fight again!’

ON 18 SEPTEMBER 2017, the AWG, ADG, SPA and MEAA invite all members to join with other writers, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, sound, post, composers and all professionals involved in creating content in Australia to attend a National Day of Action to launch a cross-guild campaign to protect Australian content and production, and preserve Australian stories for Australian audiences on all screens.

Industry leaders will speak on the importance of preserving Australian and children’s content quotas on television and extending local content obligations to online content providers.

CALL TO ACTION

WHEN: Monday, 18 September 2017

WHERE: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart − for times and locations see below and RSVP HERE.

Sydney: 6.30 p.m. AFTRS
Melbourne: 3.00 p.m., ACMI
Brisbane: 6.00 p.m., William Galloway Auditorium, QCU
Adelaide: 5.00 p.m., Media Resource Centre
Perth: 4.00 p.m. East Perth Fielder Street Creative Hub
Hobart: 5.30 p.m. Fullers Bookshop

This is a call to arms, the AWG says. We need to act now. Our enemies are rich and powerful but, together, our voices are louder.For more information go to the website www.makeitaustralian.com or email anna@awg.com.au.

 WRITERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT! AWG HONOURS WRITERS AT THE 50TH ANNUAL AWGIE AWARDS

Playwright LEAH PURCELL capped off an incredible year of recognition for her play The Drover’s Wife by taking home the top two writing honours at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 50th Annual AWGIE Awards.

Leigh was awarded the 2017 Major Award and the David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre, for her re-imagining of Henry Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife, as well as winning the Stage category in what has been a competitive year for theatre.

Over 350 screen and stage writers, industry representatives and special guests gathered to celebrate the 50th year of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s AWGIE Awards, where over 25 Australian writers were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the Australian arts.

At a time when Australian screen content and kids’ TV are under threat, AWG President Jan Sardi took time to reflect on the vital role of the writer and the continued fight to ensure that Australians are able to hear and tell their own stories, from their own perspective and in their own voice.

Jan honoured the impressive line-up of 2017 nominees and winners and paid tribute to the AWGIE Award’s half-century old tradition of putting writers in the spotlight.

‘For fifty years we have celebrated the best of the best; the unique skills, craft and creativity that only writers can bring, without which there would be nothing,’ he said.

Awards were presented across 20 categories, including film, television, theatre, documentary, children’s television and interactive media. Read the full list of winners here. Read the full list of nominees here. Thanks to the AWG for this information.

SCREENWRITER ANDREW KNIGHT RECEIVES TOP INDUSTRY HONOUR

ANDREW KNIGHT has been awarded the 2017 Australian Writers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to the Australian screen industry over more than 30 years. The award recognises writers who have made a significant contribution to the Australian screen industry and celebrates the achievements of Australia’s most revered writers.

Andrew’s award is well deserved and long overdue. There are few people in Australia who have not seen programs penned by this talented writer. Andrew started out writing for such classic Australian comedy series as The D Generation, Fast Forward and Full Frontal, and went on to write some of Australia’s best-loved TV shows including SeaChange, Rake, and Jack Irish.

Throw in After the Deluge, Tripping Over, The Broken Shore adaptation, The Kettering Incident, Kangaroo Palace, CrashBurn and Bligh, and you wonder what Australian TV would have done without him really. For the silver screen, Andrew co-wrote the multi award-winning US–Australian war epic Hacksaw Ridge, historical drama The Water Diviner, and recent Sydney Film Festival favourite, the romantic comedy Ali’s Wedding. Read more.

Oscar-nominated screenwriter and AWG president Jan Sardi said: ‘Not only is Andrew prolific, award-winning and one of the most successful screenwriters this country has ever produced, he is also in possession of a uniquely Australian voice and outlook. You only need to have seen an episode of Rake or SeaChange to see that Andrew is very much the voice of Australia on our screens,’ Hear, hear!

The AWG Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted in 2015 and is decided by a unanimous vote of the 13 members of the Australian Writers’ Guild National Executive Committee who are all professional writers. Previous recipients of the Award are Laura Jones and Craig Pearce. For more information about the 50th Annual AWGIE Awards click here.

SCREEN AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY UNITES TO RESPOND TO BROADCASTERS’ CALL TO ABOLISH AUSTRALIAN KIDS’ TV QUOTAS

In Sydney recently, at the parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of the Australian film and television industry, the CEOs of Seven, Nine and Ten all made submissions to abolish Australian children’s television quotas. Australia’s screen and entertainment industry has responded in a united front

Kingston Anderson, CEO Australian Directors’ Guild said: ‘What the broadcasters are essentially arguing for is a reward for failure: failing Australian children, failing Australian parents, failing Australian industry. It is a cruel irony that in an inquiry into the growth and sustainability of the Australian film and television industry, the commercial broadcasters have argued for the destruction of the Australian children’s content industry,’ Read more.

Sign the petition to help #SaveKidsTV

The Greens have moved a motion in the Senate challenging proposed reforms to broadcast rules that will significantly impact the amount of children’s television made for Australian kids by Australian program makers. This campaign is backed by a coalition of organisations including the Australian Writers’ Guild, SPA, and the ADG.

Head of the AWG TV Committee, Mac Gudgeon, has stressed the need to ‘remind the politicians in Canberra that Australian children deserve to see our culture reflected on their screens. This is a vital issue for AWG members, many of whom earn a living writing for kids’.
 
The AWG urges all members and other interested parties to sign the petition on Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young’s website, and spread the word via all social media platforms. Click here to view and sign the petition. Thanks to the Australian Writer’s Guild for this information. 

All hail to screenwriter ANDREW KNIGHT, who has shown he has enough of the write stuff to slave over a hot typewriter/computer for more than 30 years. We here at Watchwords say, ‘Once a king, always a king, but once a Knight is enough!’ Andrew was awarded the 2017 Australian Writers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his astonishing contribution to the Australian screen industry. He started out writing for such classic Australian comedy series as ‘The D Generation’, ‘Fast Forward’ and ‘Full Frontal’, and went on to write some of Australia’s best-loved TV shows including ‘SeaChange’, ‘Rake’, and ‘Jack Irish’. Add ‘After the Deluge’, ‘Tripping Over’, ‘The Broken Shore’ adaptation, ‘The Kettering Incident’, ‘Kangaroo Palace’, ‘CrashBurn’ and ‘Bligh’, and you wonder what Australian TV would have done without him. (Photo courtesy of AK and the AWG)