Australians in Film has unveiled the finalists for its 7th annual Heath Ledger Scholarship. The bursary was created in honor of the late Oscar winner and aims to provide a bridge for actors who have achieved a level of success in Australia, in order for them to establish themselves as working actors in the States. The main prize winner receives, among other things, two round-trip flights to L.A., a two-year scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy, $5,000 worth of Visa and Immigration services, and $10,000 cash. It also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry and personal mentoring from Heath Ledger’s father, Kim. Previous winners include James Mackay, Ryan Corr, and Bella Heathcote. Finalists this year are Mojean Aria (Hybrids); David Berry (A Place To Call Home); Shareena Clanton (Wentworth); Emilie Cocquerel (An Accidental Soldier); Taylor Ferguson (The Turning); James Fraser (The Water Diviner); Reef Ireland (Wentworth); Joel Jackson (Deadline Gallipoli); Travis Jeffrey (Unbroken); Matt Levett (A Place To Call Home); Brandon McClelland (Anzac Girls); Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood (A Place To Call Home); Jordan Patrick Smith (Unbroken); Adele Perovic (The Code); TJ Power (The Sapphires); Harry Richardson (Looking For Grace); Millie Samuels (The Gods Of Wheat Street), Lily Sullivan (Mental), Geraldine Viswanathan (Dysfunktion) and Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues, Gallipoli, Galore). Finalists were selected by a committee of managers and agents from LA. Celebrity judges including Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn and Vince Vaughn choose the winners who will be announced on June 1 in L.A.
Scotland has made a further step towards getting itself a film and TV studio. PSL Land Ltd has applied for planning permission for a mixed-use studio development site at Straiton, just outside Edinburgh. The 86 acre site would host a world-class film and television production facility incorporating six sound stages, an external water-stage, two backlots, workshops and production office spaces. A film academy and student residence, a visitor attraction and hotel are also eyed. U.S. TV shows like Outlander shoot in Scotland, but the country has long been devoid a proper studio, repurposing warehouses instead to accommodate foreign productions.
Icon Films, in association with Natural History Film Unit Botswana have been commissioned by the BBC and Animal Planet U.S. to produce a follow up to their award winning doc Africa’s Giant Killers. The Return of the Giant Killers; Africa’s Lion Kings is a one hour film that reunites director cinematographer Brad Bestelink and film photographer Richard Uren to capture wildlife footage in the Savute Game Reserve in Botswana. The film will again form part of the BBC’s Natural World strand.
The PGA has added new affiliate relationships with South Africa’s Independent Producers Organization and Malaysia’s Creative Content Industry Guild. Members of both organizations will now have “International Region” status in the U.S.-based PGA. These pacts allow the PGA and its associated guilds the mutual benefits of access to resources, a foundation for networking and co-producing opportunities, and an international exchange of ideas and information about producing film, television and digital projects. The addition of IPO and CCIG brings the PGA’s total number of sister guilds to 18 worldwide.