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Hollywood Stars To Judge 10th Anniversary Heath Ledger Scholarship

Australians in Film, a non-profit screen foundation that brings together the Australian and global entertainment industries, today revealed eight revered judges set to decide the 2018 Heath Ledger Scholarship, which this year is being presented by leading Australian winery Bird in Hand.  Celebrating its 10thanniversary, the scholarship prize offers invaluable assistance for an emerging Australian actor attempting to break into Hollywood or train internationally.

The official judges for #HLS10 are Rose Byrne (Peter Rabbit, Bridesmaids, X-Men: First Class, Two Hands); Academy Award-winning actor, writer and producer Matt Damon (The Martian, The Bourne Identity series, Ocean’s Eleven, Good Will Hunting); Australian actress and producer Naomi Watts (Birdman, The Impossible, 21 Grams, Mulholland Drive); Australian director Gregor Jordan (Two Hands, Ned Kelly, the upcoming Tim Winton’s Dirt Music); U.S. film and TV producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers franchise, Deepwater Horizon, RED); Emmy-nominated director Jeremy Podeswa (The Handmaid’s Tale, Game of Thrones); Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki (The Kettering Incident, The Night Manager) and LA-based casting director Carmen Cuba (Stranger Things, Alien: Covenant, Magic Mike XXL).

They join already announced judges, Casting Directors, Kirsty McGregor (Lion, Top of the Lake), Amanda Mitchell (The Code, Marco Polo), Jason Wood (A&E Networks), Barbara McCarthy (The Kennedys) and Ann Fay, Patron of the HLS.

Rose Byrne said; “Heath and I met as young 18 year old actors in Sydney on “Two Hands” . He supported me so much in LA with his lovely spirit, always giving me a place to stay, always getting me into rooms to audition. I’m delighted to be part of a scholarship that honors this generosity, by giving young actors an opportunity to begin and build their careers. I’m thrilled to be working with the HLS team to help keep his legacy alive, for this special 10 year anniversary.”

Established in 2008 in memory of Australian actor Heath Ledger, who served as an ambassador for the organization, the scholarship is open to all young and emerging Australian actors 18-35 years old. To date, $280,000 in scholarship prizes has been awarded to help the winners with career and educational opportunities in the U.S.

The 10th year anniversary scholarship is valued at US$30,000. The recipient will join past winners which include: last year’s winner Mojean Aria, who is starring opposite Rachel Griffiths in the SBS upcoming crime thriller Dead Lucky, and who has just finished work on the film Danger Close opposite Travis Fimmel; Ashleigh Cummings, who is starring opposite Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman in the highly anticipated Warner Bros/Amazon co-production of The Goldfinch;Cody Fern, the breakout star of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: Versace and next seen in House of Cards opposite Robin Wright; and Bella Heathcote, the lead in the new Ridley Scott | CBS drama Strange Angel.

In keeping with the amazing opportunities that Heath was given in his career and his generous spirit of helping others, the Foundation will also be looking for actors who may not be afforded the same opportunities or access that Heath had. Bolstered by the amazing diversity of last year’s applicants, AiF is building on that and encouraging actors from diverse and underrepresented communities to apply.

Kate Ledger, Heath’s sister and AiF Board member said; “We have been absolutely thrilled with the amount of applications for this year’s scholarship. Some of Heath’s dearest friends and work colleagues are a part of the judging committee this year, and along with several of the top casting directors also included, it is guaranteed that every applicant will be seen by some of the best in the business.”

All ten finalists will be flown to Los Angeles courtesy of Qantas to attend the exclusive three-day HLS conference featuring intimate group conversations and panels with leading Hollywood executives and creatives. The conference will culminate with the Recipient’s Announcement on Thursday, September 20, when Bird in Hand presents the 10th Anniversary Scholarship (#HLS10) event at the iconic Chateau Marmont on Sunset Blvd, where the inaugural Heath Ledger Scholarship announcement took place.

The 10th Anniversary Scholarship Prize will include:

  • US$10,000 towards a living allowance, rent and transport assistance in Los Angeles, supported by Screenwise – Australia’s Leading Film and TV School for Actors.
  • Two round-trip Qantas economy airfares from Australia to Los Angeles
  • Group Acting classes and personal coaching from Lisa Robertson Studio
  • Movement and Voice classes with Kennedy Brown
  • Dialect coaching with Joy Ellison
  • Group acting classes from Nancy Banks Studio
  • Group acting classes and personal coaching from Jean-Louis Rodrigue and Kristof Konrad at Alexander Techworks
  • Private acting classes from Gulu Monteiro
  • Immigration services from Kate Raynor & Associates
  • Reel editing by Top LA editor Darwin Serink
  • Headshot Sessions from Sally Flegg Photography
  • Hair and Makeup styling for headshot sessions by Sophia Lee
  • Gym classes from Training Mate
  • Dinner + Medallion from EP & LP
  • Hair Styling by Hello Darling Salon
  • Lifetime AiF membership, which includes access to the creative workspaces, Charlie’s at Raleigh Studios, including invitations to exclusive AiF Events such as The Australian Oscar and Emmy Nominees Reception
  • General meeting introductions to Hollywood Casting Directors.
  • Mentoring by leading actors working in Hollywood.

Adelaide Hills’ winery, Bird in Hand, a producer of fine wines and lover of arts and culture, will present the 10th Anniversary Heath Ledger Scholarship (#HLS10) joined by longstanding partners Qantas, Ausfilm and Screenwise.

AiF is thrilled to welcome this year’s media partners – Vogue Australia and GQ Australia as well as The Standard West Hollywood, to be the #HLS10 official hotel partner.

Entries close on Thursday 21st June at 6pm (PDT)| Friday 22nd June at 11am (AEST)at 11am (AEST).  Apply here:

Benefactors to the program include the Ledger family, Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Rose Byrne, Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Alex O’Loughlin, Deborra-Lee Furness, Phillip Noyce, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gregor Jordan, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Nicole Kidman.


Twitter: @australiansfilm

Instagram: @AustraliansinFilm




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