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Heath Ledger Scholarship 2021 Finalists Announcement

Leading cultural foundation Australians in Film have announced the finalists in the prestigious and career and life changing Heath Ledger Scholarship (HLS) for 2021. They are; Max Brown (The Tourist, The Gloaming), Mabel Li (The Tailings, New Gold Mountain), Rahel Romahn (The Principal, God’s Favorite Idiot), Andrea Solonge (Privileged, Girl, Interpreted), Zoe Terakes (Wentworth, Nine Perfect Strangers) and Harvey Zielinski (Don’t Look Deeper, My First Summer). The 2018 HLS winner Charmaine Bingwa, who has gone on to star opposite Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin in the New York based series The Good Fight (Paramount+ and SBS) and playing Will Smith’s wife in the upcoming Antoine Fuqua Apple TV+ movie Emancipationannounced the finalists on Australians in Film’s Instagram page. The Heath Ledger Scholarship is awarded to an emerging Australian actor with extraordinary ability and dedication to their craft who wishes to work and train internationally. The scholarship has been awarded 10 times previously and previous recipients have included Bingwa, Bella Heathcote (Relic), Cody Fern (American Horror Story), Ashleigh Cummings (Citadel) and Mojean Aria (The Enforcer). This year the scholarship is supported by the National Film Sound Archive and their Australians and Hollywood exhibition, which opens Jan 21st in Canberra. Peter Ritchie, Executive Director of Australians in Film said “We had a staggering 600 applications this year, which is a record for the scholarship. Leading Australian and US Casting Directors, including, from the US; Barbara McCarthy, Alyssa Weisberg, Jason Wood and John McAlary, and from Australi; Ann Fay, Anousha Zarkesh and Amanda Mitchell, had the hard task of narrowing the field down to just six finalists! We thank them enormously for their passion in finding new Australian talent for the world.” “The intelligence, dedication, commitment and talent of the six finalists really shined through in not only their auditions, but their applications, in which they had to talk about what being a HLS recipient would mean to them. Given their combined lived experience, they were indeed powerful reads. On behalf of the Ledger family, the Patrons of the Scholarship and the Board of AiF we congratulate them all.” The six finalists have now recorded additional material, which will be sent to the final HLS jury, made up of iconic Australian actors Chris Hemsworth and Jacki Weaver, acclaimed director Rachel Perkins, leading casting director Nina Gold and award-winning US actor Alia Shawkat. Prizes this year include a US$10,000 cash prize to support the recipient with living expenses in the US while studying, a return economy flight to the US, plus the following educational training and career preparation training worth over US$40K/AUS$50K:

  • Private Coaching from Lisa Robertson and Group Classes at Lisa Robertson Studio;
  • Private speech and dialects coaching by Joy Ellison;
  • Private coaching, classes, and special workshops taught by Jean-Louis Rodrigue and Kristof Konrad from Alexander Techworks;
  • Physical Approach to Acting & Voice De-structuring (Authentic Voice) with Kennedy Brown– LA Acting Coach
  • Group and Personal Coaching Provided by The Performer’s Mindset;
  • Immigration Services Provided by Raynor and Associates;
  • Studio Headshot Package by Sally Flegg Photography and Hair & Makeup Package by Sophia Ivy Lee;
  • Personal styling services by Lenya Wilson;
  • Bespoke Private Meditation Classes Provided by Chris Phillips, Inner Sky
  • Lifetime AiF membership, which includes access to the creative workspaces, Charlie’s at Raleigh Studios, including invitations to exclusive AiF Events.

The winner’s submission reel will also be preserved in the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia in Canberra.

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Written by Neill Frazer

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