Claiming the highest award at the annual Screen Producers Australia Awards, Ludo Studio won the Media Super Production Business of the Year. The recognition arrives on the heels of Bluey becoming the first Australian series to be released globally on new streamer Disney+, which was launched this week.
The winners of each category are voted on by SPA members. The awards were handed out at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre on the 14th of November.
Ludo’s much-buzzed-about SBS series Robbie Hood shared the honour of Online Series Production of the Year honours with Since 1788 Productions, for co-producing the Alice springs-shot six-part show.
Adding to the banner night for the Emmy-award winning studio, Bluey also took home Animated Series Production of the Year.
Capping off their impressive haul of awards, Ludo tied for Screen Business Export of the Year with Bluey. Their win was shared with Porchlight Films’ Animal Kingdom (also behind Netflix’s David Michod film, The King) TV show.
Porchlight has a record of working with filmmaker Michod dating back to the 2010 original feature film, Animal Kingdom, which went on to achieve global success, optioned by John Wells Productions and Warner Television, and remade into a US drama series which is now in its fourth season for US cable network TNT.
The recognition comes ten years after David Michod, producer Liz Watts and executive producer Vincent Sheehan of Porchlight Films embarked on the breakout original film Animal Kingdom.
Screening at Sundance 2010 and garnering an Oscar Nomination for Jacki Weaver (for the category of Best Supporting Actress), the film marked the beginning of the fruitful collaboration between Michod and Watts, which has extended to subsequent works including the Cannes-debuting film The Rover, and this year’s The King, which has been nominated for 13 AACTA awards.
Actors Joel Edgerton (who co-wrote The King with David Michod) and Ben Mendelsohn both collaborated with Michod on the original Animal Kingdom, and both appear in The King – all three are up for AACTAs on the 2nd of December.
TNT’s Animal Kingdom has also been renewed for a fifth season.
The timing of the prize for the Animal Kingdom series comes as the acclaimed film approaches its ten-year anniversary; founding partner of Porchlight Films Vincent Sheehan, who accepted the award on behalf of producer Liz Watts, drew attention to the close collaborative partnership between Michod and Watts, speaking to FilmInk.
“The timing of this award coincides with The King being the number one movie on the IMDB Movie Meter. A testament to the creative partnership David Michod and Liz Watts continue to have, ten years on,” Sheehan told us.
Goalpost Pictures/KOJO Entertainment’s Sundance-premiering Top End Wedding got the gong for Feature Film Production of the Year – besting Blue-Tongue Films’ Judy & Punch, Unicorn Films’ Celeste and SixFourSixty’s Angel of Mine. The Wayne Blair directed, Rosemary Blight and Kylie Du Fresne produced, Miranda Tapsell written and starring film came out in front of seven competing features.
Adelaide-based Closer Productions, who had a breakout year with the Sundance-hit Animals and the much-discussed SBS production The Hunting, walked away with the Breakthrough Business of the Year Award.
GoodThing Productions’ acclaimed documentary The Australian Dream scored the coveted Feature Documentary of the Year award, beating out tough competition from diverse and acclaimed documentaries 2040 (GoodThing Productions), Sanctuary (Bunya Treehouse Productions), Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks (Wildbear Entertainment) and The Eulogy (Freshwater Pictures & iKandy Films). This comes as the stirring and well-received Daniel Gordon film has earned rave reviews at overseas festivals.
“I am constantly impressed by our members. Whether for the big screen or a smartphone screen, the content they produce is a true testament to the enduring power of story, and every day their work helps to shape our sense of national identity and makes a significant contribution to our economy. I commend not only tonight’s winners and nominees but also the whole SPA membership, for continuing to innovate and thrive in this time of evolution,” said SPA CEO Matthew Deaner.
The full list of winners at the 2018 SPA Awards is as follows:
Children’s Series Production of the Year – Mustangs FC season 2, Matchbox Pictures
Animated Series Production of the Year – Bluey, Ludo Studio
Documentary Program or Series Production of the Year – Employable Me series 2, Northern Pictures
Feature Documentary of the Year – The Australian Dream, GoodThing Productions
Short Film Production of the Year – Judas Collar, No Thing Productions
Online Series Production of the Year – Robbie Hood, Ludo Studio & Since 1788 Productions
Interactive or Game Production of the Year – RONE, StudioBento
Screen Business Export Award – Animal Kingdom, Porchlight Films
Screen Business Export Award – Bluey, Ludo Studio
SBS First Look Grant – Taryne Laffar
Screen Australia Internship – Rachel Higgins
Comedy Program or Series Production of the Year – Rosehaven series 3, Guesswork Television & What Horse?
Telemovie or Mini Series Production of the Year – Lambs of God, Lingo Pictures
Light Entertainment Series Production of the Year – The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Thinkative Television
Services and Facilities Business of the Year – Roar Digital
Lifetime Achievement Award – Annie Browning
Breakthrough Business of the Year – Closer Productions
Drama Series Production of the Year – Bloom, Playmaker Media
Feature Film Production of the Year – Top End Wedding, Goalpost Pictures & KOJO Entertainment
Media Super Production Business of the Year – Ludo Studio