By Travis Johnson

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) today named filmmaking team Martin Butler and Bentley Dean as this year’s Byron Kennedy Award winners. The award will be presented at the 7th AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel on Wednesday 6 December at The Star Event Centre in Sydney.

Inaugurated in 1984, the Byron Kennedy Award celebrates outstanding creative enterprise within the screen industry and is given to an individual or organisation whose work embodies the qualities of innovation, vision and the relentless pursuit of excellence. The Award, named for Mad Max co-creator Byron Kennedy, who died in 1983, comes with a cash prize of $10,000.

Martin and Bentley’s decade-long collaboration includes such lauded works as Contact (2010), a documentary about the Martu people’s first contact with modern Australialia; First Footprints, (2013) which examined 60,000 years of Australia’s history;  and A Sense of Self (2017) – a look at journalist Liz Jackson’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease, which is in AACTA Award competition this year. They also created, along with the Yakel people of Vanuatu, the widely acclaimed Tanna (2015) , which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar – to date the first and only Australian film to be so honoured.

“Martin and Bentley are exemplary recipients of the Byron Kennedy Award,” said Dr George Miller, longtime collaborator and friend to Kennedy. “Their integrity shines through all their endeavours. Because of this, they are held in the highest regard by their collaborators and audiences all over the world.”

“Receiving the Byron Kennedy Award is such an honour,” said Dean and Butler. “Our motivation has always been bringing important, but seemingly impossible stories to life in utterly compelling ways. We are humbled and fired up to join a league of Award recipients who get their kicks from ‘the relentless pursuit of excellence’.”


Leave a Reply