SAE and AACTA announce winners of ‘Uncovered’ filmmaking competition

June 6, 2023

In by Dov Kornits

The leaders in creative media education, SAE Creative Media Institute, in partnership with the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), are thrilled to announce the winners of the inaugural ‘Uncovered’ documentary filmmaking competition.
The leaders in creative media education, SAE Creative Media Institute, in partnership with the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), are thrilled to announce the winners of the inaugural ‘Uncovered’ documentary filmmaking competition.

This unique competition aimed to nurture and inspire the next generation of outstanding Australian documentary filmmakers among SAE film students.

After a rigorous selection process, the panel of judges, including esteemed professionals from AACTA and the industry, selected ‘Dancing on Water’ and ‘Death Rites’ as the winning documentaries.

‘Dancing on Water’ was directed by Josh Hauser, and dives into the paternal bond between former World Surf League’s Felicity Palmateer and her father Warwick, and their relationship with the ocean.

“It’s been a real honour to take the ‘Uncovered’ award, and to have had the opportunity to tell such a unique story between a father and daughter,” Josh said. “Trusting our process, and allowing the film to speak for itself was the approach we took. I am really blessed with the overall outcome and I look forward to creating more emotive, impactful and meaningful stories in the near future.”

‘Death Rites’ was directed by Rebeckah Howson, and follows the day-to-day dealings of death with unconventional funeral director Halie, as she leads the way in reviving traditional death care practices for families and loved ones.

“I am honestly blown away to have won – the whole experience with AACTA has been so rich and valuable, everything from the masterclasses, to receiving all the judges’ feedback,” Rebeckah said. “Death Rites is my first foray into documentary filmmaking, and as a film student, getting the opportunity to have my work shown to such esteemed industry professionals this early on in my career is a dream.”

As part of the prize, both winners will receive expert mentoring from the panel of judges, which included Karina Holden, Head of Factual at Northern Pictures; Virginia Whitwell, Partner and Head of Production for GoodThing Productions; Stephen Oliver, Manager of Documentaries for ABC; and Malinda Wink, Executive Director at Minderoo Pictures.

“The Judges were impressed by the high quality of the submissions by SAE’s students from across the world, and particularly ‘Dancing on Water’ and ‘Death Rites,” Malinda said. “They were both beautifully crafted productions that tackle impactful subjects in ways that resonated with all of us.

“I enjoyed meeting the teams and the opportunity to work with emerging filmmakers as they hone their craft. I would like to  extend a heartfelt congratulations to all the entrants for their exceptional skill, creativity and approach. ‘Uncovered’ has been a pleasure to be a part of.”

SAE General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan expressed his pride in the quality of the films which were submitted by students from SAE’s Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Dubai campuses.

“It’s fantastic to see our students creating a range of insightful documentaries which speak to important themes in society,” Dr McMillan said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at AACTA for their support in providing SAE students with the platform to develop their documentary filmmaking skills, so they can be industry ready upon graduation.

“The invaluable guidance the winners will receive, will further enhance their filmmaking abilities and help propel their careers in the highly competitive screen industry.”

In addition to mentorship, the winners will also enjoy introductions to prominent producers, distributors, and broadcasters, who will provide valuable support in the development of their documentaries. Furthermore, they will be awarded a 12-month AACTA membership, granting them access to exclusive industry events, resources, and networking opportunities. As a highlight of their recognition, the winners will receive tickets to attend the prestigious 2023 AACTA Awards, where they can celebrate their accomplishments alongside leading professionals and industry veterans

Ivan Vukusic, AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manager, reiterated the organisation’s commitment to supporting and nurturing emerging filmmakers.

“I am thrilled to see the immense talent and creativity displayed by the winners of the ‘Uncovered’ competition,” Ivan said. “AACTA remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting and nurturing emerging filmmakers, and this competition is a testament to that dedication.

“Winning the ‘Uncovered’ competition is a remarkable achievement and a significant career stepping stone for our winners. AACTA is proud to be a part of their journey and will continue to provide the necessary resources and opportunities for their growth and success.”

The ‘Uncovered’ competition has proven to be an excellent platform for SAE film students to showcase their talent, receive valuable mentorship, and gain industry recognition. SAE and AACTA congratulate the teams behind ‘Dancing on Water’ and ‘Death Rites’ on their outstanding achievements and look forward to witnessing their continued success in the industry. All the finalists’ films will be made available to AACTA members on AACTA TV, for a limited time.