QUT grads scoop AACTAs for The Sapphires
QUT acting graduates Wayne Blair and Deborah Mailman have won the Best Director and Best Actress awards at the Australian film and TV industry's most prestigious awards night - the AACTAs.
Blair's film The Sapphires won an amazing 11 awards, including Best Film, at the annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.
He also also acted in and co-directed the ABC TV series Redfern Now, which won AACTAs for best TV screenplay and best TV drama actress.
The Sapphires has won over audiences and critics in Australia and Europe and will be released in the United States on March 22.
Inspired by a true story, it shares an inspirational tale set in the late 1960s about a quartet of young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission.
The film was Blair's debut feature as director. He already had ties to the story prior to the movie: he was part of the original theatre cast.
Blair recently visited QUT as the Creative Industries Faculty's 2012 Artist in Residence and spoke about the creative benefits of drawing upon his Indigenous background and working with an Indigenous writer, cast and crew for The Sapphires.
"When the genesis of a story has an authentic indigenous voice... it's just so much better," Blair said during the visit.
"You have to trust that the world will want to see it - and that's what we did."
QUT head of acting Dianne Eden said the university was very proud of its acting graduates.
"We are proud of all our acting alumni, but at the moment Wayne Blair and Deborah Mailman are at their peak and doing what they want to do, making a difference," she said.
"Wayne exploded out of this course and immediately did it all: writing, producing, directing and acting. That's the secret - diversification."
The AACTAs were handed out over two ceremonies on January 28 and 31.
Media contact: Mechelle McMahon, QUT media unit, firstname.lastname@example.org
Blair feeds students hungry for real-world experience
Gyton Grantley and Diane Cilento launch QUT Artists in Residence Program