’29 Years Eight Days’, ‘Laura’s Choice’ win Brian Beaton Award

The award recipients. 

Screenwest has named Brooke Silcox and Mat de Koning’s 29 Years Eight Days and Sam Lara and Cathy Henkel’s Laura’s Choice the joint recipients of the 2019 Brian Beaton Award.

The award is awarded annually to a filmmaker or filmmakers with social impact projects that need further support to reach their full potential.

de Koning and Silcox’s 29 Years Eight Days later looks at the rise of a late Western Australian artist and his experience of epilepsy.

Lara and Henkel’s Laura Choice follows three generations of women coming to terms with a radical approach to dying.

Each team will receive $8,000 in production, development and outreach campaign funding for their social impact projects.

The award honours the contribution the late Brian Beaton made to the screen industry in Western Australia as a documentary filmmaker. Beaton was an executive producer at Artemis, and worked on projects such as Who Do You Think You Are?, Saving Andrew Mallard, and Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven. Beaton also contributed to the screen industry nationally through his advocacy and professional work with Screen Producers Australia, Screenwest and the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC).

At the award presentation on Tuesday, Brian’s brother John Beaton said his brother would have been proud to have his legacy support two such strong projects.

Celia Tait, Beaton’s long term business partner and friend, said that it was extremely hard to choose between the two projects and the passionate stories that they would help share so therefore the decision was made to support both.

Silcox said: “We are incredibly honoured to receive this award and are determined to make a difference by improving the knowledge around the experience of epilepsy. This documentary comes out of a deep sadness for us, as we have lost three friends on our journey, but we are turning our loss into what we can only hope is a much, much greater good.”

Lara said, “Receiving this award in honour of Brian Beaton is very special to us and we hope this project serves as a catalyst for a much-needed national conversation about end-of-life choices. I hope that by sharing Laura’s journey to Switzerland we can break down barriers and enable families to talk more openly about end of life decisions without fear, shame or feeling isolated from their communities. Thank you to the Beaton family, Celia Tate, Screenwest and all who contributed to this award.”

Screenwest CEO Willie Rowe said:  “Social impact stories have always been a large part of factual filmmaking in Australia. We are seeing new trends emerge as traditional filmmakers take advantage of the broad range of technologies and distribution platforms available to them. Social movement projects are leading the way using these platforms to support their storytelling and increase the impact of their projects, completely innovating the sector. Congratulations to both filmmaking teams and thank you to Brian’s family, friends and colleagues for your continued work to support this award.”