AACTA unveils Reg Grundy Award finalists

Reg Grundy in 1973.

AACTA has announced the five finalists in contention for the inaugural Reg Grundy Award, with the winner to receive a $50,000 prize for their idea for a new unscripted TV format.

The pitches are:

Next Slide Please – Zach Mander
Comedians take to the stage to deliver a TED Talk on a subject they have no idea about, prompted only by a power point presentation they are seeing for the first time. A slide presentation projected behind them gives them the title of their talk and cycles through graphs, pictures, and notes as their only stimulus. They have five minutes to convince the audience they are an expert; leading to hilarious situations.

The Marriage Pitch – Samantha Davies
There have been thousands of dating and wedding shows over the years, but never has a series focused on the single most emotionally jolting and dramatic ritual in our culture: the act of bending down on one knee to pop the ultimate question. The series will be centred around Australian proposal planner pioneer Samantha Davies who over the past decade has created the ultimate luxury proposal experience for countless couples throughout Australia and beyond with her business Unforgettable Proposals.

Trash to Cash – Sebastian Langton
Storage Wars meets American Pickers. Enter an underground world of gutter hustlers from all walks of life, scavenging to make an extra buck. We follow the antics of real life characters searching street clean-up piles to discover the most valuable trash to be turned into hard cash. Each episode will follow a number of gutter hustlers as they travel around collecting the most valuable discarded items and hustle to on-sell them into the market (Facebook Marketplace / Gumtree etc).

Vintage Van Revival: Trip or Flip – Elise Strachan
Each week, a dynamic duo is given $10,000 to purchase, renovate and restore a vintage second hand caravan in their own quirky style. The completed vans are professionally valued and the maker can choose to TRIP (keep / rent) or FLIP (sell) pocketing the profits. May the best van win!

Seven Pups – Geraldine Coy
A social experiment tracing a year in the behavioural development of one litter of seven pups and the seven culturally diverse families who will raise them. This is a unique look at nature vs nurture, through the doggie door. The series will cover the first 12 months of seven puppies’ lives.

Each entrant will now live pitch their original concept to the judging panel, consisting of Eureka Productions CEO Chris Culvenor, ex-Fremantle chief Ian Hogg, producer and consultant Marion Farrelly and producer and ex-Grundy staffer Sharon Sussman-Wheeler.

The winning prize consists of $20,000 cash prize, $30,000 in development funds, a mentoring session with the entire judging panel, and the ongoing mentorship of one judge.

You can watch the pitch online November 29 1pm AEDT via AACTA’s free online festival, ScreenFest.

Culvenor said: “It’s been fantastic to see the Grundy Award ignite and inspire the creative community. We’ve been lucky enough to receive and judge some truly innovative entries and I’m looking forward to seeing them evolve to the next level.”

Farrelly said: “I think this initiative has lit a fire under the industry. I know so many people who have entered, it’s great to get them off their asses and doing something practical. It’s given people hope.”

Sussman-Wheeler added: “As someone who worked with Reg Grundy, I’m excited to see the overwhelming response this competition received from the creative community. With so many strong entries, it was extremely hard to narrow it down to these top five. All five finalists showed a level of creativity and passion that would make Reg Grundy proud. Now the toughest part will be narrowing it down to just one winner!”

Established in partnership with Reg Grundy’s wife, RG Capital chairman Joy Chambers-Grundy, the award is designed to honour Reg’s entrepreneurial spirit, while also fostering a new generation of ideas.

Grundy’s legacy includes the local production of formats such as Sale of the CenturyBlankety BlanksWheel of Fortune, Family Feud, The Price Is Right and Perfect Match, as well as the creation of drama series Sons & Daughters, Prisoner and Neighbours.