As Australians in Film’s (AiF) Heath Ledger scholarship celebrates its tenth year, the organisation has made a call for actors from diverse backgrounds and under-represented communities to apply.
The annual scholarship was established in memory of Ledger and is awarded to an emerging Aussie actor between aged between 18-35 years, with this year’s recipient to receive two return airfares to LA, $US10,000 in living expenses and a variety of acting classes and professional services.
All 10 finalists are also flown to The States to attend a three day conference, which will involve group conversations and panels with Hollywood executives.
Last year’s winner was Mojean Aria, who was recently cast in Danger Close, and is a star of the upcoming SBS crime thriller Dead Lucky. Other past recipients include Ashleigh Cummings, who has just completed shooting WB/Amazon’s The Goldfinch; Cody Fern, whose credits include American Crime Story: Versace and House of Cards, and Bella Heathcote, lead in the new Ridley Scott|CBS drama Strange Angel.
In a statement, AiF said it had been bolstered by the diversity of last year’s applicants. As a result, this year, it will be on a special lookout for actors who may not have been afforded the same opportunities or access that Ledger had, and is specifically encouraging actors from diverse and underrepresented communities to apply.
Kate Ledger, Heath’s sister and AiF Board member said: “We want this scholarship to open doors for Australian actors who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance. Australia has an amazing variety of talent to showcase. We are especially encouraging actors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, people from culturally diverse backgrounds, those from rural and remote areas, those with disabilities and people from the LGBTQI communities to apply.”
This year’s scholarship ambassador is Jessica Jones and Empire star Eka Darville.
He said: “This is the 10th anniversary, and this is an era and a time in our industry where the tectonic plates are shifting. Everything is changing from the stories that we tell, to the people that are represented, to the way in which we make film and TV. I personally could not be more excited to see this shift happening I think it’s so long overdue.”
The 10th Anniversary Scholarship Prize will include;
Two round-trip Qantas economy airfares from Australia to Los Angeles
$US10,000 towards a living allowance, rent and transport assistance in Los Angeles
Group Acting classes and personal coaching from Lisa Robertson Studio
Movement and Voice classes with Kennedy Brown
Dialect coaching with Joy Ellison
Group acting classes from Nancy Banks Studio
Group acting classes and personal coaching from Jean-Louis Rodrigue and Kristof Konrad at Alexander Techworks
Private acting classes from Guru Monteiro
Immigration services from Kate Raynor & Associates
Reel editing by Top LA editor Darwin Serink
Headshot sessions from Sally Flegg Photography
Hair and makeup styling for headshot sessions by Sophia Lee
Gym classes from Training Mate
Dinner and medallion from EP & LP
Hair Styling by Hello Darling Salon
Lifetime AiF membership, which includes access to the creative workspaces, Charlie’s at Raleigh Studios, including invitations to exclusive AiF Events such as The Australian Oscar and Emmy Nominees Reception
General meeting introductions to Hollywood Casting Directors.
Mentoring by leading actors working in Hollywood
Entries close on 11am June 16 (AEST), with the recipient to be announced September 20 at the Chateau Marmont, Hollywood.