Clockwise from top left are Max Brown, Mabel Li, Rahel Romahn, Harvey Zielinski, Zoe Terakes, and Andrea Solonge.

Australians in Film has unveiled the six finalists for this year’s Heath Ledger Scholarship, with Max Brown, Mabel Li, Rahel Romahn, Andrea Solonge, Zoe Terakes, and Harvey Zielinski to contend the 2021 prize.

Awarded to emerging Australian actors with international aspirations, the scholarship includes a $US10,000 cash prize to support living expenses while studying, a return economy flight to the US, plus educational and career preparation, ranging from private acting coaching to immigration assistance.

The finalists were determined by a group of US and Australian casting directors, including Jason Wood, Barbara McCarthy, Alyssa Weisberg, John McAlary, Ann Fay, Amanda Mitchell, and Anousha Zarkesh.

The six actors have now recorded additional material, which will be sent to the final HLS jury, made up of Chris Hemsworth and Jacki Weaver, director Rachel Perkins, leading casting director Nina Gold, and US actor Alia Shawkat.

AiF executive director Peter Ritchie said a record 600 applications had been received for this year’s scholarship

“The intelligence, dedication, commitment, and talent of the six finalists really shined through in not only their auditions, but their applications, in which they had to talk about what being a HLS recipient would mean to them,” he said.

“Given their combined lived experience, they were indeed powerful reads. On behalf of the Ledger family, the Patrons of the Scholarship, and the Board of AiF we congratulate them all.”

This year the scholarship is supported by the National Film Sound Archive and their Australians and Hollywood exhibition, which opens January 21 in Canberra. The winner’s submission reel will also be preserved in the NFSA.

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