Guesswork Television, Bunya Productions top SPA Awards

Media Super CEO Graeme Russell and Guesswork Television MD Kevin Whyte. 

Guesswork Television was crowned the 2018 Production Business of the Year at the Screen Producers Australia Awards, held last night at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre.

It was one of two accolades on the night for the company, which also picked up Comedy Series Production of the Year for Rosehaven with What Horse?. The top gong recognises Guesswork’s impressive production slate over the past year, which in addition to Rosehaven included Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, Get Krackin’, Hard Quiz, Corey White’s Roadmap to Paradise, The Edge of the Bush and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering. 

The other big winner on the night was Bunya Productions, who walked away with three prizes. As well as being named Breakthrough Business of the Year, it won Telemovie or Mini Series Production of the Year for Mystery Road and Feature Film of the Year for Sweet Country. 

Jungle Entertainment and Blue-Tongue Films took home the Drama Series Production of the Year for Mr Inbetween, while Aquarius Films walked away with the Screen Business Export of the Year award, in recognition of the growth the company’s international profile over the last 18 months following Lion and Berlin Syndrome.

Matchbox Pictures co-founder Michael McMahon was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award. Presenting the award former Matchbox MD Chris Oliver Taylor (now CEO Fremantle Australia) said McMahon was the “cultural heartbeat” of the company.

“His quiet determination, his support and nurturing of so many of us here tonight, his passion to tell important stories, his superb intellect and incredible wit all make Michael one of the most beloved members of our industry,” he said.

On accepting the award, McMahon said it was an incredible honour to be recognised by his peers and that the award has given him time reflect on his 30 year production career.

“I’ve thought not only about the work that has come about since then but the incredible people that I’ve met on the journey along the way… the processes of creation, production and distribution of screen content involves a hell of a lot of collaboration… Ultimately the outcome only works for an audience if that collaboration has been a successful one. The producer of course is responsible for managing and ensuring the success of that collaboration. Like all of you, I’ve done my best and I can keep learning and do better in the future.”

The full list of winners:
  • Animated Series Production of the Year – Kitty is Not a CatBES Animation
  • Children’s Series Production of the Year – Grace Beside MeMagpie Pictures
  • Comedy Series Production of the Year – RosehavenWhat Horse? / Guesswork Television
  • Documentary or Documentary Series Production of the Year – Anh’s Brush with FameScreentime
  • Drama Series Production of the Year – Mr InbetweenJungle Entertainment / Blue-Tongue Films
  • Light Entertainment Series Production of the Year – GruenCJZ
  • Online Series Production of the Year –Fucking AdelaideCloser Productions
  • Reality Series Production of the Year – The Great Australian Bake Off, Fremantle
  • Telemovie or Mini Series Production of the Year, Mystery Road: The SeriesBunya Productions
  • Feature Documentary of the Year, GurrumulResolution Media
  • Feature Film of the Year, Sweet CountryBunya Productions
  • Interactive or Game Production of the Year, Wentworth VRStart VR / Fremantle
  • Short Film Production of the Year, Lost & FoundLucy Hayes
  • Services & Facilities Business of the Year, Moneypenny
  • Breakthrough Business of the Year, Bunya Productions 
  • Media Super Production Business of the Year, Guesswork Television
  • Screen Business Export of the Year, Aquarius Films
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Michael McMahon