Jules Duncan, Nir Shelter win Monte Miller Awards

Nir Shelter and Jules Duncan.

Jules Duncan’s The Big Yarn and Nir Shelter’s Home won the Monte Miller Awards for the best unproduced scripts presented by the Australian Writers’ Guild in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

Duncan’s feature screenplay revolves around a small town journalist who, after surviving a bungled hit, teams up with a wannabe cop to find out which of the lame stories she’s been working on masks a broader conspiracy.

Home is a short film about a Palestinian who boards an Israeli bus, forcing an Israeli soldier to choose between risking the lives of the other passengers and a potentially innocent man.

Duncan wrote the action comedy as part of Screenwest’s Feature Navigator program; it also won the Bill Warnock Screenwriting award.

His first produced screenplay is Rams, an adaptation of writer-director Grímur Hákonarson’s Icelandic hit Hrútar. Now in post, Rams stars Miranda Richardson, Sam Neill and Michael Caton, directed by Jeremy Sims and produced by WBMC’s Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan.

His comedy screenplay Bogan Wedding was developed through Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator program, supported by Screenwest, and has been optioned by Bran Nue Dae producer Robyn Kershaw.

On his website Duncan, who has completed eight seasons as field producer of the BBC’s Wanted Down Under, says he likes to think of himself as half ‘tortured creative genius,’ half ‘hard nosed businessman.’

Writer-director Shelter graduated from film school at UTS Sydney with a bachelor’s degree in media and communications specialising in film, cultural studies and production.

The writer-director has worked with some experienced directors, actors and producers, observing: “I learned from their decisions and saw first-hand what did and didn’t work on such productions as The Great Gatsby, The Wolverine, The Water Diviner, Gods of Egypt and Top of the Lake.”

The awards are open to the AWG’s associate membership. The winners and short-listed scripts:

Short Form Category
Nir Shelter for Home

Michael Gupta for If Pain Persists
Alice Jones for Any Different
Steven J. Tandy and Melissa Fletcher for Junk

Long Form Category
Jules Duncan for The Big Yarn

Steven Arriagada, Michael Bates and Bryan Chau for The Anti-Socials
Catherine Prosser and Paul Bissett for Hoop
Alex Von Hofmann for Locked In