Hugh Jackman  announced at tonight’s Australians in Film Benefit Gala Dinner at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica an initiative by Screen Queensland and Australians in Film: the Greg Coote Scholarship.

The scholarship will offer a Queensland writer, producer, director or creative executive the once in a lifetime opportunity to be placed for a minimum of 6-8 weeks in a US television series Writers’ Room valued at AU$10,000. It comes with a ‘priceless’ industry experience swing tag.

“Greg Coote was one of Australia’s greatest screen industry leaders and our aim with this Scholarship is to honour his work and continue his extraordinary legacy of opening doors for Australians and help them to forge successful and fulfilling careers,” said Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira.

“Throughout his illustrious career, Greg advocated greater accessibility to the arts for younger people. We are going to pick up his baton of commitment and increase our talent’s access to the skills and knowledge that can be gained by being a part of a US Writers’ Room.”

Jackman's announcement took  place at the 3rd Annual Australians in Film Awards event which honoured outstanding Australian filmmakers and performers working in the US. Greg Coote was honoured  posthumously and also presented were  AiF Breakthrough Awards for Queensland’s Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Brenton Thwaites (The Giver).

“The US is currently experiencing a golden age of television. The prestige once solely reserved for film is now being experienced in the television space and big star names are now flocking to the small screen due to the quality of the stories and the characters they offer.

"We can see the wider benefits this Scholarship can offer the Queensland and indeed Australian industry,” said Ms Vieira.
“We want to focus on developing our state’s pool of talent in television and long-form drama development and in the process attract more and more television productions to our state.”

Arts Minister Ian Walker said Queensland was committed to developing great screen talent to fuel the state’s burgeoning film industry, in this case supporting talent who already had runs on the board in the industry.

“The scholarship is a remarkable opportunity for a Queenslander to further develop their professional skills and extend their international networks, with benefits for the Queensland screen industry,” Mr Walker said.

Michael Kelleher, Executive Director, Australians in Film adds, “Greg Coote was the living embodiment of Australians in Film’s mission to support and nurture Australian arts in the United States. Not only his industry experience and connections, but his generous heart greatly influenced us as an organisation and this scholarship in Greg’s name is a fitting legacy.

“The Scholarship recipient will work alongside the best in the business. A Writers’ Room in a television series is a hotbed of creative expression, where a group of writers plot out episodic moments before an individual writer is sent out to turn the story into a script.

“The successful writer will play an active role in story development and who knows, they could come up with one great compelling moment that could influence the main plot of the entire series!”

About Greg Coote:
Greg Coote was one of Australia’s most prolific industry figures.

Greg ran LA-based Larrikin Entertainment with David Calvert-Jones; he was a producer and financier of theatrical movies, television programs and digital entertainment content. He was also a non-executive director of Bollywood distributor Eros International, chairman of US distributor China Lion, chairman of the ScreenSingapore convention and a member of the advisory board of the Singapore Government’s Media Development Authority. Previously Greg was chairman and CEO of Dune Entertainment, which co-financed more than 60 movies with 20th Century Fox, including Avatar.

Born in Australia, Greg started his career in the mailroom, working his way from the ground up to become Managing Director of Roadshow Films. He left Village Roadshow to head the Rupert Murdoch-owned Network Ten as Managing Director before joining Columbia Pictures in Los Angeles as President, International Theatrical. He re-joined Village Roadshow when it became publicly listed and was appointed to the parent board. As the founding president and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures in Los Angeles, he steered the company through 10 consecutive years of profits and forged a multi-million-dollar production deal with Warner Bros., including The Matrix franchise.

Not only was Greg prolific in business, he was also an extraordinary leader and advocate for the arts in the public schools. Greg founded an arts endowment campaign to fund arts programs in perpetuity and to create a model for other school districts around the state and country. He was a generous and strong individual who was able to bring people along with him when it came to making sure that the arts remained part of the public school curriculum.

About Screen Queensland:
Screen Queensland is the Queensland Government screen agency based in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. Screen Queensland's role is to develop and support a creative, innovative and commercially sustainable screen industry in Queensland, attract production to Queensland, and celebrate an active screen culture across the state.

Screen Queensland recognises the screen industry’s vital contribution to the nation’s cultural landscape including its ability to showcase Australia’s rich, cultural diversity, facilitate cultural engagement, stimulate cultural tourism and reflect the national voice and identity on screen.

Screen Queensland supports and promotes a screen industry that makes productions designed to entertain and connect with worldwide audiences. It is focused on driving the growth of the state’s screen industries across all platforms – film, television, multiplatform, digital and games – and in doing so, generates broader economic and employment benefits across metropolitan and regional Queensland.

About Australians in Film:
Founded in 2001, Australians in Film (AiF) is a Los Angeles based non-profit organisation made up largely of Australians who work in the film and television industry.

AiF host monthly screenings and special events to celebrate the work of Australian film and television makers. Many of the AiF members are also active voting members of other prestigious groups such as: Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences; Screen Actors Guild; Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Director’s Guild.

AiF has the support of the Australian Government and claim some of the biggest companies in Australia as active sponsors as well as boasting more than 600 members, mixing antipodean actors and filmmakers with key American industry members. AiF proudly acknowledges their Ambassadors who have pledged their support to their mission, and frequently attend Q&A screenings of their films for members including Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts and Mel Gibson.


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