Sunny S. Walia. 

Sunny S. Walia has been announced as the winner of the latest Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) pitch competition.

The Melbourne-based actor won for his screen-test based on a script provided by AACTA, inspired by current circumstances, with judges rating his performance as “original” and “truthful”.

Walia will receive a mentor meeting with talent agent Aran Michael, who was on the judging panel, as well as a prize pack including a one-year premium membership to Casting Networks Australia; two tickets to the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony & After party; a professional headshot package, $500 cash and $500 worth of Manfrotto product.

Judges Noni Hazlehurst and Kirsty McGregor have also offered Walia mentor meetings.

“Thanks to AACTA for giving us a chance to perform and play in this time of unknown. And to win?! WOW! Not too sure what to say. Amazing experience and looking forward to reaping the rewards,” said Walia, who shot his test in the bathroom.

“I’ll be completely honest and say I came up with the idea to do the screen test in the bathroom whilst…in the bathroom.

“Also, the fact that the script had no cemented directions in terms of actions or location I figured that could be any place in the house and realistically we had all the freedom in the world on how to deliver it. And with all the toilet paper shortage and the topic of germs, COVID in the script, why not work that in.”

AACTA received a record-breaking 466 submissions to this pitch comp, with ten finalists then selected. Besides Walia, they included Alex Cooke, Chanika Desilva, Mark Fantasia, Olivia Fildes, Joel Phillips, Susanna Qian, Alex Stamell, Jose Talite and Dominique Viney.

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