The response by young Australian actors to this year’s Australians In Film Heath Ledger Scholarship has been so strong the finalists list has been upped form 15 to 20, AiF said, announcing the finalists Tuesday.
The scholarship, which provides prize packages worth $25,000, aims to provide a bridge for young Aussie actors who have achieved a level of success in Australia to establish themselves as working actors in the U.S.
This years finalists all have significant experience on TV and in indie films in Australia and includes Matilda Brown, the daughter of Australian industry veterans Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward, who has built her own career behind and in front of the camera; Axle Whitehead, a former Australian Idol finalist who has successfully transitioned to an acting career and Tilda Cobham-Hervey, one of the stars of recent Sundance Film Festival prize winner, 52 Tuesdays.
The 2014 finalists include: Dominic Allburn (Jack Irish: Dead Point), Natasha Bassett (Mental), Charlotte Best (Is This The Real World), Matilda Brown (Rake), Tilda Cobham-Hervey (52 Tuesdays), Matthew Connell (The Boy Castaways) and Jared Daperis (The Cup).
Also on the list is Maeve Dermody (Beautiful Kate), Abby Earl (A Place to Call Home), Cody Fern (The Last Time I Saw Richard), Laurence Fuller (Mother and Brother), Catherine Mack (Home and Away) and Jerome Meyer (Cat).
Tim Pocock (Camp), Millie Samuels (Around the Block), Lizzie Schebesta (Underbelly), Toby Wallace (Lucky Country), Axle Whitehead (Home and Away), Alex Williams (Underground: The Julian Assange Story) and Remy Hii (Neighbours), round out the scholarship finalists.
AiF President, Tracey Vieira, said, “This year we had an overwhelming response of incredibly talented applicants, increasing our finalist numbers to five more than in past years. On behalf of Australians in Film and all of our partners, I would like to congratulate each finalist and applaud them for their talent and passion for their craft.”
The scholarship was established in 2008 in honor of the late Academy Award winner, Heath Ledger, and is designed to mirror Ledger’s own experience. Ledger was an ambassador for AiF before his death and the scholarship has the support of the Ledger family and friends.
The winner and runners up of the 2014 AiF Heath ledger Scholarship will be announced at the guilds annual dinner in Los Angeles on June 12.