Heath Ledger Scholarship Given to Rising Australian Actor Matt Levett

Australians in Film

The star of indie film 'Drown' will be based in L.A. for two years under the scholarship program.

Actor-director Matt Levett has won the annual Heath Ledger Scholarship, L.A.-based industry guild, Australians In Film, announced at its annual dinner on Monday.

Levett hails from Ledger’s home state of Western Australia, and is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts (WAAPA), Hugh Jackman’s alma mater. He has appeared in top rating Aussie TV dramas such as Devils Playground and A Place To Call Home, has directed the Tropfest Film Festival short Unwanted Friend and made his feature debut in critically acclaimed Australian film Drown.

Runners up for the award, now in its seventh year, were fellow WAAPA graduate Emilie Cocquerel and Lily Sullivan.

The Heath Ledger Scholarship carries a $10,000 cash prize, a two-year scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles, two return flights to Los Angeles, a seven-day California trip from Visit California, $5,000 worth of visa and immigration services from Raynor and Associates and complimentary lifetime membership to StarNow, as well as mentoring from industry professionals.

Levett said of his win, "I am humbled to have received this incredible gift. Working in this industry, I have realized success here is not something you can do on your own. The support this scholarship gives allows me opportunities I could otherwise only imagine. The chance to tell stories on an international level would be a dream come true".

Emmy award-winning casting director Laray Mayfield (Gone Girl, House of Cards), who joined the panel for the first time this year, said, ‘It was inspiring to be on a judging panel where every person was passionate and invested in the result. The decision was not easy as each of the applicants are talented and unique, and we are sure they will have long and lovely careers. Ultimately our decision was to award the scholarship to Matt Levett. We are all excited about watching his talent and career continue to grow.”

Other judges on the panel included Australian actors Rose Byrne and Ben Mendelsohn, as well as Vince Vaughn, producer Adam Schroeder, directors Kieran Darcy-Smith and Gregor Jordan and Australian-based casting director Ann Fay.