PhD candidate wins national screenwriting prize

January 27, 2011

Murdoch University PhD candidate Barbara Connell has won a prestigious national competition for unproduced screenplays. 

Barbara’s screenplay, The Unlikeliest Hero, was chosen from more than 200 entries in the 2011 INSITE competition, organised by the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) and the 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival.

The screenplay will receive a rehearsed public reading directed by Rowan Woods (Little Fish, 3 Acts of Murder, The Boys) with a professional cast, as part of the 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival next month. Barbara receives her travel costs to Adelaide to take part in rehearsals and a $2500 cash prize.

Barbara said: “I am thrilled to receive such an honour and want to thank the AWG and BigPond Adelaide Film Festival for this recognition of a screenplay that is very dear to my heart.

“To have the screenplay read at the festival is an incredible opportunity, made more so by the fact that Rowan Woods will be directing.”

The Unlikeliest Hero tells the story of Duffy, a young donkey, who is laughed at by the other farm animals and is eager to prove he is just as good as any horse. Duffy stows away on a troop ship bound for Turkey where, in the trenches of Gallipoli, through his friendship with an ANZAC soldier named Simpson, he learns that he isn’t just as good as any horse – he’s better.

Barbara, of Aubin Grove, is a graduate of UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. In 1999 she wrote and co-produced the US indie feature Landfall. She has also written numerous documentaries, several television series pilots, interactive media and multiple web sites. In 2010 she served as the Acting Director of the WA Screen Academy at Edith Cowan University before coming to Murdoch to complete a PhD in the School of Media, Communication and Culture.The Australian Writers’ Guild has more than 2600 members and is the peak professional body for Australia’s film, television, theatre, radio and new media writers.

The 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival celebrates and explores contemporary screen culture with a unique program of screenings and special events including the world premiere of films supported through the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

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