Australian Academy replaces AFI Awards

After more than 50 years the AFI Award is no more -to be renamed as the AACTAs, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.

To be staged in Sydney in January at the Sydney Opera House and broadcast on Nine, the rebranded award will recognise screen excellence in film and television.

It follows 12 months of consultation with industry to establish an Australian Academy, similar to those in the US and Britain. It will also recognise the year in television prior to the Logie Awards in May.

Shifting the awards from December to January will also align the AACTAs with the international awards season including the Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and SAGs.

Multi-awarded actor Geoffrey Rush has been named as AACTA’s Founding President, saying: “I am honoured to represent our industry as President of the newly-formed Australian Academy. Over half a century ago the AFI was founded and since that time our film and television industries have developed beyond our wildest imaginings. Through the timely creation of AACTA we have a unique opportunity to galvanise the craft and talent this country endlessly produces.”

The glass AFI Award will be replaced by a new gold-cast AACTA Award statuette designed by sculptor Ron Gomboc. Its human form design also reflects the points of the Southern Cross.

AACTA will consist of ‘Chapters’, representing professional areas of specialisation, including directing, screen writing, producing, editing, costume design and acting. Each will be overseen by a President and an appointed Honorary Council including such names as Jack Thompson, Abbie Cornish, Fred Schepisi, Jan Chapman AO, Claudia Karvan, Adam Elliot, Emile Scherman, Peter James ACS ASC, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Hobbs, Jan Sardi, Stuart Beattie, Rolf de Heer, Cappi Ireland, Tony Murtagh, David Hirschfelder, Aphrodite Kondos, Antony Partos, Elizabeth Drake, Ian Gracie, Jonathan Chissick and Andrew Mason.

The establishment of AACTA does not mean the end of the Australian Film Institute which will continue to connect audiences with Australian screen culture and content.

The AACTA Nominations Announcement will be hosted in Sydney in late November.

A website for AACTA is now online with further information.

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