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Jan Sardi Jan Sardi i(A5141 works by) (a.k.a. Jan Vittorio Sardi)
Born: Established: 1953 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
Heritage: Australian ; Italian
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BiographyHistory

Film and television script-writer Jan Sardi was formerly a high-school teacher. He was educated at Melbourne State College, and completed a B.Ed. in 1978. He left teaching to become a professional script-writer in 1983.

His earliest film script was Moving Out (1983), a film that explored the difficulties of being an Italian-Australian teenager in an extremely white Australian suburb. He followed this with Street Hero (1984), which, like Moving Out, starred Vince Colosimo.

After these two initial films, Sardi began his involvement with the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF). Some of Sardi's earliest television scripts for children (most notably 'Snow White and the Dreadful Dwarves', which formed part of the ACTF's Kaboodle) arose out of material he wrote while he was still teaching. According to Pamela Bone's article:

'Sardi began writing his own children's plays because, he said, he "couldn't find anything decent for his drama students to act in". They were either made for only a few players or the humor was dated. So he wrote his own, chapter by chapter, as they were needed. He was persuaded by other teachers to send some of his plays to the publisher Thomas Nelson, which resulted in five of them, including Snow White, being published last year under the title A Cast of Thousands' (p.45)

'Snow White and the Dreadful Dwarves' was preceded for the ACTF by Just Friends, for the anthology series Winners; this film, about a young girl moving to a new suburb just as she's on the cusp of her teenage years, won first prize at the Chicago International Festival of Children's Films in 1986 (an award given by an audience of children for the most popular video at the festival), but both the film and the novelisation caused their own controversies, in part because of Sardi's desire to catch an authentic tone despite the restrictions on children's television. For details, see the work records for the film (at Just Friends) and the novelisation (at Just Friends).

Sardi continued to work with the ACTF intermittently (for example, he wrote scripts for both Lift Off and Sky Trackers), but he also continued to write films scripts and for other television programs: his work in the late 1980s and the 1990s includes the films Ground Zero, Breakaway (a British-Australian co-production), Secrets (a New Zealand-Australian co-production), and The Feds: Suspect, as well as episodes of the television series Law of the Land, Phoenix, Halifax f.p., and The Flying Doctors.

Then in 1996, he scripted Shine, for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen), and which continued to attract a plethora of awards.

Sardi has continued to write for television, including for Banjo Paterson's 'The Man from Snowy River', but has also produced screenplays for such films as The Notebook (for which he wrote the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks's novel, though the screenplay itself was written by American script-writer Jeremy Leven) and Mao's Last Dancer.

In 2011, Sardi was elected president of the Australian Writers' Guild, replacing Tim Pye at the conclusion of his four-year term.

Further Reference:

Bone, Pamela. 'School Is In for the Budding Young Actors of Eltham.' The Age Thurs. 6 Nov. 1986, p.45.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

The Secret River 2015 series - publisher film/TV historical fiction

'In 1810, emancipated English convict William Thornhill stakes a claim on 100 acres of land on the remote Hawkesbury River in New South Wales, only to find that a clan of Aboriginal people also lay claim to the land, as they have done since time immemorial.' (Production summary)

2016 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting For episode two.
2015 winner Logie Awards Most Outstanding Single Drama or Mini Series
2015 shortlisted Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards Best Telefeature or Mini Series
2015 winner AWGIE Awards Television Mini-Series - Adaptation
Mao's Last Dancer 2009 single work film/TV A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin, who at age 11 was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.
2010 nominated Inside Film Awards Best Feature Film
2010 nominated Inside Film Awards Best Script
2009 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Adapted Screenplay
2009 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Film
2009 shortlisted Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Best Film Script
Love's Brother 2004 single work film/TV

A matchmaker finds Angelo a promising prospect for a wife in Southern Italy. Angelo sends her his handsomer, younger brother Gino's photograph. The marriage ceremony is performed with the bride (Rosetta) and Angelo still on separate continents. When the beautiful Rosetta arrives confusion reigns while she, Angelo, Gino, and Gino's fiance try to unravel who loves who.

2004 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Original Screenplay
2004 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting
2004 winner International Awards WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival Grand REMI Award
Last amended 10 Apr 2014 11:28:05
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