AustLit logo
Best Original Screenplay
Subcategory of Film Critics Circle of Australia
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


2016 winner form y separately published work icon Goldstone Ivan Sen , ( dir. Ivan Sen ) Australia : Dark Matter Productions , 2016 8474304 2016 single work film/TV

'Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in a frontier mining town on a missing persons enquiry.

'What seems like a simple “light duties” investigation soon opens into a web of crime and corruption implicating the local Mayor, Mining Boss and Aboriginal Land Council.

'Jay must overcome personal differences with the young local policeman while he pulls his life together to dig deeper into the conspiracy. They are led into a world of people trafficking and organised crime at the heart of the local mining industry, where the value of a life is pitted against big money and deep-rooted corruption.' (Production summary)

2014 winner form y separately published work icon The Babadook Jennifer Kent , ( dir. Jennifer Kent ) Australia : Causeway Films , 2013 Z1912336 2013 single work film/TV horror (taught in 2 units) A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
2013 winner form y separately published work icon Wish You Were Here Kieran Darcy-Smith , Felicity Price , ( dir. Kieran Darcy-Smith ) Australia : Aquarius Blue Tongue Films , 2012 Z1837239 2012 single work film/TV thriller

'Four friends lose themselves in a carefree South-East Asian holiday. Only three come back. Dave and Alice return home to their young family desperate for answers about Jeremy’s mysterious disappearance. When Alice’s sister Steph returns not long after, a nasty secret is revealed about the night her boyfriend went missing. But it is only the first of many. Who amongst them knows what happened on that fateful night when they were dancing under a full moon in Cambodia?'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 13/2/2014)

2009 joint winner form y separately published work icon The Square Joel Edgerton , Matthew Dabner , ( dir. Nash Edgerton ) Australia : Igloo Films Blue Tongue Films , 2008 Z1506708 2008 single work film/TV thriller crime

'A man's life begins to unravel when his mistress brings him a bag of cash.'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 10/2/2014)

2009 joint winner form y separately published work icon Unfinished Sky Peter Duncan , ( dir. Peter Duncan ) Australia : New Holland Pictures IDTV Film , 2007 Z1414335 2007 single work film/TV mystery

'An illegal refugee and a reclusive farmer fall deeply in love, despite their resistance, recovering their faith in themselves and their trust in humanity.'

Source: New Holland Pictures website:
Sighted: 02/08/2007

With Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner's The Square.
2007 winner form y separately published work icon The Home Song Stories Tony Ayres , ( dir. Tony Ayres ) Australia : Big and Little Films Porchlight Films , 2007 Z1390692 2007 single work film/TV (taught in 4 units)

'This is the true story of Rose, a glamorous Shanghai nightclub singer, who struggles to survive in '70s Australia with two young children. Based on writer/director Tony Ayres' own life, The Home Song Stories is an epic tale of mothers and sons, mothers and daughters, unrequited love, secrets and betrayal.'

Source: Australian Film Commission. (Sighted: 8/10/2014)

2006 winner form y separately published work icon Kenny Clayton Jacobson , Shane Jacobson , ( dir. Clayton Jacobson ) Melbourne : Thunderbox Films , 2006 Z1793972 2006 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

'From the biggest festival to the smallest church social, Kenny Smyth delivers porta-loos to them all. Ignored and unappreciated, he is one of the cogs in society's machinery; a knight in shining overalls taking care of business with his faithful 'Splashdown' crew.

Follow Kenny as he tackles every septic challenge that comes his way, culminating in a pilgrimage to that Mecca of waste management, the International Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville Tennessee - or as Kenny affectionately calls it, "Poo HQ".

One of Australia's roughest diamonds juggles family tensions, fatherhood and sewage with charm, humour and unflinching dignity.'

Source: (Sighted 27/7/11)

2005 winner form y separately published work icon Look Both Ways Sarah Watt , ( dir. Sarah Watt ) 2004 Australia : Hibiscus Films , 2005 Z1218102 2004 single work film/TV (taught in 1 units) Over a fiercely hot weekend, four people grapple with life changing news, wondering whether their fate is deserved or earned, and how happiness might be possible. Meryl is a lonely artist who literally envisions disaster around every corner. Nick is a photojournalist whose work keeps him emotionally distanced from the tragedies he documents. When the two meet in the aftermath of a real train accident, their lives, and the lives of a handful of other witnesses and victims, are revealed and transformed.
2004 winner form y separately published work icon Tom White Daniel Keene , ( dir. Alkinos Tsilimidos ) 2004 Australia : Fandango Australia Rescued Films , 2004 Z1136171 2004 single work film/TV

'When Tom White goes missing, many lives are affected. A family man with two young kids, the pressures of life and his work as a draughtsman have pushed him to the edge. One day he simply doesn't go home. Without word or reason to his wife or friends he takes to the streets - a homeless man in his own city - befriending in turn, different people on the fringes of society.'

Source: (Sighted 16/8/04)

2003 winner form y separately published work icon Alexandra's Project Rolf De Heer , ( dir. Rolf De Heer ) Australia : Wild Bunch Vertigo Productions , 2003 Z1805780 2003 single work film/TV thriller

A regular suburban family man comes home 'from work on his birthday to find a deserted house and a videotape waiting to be played... '

Source: Screen Australia.

2002 winner form y separately published work icon Walking on Water Roger Monk , ( dir. Tony Ayres ) Sydney : Porchlight Films , 2002 Z1604077 2002 single work film/TV

'Charlie and Anna make a pact to assist their terminally ill friend Gavin to die. This traumatic event is the catalyst for an emotional rollercoaster ride for both friends and family. From illicit affairs and leftover morphine, to devastating accusations and unwitting betrayals, Walking on Water ' is an 'unsentimental film about friendship, loss, loyalty and love'.

Source :

2002 winner form y separately published work icon Mullet David Caesar , ( dir. David Caesar ) Australia : Porchlight Films , 2001 Z1848589 2001 single work film/TV 'Returning to his small hometown after a sudden 3 year absence, Eddie Maloney isn't welcomed back with open arms. His parents and sister have mixed feelings about his return, and his ex-girlfriend Tully has since moved on to marry his brother Pete. Though he wants to pick up his life where he left off, Eddie realizes his homecoming won't be so easy.' (Source:
2001 winner (Best Original Screenplay) form y separately published work icon The Dish Santo Cilauro , Tom Gleisner , Jane Kennedy , Rob Sitch , ( dir. Rob Sitch ) Australia : Dish Film , 2000 Z1450608 2000 single work film/TV (taught in 3 units)
2000 joint winner form y separately published work icon Soft Fruit Christina Andreef , ( dir. Christina Andreef ) Australia : Soft Fruit , 1999 7935634 1999 single work film/TV

'In the shadow of the steel mills of Port Kembla, the four children of Patsy and Victor Petrov gather at the family house, which is surrounded by fruit trees. Patsy (Jeanie Drynan) is dying of cancer, but the family has already been ruptured by Victor’s violent temper. Josie, the eldest (Genevieve Lemon), has returned from the United States with her two children. Nadia (Sacha Horler) also has children but her marriage has dissolved. Vera (Alicia Talbot), the youngest, has put herself on an unofficial fertility program at the local hospital, where she’s a nurse. Bo (Russell Dykstra) has been paroled from prison because of his mother’s illness, but he has to sleep in the shed. Victor (Linal Haft) won’t allow his son in the house, because of their long-standing feud. Patsy is determined to enjoy her last days with her family. Bo takes her to select a coffin and to her favourite secluded beach. She shares her liquid morphine with Nadia and Bo and dreams of flying to Paris, like her idol, the late Jackie Onassis. In the end, she only gets as far as a local caravan park, where she dies, surrounded by her daughters.'

Source: Australian Screen ( (Sighted: 15/10/2014)

With Davida Allen, Feeling Sexy.
1994 winner form y separately published work icon The Piano Jane Campion , ( dir. Jane Campion ) Australia : Jan Chapman Productions , 1993 Z352127 1993 single work film/TV (taught in 3 units)

'Ada, her nine-year-old daughter, and her piano, arrive to an arranged marriage in the remote bush of 19th century New Zealand. Of all her belongings, her husband refuses to transport the piano and it is left behind on the beach. Unable to bear its certain destruction, Ada strikes a bargain with an illiterate neighbour. She may earn her piano back if she allows him to do certain things while she plays: one black key for every lesson. The arrangement draws all three deeper and deeper into a complex emotional, sexual bond, remarkable for its naive passion and frightening disregard for limits.'

Source: Screen Australia.

1988 winner form y separately published work icon Shame Beverly Blankenship , Michael Brindley , ( dir. Steve Jodrell ) Perth : Barron Entertainment , 1988 Z1813041 1988 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

In the vein of stranger-comes-to-town westerns, lawyer Asta Cadell (Deborah Lee Furness) is forced to stop in the small country town of Ginaborak to await parts for her motorcycle. The men of the town act very aggressively. The women cower. Asta is offered a place to stay by Tim Curtis (Tony Barry) a local mechanic and learns of the rape of his daughter Lizze (Simone Buchanan) the previous evening. As Asta befriends Lizze, she is horrified to discover that the men repeatedly gang rape the women of Ginborak.

Source: Reading Room, 'Shame', (Sighted 7/10/11)