Adelaide Film Festival calls for submissions for $50,000 grant

12 July, 2018 by Staff Writer

Meryl Tankard.

The Adelaide Film Festival today called for submissions for the fourth year of the $50,000 Jim Bettison and Helen James Award which recognises individual Australians who have contributed  inspiring lifelong work of high achievement in their area of expertise, with benefit to the wider community.


Submissions are invited from Australians from fields including the arts and humanities, social justice, the environment or the sciences and close on August 21. The winner will be announced at the 2018 Adelaide Film Festival which runs from October 10-21.

The Foundation was established to realise the vision of the late Dr Jim Bettison and Ms Helen James, who were committed to supporting a wide range of activity in the community through philanthropy and professional engagement.

“Helen and Jim envisioned an award that would be given annually to an individual whose lifetime work is of significant value and benefit to the community and who could use the opportunity offered by the award to record, archive or extend that work for the ongoing benefit of the community; or to complete a project related to that work,” said Doreen Mellor, a spokesperson for the  Foundation.

 The 2018 recipient will join an alumni of outstanding Australians whose work has benefited from the $50,000 award. The 2017 recipient, Australian social documentary and arts photographer Robert McFarlane, has been capturing defining moments of Australian life for more than half a century. 

From his early work in the 1960s photographing  young Indigenous activist Charlie Perkins at university and The Beatles arriving in Australia, he went on to record Prime Ministers, film directors, Go-Go dancers, artists, surgeons, activists, workers and others as his lens uniquely chronicled the changing face of Australia.

Two innovative individuals were honoured in 2016:  Dancer, choreographer and director Meryl Tankard and adventurer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis, who is project leader of 25zero, a  global initiative against climate change.

In 2015, 25zero teams scaled mountains in three continents during the 12 days of the United Nations Climate Change talks (COP21) in Paris, sending footage, images and stories to COP21 where they were used to influence decision makers. The award will enable development of the footage from the climbs into new forms including a documentary designed to educate and engage in the issue of climate change by ‘showing’ it.

The award is enabling Tankard to further a number of projects that explore the transformative power of art and the positive impact that creativity can have on physical and mental health.

The inaugural recipient in 2015 was Greg Mackie, founder of the South Australian event Adelaide Festival of Ideas. Supported by the award, Mackie has been researching and working towards the establishment of a ‘Thinking Adelaide’ global network of innovators and thought leaders, drawn from participants of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and the former Adelaide Thinkers in Residence Program.

Adelaide Film Festival CEO and artistic director Amanda Duthie said: “It is a privilege for Adelaide Film Festival to open submissions for this prestigious award which acknowledges an amazing Australian for their outstanding work in their field of interest, and award them the resources to further their mission.

“Similarly, through the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund we aim to garner innovative partnerships and collaborate to create opportunities for Australian key thinkers and practitioners, enabling bold new Australian screen stories, providing a deeper and more rigorous understanding of the way we live now and how we could live in the future.”

For more information go here.