Applications open for Heath Ledger Scholarship

18 February, 2016 by Staff Writer

Heath Ledger.


Applications are now open for the eighth annual Heath Ledger Scholarship run by Australians in Film.

Established in memory of Australian actor Heath Ledger, who served as an ambassador for AiF, the scholarship is open to emerging Australian actors 18-35 years old.

Since the prize was established in 2008, $230,000 in scholarship prizes have been awarded to date.

"The judges will be looking for an extraordinary young Australian actor with raw talent and charisma – someone who has the potential for real career longevity in Hollywood, not just [to be] the ‘next big thing’, said AiF President Simonne Overend.

The recipient will obtain a USD $10,000 cash fund, a two year scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles, two flights on Virgin Australia – one to attend the announcement ceremony and a second flight when the winner is ready to transition their career to the United States – a 7-day Californian trip from Visit California, USD $5,000 worth of visa and immigration services from Raynor and Associates and $500 worth of Uber credit to get around LA.

The scholarship also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry.

Two runners-up will receive a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles, where they can profile themselves in the US market, courtesy of Virgin Australia, and a scholarship to attend Masterclasses at Screenwise Film & TV School for actors in Sydney. 

Heath Ledger's father Kim, the scholarship's patron, said: "We expect to hear from another group of fine applicants, and I encourage talented Aussies resident in either the U.S. or Australia to support this excellent Australians in Film initiative.”

Benefactors to the program include the Ledger family, Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Rose Byrne, Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Alex O'Loughlin, Deborra-Lee Furness, Phillip Noyce, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gregor Jordan and Nicole Kidman.

Last year's winner Matt Levett said: “It was a great honour to be awarded the Heath Ledger Scholarship and then be granted the many opportunities and doors it has opened.  I am truly thankful and indebted to the generous benefactors, including the incredible Ledger family and AiF for their help and guidance.”

Since receiving the scholarship, Levett has appeared in the Wolf Creek TV series, which will screen on Stan soon.

Other past winners include James Mackay (The Dressmaker), Ryan Corr (The Water Diviner, Holding the Man) and Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).

As in previous years, the 2016 judging panel will consist of influential actors, casting agents and industry executives. 

Past judges have included actors Colin Farrell, Miranda Otto, Vince Vaughn, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Rachel Griffiths, Ben Mendelsohn, and Wes Bentley, directors Gregor Jordan, Catherine Hardwicke and Kieran Darcy-Smith, Head of Casting at DreamWorks Leslee Feldman, talent manager Will Ward, casting directors Nikki Barrett and Laray Mayfield, talent agent Steve Alexander, Vice President of Feature Casting at Walt Disney Studios Randi Hiller and Warner Bros. President of Production Greg Silverman. 

Applications will close on the date of Heath Ledgers birthday, April 4th 2016.