BIFF announce new $40K Chauvel Award

19 October, 2011 by IF

Press release from BIFF

Screen Queensland’s $40,000 adaptation development initiative will embrace the legacy of one of Queensland’s formative filmmakers through a re-formatted Chauvel Award at the 2011 Brisbane International Film Festival, Screen Queensland CEO Maureen Barron announced.


Launched during the 2011 Brisbane Writers Festival at the popular Books to Box Office session, the initiative now known as the Chauvel Award, offers a development package for the best screen adaptation of a novel.

“We are delighted to deliver two major awards that recognise great storytelling from development through to production stages in the re-formatted $40,000 Chauvel Award and the new $25,000 BIFFDOCS Award for documentaries. These awards are part of Screen Queensland’s role in the development and encouragement of new cinema in Queensland,” Ms Barron said.

In the past, the Chauvel Award recognised accomplished veterans of the industry.

“With domestic production levels on the rise in Queensland, we want to recognise the work of producers and writers at an earlier stage in a project’s life and, through the Chauvel Award, provide much-needed funds towards the development of a production that could stand alongside other great adaptations by Australian filmmakers,” Ms Barron said.

“Born in 1897 in the Queensland regional town of Warwick, Charles Chauvel was a trailblazer in the early days of the international screen industry, and his career in film is characteristic of the great work happening in Queensland to this day.”

Chauvel’s films celebrated Australian history and stories through his features and documentaries, often challenging the nation’s social fabric through films like 1953’s 'Jedda'—the first film to centre on Indigenous Australian characters, and ahead of its time in its portrayal of some of the assimilation practices of its era.

"As a filmmaker, Charles Chauvel’s work reflected the rapidly evolving film industry of his era, and so the Chauvel Award has also evolved to the changing needs of Queensland’s screen production industry.”

Adaptation was part of Chauvel’s legacy, including the 1936 Australian western 'Rangle River' based on a story by the great Zane Grey, the international bestselling author who is among the most-adapted in cinematic and literary history with well over 100 films adapted from his work.

“The adaptation of literary works is integral to sharing Australian stories through film, yet Australia adapts fewer works than any of the other leading film industries including the United Kingdom or the United States,” Ms Barron said.

“By taking this award, which is part of BIFF’s history, and attaching it to a program designed to see more Queensland films developed, we are recognising the importance of literary source material for film.”

The Chauvel Award is competitive and open to all Queensland-based producers with a $2,000 bonus for attaching a Queensland writer to the project. Applications close on 24 October, with the successful candidate announced during the 2011 Brisbane International Film Festival, which runs from 3 to 13 November 2011.

The 2011 BIFF program features a number of high-profile international and Australian films that are adaptations, such as:

· Closing film 'The Skin I Live In' (inspired by Thierry Jonquet's 'Mygale')

· Australian premiere of 'Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy' (based on the international bestseller by John Le Carre)

· Australian box-office hit 'Red Dog' (based on Louis de Bernières’ novella)

· Australian documentary 'The Tall Man' (based on the book by Australian author Chloe Hooper)

The full BIFF programme is available online at

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