Alia Shawkat, Jacki Weaver, Chris Hemsworth, Rachel Perkins, Nina Gold.

Chris Hemsworth, Jacki Weaver, UK casting director Nina Gold, Rachel Perkins, and US actor Alia Shawkat will make up the jury for this year’s Heath Ledger Scholarship.

They join a group of US and Australian casting directors that have been appointed first-round judges, including Jason Wood, Barbara McCarthy, Alyssa Weisberg, John McAlary, Ann Fay, Amanda Mitchell, and Anousha Zarkesh.

Australians in Film has also announced Ledger’s longtime friend and colleague, Gregor Jordan, as a patron of the scholarship, alongside Ledger’s father Kim, scholarship founder Susie Dobson, and casting director Ann Fay.

Jordan will provide professional support and guidance for the recipient during the 12 months of international training and professional development that the scholarship offers in Los Angeles.

Kim Ledger said Jordan’s support for the scholarship and close relationship with his son meant it was “only fitting” the Two Hands director be named as a patron.

Awarded to emerging Australian actors with international aspirations, the scholarship has so far been awarded ten times, with previous recipients including Bella Heathcote (Pieces of Her), Cody Fern (American Horror Story), Ashleigh Cummings (Citadel), Mojean Aria (Reminiscence) and Charmaine Bingwa (The Good Fight).

Applications are now open to any emerging actor over 18, with AiF strongly encouraging applications from under-represented members of the acting community to apply.

This year’s winner will receive a $US10,000 cash prize to support living expenses in the while studying, a return economy flight to the US, plus educational and career preparation, ranging from private acting coaching to immigration assistance.

The National Film & Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) is also partnering with AiF to offer the scholarship recipient the opportunity to have their submission reel profiled in the National Collection.

AiF executive director Peter Ritchie said they were “thrilled” at the calibre of this year’s jury. 

“They join a growing list of distinguished judges to help find the next generation of young Australian screen talent ready to burst onto screens all over the world,” he said.

“The spirit of leaving home and dreaming big internationally is what Heath did many years ago. This scholarship continues that dream and connects us all in a very special way.”

Applications for the Heath Ledger Scholarship close September 30. Find out more information about where to apply here.


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