Projects depicting a fight between Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker, a terrorism attack in Sydney and encounters between renowned Australians and international figures were among the winners of the inaugural Online Video Awards (OVAs).

Danny Philippou’s Harry Potter vs Star Wars, which cost just $200 and has been viewed more than 11 million times, took out the top prize at the awards presented during the Open Channel’s Generation Next conference at Docklands on Tuesday night.

Philippou wins a trip to YouTube’s Creator Space in Los Angeles to learn from world leaders in online video production and marketing, supported by YouTube.

Event Zero, seven interconnected stories about people caught up in a terrorism event at Circular Quay, from Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey, creators of The Tunnel, was named best drama series.

Alex Light’s Knapsack Bartender, a three-part documentary series that explores weird and wonderful drinking cultures across the world, took the best factual award.

The best animation prize went to Duncan Imberger’s Australian Encounters (Heroes, Villains & Ratbags), which depicts historical encounters between the likes of Bob Hawke and Frank Sinatra, Lionel Rose and Elvis and Kylie Minogue and Michael Hutchence.

Open Channel executive director Marc Gracie said that “finding an audience online and testing your creative instincts can be immediate, fruitful and help develop solid professional screen careers.”

Awards patron Jehan Ratnatunga is an alumni of Open Channel who was hired by YouTube’s LA team to head up strategic projects.

Jehan said , “Today, Australian online video creators are drawing huge audiences – often on par with their film and television counterparts. The OVAs has proven to be a fantastic way to recognise them for their creative works.”

Best One Off Comedy and Best Overall

Harry Potter vs Star Wars
Danny Philippou
For background see:
Harry Potter vs Star Wars has been viewed over 11 million times since it was uploaded 5 months ago.
Their YouTube Channel RackaRacka has 583,979 subscribers
RackaRacka is produced by a team of blokes from the northern suburbs of Adelaide, working on very low budgets.
The winning video Harry Potter versus Star Wars was made on a budget of $200.
The judges were impressed by the pace and energy of their work and their commitment to turning out a constant stream of content. Success in the online environment is built on regular, coherent channel of content and RackaRacka have demonstrated they can do this and build a big audience. The opportunity afforded them by winning the trip to work at the YouTube creator space in Los Angeles will hopefully bring them to a wider audience and expand their content ambitions.

Best Factual Series/One-off

Knapsack Bartender.
Creator: Alex Light
For background see:
Produced under the banner of Vice TV by Alex Light, Knapsack Bartender is “a documentary series that explores strange cocktail stories and dive into weird and wonderful drinking cultures from across the world, mixing drinks along the way.”
This is an Australian contribution to the global online video brand that is Vice TV. The judges were impressed that an Australian content creator has made inroads into brand such as Vice and produced quality content with a local feel.

Best Animation

Australian Encounters (Heroes, Villains & Ratbags)
Producer: Duncan Imberger
For background see:
This humorous, irreverent animation series trawls Australian history for the pivotal moments where the Australian psyche rubs up against the rest of the world.
Beautifully rendered and perfectly paced.

Best Drama Series

Event Zero
Producers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey
For background see:
Event Zero is a multi award-winning drama web series which was supported by Movie Extra and produced by the makers of The Tunnel, a groundbreaking Internet-only feature film.
Event Zero has very high production values and uses the episodic web series in an open-ended way that few other Australian series have.

Best One-Off Drama and Best Writing

Director: Adrian Cabrié
For background see:
Sine is a classic short form one of drama, telling a complex story in a short time frame with tight direction and performance.

Best Music Video * Co Winner

Paper Kites – Young
Producer: Nicky Pastore.
For background see:
A beautiful and deceptively simple video with a very complex process “7 days to shoot 350+ faces, 10 days to assemble 4000+ photos.”

Best Music Video * Co Winner

Phantom Hitmen – Beautiful Mind
Producer: Heather Cassidy
For background see:
An intriguing and complex music video that tales the viewer on a voyage of discovery through Melbourne.
This project was made with Lean Filmmaking methods. Meaning that a team of multidisciplinary filmmaking team came together with the band to develop ideas, which were tested in several drafts by screening to a frontier audience, before shooting for the final version.

Best Collaboration

Written It Down
Producer: David Zwolenski
For background see:
A new twist on the comedy improv genre, with the product relying completely on the collaboration between the actors and director – that’s why they won!

Best Comedy Series

Chris & Josh
Producer: Matthew Smolen
For background see:
A gen-Y take on the Odd Couple.

Best Channel

The Axis of Awesome
Co-Creator: Jordan Raskopoulos.
For background see:
Highly successful YouTube Channel with over 200,000 subscribers. Music-based satire, with consistent quality output needed to sustain a channel.

Best Direction

Low Life
Director: Luke Eve
For background see:
Multi-award winning web series about depression.

Best Performance

Henry Nixon (Low Life)
For background see:

Innovation Award

Rites of Passage
Producer: Phillip Crawford.
For background see:
Award winning collaborative project that embraces a mix of approaches to the subject matter and styles of shooting in an innovative way. The producers empowered young people to take control of the project and used the following principles:
“1. The making of the film should help people living with hardship to build new futures 2. All key actors must be amateurs and live in the community where the film is shot 3. There can be no traditional script and there must be more than one story line 4. The story lines must be developed with the actors, drawing on their life experiences 5. If an actor fails to turn up, the shoot continues, creating a new direction for the film 6. The film must be shot in real locations in the community 7. Key actors and the production team should all operate cameras, sound, lighting and other equipment 8. Every scene should be shot with different types of cameras and styles 9. All the credits must be in alphabetical order, with no one credited as writer or creator 10. The first screening must be held in the community where the film was made.”