Rural NSW school receives Robin Anderson award

09 December, 2008 by IF

[Release by NSW Dept of Education & Training]

Lithgow High School Student Film makers were recently recognised for their contribution to student film and video production at the prestigious Robin Anderson Film Awards.


The event was held at the Dendy Opera Quays cinema complex on Wednesday the 12th of November. The awards were hosted by Marc Fennell (movie show, JJJ radio and J mag) with special guest Gillian Armstrong presenting the Robin Anderson Award.

In a highly competitive field of over 200 national entries, Lithgow High school was able to win a number of awards. Their film “Mercury vapour” won the best junior fiction award in its category for students in years 7-10. They also won the best director craft award on an open category that included a significant number of HSC level works. Lithgow High also took out the Grand Jury Prize; The Robin Anderson Award beating all others in competition.

“Mercury Vapour” is a mystery drama set in a High School and is notable for its suspense and its stunning use of special effects to heighten the drama.

The students, Zoe Barnes Rachel Cough and Sam McManus described the win as “unbelievable” and “mind-blowing”.

“We were confident we had a good film and were quietly hopeful we might win the junior award, but to win the Grand Prize is just awesome” said Zoe Barnes one of the films directors.

“I hope to pursue a career in journalism as well as acting and to win this award and to be able to meet Bob Connelly, it’s just fantastic,” said Rachel Clough, the film’s central actor.

“It just encourages you to keep trying despite all the hard work…and there’s a lot of hard work in film making!” said Sam Mcmanus.

“These awards to more than just recognise present students work, they encourage a whole new generation of students to keep making films and tell their own stories,” said Sean O’Keeffe the Film making teacher at Lithgow High.

The Robin Anderson Award is the result of the generous donations from friends, family, members of the film industry and the public that flooded in to MLC School at the time of Robin Anderson’s death in 2002. Robin Anderson and her partner Bob Connolly are responsible for a number of iconic and award winning documentary films such as Black Harvest and Rats in The Ranks and First Contact which was nominated for an Academy Award.

The Robin Anderson Film Awards Festival has attracted the sponsorship and support of
• The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS)
• Film Australia
• Sony
• The Australian Broadcasting Corporation
• Sibelius
• Spectrum Films
• Foxtel
• Art Gallery of NSW
• Art Business
• Mac1
• Sydney Film School

In 2008 Prizes were awarded in the following categories:
• The Robin Anderson Prize – overall prize for best film, judged from all works submitted in both the junior and senior sections.
• Best Fiction Film – Junior Category
• Best Non-Fiction Film – Junior Category
• Best Super Short Film – Open Category
• Best Fiction Film – Senior Category
• Best Non-Fiction Film – Senior Category
• Best Digital Animation – Open Category

• Best Cinematography – Open
• Best Actor – Open
• Best Script – Open
• Best Sound / Composition – Open
• Best Film Editing – Open
• Best Direction- open

Lithgow high school Tier 2 film making is a board endorsed course and part of an overall 200 hour program. Students learn all aspects of film making from drama to documentary and journalism. It seeks to contextualise learning with real industry experience as much as possible.

Film making students have one a number of awards and been part of a number of film festivals. In 2008 they worked collaboratively with SBS to produce segments for the youth television show “the Crew”.

Students also produced a community service announcement for the “Youth off The Streets” charity which has been screening nationally on commercial and non-commercial channels.

In the past Lithgow has been commissioned by DET to produce a documentation of a presentation for teachers by Michael Carr-Gregg a pre-eminent advisor on teenagers.

Currently Lithgow is producing its own promotional video and is building a small production studio out of a store room.