A society where sleep is optional and the rich work and play on a 24-hour cycle is the thrilling setting of the winning unproduced script in the 2017 John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science-Fiction Writing, presented last night in Brisbane to C.S. McMullen for her pilot script Awake.
‘As a writer whose first love has always been science-fiction, this award has incredible significance for me, and I am prouder of this than perhaps anything else I’ve won,’ said McMullen, currently in Los Angeles. ‘Thank you so much to the AWG, and the estate of the late John Hinde for this bequest. This is part of a golden age for Australian science-fiction, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.’
A Melbourne-based screenwriter, McMullen has already made a considerable mark on the industry, listed by Inside Film in 2016 as one of the industry’s ‘Rising Talents’. In 2015 she was nominated for an Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller Award and in 2016 she was a semifinalist in the Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Awards, a finalist in the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, and was winner of the prestigious Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award presented by the International Emmys Foundation for her script Living Metal.
Awake, which tells the story of a dystopian near-future where the richest 1% can choose to live without sleep, was inducted onto AWG’s Pathways Showcase in 2017 and has since received Scripted Ink. development investment funding for a writers’ room to brainstorm the project alongside screenwriters Stu Page, Gemma Crofts and Joe Brukner.
The judging panel commended McMullen’s script on its ability to skilfully display the multifaceted nature of humanity through the thrilling lens of dystopian science-fiction.
The panel were once again extremely impressed by the standard of speculative screenwriting on offer for consideration in the Awards, with Tavis Urquhart’s script Red Belly Black announced as runner-up and Ryan van Dijk and Alexei Mizin’s script Hive highly commended.
McMullen’s father, award-winning science-fiction and fantasy author Sean McMullen, was in Brisbane last night to accept the Award on her behalf, joining members of the Queensland science-fiction and screen community to celebrate the best of Australian sci-fi writing.
The annual AWG John Hinde Award, which was first presented in 2008, is funded by a bequest from the late, iconic film critic, John Hinde. As part of the Award, McMullen will receive professional support for the development of her screenplay.
The award has two categories – one for a unproduced script, won by McMullen, and one for a produced script, which this year was posthumously awarded to Cris Jones for his celebrated sci-fi mockumentary film The Death and Life of Otto Bloom.
Previous winners in the unproduced category include Graeme Burfoot’s screenplay Red to Blue, Simon Butters’ screenplay Min Min and Penelope Chai and Adam Spellicy’s screenplay Mary, Mary, which won the 2016 Monte Miller Long Form Award.
2017 John Hinde Award shortlist
Tavis Urquhart for Red Belly Black
Ryan van Dijk and Alexei Mizin for Hive
2017 John Hinde Award Longlist
James Mayson for Second sKin
Katharine McPhee for Knock
Stephen Mitchell for The Perimeter
Shane O’Neill for Concussion
Damian Robb for Trench
Marc Rosenberg for Dreams of Earth
Jeremy Stanford for The Creature Within