The long birth, death and resurrection of Australian SF and fantasy on screen is backed by ace writers and a great literary tradition.

Australian writers have been crucial to our national imagination for a long time, and are now joined by a generation of screenwriters who are trying to bend the landscape of production in a new direction. They are writing fantasy and science fiction and banging on doors both locally and in the US. 

Catherine S.McMullen, for instance, won the 2017 John Hinde Prize for Excellence in Science Fiction writing awarded by the Australian Writers’ Guild. Hinde was a beloved film reviewer and broadcaster who died in July 2006 at the age of 92. He started in the ABC as a war correspondent and stayed for over fifty years.  The bequest was nothing short of inspired. 

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This year’s The Black List, the annual rundown of Hollywood’s top screenplays that haven’t been produced, has been revealed this morning. Matthew Firpo and Ryan Firpo’s script Ruin received the most votes this year for their story of  a nameless ex-Nazi captain who must navigate the ruins of post-World War II Germany and atone for his crimes during the war by hunting down and killing the surviving members of his former SS death squad.

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With 2017 about to slip into our rearview, it’s time once again to present the best spec scripts of the year, as voted on by Hollywood. With the release of our eighth annual list, we’re incredibly proud to shine a light on this year’s writers, and the projects that made them the talk of the town in 2017.

With 90 new spec scripts making the Hit List this year, we’ve now had the pleasure of seeing 707 different specs land on our annual Best Of list, representing the endlessly creative minds of 883 writers. We’ve counted more than 22,000 votes from 4,000 voters, and tallied the list down from the more than 3,000 eligible specs that have hit the market since 2010. We’ve seen the rise, fall, and rise again of companies, representatives and genres, as the industry and audiences change. We’ve seen more than 350 Hit List projects go on to land on other Best Of lists, and more than 100 go on to earn Oscar and box office wins alike. We’ve seen more than 100 writers return to the list more than once, as well as 25 Launch Pad Alums gracing these pages.

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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.

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