An ABC television series directed by an RMIT adjunct professor and starring an RMIT student has been recognised in the annual Logie awards.
Barracuda was directed by RMIT Adjunct Professor in Media Robert Connolly and starred Elias Anton as the central character Danny Kelly.
Anton won the Graham Kennedy Award for most outstanding newcomer at the 2017 Logie awards, with the four-part series also receiving a nomination for most outstanding mini-series or telemovie.
The Matchbox Pictures mini-series screened on the ABC in 2016.
Anton, who is studying the Diploma of Screen and Media at RMIT, was praised by Connolly as an incredibly gifted actor, conveying an exceptional empathy in his characterisation and interpretation of the work.
“His performance in Barracuda is bold and courageous, with Elias always willing to take risks when exploring the character,” Connolly said.
“During the shoot, he expanded his knowledge of filmmaking too, observing and engaging with the creative journey from various points of view within the team.”
Professor Lisa French, Deputy Dean (Media), said Adjunct Professor Robert Connolly was one of the finest directors in Australia so it was no surprise that his work has been nominated for a Logie.
“He is a truly innovative film practitioner whose productions make a unique and important contribution to our screens,” she said.
“We also congratulate RMIT student Elias Anton for a spectacular performance in the leading role, and all the talented Matchbox team.
“Baraccuda is part of a new emphasis on diversity on television, with well-told, rich stories offering insight into contemporary Australia.”
The mini-series is based on the novel by Christos Tsiolkas, one of RMIT’s Established Writing Fellows who recently went to The Philippines as part of a Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange (WrICE) program.
RMIT’s non/fictionLab runs WrICE in conjunction with the Copyright Agency.
Connolly said it has been an incredible gift in his career to work on The Slap and Barracuda and to get to know Tsiolkas, a writer he loves and admires.
“His writing speaks of an Australia that is familiar and real to me and I have hoped to convey that in the adaptations,” he said.
“Christos gave me one massive direction only in development – avoid sentimentality at all times.
“He otherwise gave us huge freedom to adapt his work, and after our collaboration on The Slap, together with Tony Ayres, there is a great trust there.
“I look forward to finding the next project to work on with Christos – all good things come in threes!”
The Logie award winners were announced on 23 April at a televised event in the Crown Palladium in Melbourne.
Connolly has also been nominated for Best Direction in a Mini Series for Barracuda in the Australian Directors’ Guild (AGD) 2017 Awards.
RMIT is a sponsor of the AGD awards, to be announced May 5 at a gala dinner.
Story: Wendy Little