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SWANZ writes 2014 winners

The annual Writers Guild’s awards bash ran at the Classic Thursday night, kicking off a Big Weekend of activity in Auckland.

John Leigh and Greg Johnson again did the hosting honours, entertaining the sold-out room and keeping the event moving along a fair old clip – although the evening’s first winner in attendance, Aroha Awarau, managed to calm things down with an acceptance speech longer than all the others combined.

The only other slow part of the evening was the announcement of the Mentorship Award, where the more respectful pace was appropriate to honour two awardees this year: the late Elizabeth O’Connor, literary manager of Christchurch’s Court Theatre; and Caterina de Nave, formerly of SPP, TV3 and more recently Australia’s SBS.

Escalator titles took three of the four nominations for Best Feature Script. None won, although Gerard Johnstone did take the evening’s first gong, for Best New Writer. Having recently become a new dad, Johnstone was at home, although nobody took the opportunity to describe him as Housebound.

The most-nominated writer going into the evening was serial SWANZer Fiona Samuel (2010 winner, Best Play; 2011 winner, Best One-off Television Drama) who again left with the award for Best One-off, this time for Consent: the Louise Nicholas story.

Fiona Samuel

Fiona Samuel

A award bashes go, SWANZ kept up the reputation it’s developed over five editions: succinct, full of fun, and doing a great job of rewarding writers.

Continuing through the Big Weekend, tomorrow (Friday) the NZWG runs its Writers Showcase at the Pullman. On Saturday and Sunday the Big Screen Symposium runs at the University of Auckland.

The 2014 SWANZ winners are (marked ***):

New Writer Award
Gerard Johnstone

Unproduced Feature Film Script Competition
Gillian Ashurst, Gnats
***Dianne Taylor, The Last Hippie Trail
Tania Wheeler, Umbrella Man
Richard Goodwin, Immortal Diamond
Jackie Owens, Three Gardens

Best Short Film Script
Aroha Awarau, Home
Hamish Bennett, Ross And Beth
Charlie Bleakley and Cohen Holloway, Coconut
***Gregory King, UFO

Best Play
Simon Ward, Thumper
***Aroha Awarau, Luncheon
Rochelle Bright, Daffodils
Pip Hall, Ache

Best Television Comedy Episode
Fiona Samuel, Agent Anna: Series 2 Episode 10.
Fiona Samuel & Natalie Medlock, Agent Anna: Series 2 Episode 7
Roseanne Liang, Flat 3: Episode 11
***Millen Baird, Auckland Daze: Episode 1

Best Television Drama Episode
Fiona Samuel, Nothing Trivial: Season 3 Episode 2.
James Griffin, The Almighty Johnsons: Series 3 Episode 13
***James Griffin, Step Dave: Episode 6
Gaylene Preston And Dave Armstrong, Hope And Wire: Episode 5

Mentorship Award
Elizabeth O’Connor
Caterina de Nave

Best Television One-Off Drama
***Fiona Samuel, Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story
Donna Malane & Paula Boock, Field Punishment No.1
Donna Malane & Paula Boock, Pirates Of The Airwaves

Best Feature Film Script
Max Currie, Everything We Loved
***James Napier Robertson, Dark Horse
Gerard Johnstone, Housebound
Sophie Henderson, Fantail

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