/Media Releases 09.09.15


Elizabeth Debicki as Breakthrough Talent of 2015
Producers Bruna Papandrea and Bill Mechanic to be honored
at the AiF Awards and Benefit Gala in Los Angeles

On Sunday, October 25 Australians in Film (AIF) will host its annual AiF Awards and Benefit Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles. Presenter Carrie Bickmore will be master of ceremonies at this year’s awards, which celebrates the achievements of Australians working in Hollywood and also recognises the contribution of individuals to the Australian film industry.

This year’s top honor, the Virgin Australia Orry Kelly International Award will be presented to producer Bruna Papandrea (Oscar winning Milk, Wild, Gone Girl). The award is given to an Australian who has paved the way for other Australians in the entertainment industry and who has provided much support, mentoring and inspiration to others. Previous Orry Kelly honorees have included director Baz Luhrmann, film executive Greg Coote and filmmaking collective, Blue Tongue Films.

Papandrea’s career started in Australia where she produced the award-winning film, Better Than Sex. Subsequently she went on to work at Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack’s production company Mirage and then Michael London’s Groundswell Productions in Los Angeles. She then produced the box office hit Warm Bodies through her own company, Make Movies. Papandrea is currently founder/partner at Pacific Standard with Reese Witherspoon.

“Bruna is the perfect recipient for this year’s Virgin Australia Orry Kelly International Award. Her international career has been extraordinary, and it continues at great speed, with an HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman about to go into production, and an output deal with ABC studios recently signed,” says Tracey Vieira, Chairman of Australians in Film. “Bruna has always been a very vocal supporter of Australia and of Australians in the industry. She is always open to helping emerging talent and AiF is thrilled to honor her with this award.”

“I left Australia in 2000 after producing my first film BETTER THAN SEX. No matter where I have lived, or how my career has changed, I remain the proudest Australian you’ll ever meet.” said Papandrea “It is my home, my heart, my inspiration, which is why it is a tremendous honor to receive this award”

The Virgin Australia Orry -Kelly International Award is named after costume designer Orry-Kelly, one of the first Australians to succeed in Hollywood, who went on to win three Academy Awards for Les Girls (1957), Some Like It Hot (1959) and An American In Paris (1951).

Elizabeth Debicki has had an outstanding year and AiF is pleased to honor her as one of the Breakthrough Award winners this year. Another will be announced soon.

After making her debut in Stephan Elliot’s A Few Best Men, Debicki went on to impress audiences and critics alike with her performance in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. This year, she starred in Guy Ritchie’s Man from U.N.C.L.E alongside Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. Debicki will next be seen in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, with Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, and in Everest with Jake Gyllenhaal, Kiera Knightly and Jason Clarke.

Elizabeth Debicki has catapulted onto the world screen with stand-out performances over the past couple of years. This year she has scored coveted roles in some great films, working with such talented directors as Guy Ritchie and Justin Kurzel. She is a great ambassador for the Australian film industry and we are thrilled to be honoring her,” says Simonne Overend, President of Australians in Film.

“I feel so honored to be the recipient of the breakthrough award for 2015.” Debicki said. “Australians in film are a wonderful organization and they have been so influential in their support to Australian artists and our artistic community both at home and internationally”

Bill Mechanic, Chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films will be the recipient of this year’s Ausfilm International Award, which honors an individual’s contribution to the Australian film industry.

Through Pandemonium, Mechanic has produced the Oscar-nominated Coraline, Terence Malick’s The New World, and Walter Salles’s Dark Water. Mechanic was Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment for seven years and during his time there, the studio produced such hits as Castaway, Titanic, Independence Day, There’s Something About Mary, Braveheart and Boys Don’t Cry.

Bill Mechanic has consistently recognised the outstanding talent to come out of Australia,” says Debra Richards, CEO of Ausfilm. “From his time at Fox where he greenlit films such as Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, to his current slate of movies, three of which have either been filmed or are about to commence filming in Australia (The Moon and the Sun, starring Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt, Paul Currie’s 2:22, and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge) Bill Mechanic has always been a great supporter of Australian talent in front of and behind the camera.”

“It all started as a film student falling in love with a great period of Australian films” Mechanic said. “So, when the opportunity came to produce The Moon and the Sun in Australia, I knew I could get the artistry and the creative sensibility I was after with Australian crews and artists. Three movies in a row in the span of less than two years is incredible, which is why I’m the one who should be giving thanks, for the incredible support from Australian organisations such as Ausfilm.”

Carrie Bickmore is the Gold Logie winning presenter of The Project, which screens on Channel Ten in Australia.

Download link for images, including honorees is here


US based media enquiries, please contact:

Peter Ritchie, Executive Director, [email protected] or on tel: (213) 448-9262

Matilda Comers, Marketing Director, [email protected] or on tel: 310-658-2627

Australian based media enquiries, please contact:

Courtney Mayhew, [email protected] or on tel: + 61 2 8399 0626.


Founded in May 2001, Australians in Film is a non-profit organization that serves as the industry guild for Australian entertainment professionals in Los Angeles, holding regular screenings, career development programs, seminars and labs, and currently has over 600 members. For more information on AiF, please visit www.australiansinfilm.org


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Ausfilm connects the international film community with Australia’s screen incentives, talent and facilities.

Ausfilm markets Australia’s Screen Production Incentive Scheme which comprises the Location, PDV (post, digital and visual effects) and Producer Offsets. Ausfilm is an Australian industry – government partnership. It comprises Australia’s Federal and State Governments and the major studios and the leading post and digital effects facilities and production service providers. www.ausfilm.com.au


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