1970 - 1979
The revival of the film industry had entered a new phase by the time Glenda Jackson presented the 1974-1975 Awards. The presentations were made at the Sydney Opera House in March 1975. Entries (of which there were 213) had included an unprecedented 16 feature films including Petersen, Between Wars, Alvin Rides Again, Stone, The Cars That Ate Paris, Sunday Too Far Away, The Great Macarthy, Yaketty Yak, The True Story of Eskimo Nell, Wokabout Bilong Tonten, The Removalists, Inn of the Damned, The Firm Man, Solo Flight and Crystal Voyager.
In 1972 Premier Don Dunstan set up the South Australian Film Corporation to promote a commercially viable film industry in the state. Their first feature would be Sunday Too Far Away made entirely on location for about $300,000. Producers were Gil Brealey and Matt Carroll. Brealey was a genuine veteran of the industry who had kick-started many careers. Carroll had an even greater success ahead for him and for the SAFC. The Director Ken Hannam here did his best work for the big screen.
At these awards the film won in four major categories. Jack Thompson was joint winner of the Best Actor prize for Sunday and for Petersen. He shared the award with Martin Vaughan for Billy and Percy. The category of Best Supporting Actor had not yet been instituted but Reg Lye received an honourable mention for his memorable performance as the alcoholic shearer Old Garth. Sunday also took the AFDC Award, the Department of the Media Award and the Golden Reel in the fiction category.
Significantly the film was then selected for screening in the Director's Fortnight at Cannes. It was well received and invited to other festivals. From now on Australian cinema would attract new respect internationally.
The prize for Direction went to John Power for Billy and Percy which also took the Golden Reel in the General Category.
As well as the shared acting prize Petersen won the Silver Award in the feature category. For his work on the film David Williamson became the first recipient of the Best Screenplay Award.
Another new award was for Music. This was given to Bruce Smeaton for his work on The Cars that Ate Paris and The Great Macarthy. Barry Humphries received an honourable mention for his performance in Macarthy as did the film itself in the fiction category.
The Bronze Award for fiction went to Mike Thornhill's Between Wars. Thornhill had in 1970 won the Bronze Award in this category for The Girl from the Family of Man also scripted by Frank Moorhouse.
The standard of camerawork was notably impressive. Vincent Monton received the Silver Medallion for his work on The True Story of Eskimo Nell. The Bronze Medallion was shared by Geoff Burton for Billy and Percy, Brian Probyn for Inn of the Damned and Dean Semler for A Steam Train Passes. These were four fresh names at the AFI Awards. Between them they would achieve a further 16 nominations in the years ahead and would become mainstays of the Australian film industry.
The principal Alan Stout Award for creativity went to John Papadopoulos for Matchless. Second prize was shared by Ian Macrae for Love is Hate and a young Chris Noonan for Bulls.
Best Actress Award went to Julie Dawson for her role in the 55 minute drama Who Killed Jenny Langby? This film was also produced by the newly formed SAFC. Director Donald Crombie shared the Bronze Award for short fiction which was his first recognition by the AFI. He would be back the next year with Caddie.
1974 - 75 Winners
Sunday Too Far Away Gil Brealey, Matthew Carroll
Billy And Percy John Power
Best Original Music Score
The Cars That Ate Paris Bruce Smeaton
The Great McCarthy Bruce Smeaton
Best Actor in a Lead Role
Billy And Percy Martin Vaughan
Petersen Jack Thompson
Sunday Too Far Away Jack Thompson
Best Actress in a Lead Role
Who Killed Jenny Langby? Julie Dawson
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Sunday Too Far Away Reg Lye
The Great McCarthy Barry Humphries
NON-FEATURE FILM (DOCUMENTARY + SHORT FILM)
Mr Symbol Man Bruce Moir, Bob Kingsbury (Gold Award)
Best Editing in a Non-Feature Film
Best Short Fiction Film
Matchless John Papadopoulos
Who Killed Jenny Langby? Donald Crombie
Best Experimental Film
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