When thinking of Australia's leading women in film, certain names come to mind. Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Cate Blanchette are among some of the incredible Aussie talents we've come to know and love on screen. But, behind-the-lens lies a plethora of successful and inspiring homegrown talent that are making waves in the film industry. From directors to screenwriters, the Australian talent pool is deep.
To celebrate these incredible women in film, Australians in Film (AiF) hosted the inaugural State of Escape Creative Creatures Lunch, in partnernship with InStyle Australia. The event is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of Australian women in television and was held at Curtis Stone’s LA restaurant Gwen in the lead up to this year's Primetime Emmy Awards.
Emmy nominated screenwriter Samantha Strauss received the State of Escape Creative Creatures Award which was presented to her by Bruna Papandrea. The Award celebrates a female creative, recognises her achievements in television, and aims to further support her growing international career.
Samantha co-created the hit Australian teen drama series Dance Academy, which was nominated for two International Emmys and won the Most Outstanding Children's Series Logie awards in 2012 and 2013. Her other credits include the upcoming series The End, as well as Mary: The Making of a Princess, Wonderland, Offspring, and more. She is currently working on several projects with Bruna Papandrea, including Nine Perfect Strangers, The Last Anniversary, and feature film, The Dry. She’s also working on The Presidents Astrologer with British director, director John Madden, and an unnamed TV adaptation project with Tom McCarthy’s company.
“I’m blown away by this award and feel extremely grateful to AiF and all the work they do,” Strauss said. “I thank my lucky stars every day I’m a writer in this time and place where we’re finally able to tell stories about women who are brilliant and powerful and messy and flawed and… actually whatever the hell we want them to be. It’s a privilege to be part of a community of Boss Lady Creative Creatures, all committed to telling stories with complex women at the core.”
"Ever since we started the business we’ve been drawn to women in like-minded creative industries. Australian women in television, both in front and behind the camera, are doing ground breaking work globally which we want to celebrate and is the reason we’re here today,” said Brigitte MacGowan, Designer and Co-Founder of State of Escape.
The luncheon also featured high-profile female creatives from all facets of the industry, including Alice Bell, Alix Friedberg, Anna Bingemann, Bruna Papandrea, Carly Mensch, Casey Cooney, Jessica Knoll, Georgina Haig, Kara Buckley, Pam Veasey, Sarah Scheller, Simone Kessell, among others.
“There is such an incredible pool of Australian female creatives who have made outstanding contributions to the television industry, and with our partners, State of Escape, we felt it was important to recognise and celebrate their achievements,” added Simonne Overend, Chairman, Australians in Film. “Today, we announced accomplished Australian writer, Samantha Strauss as the recipient of the inaugural State of Escape Creative Creatures Award. Her international career is flourishing as she works with some of the most dynamic names in Hollywood including Made Up Stories Founder, Bruna Papandrea and British director, John Madden. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Sam and look forward to supporting her career as it continues to go from strength to strength.”
Below, some highlight moments from the day.