Mercury CX Lab participant Jason Chong wins AACTA Reg Grundy Award

Mercury CX member and LAB participant Jason Chong wins AACTA Reg Grundy Award

Long-time Mercury CX supporter, member and workshop participant Jason Chong has won the 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award. The award provides a prize to Australia’s next big competition format show.

“I’ve been a regular attendee of MCX’s Screenmakers Conferences, attended the Screen Makers Lab in 2019 and 2021, was a finalist for the Out of the Box initiative in 2019 and attended this year’s Pitch Lab with Ruth Estelle, where I began refining the pitch for The Second Best Gameshow” said Jason.

In 2019 the SAFC subsidised Jason to attend Screen Forever for the first time, and in 2021 he completed the SAFC Skilling SA training for the AD Department.

The AACTA Reg Grundy Award, offered in 2021 for the second time, saw applications across a number of formats competing for a $50000 prize including development funding. 

This year’s winner was determined by a panel of established screen experts including Eden Gaha (President of unscripted television at Shine USA), Cathy Payne (CEO of Banijay Rights), Sharon Wheeler (Award-winning Senior Entertainment Executive), and Marion Farrelly (Speaker, consultant, TV & Film Producer), and Ian Hogg (Media CEO, Advisor, Australian Idol, Australia’s Got Talent, Family Feud).

“A great idea can come from anywhere. It’s our job, as an industry, to make sure such great ideas are heard and their creators are supported. The Reg Grundy Award represents the kind of encouragement and mentorship that has made Australian content what it is today. Now more than ever, this award underpins the importance of new perspectives on entertainment from people of all backgrounds. I see this year’s additional prize for innovative, young, creators as a tremendous way to seed the next great competition format.” said AACTA Reg Grundy Award Judge and President of Unscripted Television at Shine USA, Eden Gaha.

Speaking of the win, Jason said “There’s still loads of work to do, but this is a great chance to say thank you for all the support and opportunities that have been provided by Mercury CX.  It has already made a huge difference in my career so far and I really do appreciate it.”

Adelaide Cinematheque presents: Difficult Women

Adelaide Cinematheque presents: Difficult Women

Bossy. Opinionated. Difficult.  

These words curse women for doing their jobs – especially in Hollywood, where clear-eyed femme directors have been blacklisted for applying the same discipline and commitment that gets their male peers labelled ‘visionary auteurs’.  

This November, Adelaide Cinematheque celebrates these so-called ‘Difficult Women’ with a season showcasing their tenacity, humour and artistic excellence.  Curated by Aimee Knight – Mercury CX’s Emerging Hothouse resident in cinema programming and projection – the four-film strand runs from 1–10 November at the Mercury. 

Yentl (1983) Dir. Barbra Streⅰsand 

Monday 1 November, 7pm 

Streisand’s directorial debut is a masterwork of mainstream feminist cinema. The multihyphenate shines as the titular difficult woman who, in turn-of-the-century Poland, adopts a male persona so that she may study Jewish theology. This leads to a love triangle that destabilises gender, sexuality, patriarchy, and the gaze.  

Jennifer’s Body (2009) Dir. Karyn Kusama 

Wednesday 3 November, 7pm 

“Hell is a teenage girl.” So opens this oft-misunderstood film about the horror and romance of women’s friendship. Written by Juno’s Diablo Cody, the witty script flips the body monstrous on its head, while Megan Fox – backed by director Karyn Kusama (Destroyer) – gives a wink and a nod to the monotony of misogynist.  

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (1992) Dir. Leslie Harris 

Monday 8 November, 7pm 

With her sharp mind and sharper tongue, Chantel (Ariyan A. Johnson) is 17 going on 30. She dreams of leaving Brooklyn, going to college, and graduating into middle-class security. Can Chantel really navigate a world that wasn’t built for her? The first and, to date, only feature directed by Leslie Harris remains feverishly relevant. 

Ishtar (1987) Dir. Elaine May 

Wednesday 10 November, 7pm 

Starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as palpably untalented lounge singers, this notorious flop sealed Elaine May’s fate as Hollywood’s #1 difficult woman. But as the writer, director and Taurus sun observed, “If all of the people who hate Ishtar had seen it, I would be a rich woman today.” 

So, let’s reimagine the canon as we commend these four directors – and every woman whose career has been hindered by whispers, but whose work endures regardless.  

Difficult Women runs 1–10 November at the Mercury Cinema. Peruse the full Adelaide Cinematheque program, and read up on the benefits of Mercury Club membership

Hothouse Resident Aimee Knight puts the spotlight on Difficult Women in this season of Adelaide Cinematheque
New SA filmmaking talent in the spotlight as inaugural Film Lab New Voices teams announced

New SA filmmaking talent in the spotlight as inaugural Film Lab New Voices teams announced

Back row: Pete Ninos, mentor Louise Gough, Lucy Campbell, Bettina Hamilton, Matt Vesely. Front row: Georgia Humphries, Madeleine Parry, Peta Bulsara (Astbury).

South Australia’s bold and ambitious Film Lab: New Voices feature film skills development program is set to foster a new generation of diverse South Australian filmmakers as the first three successful teams are announced today, with round two applications open from August. The initiative from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival in collaboration with Mercury CX also welcomes the support of Screen Australia in delivering the development phase of this inaugural round of the program which gives three South Australian creative teams industry mentoring with highly credentialed screen story development mentor Louise Gough across a 12-month period, to develop a low-budget feature film script. One project will be selected to move into production, to be wholly produced and postproduced in South Australia, and the final film will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2022.

The three selected teams for 2021 are:
–  Writer/director Peter Ninos and producer Georgia Humphreys,
– Writer Lucy Campbell, producer Bettina Hamilton and director Matt Vesely, and
– Writer/director Madeleine Parry and producer Peta Bulsara (Astbury).

The program will open again for round two applications in August 2021, with the final film to be delivered in time for Adelaide Film Festival 2024. 

Mercury CX plays a key role in supporting professional development, removing barriers to entry and cultivating unique, authentic stories from diverse creatives. Our professional development programs create a pipeline of talent into such initiatives as Film Lab: New Voices, which provides a unique opportunity to gain an invaluable feature film credit through the South Australian Film Corporation and the rich experience of connecting with an audience through a screening at the Adelaide Film Festival. The coordinated pathways through these organisations is quite special and is set to benefit South Australian practitioners enormously. – Karena Slaninka, CEO Mercury CX

Read the full release at South Australian Film Corporation.

Mercury Cinema debuts as Fringe Venue

Mercury Cinema debuts as Fringe Venue

The Mercury Cinema has been the long-time home of the South Australian Screen Awards, special events and iconic festivals including Flickerfest and OzAsia. As a venue for premieres and cast and crew screenings of independent and short-form screen projects, Mercury Cinema is known as a hub for screen culture.

In 2021, the historic Mercury Cinema brings the Adelaide Fringe back to the West End Arts Precinct.

Providing an alternative experience to the heat and hustle of the Garden and Gluttony, enjoy plush, comfortable seating, a great view from every seat, air-conditioning and an elegant new Lounge Bar serving quality South Australian wines plus plenty of parking and great dining options surrounding.

Read more in the Glam Adelaide feature article.

New program building community around the films of South Asia

New program building community around the films of South Asia

Adelaide’s Mercury Cinema launches a new South Asian Seniors’ Film Club on Thursday 11 February at 10.30am with a screening of the award-winning film Made in Bangladesh.

Directed by Rubaiyat Hossain, the first film in the six-week program tells an inspiring story about a group of women fighting for the rights of textile workers in a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The free series of screening aims to build friendships and social connections for older South Australians, showcasing quality films from India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, along with guest speakers, music, information, cultural entertainment and refreshments.

CEO of Mercury CX, Ms Karena Slaninka, said, ‘Many older people in our community have been experiencing real social isolation due to Covid-19, and we became aware that many from the South Asian community were in this position. We are pleased to offer a relaxing space to enjoying quality South Asian films, cultural entertainments and speakers, and a chance to build friendships through meeting new people’.

The program includes a unique selection of feature films, shorts and documentaries sourced from across the region along with entertainment and refreshments at select screenings.

Bookings are essential each of the free screenings. All sessions commence at 10.30am. 

The South Asian Seniors’ Film Club has been supported by The Office of the Ageing WellThe Australian Centre for Social Innovation and City of Adelaide. 


Film Lab announced

Film Lab announced

A bold, ambitious and creative program, Film Lab: New Voices, will foster a new generation of South Australian filmmakers in a new initiative from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival in collaboration with Mercury CX.

With a direct focus on feature film, the program will give three South Australian creative teams industry mentoring across a 12-month period to develop a low-budget feature film script. One project will be selected to move into production and the final film will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival 2022.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni made the announcement at the Adelaide Film Festival Made in SA event, a showcase of South Australian short films.

“This wonderful new initiative has great local benefits as the project will be wholly produced and post-produced in South Australia, providing local jobs and upskilling opportunities for crew and emerging talent,” Minister Pisoni said.

“Importantly, this is a skills development program that will accelerate career pathways for outstanding, diverse, emerging talent in South Australia.

“This collaboration between the SAFC, Adelaide Film Festival and Mercury CX demonstrates the kind of streamlined approach that delivers the best outcomes for the entire sector.”

Each writer/director/producer team will be provided with mentoring from internationally regarded low-budget feature filmmakers, many of whom are based in South Australia. The program would draw upon the in-house expertise at SAFC through Production Executive and former feature film producer Julie Ryan (Ten Canoes, Red Dog, H is for Happiness, Hotel Mumbai) and Industry Development Executive Kath McIntyre.

Film Lab: New Voices builds on the success of the SAFC’s Film Lab 2009-2012 which launched the careers of at least 12 South Australian Above-the-Line creatives and resulted in critically acclaimed, break out films Shut Up Little Man52 Tuesdays and The Infinite Man, among others.

CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser said “Film Lab: New Voices is designed to uncover the next wave of visionary South Australian talent.  Feature film credits are highly regarded in the screen marketplace, as is a festival premiere, and are important to securing future funding and career-building opportunities, so this initiative has real value for the selected team’s writer, director and producer. The development of diverse key creatives underpins the growth and sustainability of the South Australian screen sector, and through Film Lab: New Voices we will offer the opportunity for the next generation of South Australian creative talent to demonstrate their potential in the global market.”

CEO and Creative Director of the Adelaide Film Festival Mat Kesting said “The Adelaide Film Festival is proud to partner with the SAFC in this initiative to find new creative talent in our local industry, and we are thrilled to be able to present the finished film to audiences at the 2022 Festival.”

CEO of Mercury CX Karena Slaninka said “As part of our new positioning as a national centre of excellence dedicated to talent and story development, Mercury CX is delighted to be collaborating with the SAFC on Film Lab: New Voices, to support the cultivation of emerging talent and bold, authentic stories”.

Film Lab: New Voices is aimed at South Australian emerging key creatives (writer, director, producer) who have short film, web series and/or narrative documentary credits, applying as a team. At least one member of the team(writer, director or producer) must be from a group under-represented in the South Australian screen industry including: women filmmakers; First Nations filmmakers, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) filmmakers, Deaf and disabled filmmakers, LGBTQIA+ filmmakers and filmmakers from regional and remote South Australia.

SASA Awards huge online success

SASA Awards huge online success

Join us at 6:30pm on Friday 4th December for the South Australian Screen industry night of nights at the 2020 SASA awards. Celebrate local screen makers and early career creatives across 21 screen craft and genre categories.⁠

To register to view the online ceremony and join us backstage with the winners at the exclusive virtual afterparty celebration drinks