Directors frustrated over ignored calls for reality TV directing category at ‘compromised’ new AACTA awards

Directors frustrated over ignored calls for reality TV directing category at compromised new AACTA awards Screen Shot 2012 12 14 at 1.07.02 PMThe Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has proposed 10 new awards in 2014 – but the Australian Directors’ Guild has voiced frustration that calls for an award for best direction in a reality series have not been met.

The ADG last week called on the Academy to include the new reality category following the nominations of Best Direction in Television, which had three drama directors one just one reality director.

Kingston Anderson, GM for the ADG told Encore today: “We applaud that AACTA is doing more for television, but we’re still waiting for an answer on how you can judge a reality director against a drama director. They are two different disciplines.”

“I won’t speak for other guilds, but how do you judge Best Cinematography when you’re judging the football grand final against a telemovie like Beaconsfield, against The Amazing Race?” he said.

However, Damian Trewhella, CEO for the AACTAs and Australian Film Institute told Encore: “They’re right that we have a compromised category. But we’re trying to be inclusive to cover as much ground as possible. Comedy and light entertainment is eligible. I’m sure reality directors would be very happy to have their own category, but it’s tough to resource that.

“It’s not that we shifted a policy on the category. It’s just that this show has shone through where a show of this genre hadn’t before,” he said.

The ADG had previously also called for The Amazing Race’s Michael McKay to be pulled from the awards as he was credited as the show’s executive producer, not director.

“He’s not listed as a director on the show. To get into the ADG you have to have a certain director’s credit, and 20 mins of screen time. I spoke to Michael and explained it’s not about him, it’s the point. In this industry you live and die by your credits.”

However, Trewhella told Encore McKay would not be removed from this year’s category as yet. “There is not yet a good case to show he’s not the director. No one else has come forward to say they are actually the director. He’s had global acknowledgements of his directing. You’d need a good case to pull him out.”

That said, Trewhella said if the ADG is requesting a Best Director in Reality category to accompany the other proposed categories it is something the Academy will seriously consider. “We’re certainly not condemning them for asking.”

The new awards include Best Editing in Television, Best Production Design in Television and Best Cinematography in Television.

The proposed new AACTA Awards are: 

Television Craft Awards
Best Cinematography in Television
Best Editing in Television
Best Sound in Television
Best Original Music Score in Television
Best Production Design in Television
Best Costume Design in Television
Best Hair and Make Up Design in Television

Feature Film
Best Hair and Make Up Design

Best Original Music Score in a Documentary

New Media
Screen Content Innovation or All Media Award

An online petition is available to complete through the AACTA website on the proposed awards.

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