Byron Kennedy Award

Byron Kennedy Award

The Byron Kennedy Award, which honours Dr George Miller’s original filmmaking partner and Mad Max co-creator Byron Kennedy, celebrates outstanding creative enterprise within the film and television industries and is given to an individual or organisation whose work embodies innovation and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Presented by Kennedy Miller Mitchell, in association with AACTA, this Award includes a cash prize of $10,000. The recipient is selected by an appointed jury annually.

Byron Kennedy Award recipients are dynamic and diverse. They include filmmaker and film festival founder John Polson, cutting edge film technology/computer graphic imaging experts Animal Logic, multidisciplinary filmmaker Ivan Sen, filmmaker, animator and artist Sarah Watt, the Australian Cinematographers Society, writer, director and producer Amiel Courtin-Wilson and most recently, cinematographer Adam Arkapaw.

For a full list of Byron Kennedy recipients, click here.


The most recent Byron Kennedy Award honoured Adam Arkapaw for his pursuit of excellence and devotion to the art of cinematography. The jury felt that “his work, already acknowledged as virtuosic and innovative, is always in the service of the story.”

Adam Arkapaw began his career working on short films, with many reaching international acclaim including Bear (directed by Nash Edgerton) and Yardbird, both of which screened at Cannes, and the Cannes jury-prize-winning Jerrycan and I Love Sarah Jane, which also screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Adam’s work on the heavy-hitting Australian feature films Animal Kingdom, Snowtown and Lore saw him consistently raise the bar above the genre - earning him great acclaim among his peers with AFI / AACTA Award nominations for Best Cinematography for all three films (in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively).

Jane Campion’s haunting mystery series Top of the Lake and acclaimed HBO series True Detective (starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) marked Adam’s foray into television, demonstrating his ability to bring his cinematic-style to the small screen. His work on Top of the Lake was honoured in 2013 when Adam won his first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie, and an AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television at the 3rd AACTA Awards. His second Primetime Emmy win came in 2014 with Most Outstanding Cinematography on a Single-Camera Series for True Detective.

That same year, Adam re-teamed with Snowtown director Justin Kurzel to shoot Macbeth (starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard) - a film which is currently generating Oscar buzz for its stunning, atmospheric cinematography. His other recent credits include the adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s 2012 novel, The Light Between Oceans; the Starz original series pilot Flesh and Bone (directed by David Michôd); and Disney’s McFarland, USA (starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello).

Adam is currently shooting the highly-anticipated Assassin’s Creed (also directed by Justin Kurzel), which is based on the widely popular action-adventure game of the same name.

Adam Arkapaw was announced as the recipient of The Byron Kennedy Award at the 5th AACTA Awards Ceremony presented by Presto in Sydney on Wednesday 9 December, 2015.