AACTA Winners & Nominees

AFI Past winners

Throughout the 1960s the major focus of the AFI Awards was documentary work - usually produced by the Commonwealth Film Unit or the ABC. Very few dramatic films made an impact.

All this would change with the establishment of the Experimental Film Fund. The fund was established with a pool of $100,000 to develop film making talent and to encourage experimentation. One of its first fruits was Peter Weir’s Homesdale. This would become one of the most successful of the Experimental Film Fund productions. Completed in five days for $3,300, the film is in the genre of Cat And The Canary and The Old Dark House. It reflects Weir’s preoccupation with bullies and the bullied; particularly the truism that at some point any worm will turn.

Homesdale was lavishly praised after its initial screening in 1971 as a finalist in the Benson & Hedges awards at the Sydney Film Festival. Bob Ellis described it as “the best drama film made in Australia since The Sundowners.” Against expectations it did not receive First Prize. The balance would be well and truly redressed at the AFI Awards.

At the 1971 ceremony 37 awards and medallions were handed out, with Homesdale being the big winner. It took home the City Cinemas/Village Prize for the Best Direction, but most importantly, it became the third (and last) winner of the Grand Prix. The second Grand Prix had been awarded the previous year to Weir’s episode of Three To Go. The significance of this award being bestowed on Weir in two consecutive years drew local and international attention to his work.

That year Monica Maugham received the first dedicated AFI Award for acting, the Hoyts Prize for Best Performance, for A City’s Child. The film also won a Bronze Award "for a gentle exploration of isolated territory: a mind cut off from love”. A City’s Child was a well-observed drama dealing with a lonely spinster slipping into a fantasy world. After initial screenings at the Melbourne State Film Centre and at Melbourne University, it received a commercial release in the Roseville Cinema in Sydney from British Empire Films. This marked another early success for the Experimental Film Fund.

The Gold Award in the Documentary category went to A Big Hand For Everyone. This study of the average man’s blind optimism about the future was directed by Michel Pearce. It was brilliantly animated by Bruce Petty, who depicted Man as a lonely figure on a unicycle pedalling hard towards disaster

Another major award, for Best Experimental Film, went to Brian Robinson’s Some Regrets. The film satirised many aspects of contemporary life without neglecting criticism of its very sympathetic central character. As well as the Silver Award in the Experimental section, the film shared First Prize in the Alan Stout Awards. Two years earlier, Robinson and Phillip Adams' Jack And Jill: A Postscript had shared the Silver Award in the General section. Like Homesdale and A City’s Child, the film received initial funding from the Experimental Film Fund.

These films received good critical attention, but only Homesdale would recover its costs. The following year, however, would spawn a major critical and commercial success.


Note: Up until 1970, with a few exceptions, AFI Awards were presented in recognition of films and productions, rather than the achievements of individual filmmakers and craftspeople. From 1971, an increasing number of AFI Awards were introduced recognising individual achievements and, from 1976, AFI Awards were presented on this basis across all feature films. From 1980 onwards, all AFI Awards were awarded to individual filmmakers and crafts people.

Where an Award was presented in recognition of a film rather than a filmmaker, we have also listed the producer and director of the film, where this information is available. For craft-specific awards, we have also listed the respective craftsperson where possible. These filmmakers and craftspeople are listed in brackets after the Award that their film received.

1971 Winners & Nominees



  • Advertising
  • Winner:

    Jigglers Unlimited Silver Award (Director: Fred Schepisi)
    Dulux: Colours Of Your Day Bronze Award
    Road Safety "Jungle" Bronze Award
    Keyman "New Image" Special Award for Visual Effects
    C.T.A. Series Honourable Mention
    Group Travel Honourable Mention

  • Australian National Travel Association Award
  • Winner:

    A Big Country: Nariel Creek (ABC) Jedda Award (Production Company: ABC, Director: Ken Dyer)

  • Department of the Interior Award
  • Winner:

    A Big Hand For Everyone (ABC) (Production Company: ABC, Director: Michael Pearce)

  • Documentary
  • Winner:

    A Big Hand For Everyone (ABC) Golden Reel Award (Production Company: ABC, Director: Michael Pearce)
    A Big Country: Nariel Creek (ABC) Silver Award (Production Company: ABC, Director: Ken Dyer)
    Earth Air Fire Water Silver Award (Production Company: Fontana Films, Director: Rick Kabriel)
    Maria Island (ABC) Silver Award (Production Company: ABC, Director: Judith Simpson)
    Snow, Sand And Savages Bronze Award (Producer / Director: Anthony Buckley)
    Walking In The Sunlight, Walking In The Shadows Bronze Award (Producer: Joe Scully, Director: Bob Kingsbury)
    Kathy And Murray Honourable Mention
    Return To The Dreaming Honourable Mention (Producer: Robert Raymond, Director: Cecil Holmes)



  • Grand Prix
  • Winner:

    Homesdale (Producer: Richard Brennan, Grahame Bond, Director: Peter Weir)

  • Alan Stout Award
  • Winner:

    The Hot Centre Of The World Tim Burstall (First Prize)
    Some Regrets Brian Robinson (First Prize)
    Retreat... Retreat Gary Patterson (Second Prize)
    The Girl On The Roof Ross Dimsey (Third Prize)

  • Experimental
  • Winner:

    Some Regrets Silver Award (Producer / Director: Brian Robinson)
    The Seven Days Bronze Award (Producer: Gilbert J. Brealey, Director: Christopher McGill)
    To Nefretiti Bronze Award
    Teleologic Telecast From Spaceship Earth Special Award for Videotape Effects (Cinematographer: Michael Glasheen)
    And The Word Was Made Flesh Honourable Mention (Producer / Director: Dusan Marek)

  • General
  • Winner:

    This Man Golden Reel Award (Production Company: Pilgrim Films, Director: Keith Laxton)
    Harvest At Nong Lub Bronze Award (Producer: Brian Morris, Thanom Soongnarata, Director: Brian Hannant)
    The Homecoming Bronze Award
    Kangaroos Special Award for Wild-Life Photography (Cinematographer: John Shaw)
    Blood Components And Their Use Honourable Mention
    Onward Speed Honourable Mention
    S.A.S.! Honourable Mention (Producer: Frank Bagnall, Director: Gregory Reading)
    The Termite Colony Honourable Mention (Producer: Stanley Trevor Evans)



  • Fiction
  • Winner:

    Paddington Lace Golden Reel Award (Producer: David Bairstow, Leslie White, Director: Christopher McCullough, James Coffey)
    A City's Child Bronze Award (Producer / Director: Brian Kavanagh)
    The Girl On The Roof Bronze Award (Producer / Director: Ross Dimsey)
    The Hot Centre Of The World Bronze Award (Director: Tim Burstall)
    Retreat... Retreat Bronze Award (Producer / Director: Gary Patterson)
    What For, Marianne? Bronze Award
    Willy Willy Bronze Award (Producer: Anthony Buckley, Director: Gregory Ropert)
    The Widow Special Award for Lighting
    Country Town Honourable Mention (Producer: Terry McDermott, Director: Peter Maxwell)
    Sacrifice Honourable Mention
    The Samaritan Kind Honourable Mention (Producer / Director: Peter Kovacs)