Our first acting competition, AACTA Pitch: ACTION! asked Australians in isolation to try out their acting skills by submitting a screen-test style audition, based on an AACTA provided script, inspired by the current circumstances. AACTA Pitch: ACTION! looked to empower, support and inspire performers during the difficult time by connecting artists with industry professionals via appropriate platforms to ensure opportunities remain available and career progression remains possible. 

"Given the current world situation, and the terrible effects we are all experiencing, I'm pleased to be able to take part in this initiative, which will give artists in our community a chance to practice their craft and develop their skills," said Noni Hazlehurst. "I hope that AACTA Pitch: ACTION! will provide some positivity and visibility for participants, at a time when our industry, like so many others, is in such dire straits." AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella stated “We are proud to be the presenting this new iteration of AACTA Pitch as now, more than ever, is an important time to do all we can to support the Australian screen industry."

From the wide range of quality, and record breaking 466 submissions, 10 finalists were shortlisted to be assessed by our esteemed judging panel. Our impressive finalists worked together via Zoom to whip up a light-hearted take on the struggles of being a creative during the lockdown. The finalists were spread out across Australia and even America and brought their idea to life, brainstorming, filming and editing, in just two weeks! Check out their work here.

Sunny S. Walia was announced as the winner of the pitch competition. “Thanks to AACTA for giving us a chance to perform and play in this time of unknown. And to win?! WOW! Not too sure what to say. Amazing experience and looking forward to reaping the rewards”. The Melbourne based actor says he thought of his fresh approach to the text while in the bathroom which is where he decided to film the scene.

See Walia’s winning screen-test below:


Sunny S. Walia received:

  • A mentor meeting with renowned talent agent Aran Michael from AMM
  • One-year premium membership to Casting Networks Australia
  • Two tickets to the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony & After party
  • Professional headshot package
  • $500 cash
  • Interview and profile piece on AACTA Connect – AACTA’s online content hub
  • $500 worth of Manfrotto products
  • Written feedback from the esteemed judging panel

AACTA Pitch: ACTION! looks to empower, support and inspire performers during this difficult time by connecting artists with industry professionals via appropriate platforms to ensure opportunities remain available and career progression remains possible, encouraging entries from diverse and under-represented backgrounds.













Noni Hazlehurst AM
Award-winning performer and accomplished writer, producer, presenter and director

One of Australia's favourite and most distinguished performers, Noni is celebrated for her work in theatre, film, TV and on radio. With an outstanding career spanning nearly 40 years, she holds four AFI | AACTA Awards (LITTLE FISH, WAITING AT THE ROYAL, FRAN, MONKEY GRIP), two Logies, an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Flinders University and an Order of Australia. Noni has also served on a number of boards, including Film Australia and Belvoir Street Theatre. She has served as Patron or Ambassador for several children's welfare organisations and counts her 24-year role as a host of PLAYSCHOOL as a highlight of her career.



Kirsty McGregor
Founder of McGregor Casting, one of Australia’s most highly respected casting agencies

Kirsty is an Australian casting director, known for her work across award winning local and international film and television productions. She is the founder of McGregor Casting and was President of the Casting Guild of Australia from 2017 - 2020. Kirsty was nominated for an Emmy award, three Artios awards (Casting Society of America) and has won Best Casting of a Feature Film at the Casting Guild of Australia four times. Kirsty started acting at the age of six, and now on the other side of camera, actors continue to be her passion. With credits spanning all forms of entertainment, Kirsty is honoured to have been a part of many productions which have shaped Australian cinema and television. With a strong desire to unearth talented new Australian and international actors, Kirsty has been responsible for casting such films as LION, ANIMAL KINGDOM, BABYTEETH, JUDY & PUNCH, PENGUIN BLOOM as well as many television series including TOP OF THE LAKE, DIARY OF AN UBER DRIVER, DOCTOR DOCTOR and MR INBETWEEN.



Aran Michael
Renowned talent agent and founder of AMM

With over 30 years’ experience in talent representation, Aran is a proven force in the Australian entertainment industry. His passion for the industry drove him to open AMM in 1999 with the view to manage key creatives and talent at an elite level.

The success of the agency enabled Aran to explore the international market for his clients. He first travelled to Los Angeles in 2002 with the clear intention of gaining global exposure, through reputable networks, for those he represented.

AMM now proudly represents clients working in Australia and around the world, achieving at the highest level in Film, Television, Radio and Theatre with clients including Carrie Bickmore, Dr Chris Brown, Liv Hewson and two-time Oscar nominee, Margot Robbie.

AMM clients are recognised by their contemporaries, peers and general public for their varying accomplishments. Aran has had the great honour of attending the Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Logies, AACTAs and the Helpmanns in recognition of his clients’ achievements and hard work.


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