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AACTA Reg Grundy Award Top Five Finalists Announced

16 November

AACTA today announced the five finalists for the inaugural AACTA Reg Grundy Award, established to support new voices in screen entertainment and fast track new and original productions, with the annual AACTA Reg Grundy Award winner receiving a $50,000 prize – the largest of its kind in the world – for having the best new idea for a television entertainment program.

The five shortlisted concepts include ideas around love, comedy, social experimentation, renovation and scavenging, and all are sure to entertain while emulating Reg Grundy’s entrepreneurial spirit.  

The AACTA Reg Grundy top five finalists are Next Slide Please, The Marriage Pitch, Trash to Cash, Vintage Van Revival: Trip or Flip and Seven Pups

Next Slide Please – Zach Mander

Comedians take to the stage to deliver a TED Talk on a subject they have no idea about, prompted only by a power point presentation they are seeing for the first time. A slide presentation projected behind them gives them the title of their talk and cycles through graphs, pictures, and notes as their only stimulus. They have five minutes to convince the audience they are an expert; leading to hilarious situations.

The Marriage Pitch – Samantha Davies

There have been thousands of dating and wedding shows over the years, but never has a series focused on the single most emotionally jolting and dramatic ritual in our culture: the act of bending down on one knee to pop the ultimate question. The series will be centred around Australian proposal planner pioneer Samantha Davies who over the past decade has created the ultimate luxury proposal experience for countless couples throughout Australia and beyond with her business Unforgettable Proposals.

Trash to Cash – Sebastian Langton

Storage Wars meets American Pickers. Enter an underground world of gutter hustlers from all walks of life, scavenging to make an extra buck. We follow the antics of real life characters searching street clean-up piles to discover the most valuable trash to be turned into hard cash. Each episode will follow a number of gutter hustlers as they travel around collecting the most valuable discarded items and hustle to on-sell them into the market (Facebook Marketplace / Gumtree etc). 

Vintage Van Revival: Trip or Flip - Elise Strachan

Each week, a dynamic duo is given $10,000 to purchase, renovate and restore a vintage second hand caravan in their own quirky style. The completed vans are professionally valued and the maker can choose to TRIP (keep / rent) or FLIP (sell) pocketing the profits. May the best van win! 

Seven Pups – Geraldine Coy

A social experiment tracing a year in the behavioural development of one litter of seven pups and the seven culturally diverse families who will raise them. This is a unique look at nature vs nurture, through the doggie door. The series will cover the first 12 months of seven puppies’ lives.

To learn more about the ideas and participants, click here.

Each entrant will pitch their original concepts to the judging panel made up of experienced industry figures in the local and international entertainment format space, available for all to view on Sunday 29 November at 1pm AEDT via AACTA’s new free-to-stream online festival, AACTA ScreenFest.   

The esteemed judging panel including Chris Culvenor (Eureka Productions), Ian Hogg (Australia’s Got Talent, Australian Idol, Family Feud), Marion Farrelly (Producer, Industry Consultant) and Sharon Sussman-Wheeler (Producer and ex Grundy staffer) have been impressed by the calibre and originality of entrants.

Chris Culvenor from Eureka Productions said: “It’s been fantastic to see the Grundy Award ignite and inspire the creative community. We’ve been lucky enough to receive and judge some truly innovative entries and I’m looking forward to seeing them evolve to the next level.”

Producer and Industry Consultant Marion Farrelly said: “I think this initiative has lit a fire under the industry. I know so many people who have entered, it’s great to get them off their asses and doing something practical. It’s given people hope.”

Producer and ex Grundy staffer Sharon Sussman-Wheeler added: “As someone who worked with Reg Grundy, I’m excited to see the overwhelming response this competition received from the creative community. With so many strong entries, it was extremely hard to narrow it down to these top five. All five finalists showed a level of creativity and passion that would make Reg Grundy proud. Now the toughest part will be narrowing it down to just one winner!”


The AACTA Awards are supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.


The new AACTA ScreenFest will be held online from Friday 27 November to Wednesday 2 December 2020. Events are free, but bookings are essential at

AACTA Industry Awards presented by Foxtel will be streaming at ScreenFest on Friday 27 November at 6.30pm AEDT and also on Foxtel Arts, Friday November 27 at 6.30pm AEDT. 

AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony will be onFoxtel Arts, Sunday 6 December at 7.30pm AEDT.

Australia Decides: AACTA’s Best of the Decade is a reimagined broadcast celebrating a decade of Australian screen and highlights from the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony will be on Channel Seven, Wednesday 2 December at 8.30pm AEDT and encore on Foxtel Arts, Sunday 6 December at 9.30pm AEDT.


Official hashtags: #AACTAs #screenfest | Instagram: @aacta | YouTube: /AFIAACTA | AACTA Connect: Twitter: @aacta | Facebook: /AACTAawards | Web:


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