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The 2022 AACTA Reg Grundy Award concludes in a draw!

For the first time ever, the AACTA Reg Grundy Award - open to any Australian with an original idea for the nation’s next favourite unscripted television show - has been deemed a dead heat.

Following a pitch by the top 5 finalists and extensive deliberations, the judging panel made up of industry experts Debbie Cuell, Steve Oemcke, Sharon Wheeler, Marion Farrelly and Ian Hogg were unable to select just one recipient for the 2022 AACTA Reg Grundy Award. Rachel Kayrooz’s concept Facing the Fear and Jayden James and George Harrington’s concept Mr. Wolf captivated the judges, who saw potential for both concepts to become Australia’s next favourite unscripted television show. The $50,000 will be split among the recipients, granting them both $10,000 in cash and $15,000 in development funds.

Rachel Kayrooz’s concept Facing the Fear was selected by the judges for its emotionally compelling subject matter, asking contestants to face their fears and traumas. Rachel’s concept drew from her own experiences dealing with mental health, which she describes as “a psychological reality show, walking guests through their journey of facing and overcoming their deepest traumas and fears. Inspiring, gripping and emotive viewing to change the narrative of how we look at mental health and trauma.”

Rachel said of her experience:

"The Reg Grundy Awards has been an incredible journey, both professionally and personally. This experience far exceeded anything I could have ever imagined. To be mentored and workshop my pitch with 5 of Australia's leading global industry producers and development execs, kept me focused on my goal and unpacking my project on a deeper level every time. I am beyond grateful to AACTA, the Judges, and Mrs Joy Chambers-Grundy, for this opportunity to help all of Australia in facing their fears. I am humbled and honoured to be a 2022 winner, excited for the next step in my journey to see this dream become a reality on our screens."

Unlike the highly emotive and intense subject matter of Facing the Fear, Jayden James and George Harrington’s concept Mr. Wolf is a comedy competition, seeing adults competing in childhood themed games.

“Mr. Wolf is a reality competition series that pits 20 adults against one another over 5 supersized childhood-themed games. Only 3 contestants survive and compete in the final game, where they face off against the villainous Mr. Wolf for the chance to win a cash prize.”

Jayden and George said of their experience:

“Our experience with the Reg Grundy Awards was instructive, constructive and inspirational. The most valuable part of the process was the time spent with the judging panel; industry titans who we had previously aspired to spend time with, but didn’t have the means. Their support, advice and critiques are what elevated Mr. Wolf from a concept to a completely realised idea. We can’t wait to share the series with Australia come 2023.”

AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manager, Ivan Vukusic said “we knew it was going to be tough to find just one recipient this year, and as testament to this year’s incredibly strong field, we’ve awarded the prize to two very worthy projects – Facing the Fear and Mr Wolf. While very different from one another, we’re confident that both will speak very clearly to their respective audiences. Facing the Fear is a wonderful format that will move and inspire, shining a light on mental health and the power of transformation and the human spirit’s capacity to triumph over trauma. And on the other side of the coin, Mr Wolf is all out competition and at a frenetic pace, bringing playground games and a nursery rhyme villain together in a show designed with family appointment viewing in mind. We look forward to helping both teams develop their projects and bringing them to market.”

Media CEO and 2022 AACTA Reg Grundy judge Ian Hogg said “this year’s Reg Grundy Award underscores our incredibly gifted Australian creative eco system. Each judge found something to love in each of the finalists’ voices, ideas, and dreams. Their pitches were passionate, real, and raw. Narrowing it down to one recipient just didn't seem possible this year. Or right. I wish to congratulate Rachel, Jayden and George for taking home the development funds. Meeting with you (all) to workshop and elevate your ideas was an absolute pleasure. It was humbling, even in a small way, to help contribute to your success.  Both concepts represent two starkly different subgenres of unscripted television, that will likely appeal to different audiences and broadcast platforms. However, what the ideas do have in common is that they are commercially viable, they both simply have the X Factor. To end in a draw, well, you couldn't script that.”

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