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Winner announced for AACTA Pitch: ACTION!

6 MAY, 2020

Following a record-breaking 466 submissions, Sunny S. Walia was announced as the winner of the latest pitch competition from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) AACTA Pitch: ACTION! for his screen-test based on a script provided by AACTA.

The level of experience was diverse with entrants ranging from first-timers to established artists, however considerable ingenuity was applied across all submissions to ensure competition requirements were met while also practicing social distancing with many of the off-screen readers delivering lines via phone.

The esteemed judging panel comprise of Noni Hazlehurst AM, Kirsty McGregor and Aran Michael reviewed the ten finalists before unanimously concluding Sunny S. Walia as the winner for his original and truthful performance.

“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,” said Sunny S. Walia who will now receive a mentor meeting with Aran Michael as part of the prize package. Both Noni Hazlehurst and Kirsty McGregor also offered mentoring meetings in addition to the prizes originally listed providing Walia with invaluable one-to-one advice from the complete judging panel.

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.

“I’ll be completely honest and say I came up with the idea to do the screen test in the bathroom whilst…in the bathroom,” said Sunny S. Walia. “Also, the fact that the script had no cemented directions in terms of actions or location I figured that could be any place in the house and realistically we had all the freedom in the world on how to deliver it. And with all the toilet paper shortage and the topic of germs, COVID in the script, why not work that in.”

Launched in 2018, AACTA Pitch has grown into one of Australia's premier talent and content initiatives, linking industry to emerging creatives and fast tracking the development of new productions and careers. Across web series, TV Drama, short film and feature film, AACTA Pitch has collaborated with organisations such as car brand MINI, the Australian Writer's Guild and Screenworks to shine a light on a host of new voices, leading to production and meaningful development and marketplace interest.


  • Alex Cooke
  • Chanika Desilva
  • Mark Fantasia
  • Olivia Fildes
  • Joel Phillips
  • Susanna Qian
  • Alex Stamell
  • Jose Talite
  • Dominique Viney
  • Sunny S. Walia


  • Noni Hazlehurst AM: One of Australia's favourite and most distinguished performers, Noni is celebrated for her work in theatre, film, TV and radio. Noni is also an accomplished writer, producer, presenter and director and has received four AACTA Awards for her work on LITTLE FISH, WAITING AT THE ROYAL, FRAN and MONKEY GRIP. 
  • Kirsty McGregor: The founder of McGregor Casting, one of Australia’s most highly respected casting agencies. Kirsty is known for her work across award-winning local and international film and television productions including LION, ANIMAL KINGDOM, LAMBS OF GOD, MR INBETWEEN and TOP OF THE LAKE.
  • Aran Michael: With over 30 years’ experience in talent representation, Aran is a proven force in the industry, proudly representing clients working in Australia and around the world including Carrie Bickmore, Dr Chris Brown, Liv Hewson and two-time Oscar nominee, Margot Robbie.


  • 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 product
  • Written feedback from the esteemed judging panel


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

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

Jayne-Louise O’Connell | P: 0403 513 115 | E:


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