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Australian Star of Stage And Screen Headed to Roughcut

4 August 2014

Acclaimed Australian Star of Stage And Screen Headed to Tropfest Roughcut NZ

Acclaimed Australian actor and stage and screen writer Tony Briggs will speak at Tropfest Roughcut NZ on 4 September 2014.

Briggs’ leap to the screen came off the back of his hit stage play, ‘The Sapphires,’ which tells the story of his mother and aunt who as singers entertained troops during the Vietnam War.

He went on to adapt his play with co-writer Keith Thompson into the highly successful film, which was made by Aboriginal director Wayne Blair. ‘The Sapphires’ had its world premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and swept many of the major Australian film awards that year.

His career has been on a trajectory of success since Briggs stumbled into acting as a 19 year old intent on becoming a track and field athlete.

“A chance telephone call from a relative asking if I was interested in ‘that acting thing’ got me my first role,” said Briggs. It’s snowballed from then and I’ve never looked back.”

Across the years, roles on stage, television and in film followed with a major career highlight being his involvement in the hit Australian TV drama ‘The Slap.’

“Characters like those in ‘The Slap’ are rarer than once in a blue moon. I am really very proud of being a part of that project.”

Briggs’ Aboriginal heritage is also something he holds dear.

“For me, I am incredibly lucky to be part of a culture that is so rich,” he said. “It is the very core of who I am as an artist.”

Acting and writing continue to consume Briggs on his career path. He appeared in the recently released Australian film ‘Healing’ alongside Hugo Weaving. He is the co-creator of TV series ‘The Athletes,’ collaborating with renowned Australian director and producer Robert Connolly, together with a number of other Aboriginal writers. And with Screen Australia support, he is developing his next feature film script ‘The Grip,’ about a group of friends in the 1960’s who figure out how to legally beat one-armed-bandit gambling machines.

Briggs will join US social media film marketing specialist Sheri Candler as the key international speakers for Tropfest Roughcut NZ, a film symposium for emerging filmmakers, on 4 September 2014 from 6PM at Auckland’s Q Theatre.
Event Details:

WHEN: Thursday 4 September 2014
TIME: Half-hour consultations with Sheri Candler 9AM – 4PM
Roughcut Film Symposium 6 – 8PM
Taste of Tropfest 8 – 9PM
Drinks & canapés (included in ticket price) 9 – 9:30PM
WHERE: Q Theatre, 305 Queen Street, Auckland
TICKETS: Roughcut - $30 per Roughcut ticket ($25 early bird), on sale 25 July through Q Theatre
One-on-One Consultations - $50pp

Tony Briggs Profile
Tony Briggs works as an actor in theatre, film and television. He has starred in the acclaimed series The Slap, playing the role of Bilal. His other film and television credits include "Howzat: Kerry Packer's war", where he played the role of cricket legend ‘Clive Lloyd'. He has also appeared in The Circuit, Bran Nue Day, Australian Rules, On the Nose, Joey and The Life of Harry Dare. Tony has most recently completed filming the role of Travis in the Australian feature film Healing.
His theatre credits include The Memory of Water, and The Female of the Species for the State Theatre Company of South Australia; for Black Swan theatre: Jandamarra, and The Female of the Species; for Melbourne Workers Theatre: Yanagai Yanagai, Fever, Who’s Afraid of the Working Class and Up the Ladder. Stolen for Playbox, and Coranderrk: "We will Show the Country" for Ilbijerri. His music Theatre credits include Nathaniel Storm for the NIDA Company; Walkabout for Chamber Made and Corrugation Road for Black Swan. Tony has also been a member of the NYID Physical theatre company of actors for which he has performed in various national and international productions.
Tony's writing credits include the feature film The Sapphires. Released in August 2012, the film had its world premier at the 65th Cannes international film festival and was one of Australia's most popular and successful films of the year.
Tony and his co-writer Keith Thompson were awarded the Major AWGIE Award for the most outstanding script of 2012 and also the AWGIE for Feature Film Adaption for The Sapphires. The Sapphires went on to win 11 AACTA Awards in 2013 including Best Film. Tony won the award for ‘Best adapted Screenplay’ with co-writer Keith Thompson. Tony also received the 2013 Greg Tepper Award for outstanding achievement with The Sapphires.
The Sapphires theatre show enjoyed triumphant seasons at the Melbourne Theatre Company and Company B, winning two Helpmann Awards for Best New Australian Work & Best Play (2005).
Tony is currently developing a new eight part television series with acclaimed director/ producer Robert Connelly of ArenaMedia, called The Athletes. He is also working on his next feature The Grip with the support of Screen Australia.

About Roughcut
Tropfest Roughcut was launched in Australia in 2012 by Tropfest founder John Polson as a way of nurturing budding and experienced filmmakers through the experiences of others in the industry.

In New Zealand, Roughcut launched together with the inaugural Tropfest NZ Short Film Festival competition in 2013.

The presenters for the previous Tropfest Roughcut NZ were:

Craig Hall
Craig has received critical acclaim for his performances in film, theatre and television nationally and internationally. His recent TV work includes: A Place to Call Home, Outrageous Fortune, East Of Everything, Underbelly: Razor, Tricky Business, Rake and the telemovie Bloodlines, in which he won the 2011 AFTA for Best Supporting Actor. He has also been seen in the Australian mini-series Howzat! as Gavin Warner.

Jason van Genderen
An unorthodox filmmaker is probably the best way to describe Australian born Jason. His first works pioneered pocket filmmaking as he experimented with mobile phones and pocket cameras to create stories that stood comfortably alongside big-budget short films on the international stage. Attracting numerous awards for his films, Jason has become a frequent visitor to the stages of Tropfest (winning Tropfest NY in 2006 and Tropfest AUS in 2008) Aspen Shortsfest, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival and San Francisco International Short Film Festival, to name but a few. Jason has presented numerous pocket filmmaking workshops across Australia and has been a speaker at Tropfest Roughcut Australia.

Heather O'Leary
Heather has a diploma in Advanced Digital Filmmaking from YOOBEE School of Design and as well as currently working full time in commercial videography and photography she is also the founder, Director, DOP, VFX and Video Editor at Optic Nova Studios in Christchurch. Heather’s name and work received nationwide media attention in 2012 when she successfully crowd funded enough money to cover the costs of her documentary Road to Ruin. Her company, Optic Nova Studios has become known for their self-designed film equipment which they design and build themselves at a tenth of the cost of professional gear.

Tim Riley
Tim Riley is a partner at Dominion Law – New Zealand’s only multi-partner specialist entertainment law firm. He acts for a range of clients across the film, television, music, theatre, and online entertainment industries. Tim has acted as lead production counsel on a number of short and feature films; including the Magnolia financed Ant Timpson films ABCS OF DEATH 1 and 2 (each film involving legal relationships with 26 different filmmakers in dozens of different countries). On ABCS OF DEATH 2, he is also an associate producer. Recently Tim made the jump to full producer status on KID LAZER, a NZ/Canada co-production.

Whetu Fala
Whetu has a background as an actor, editor, writer, director and producer for short drama, television, web content creation and feature films and is a co-creator of Fale Matariki and a founding member of Nga Aho Whakaari. Her current role as Short Film Manager and the NZ Film Commission means she works closely with filmmakers and is an expert on creative talent development and funding opportunities.

Briar Grace-Smith
Briar was a development executive at the New Zealand Film commission, and is a writer of plays, films, television and short fiction. She has worked as a script consultant for many years. Her first screenplay, The Strength of Water, premiered in 2009. Her second feature, horror comedy Fresh Meat, premiered in New Zealand in 2012 and screened in the Midnight section of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

About Tropfest
Tropfest began in Sydney 22 years ago when director John Polson showed a six-minute film he made for under $100 at his local café (‘The Tropicana’) in Sydney for 200 friends and family. Today the free Australian event is attended annually by a live audience of around 150,000 film-lovers and hundreds of thousands more watching via its live national TV broadcast and other platforms.

In the past two decades, Tropfest has become recognised as one of the world's most exciting launchpads for emerging filmmakers. Tropfest is also known for securing the support of some of the biggest names in the international film community including Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Liev Schreiber and Tobey Maguire. Tropfest launched last year in New Zealand, Arabia and in the USA with Tropfest Las Vegas and Tropfest New York.

The Tropfest YouTube Channel. Past Finalist films can be viewed at Tropfest’s YouTube channel: The channel has more than 50,000 subscribers and the films have been viewed over than 25 million times.

The first Tropfest NZ event was held in 2012. In 2013 the Tropfest NZ competition began and was attended by 8,000 people. The winner was a short film called ‘Cappuccino Tango’, directed by Taranaki local Dave Smith. An estimated 8,000 audience turned out in February 2014 to see director Andrew Cooper declared the Tropfest NZ 2014 winner for his short film ‘Help’.

For 2015, Tropfest NZ has added $10,000 in cash to the best film prize of a return trip to meet film executives in Los Angeles, including attendance at the US’s largest industry gathering, the American Film Market.
TROPFEST NZ – The world’s largest short film festival, now in New Zealand – Saturday 14 February 2015, TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, Taranaki

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