A film script by Murdoch University’s Dr Robert Payne has been given a Highly Commended distinction by the Australian Writers Guild (AWG) as part of their 2021 Monte Miller Award competition, the premiere award for unproduced scripts in Australia.
The script is now eligible for the AWG’s Pathways Showcase, featuring projects available for development.
“It’s great that the characters and story resonated with judges,” Dr Payne said.
“Hopefully, this gets the project a step closer to taking form on screen.”
Described as a dramatic-comedy with ‘a Judd Apatow vibe’, the script follows Bong, a Korean-Australian in his 40s, who finds himself emotionally paralysed when tasked with cleaning out the contents of his dying mother’s home.
Bong’s perspective on life shifts when he begins to take care of his nine-year-old niece Emily, who tricks him into asking out a local barista with issues of her own.
It is a story about loss and renewal. Our lives are always changing, for good and bad, which is where the duality in the idea that everything breaks comes from." Dr Robert Payne
The main character is partly informed by Dr Payne’s long friendship with award-winning Canadian actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, star of Kim’s Convenience (Netflix), who offered feedback and encouragement on early versions of the script.
Dr Payne is a lecturer in Learning, Teaching and Technology and an Honorary Teaching Fellow at Murdoch University. He obtained his PhD in Creative Media at Murdoch in 2020.
He is the author of five novels and has had two previous TV projects in development in Canada.
The Monte Miller Award long-form category was won by James Cripps.