06 Jun 2017

2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Recipient Announced

Screenwise would like to extend a huge congratulations to Mojean Aria who was awarded the prestigious 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship on June 1st at the Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles. Now in it’s 9th year, the award supports and recognises emerging Australian talent in the US.

The AiF Heath Ledger Scholarship is sponsored by organisations who will be contributing a long list of prizes designed to further assist Mojean to forge an international career in Hollywood. As part of this prize Screenwise who is a major sponsor, will also be providing a $10,000 fund designed to support the winner in establishing their career in the United States.

AiF Board member and sister of the late actor Heath Ledger, Kate Ledger said: “I am so proud to see the HLS evolve over the past 9 years to become what it has today. The scholarship provides a launch pad for emerging actors to help forge their international careers in Hollywood. We wish Mojean all the best and are excited to watch him grow and develop as an artist.”

Upon receiving the scholarship this year, Aria commented “Heath is such a huge inspiration for all of us actors and so many people looked up to him. Just to be connected with Heath Ledger and being able to have this platform, it is a dream come true.” The Sydney-born, LA-based actor, who recently starred in The Bronx Bull, had been shortlisted for the award twice before this year’s win.

Carrie and Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce, who served on the judges’ panel, praised Aria’s work by defining it as “rich, nuanced, precise, beautiful, authentic, emotive and fierce”. I hope the scholarship provides him the necessary support and tools to explore his talent and interests, develop his craft and further his career here in Hollywood and wherever it takes him.”

This year’s judging panel included Naomi Watts (Birdman, The Impossible, King Kong), Ryan Murphy (Writer |Producer|Director: Feud, American Horror Story, Glee,) Gary Oldman (Actor: The Dark Knight Rises, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Bruna Papandrea (Producer: Big Little Lies, Wild, Gone GirlKimberly Peirce (Director: Carrie, Boys Don’t Cry), Emile Sherman (Producer: Lion, The King’s Speech), Jacqueline McKenzie,(actor The Water Diviner, Desperate HousewivesGregor Jordan (Director: Two Hands, Ned Kelly) and Ronna Kress (Casting Director: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Fault in Our Stars, Deadpool).

Apart from the USD$10,000 cash fund, Aria will receive 2 Qantas return flights to LA, a 7-day Californian trip from Visit California, USD$5,000 worth of visa and immigration services from Raynor and Associates, Business Management and Australian/US Taxation advice from the Protea Group, private acting tuition from the Lisa Robertson and Nancy Banks Acting Studio, US$5,000 Rent assistance, USD1000.00 transportation credit to get around LA. The Scholarship also includes mentorship from professionals in the industry and a lifestyle package (Training Mate gift card, Yoga Works 3 month voucher and more).

Benefactors to the program include the Ledger family, Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Rose Byrne, Vince Vaughn, Liam Hemsworth, Alex O’Loughlin, Deborra-Lee Furness, Phillip Noyce, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gregor Jordan and Nicole Kidman.

For more information about the Heath Ledger Scholarship please visit http://www.australiansinfilm.org/

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