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The biggest and best presentation of Australia’s film-related awards season, the 2003 Screen Music Awards held this week, honoured Nigel Westlake’s score for The Nugget and Lisa Gerrard’s song for Whale Rider in a seamless production featuring a 46 piece orchestra, with special tributes to Bruce Smeaton and Elmer Bernstein, in front of 450 guests at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

The second joint presentation by APRA and AGSC, the Screen Music Awards brings together the filmmakers, the composers & musicians and music publishers to “recognise and reward” excellence in screen composition across all sectors. 

George Miller, presenting the International Prize for Excellence (jointly awarded by APRA, AGSC and the AFI) remarked that it was a sign of a confident culture that it could recognise someone ‘outside’. 

Comedian Jean Kittson hosted the presentation with a balance of fun and due respect, while Art Phillips and William Motzing sharing conducting duties; for the Bernstein tribute, the orchestra played the themes of To Kill a Mocking Bird and Far From Heaven, films at the start and the latter part of Bernstein’s 50 year-plus career.

Best Feature Film Score
Nigel Westlake The Nugget NSW

Best Original Song Composed for a Feature Film, Telemovie, TV Series or Mini-Series

Lisa Gerrard "Go Forward" from Whale Rider VIC

Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie
Nerida Tyson Chew - Evil Never Dies NSW

Best Soundtrack
Cezary Skubiszewski After the Deluge VIC

Best Music for a Short Film
Alan John Human Contraptions NSW

Best Music for a Television Series or Serial
Roger Mason MDA – "Episode 8" NSW

Best Music for a Documentary
Roger Mason Horses – The Story of Equus NSW

Best Music for an Educational, Training or Corporate Film/Video

Ashley Klose SAFC: 30th Anniversary SA

Best Music for an Advertisement
Bruce Heald / Ramesh Sathiah / Rai Thistlethwayte "Singapore Airlines" NSW

APRA International Achievement Award

Bruce Smeaton NSW

The renowned Elmer Bernstein received the AFI/APRA International Prize for Excellence presented by filmmaker and Patron of the AFI George Miller to Nancy Knutsen from ASCAP in Bernstein’s absence.

The Awards were presented by the Director of AFTRS, Malcolm Long, filmmakers Bill Bennett and Rachel Ward, actors Marcus Graham and John Howard, film composers David Hirschfelder and Nigel Westlake and singer/songwriter Jenny Morris.

This year’s judging panel includes respected industry figures and Australian music legends Iva Davies (founding member of the band Ice House and composer of films including Master and Commander: The far side of the world), Bruce Rowland (Composer of award winning soundtracks for Man from Snowy River, Phar Lap and Rebel), David Hirschfelder (also presenter) and David Bridie (founding member of Not Drowning, Waving and composer for films including In A Savage Land). 

Guests included Geoff Brown, Martin Fabinyi, Christina Andreef, Helen Bowden, David Chapman, Rolf De Heer, Lisa Gerrard, Roger Mason, Andrew Lancaster, David McCormack, Antony Partos, Cezary Skubiszewski, Scott Cameron, Frank Strangio and Bruce Smeaton.

Published November 6, 2003

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Photos by Tony Mott

George Miller and Elmer Bernstein representative Nancy Knutsen

Bruce Smeaton

Lisa Gerrard

Nigel Westlake

Cezary Skubisewski

Social snaps:

Marcus Graham & friend, Kamahl

David Chapman & guest (Best TV Theme - Enough Rope)

Louise Keller, Andrew L. Urban

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