For the first time, the importance of the role of First Assistant Directors was recognised at the Australian Directors Guild Awards, when veteran AD Jamie Leslie received the coveted Career Achievement Award during Friday night's ceremony.
Leslie has been at the forefront of Australian television and filmmaking for over twenty years, with credits across television productions such as The Young Doctors, Howzat!, Kerry Packer's War and recent genre films including the Spierig Brothers' vampire flick Daybreakers and Roger Kimble's shark thriller, Bait. Leslie is currently working on production of the Spierigs' Predestination which stars Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke.
The award was presented by actor Lachy Hulme, who recently worked with Leslie on the TV series Offspring.
Women swept the board for the majority of the remaining ADG awards with Cate Shortland, (who's debut was the multiple AFI winning Somersault) landing Best Direction in a Feature Film for her acclaimed war drama Lore. The filmmaker beat strong competition from the likes of Wayne Blair for The Sapphires, Tony Krawitz for Dead Europe and Kieran Darcy-Smith for Wish You Were Here.
Elsewhere, Jessica Reddenbach won for Best Direction in a Short Film for Tender, with Best Direction in a Documentary Series going to Jennifer Peedom for Life at 7. In addition Grace McKenzie won Best Direction in a Documentary Feature for Audrey of the Alps and Madeleine Parry for Best Direction in a Documentary for Meatwork.
Female talent fared just as well for the small screen categories with Rachel Perkins picking up Best Direction in a TV Drama Series for Redfern Now (starring The Sapphires filmmaker Wayne Blair), while Jessica Hobbs was recognised in the category of Best Direction in a TV Mini-Series for Devil's Dust.
The co-creator behind SBS series Danger 5, Dario Russo, was awarded the prize for Best Direction in a TV Comedy. Glendyn Ivin, director of Last Ride (screening 9:30pm, June 15 on SBS ONE) picked up Best Direction in a Telemovie for his work on Beaconsfield.
The annual ceremony, held at the Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, was hosted by actor, writer and director Adam Zwar (Rats and Cats, Wilfred) with guest presenters including Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown, Denise Roberts and Susie Porter.
The ADG awards recognise the achievements of directing across film, television, music, advertising and multiplatform.