Religious Short Film Prize nationally significant

Thursday 11 Aug 2016

Stephen Pickard 2015The presentation of the inaugural Australian Religious Short Film Prize to a young filmmaker at a special event in Canberra next week has national significance.

The Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Canberra, the Right Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard (pictured), will host the event on Wednesday 17 August at the Chapel of the ACC&C.

CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann will attend to congratulate Ms Liz Cooper from Ermington, NSW, for her winning seven and a half minute-long film The Forgotten Tree, which she wrote and directed.

Professor Pickard said the Religious Short Film Prize presentation will showcase the film and the commitment of the ACC&C to the cultivation of the arts in relation to faith and life.

"The awarding of our inaugural Australian Religious Short Film Prize marks an important development in religious film in Australia," Professor Pickard said.

"The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture has developed a strong focus on the arts through poetry, drama, music, painting and film. The arts open a way through which the vision of the Centre  ΜΆ  to encourage thoughtful and robust interaction between Christian faith, other faith traditions, belief and culture – can be extended and realised.

"Film is an especially significant medium through which issues to do with religion, meaning and social problems can be engaged with in an open and inquiring manner. We are excited about the future of this prize and the opportunities it will give, especially to young filmmakers, to keep the religious spirit alive through film.

"It will be wonderful to have the Vice-Chancellor at the event, and the generous donors of the prize Clive and Lynlea Rodger, and especially the director of the film, Liz Cooper."

Professor Pickard said the Rodgers are long-time residents of Canberra and have been deeply committed to making faith in God real in everyday life and society.

"The Rodgers come from a business and management background, studied theology at Princeton in the USA, and have continued in theological and ethical engagements," Professor Pickard said.

"Clive is a member of the Board of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, and the Executive. Both rejoice to see the short film prize as a way of encouraging the kind of new engagements sorely needed between faith, social issues of the day, and the human search for meaning."

The Forgotten TreeReverend Dr David Millikan, the chief judge of the panel of three judges, will deliver a brief address at the presentation.

The Forgotten Tree (a scene pictured left) was shot in colour on a Canon 5D Mk ii digital video camera, and the story combines elements of Judaism, Islam and Christianity in war-torn strife. It was written and directed by Ms Cooper who also did a considerable amount of the producing and the editing of the film, with the assistance of a small crew with roles as director of photography, sound recordist, production assistant, make-up artist, and producer. The Forgotten Tree stars Paris Naumovski and Simone La Martina, with music by Lachlan Blackwood.

The inaugural ACC&C 2016 Religious Short Film Prize judging panel was Reverend Dr David Millikan (chief judge), Dr Susan Murphy, Roshi, and Ms Theresa Charchalis. All films had to be no more than a maximum eight minutes long.


Media contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Right Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard.

The inaugural Religious Short Film Prize presentation is at 5.15pm Wednesday 17 August at The Chapel at the ACC&C, 15 Blackall Street, Canberra, ACT. To attend, please RSVP to by Friday 12 August.

The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) resulted from a formal partnership established in 1998 between the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn and Charles Sturt University. The ACC&C is an ecumenical body reflecting the faith background of approximately 61 per cent (13.5 million) of the Australian population. The Centre is located on a five hectare site on the edge of the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra.