AACTA Young Stars National Casting Call – The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), in collaboration with Casting Networks® and the Casting Guild of Australia (CGA), today proudly announced a ground-breaking national, youth casting initiative to uncover the next wave of Australia’s brightest acting talent with the AACTA Young Stars: National Youth Casting Call.
AACTA Young Stars aims to identify exceptional, diverse, bright, young screen talent across Australia and provide tangible opportunities to help them realise their dream. Australian residents aged between 13 and 18 years are invited to submit a video showcasing their performance talent for their chance to get in front of some of Australia’s leading Casting Directors.
The finalists will be invited to the new home of the prestigious AACTA Awards, the Gold Coast, where they will experience money-can’t-buy workshops and mentorship from Australia’s top Casting Directors, led by Thea McLeod (Neighbours, Better Man, Measure For Measure, Pawno), Anousha Zarkesh (The New Boy, Mystery Road, Total Control, Preppers), and Nikki Barrett (Elvis, Mad Max: Fury Road, Talk to Me, The Power of the Dog, The Babadook). Each finalist will also receive a complimentary six-month Casting Networks Premium membership, as well as the opportunity to book into a headshot session at the Casting Networks pop up studio at HOTA on the Gold Coast.
One overall winner will receive a $10,000 Flight Centre voucher and $2500 cash in travel support to fly to the United States where they will have the opportunity to meet with a renowned international Casting Director, network with key industry practitioners and participate in a weeklong workshop at Howard Fine Acting Studio in Los Angeles.
They will also have access to The Studio by Casting Networks in Sydney for a full year and will have the chance to meet with both Australian-based Casting Directors and Agents for possible representation – a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any young person with their heart set on a career in the screen industry!
Finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their talent in front of an esteemed panel of judges which includes top international Casting Directors, Thea McLeod, Anousha Zarkesh, Nikki Barrett, with Liz Mullane (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, Mortal Engines), and AACTA Award winning actors Claudia Karvan and Mark Coles Smith. Both Claudia Karvan and Mark Coles Smith rose to prominence after launching their careers as teenagers.
Karvan’s first film role was in the 1983 family film, Molly. She has since gone on to have an incredibly successful career with many starring roles on screen including The Secret Life of Us, Love My Way, The Heartbreak Kid and Puberty Blues. Most recently, she starred in the AACTA Award winning series Bump, which she co-created and co-produced.
AACTA Young Stars Judge, Claudia Karvan said of the initiative:
“I am excited to be a part of a casting ambition that champions the dreams and aspirations of young talent. It’s imperative to empower and support the next generation of artists in the entertainment industry. Through AACTA Young Stars, we’re not only discovering burgeoning talent but also nurturing their potential. As someone who began in the industry as a child actor it’s a privilege to be involved in this initiative and help the next generation of screen talent take their first steps in their careers.”
Mark Coles Smith’s acting debut came when he was 14 years old, appearing in the children’s TV show, Ocean Star. More recently, Coles Smith has starred in The Clearing and Mystery Road: Origin where he picked up the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor for his outstanding performance in the award-winning series.
“I feel incredibly privileged to contribute to a casting initiative that opens doors and provides opportunities for young, diverse talent, particularly those who may not have previously had access to the incredible tools on offer.” said AACTA Young Stars Judge, Mark Coles Smith. “Having had the opportunity to break into an industry I love at such a young age, I understand the importance of this initiative and hope to inspire our future young stars to take those essential first steps in their screen career.”
Entries are now open via aacta.org. Submissions close at 5pm AEDT on Monday 6 November 2023.
AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said
“AACTA Young Stars: National Youth Casting Call is not just a casting initiative; it’s a beacon of hope and opportunity for young, aspiring actors across Australia. With mentorship from industry luminaries, life-changing prizes, and the chance to shine on a national stage, this initiative is about more than just discovering talent; it’s about nurturing the dreams of the next generation.
As Claudia Karvan, one of our esteemed judges, aptly puts it, ‘It’s imperative to empower and support the next generation of artists in the entertainment industry.’ We are excited to see the skill and talent then next generation will bring to our industry.”
Casting Networks General Manager Ram Pitchumani said
“Casting Networks is thrilled to partner with AACTA and CGA on this exciting initiative, dedicated to nurturing Australia’s aspiring actors. Our commitment is to provide artists across the nation with a platform connecting them to impactful opportunities.
This inspiring competition offers every entrant a unique chance to showcase their talent to the top Casting Directors and industry professionals working today. The prizes awarded to the lucky finalists and the ultimate winner will be invaluable in furthering their growing acting careers.”
Thea McLeod, President of CGA said
“The Casting Guild of Australia with AACTA and Casting Networks are proud to introduce ‘AACTA Youth Stars’. This groundbreaking initiative presents an exceptional opportunity for Australia’s vibrant and diverse range of emerging actors. As Casting Directors, we are continually thrilled by the prospect of unearthing fresh talent from all corners of our country.
AACTA Youth Stars offers an extraordinary platform for young actors to showcase their skills and capture the attention of Casting Directors. By supporting budding actors on their journey within the entertainment industry, we believe that this platform provides an incredible opportunity for young actors to broaden their horizons both in Australia and internationally.”
Media Release – AACTA
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