11 August, 2022
Filmmaker Thomas Atkin has won the Australian Writers’ Guild’s John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science-Fiction Writing, taking home the top prize with a dystopian thriller that grapples with themes of power and identity.
Kin, a feature film set in an alternate society where one birth is enforced per woman, follows a second-born named Eleanor, who is blackmailed by a powerful family to become their secret surrogate. The sharp and thrilling script was selected by the judges out of over 130 entries and showcases the genre’s ability to reflect the fears, foibles and dreams of our own society.
A graduate of VCA with a Master of Screenwriting, Atkin’s work is described as mixing ‘tight genre storytelling with grounded absurdity, focusing a playfully dark lens on relatable anxieties and our different layers of identity.’
‘As a writer constantly drawn to the expansive imagination and thrilling experiences this genre showcases on-screen, receiving an award for excellence in science-fiction writing is an exciting opportunity and quite flattering,’ said Atkin.
‘Thank you to the Australian Writers’ Guild and the estate of the late John Hinde for this generous bequest and their ongoing commitment to nurturing Australian creators.’
Kirsty Budding’s black comedy Harold, Electra & Our Lord, David Attenborough and Tony Radevski’s haunting series Risen were awarded runners-up in the Unproduced category. The three projects will now be inducted onto AWG’s prestigious Pathways Showcase, with Atkin receiving up to $5000 in professional development support to develop Kin further.
Presented by the Australian Writers’ Guild, the John Hinde Award was established as part of a bequest from the late Australian film critic John Hinde, whose vision was to see future generations of Australian science-fiction screenwriters celebrated through industry opportunities.
Earlier this year, award-winning screenwriter Thomas Duncan-Watt received the John Hinde Award in the Produced category for the animated sci-fi series Space Nova. Filled with daring adventures and stunning animation, Space Nova follows the interstellar quest of the maverick Nova family as they seek out extra-terrestrial intelligence beyond the fringes of known space. Duncan-Watt was awarded the $10,000 prize for Episode 11 of the first season, ‘Ghost Station’.
Past winners in the Produced category include Shelley Birse’s The Commons in 2020, Lucas Taylor's AWGIE Award-winning multilinear narrative experience Eleven Eleven in 2019, and Cris Jones' feature The Death and Life of Otto Bloom in 2017.
Past winners in the Unproduced category include David Peterson’s feature script Untethered in 2020, Steve Mitchell’s Cowtown in 2019, Georgina Love’s Pig in 2018 and C.S. McMullen’s Awake in 2017.
The John Hinde Award For Excellence in Science-Fiction Writing
Kin by Thomas Atkin [Feature Film]
In an alternate society that enforces one birth per woman, a second-born is blackmailed by a powerful family to become their secret surrogate.
Harold, Electra and Our Lord, David Attenborough by Kirsty Budding [Short Film]
In a Recycling Home for retired robots, Harold falls for Electra. But his sex drive is broken, and he must win her heart before she’s recycled.
Risen by Tony Radevski [Television]
In a city gripped by a unique street drug that causes your body to float, three strangers unravel a deadly mystery that could disrupt all of society.
The Cranks by Cameron Williams [Animation]
Family is forever, even when the world is over.
Omega by Adam Daniel [Television]
When a defiant young government investigator discovers her thought-to-be-deceased brother is not only alive but is being held captive due to his extraordinary psychic abilities, she infiltrates the shadowy organisation holding him captive to try to free him.
Remote by Nathan Fielding [Feature Film]
A dysfunctional family's devoted android confronts the true nature of his role in humanity's impending demise.