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News13 - Jun - 2023

Celebrated visual effects pioneer Chris Godfrey receives the 2023 Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award

Chris Godfrey 2023 Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award

Awarded to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner, the honour is recognition of Godfrey’s contribution to the Australian screen industry over the past three decades. His visual effects credits include Mortal Kombat, Hacksaw Ridge, The Great Gatsby, Tomorrow When the War Began and Australia

Godfrey said he was surprised and honoured to have been chosen to receive this year’s award, acknowledging all the inspiring screen practitioners he has collaborated with.

“The award states it is for ‘a screen practitioner whose work stands for innovation, imagination and impact’. I am being rewarded for a passion where collaboration and support are integral to the final result,” Mr Godfrey said.

“And so, my first thank you, outside of my amazing family, is to all of the artists and crew members that I have had the pleasure of working with. The talent, the enthusiasm, the interest, and the collective have always been so inspirational. Also, to the directors, producers and other department heads who have been so generous in sharing advice, information, and experience.

“Our industry, the entire industry is a living, breathing art form. As such we need to practice our art and share those experiences with others around us.”

The award was presented to Godfrey by Head of Screen NSW, Kyas Hepworth ahead of his festival lecture, an in-depth conversation with Mortal Kombat producer E Bennett Walsh. 

“Chris is an excellent choice for the award, not only as a pioneer in visual effects but for his significant contribution to the screen industry both at home and abroad,” Ms Hepworth said.

“Establishing one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios has had a lasting impact on the lives of many screen practitioners here in NSW and internationally.

“As the first VFX supervisor to take home the Sydney UNESCO City of Film Award, Chris has played a vital role in bringing Australian stories to the world stage, promoting innovation in visual effects, and driving positive change for the industry.”

The $10,000 cash prize is presented annually by Screen NSW, under the auspice of Sydney UNESCO City of Film, to an outstanding NSW-based screen practitioner whose work stands for innovation, imagination, and impact. Previous winners include Caitlin Yeo (2022), Karina Holden (2021) Blackfella Films (2019), Warwick Thornton (2018), Leah Purcell (2017), and Lynette Wallworth (2016).

The prize also includes up to four-weeks’ residence at Charlie’s, a hub for the Australian film-making community in Los Angeles, opened by Australians in Film, in partnership with Screen NSW, AFTRS, Screen Queensland, Film Victoria and South Australian Film Corporation.

The annual Ian McPherson Memorial Lecture celebrates the contribution of the man who helped establish Sydney Film Festival and acknowledges those who have made a significant contribution to the Australian screen industry.