Essential Media and Entertainment wins SPAA’s independent producer award

The production company behind the ABC series Rake and a new film starring Tom Hanks has been named Independent Producer of the Year at the 2012 Screen Producers Association of Australia awards in Melbourne over night.

The Awards were presented at a gala event during the SPAA Conference, currently being held at Docklands in Melbourne.

Essential Media and Entertainment had a strong year in 2012, not only delivering a second series of Rake but also producing two Jack Irish tele-movies starring Guy Pearce and securing Hanks and Emma Thompson to star in Saving Mr Banks, about the Australian author of Mary Poppins.

Essential Media’s CEO Chris Hilton said of the win: “It’s a great honour to be receiving this prestigious industry award. We would like to thank all our production partners, the writers, actor, directors and fantastic crews who have contributed to this success.”

SPAA executive director Geoff Brown said: “This award recognises the collaboration of creative talent, underpinned by two things: the capable business acumen of Essential Media and Entertainment and the benefits of the producer offset which allows the production company to finance and produce excellent work.”

The company was also behind factual series Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide and Gourmet Farmer.

Essential are currently in production with a new series of Jack Irish tele movies, a game development The Floods, based on Colin Thomson’s best selling children’s books and Raising the Curtain, a focus on Australian theatre history.

Last year’s winner was Matchbox Pictures, the production company behind The Slap and The Straits.

The full list of award winners:

SPAA Independent Producer of the Year
Essential Media and Entertainment

Maura Fay Award for Services to the Industry
John Fleming

Nick McMahon Award for Breakthrough Producer of the Year
Closer Productions Production: Shut Up Little Man!

Feature Film Independent Producer of the Year
Goalpost Pictures The Sapphires

Television – Children’s Independent Producer of the Year
Werner Film Productions Production: Dance Academy Series 2

Television – Drama Independent Producer of the Year
Southern Star Entertainment Production: Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War

Television – Light Entertainment Independent Producer of the Year
FremantleMedia Australia Production: The X Factor

Documentary Independent Producer of the Year
Artemis International Production: The Bombing Of Darwin: An Awkward Truth

Interactive Media Independent Producer of the Year
Firelight Productions Production: Storm Surfers 3D

Service & Facilities Independent Producer of the Year
Deluxe Australia


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