Animated short film with no dialogue wins top writing award
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Animated short film with no dialogue wins top writing award

It was up against some of the country's most acclaimed films, television programs and stage shows including Sweet Country, Get Krack!n', Mystery Road and Muriel's Wedding The Musical.

But a seven-minute animated film without a word of dialogue has surprisingly won the country's top performance writing award.

"Genuinely outstanding piece of work": the toy dinosaur in Lost & Found

"Genuinely outstanding piece of work": the toy dinosaur in Lost & FoundCredit:Gerald Thompson

Little-known writer and director Bradley Slabe collected the Major Award at the Australian Writers' Guild's AWGIE Awards for Lost & Found, a touching short about a knitted toy dinosaur who unravels himself to save the love of his life from drowning.

It won best animation at the awards in Sydney on Thursday night, before claiming the main prize ahead of the winners of the 17 other categories.

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"Compact and elegant in its simplicity, Lost & Found is a beautifully crafted script which is exquisite in its originality and construction," the judging panel said. "It is a genuinely outstanding piece of work."

Slabe, who co-directed the film with Andrew Goldsmith after finishing a masters degree in screenwriting from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, said he tried to write short animations around action rather than dialogue.

"I usually tend to save dialogue until I absolutely need it to tell the story": Bradley Slabe with the models for the animated film.

"I usually tend to save dialogue until I absolutely need it to tell the story": Bradley Slabe with the models for the animated film. Credit:AFTRS

"I try and see ... how I can convey character decisions and emotions through pictures rather than resorting to dialogue," he said.

"Sometimes I have to but I usually tend to save dialogue until I absolutely need it to tell the story."

Slabe hopes to turn Lost & Found, which has screened at the Berlin, Sydney and Melbourne film festivals this year, into a TV series. It has qualified for the Oscars by winning the Yoram Gross Animation Award.

"All the Pixar shorts - most animated shorts - don't have dialogue," Slabe said. "It's a fun way to be invited into a world and understand characters through something that's more universal than language."

Love for two knitted toys: Lost & Found.

Love for two knitted toys: Lost & Found.Credit:Gerald Thompson

Also at the awards, best original feature film script went to Steven McGregor and David Tranter for Sweet Country, with Yolanda Ramke winning the adapted award for Cargo.

Best series or mini-series (more than four hours) went to Michaeley O'Brien for an episode of Mystery Road, while Matt Cameron and Elise McCredie won the short-form award (less than four hours) for Sunshine.

Erica Glynn won best P classification children's television script for Little J and Big Cuz: Where's Aaron?, while Magda Wozniak won the C classification award for Mustangs FC: Flawless.

Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan won best situation or narrative comedy for Get Krack!n.

Muriel's Wedding The Musical won two awards - best music theatre script and the David Williamson award for excellence in writing for Australian theatre - for its scripting team of PJ Hogan with Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (lyrics) alongside Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson (lyrics).

Homecoming Queens: Beach won best web series for Michelle Law and Chloë Reeson, while the lifetime achievement award went to Sue Smith, best known for Brides of Christ, The Leaving of Liverpool, Mabo and Saving Mr Banks.

The Hector Crawford Award for outstanding contribution to the craft as a script producer, editor or dramaturg went to Tony Ayres, whose credits include Nowhere Boys, The Slap, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Family Law and Glitch.