Australian productions dominated the children’s categories at the International Emmy Awards, with both Heartbreak High and Built to Survive picking up prizes, while Harley & Katya took home the gong for sports documentary.
The awards were held Monday night US time at the New York Hilton Midtown, in a ceremony hosted by New Zealand actor and comedian Rhys Darby. It was a strong evening for Australia as second most decorated country behind the UK, and with productions winning every category they were nominated in.
Heartbreak High, produced by Fremantle Australia and Newbe for Netflix, won the Kids: Live-Action award, beating out a field that included Japan’s Gudetama: An Eggscellent Adventure, Israel’s Memory Forest and Argentina’s Tierra Incognita.
Heartbreak High, shot in Sydney, is a reimagining of the ’90s series of the same name, with a large ensemble cast that includes Ayesha Madon, Asher Yasbincek, Chloe Hayden, James Majoos, Thomas Weatherall, Josh Heuston, Will McDonald, Gemma Chua-Tran, Rachel House, Chika Ikogwe, Sherry-Lee Watson, Bryn Chapman-Parish and Brodie Townsend.
Hannah Carroll Chapman is the creator, writing the scripts for the first season with Matthew Whittet, Marieke Hardy, Meyne Wyatt, Thomas Wilson White, and Natesha Somasundaram, with Megan Palinkas serving as script producer. Gracie Otto was the set up director, working with Neil Sharma, Jessie Oldfield, and Adam Murfet. Sarah Freeman was the producer, and executive producers include Carly Heaton and Chris Oliver-Taylor.
A second season of the series is currently in post-production.
“We are absolutely elated,” Heaton tells IF of the win, noting the team had always been nervous about rebooting a “beloved icon”.
“Being the third out of three Aussies to win on the night was just phenomenal. We were backstage with the guys from Built to Survive and we all just had our minds blown.”
Originally commissioned by the ABC and produced by Butter Media and Breslin Media, Built to Survive took home the Kids: Factual & Entertainment prize against Brazil’s Yard TV, Takalani Sesame from South Africa and Meet… Anne Frank from Germany.
Hosted by biologist and third-generation Indigenous educator Phil Breslin, the natural history series get up close to the world’s most unique creatures to reveal the “ultimate survivors” of Australia’s most extreme natural habitats.
Breslin produces alongside Jerry Butterfield, Dan Walkington and Luke Williams, with the ABC’s Mary Ellen Mullane and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation’s (ACTF) Bernadette O’Mahony serving as executive producers.
Butterfield, CEO Butter Media, tells IF the night was a spectacular win for Aussie producers.
“Built to Survive was a labour of love for so many talented individuals and groups, especially our presenter and co-executive producer Phil Breslin,” he says.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to our broadcast partner ABC ME and production partners ACTF and Screen NSW and for the ongoing support of Screen Australia.
“We are especially grateful to the many Traditional Owners of Country and their generous sharing of knowledge with the production and kids right across Australia. They say never work with kids or animals, but it turns out kids wildlife is a winner.”
Feature documentary Harley & Katya, directed by Selina Miles and produced by Stranger Than Fiction Films, beat out other Sports Documentary nominees 30 Dias Para Ganar, from Mexico, Alexia: Labor Omnia Vincit, from Spain and Two Sides from South Africa.
Originally airing on the ABC, the film follows figure skater Harley Windsor, who was the poster boy for the Australian Olympic Team. Paired with Russian skater Katya Alexandrovskaya, the unlikely duo achieved unprecedented success on the ice before meeting with great tragedy.
Blayke Hoffman, Jo-anne McGowan and Aayliah-Jade Bradbury produce, with EP Jennifer Peedom.
In a joint statement, Hoffman and McGowan said: “What a brilliant night for the Australian film and television industry, scoring a trifecta at the International Emmys in NYC.
“We felt so incredibly proud to win in the Sports Documentary category, to be recognised in such an esteemed room of international film and television professionals, and to celebrate Australian stories.
“This project challenged us on many levels and we could not have done it without the ongoing support of Screen Australia, ABC, Screen NSW and K2 Studios. Go Australia!”
Nine countries were celebrated throughout the 51st International Emmy Awards, with Germany winning Best Drama for Netflix series The Empress, while comedy was a tie between season 3 of the UK’s Derry Girls and India’s Vir Das: Landing. The special Founders Emmy was presented to Succession creator Jesse Armstrong, while the Directorate Award was presented to Ektaa R. Kapoor, co-founder of Balaji Telefilms.
The full list of winners:
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On
Eagle Vision / White Pine Pictures / Paquin Entertainment
Best Performance by an Actor
Martin Freeman in The Responder
Dancing Ledge Productions
Best Performance by an Actress
Karla Souza in La Caída [Dive]
Madam / Filmadora / Infinity Hill / Amazon
Derry Girls – Season 3
Hat Trick Productions
Vir Das: Landing
Weirdass Comedy / Rotten Science / Netflix
Mariupol: The People’s Story
Top Hat Productions / Hayloft Productions / BBC
Sommerhaus Serien GmbH / Netflix
A Ponte – The Bridge Brasil
Warner Bros. Discovery / Endemol Shine Brasil
Des Gens Bien Ordinaires [A Very Ordinary World]
Magneto / Canal+
Harley & Katya
Stranger Than Fiction Films
Yargi [Family Secrets]
La Caída [Dive]
Madam / Filmadora / Infinity Hill / Amazon
The Smeds and The Smoos
Magic Light Pictures
Kids: Factual & Entertainment
Built To Survive
Butter Media / Breslin Media / Australian Broadcasting Corporation / Australian Children’s Television Foundation
Fremantle / Newbe / Netflix