ADL FF: Insite Award Winner Announced! Bec Peniston-Bird’s ‘Petrova’

‘Opportunity at just the right moment’: Adelaide Film Festival and AWG announce 2017 winner of prestigious INSITE Award

The winner of the 2017 Adelaide Film Festival and Australian Writers’ Guild’s INSITE Award has been announced today as screenwriter Bec Peniston-Bird, with the opportunity coming at ‘just the right moment’ for her Cold War-era feature film script, Petrova.

‘I am so grateful to the AWG and Adelaide Film Festival for this unexpected honour,’ Peniston-Bird said. ‘Petrova is inspired by a thrilling chapter in Cold War history and is a project very close to my heart. This opportunity comes at just the right moment and I feel it will help me to take my project to the next stage.’

A Melbourne-based filmmaker, Peniston-Bird had her last two short films screen at Adelaide Film Festival and recently completed a four-month attachment with writer/directors Peter and Michael Spierig on their period thriller Winchester.

INSITE’s proven formula will see her attend the Adelaide Film Festival this week to meet industry directors and producers with a view to getting her project onto the screen.

In a tough field, the judges felt that Petrova, a script about an infamous event in Australia’s Cold War history – one that finds itself newly relevant again in the current international climate – has the potential to become a thought-provoking thriller that is both geopolitically resonant and viscerally gripping.

Artistic Director of the ADL Film Fest Amanda Duthie said, ‘Bec Peniston-Bird is a very talented writer and director. It was delightful to discover that, unbeknownst to the selection committee who read all the scripts without any identification, her previous work has already been curated at the Adelaide Film Festival. We look forward to welcoming her to Adelaide for the 2017 Festival, and watching the development of this impressive feature script.’

AWG Group CEO Jacqueline Elaine said, ‘Every two years INSITE celebrates the best of Australia’s screenwriting talent, uncovering unproduced gems of scripts and creating real opportunity for screenwriters to put their work into production, and this year is no exception. We are excited to see where this oppourtunity takes Peniston-Bird and Petrova.

Peniston-Bird now joins a growing list of past INSITE recipients who have gone on to find screenwriting success, including television screenwriter Blake Ayshford (Devil’s PlaygroundBarracuda, The Code), whose INSITE-winning project Cut Snake was released in 2014, and Priscilla Cameron, whose feature film The Butterfly Tree recently screened at Toronto International Film Festival.

Meanwhile, 2013 winner Jane Hampson and 2015 winner Harry Aletras have both received Scripted Ink. development funding for further drafts of their INSITE-winning projects after being inducted onto AWG’s Pathways Program.

As part of INSITE, Peniston-Bird and shortlisted writers will have the opportunity to have their scripts considered for entry on to AWG’s Pathways Showcase, a collection of peer-reviewed unproduced scripts from Australia’s most talented screenwriters.

Adelaide Film Festival and AWG would like to congratulate the following writers on making the shortlist and longlist for the 2017 INSITE Award:

INSITE Shortlist

Chris Corbett for The Witness

Chris Kunz for The Boy Who Cried Dinosaur

Dane Picken for Boogie

Ryan van Dijk and Alexei Mizin for Hive

Patrick Zeine and Charalabos Aletras for The Footballer


INSITE Longlist

Damon Angelo for Swansong

Michael Beckley for It’s Never About the Money

Phil Davey for Sailing Sarah

Mark Enders for Unhappy Hours

Stephen Godfrey for Still Waters Run Deep

Sunny Grace for The Bower Girl

Albert Jamae for Dead Fly Walking

Matthew James Kinmonth for iDo

Gabrielle Leago for In A Strange Land

Fiona Leally for Osama, My Llama

Matty Limpus for The Book of Lonely

Tim Maddren for One and Another

Karl Mather for The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco

Steven McCall and Maziar Lahooti for Die Well

Pat Radinoff for Diplomatic Games

Kate Rice for My Worst Ever Night at the Best School Ball Ever

Scott Smart for The Bondi Boys

Rebecca Sommi Fisher for It’s Not You, It’s Us

Rebekah Spark for The Chosen Vessel

Stephen Vagg for Baby Farm

Gretel Vella for Elsie Shrew



Cathy Gallagher: 0416 227 282  e: [email protected]

Alicia Brescianini: 0400 225 603  e: [email protected]



Shannen Usher: 02 8036 6009 e: [email protected]



Established to unearth feature film screenwriting talent, the INSITE Award has been presented by Adelaide Film Festival and Australan Writers’ Guild since 2003 to the writer of a screenplay that has not yet secured a producer or funding.

Previous winners of the INSITE Award are:

2003 – Blake Ayshford for Cut Snake
2005 – Cath Moore for Moving South
2007 – Priscilla Cameron and Heather Phillips for Salt
2009 – Ben Chessell for Writing Rain
2011 – Barbara Connell for The Unlikeliest Hero
2013 – Jane Hampson for Tigress
2015 – Harry Alteras for Martingale


Launched 14 years ago, the ADL Film Fest has secured a major reputation as an essential screen culture event and has been named in Variety Film magazine’s 50 Unmissable Film Festival lists and continues to be regarded as a destination for new and exciting Australian screen projects from the industry and national audiences. The 2017 ADL Film Fest, themed Vive Le Punk for the 40th anniversary of the punk movement, will set the tone for its eleven day event with a spectacular Opening Night on Thursday 5 October. From 5-15 October the festival features 23 World Premieres and 40 Australian Premieres among 142 films encompassing feature films, documentaries, virtual reality, shorts and moving image works.

In 2017 & 2018 ADL Film Fest will run alongside a new sister event Hybrid World Adelaide, an interactive tech based event, for the digitally curious and the screen obsessed, at Tonsley Innovation Precinct from 4-8 October. For more information, go

Adelaide Film Festival would not be possible without the support of Major Government Partner Arts South Australia and the long-standing support of Principal Partner Channel 9 and Major Partners Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide City Council, Flinders University, NATION and INex.


The Australian Writers’ Guild is the professional association for Australian screen and stage writers principally in film, television, theatre, radio and digital media and has protected and promoted their creative and professional interests for more than 50 years.

The Guild’s vision is to see stage and screen writers thrive as a dynamic and integral part of Australian storytelling: shaping, reflecting and enhancing the Australian cultural voice in all its diversity.

The Guild fights to improve professional standards, conditions and renumeration for Australian stage and screen writers, to pursue a thriving industry environement, and to protect and advance the creative rights of our members.