10 December 2007

SBS Drama Series The Circuit wins Television category
at the 2007 Human Rights Award

The 2007 Human Rights Television Award has been presented to the television drama series The Circuit, produced by Ross Hutchens and Colin South for Media World Pictures.

The award was accepted by the lead actor in the series, Aaron Pederson, at the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Human Rights Medal and Awards ceremony at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney today.

The Circuitis a six part drama series that follows a magistrate and an entourage of court officers and lawyers on a regular five-day 2000 kilometre round-trip to dispense justice to the remote communities of north Western Australia.

Drew Ellis, played by Mr Pederson, is the latest lawyer to join the challenging world of the Kimberley Circuit Court. These challenges include injustices, abuses of power, corruption, gay rights, single parenthood, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and inter-racial relationships. A blackfella from the city, Ellis comes to realise that one law for two cultures does not always equal a fair go.

The Circuit, which screened on SBS Television from 8 July to 12 August 2007, is the first Australian drama series where Indigenous Australians have taken a lead in co-producing, writing, and directing. The production process saw the filmmakers engage with the local community, use Indigenous writers and co-producers and provide cross-cultural training to the cast and crew.

The judges felt The Circuit was worthy of this award because of the way the production remains engaging and educational, while addressing a range of social issues in a nuanced and powerful manner that does not preach to the audience.

Two other entries in this category were recognised as highly commended.

Torture, a two part series produced by Morag Ramsay and Sally Neighbour, which screened on ABC Television’s Four Corners on 4 and 11 June 2007, examines the use of torture in the ‘war on terror’. Part One offers viewers unprecedented insight into the politics of the ‘war on terror’ and the bitter struggle between agencies of the US government over the use of torture, including interviews with high ranking insiders. Part Two exposes the US and Australian governments’ involvement in and knowledge of Mamdouh Habib’s rendition to Egypt.

Liyarn Ngarn, produced by Patrick Dodson for the Lingiari Foundation, charts a 30 year mission by Indigenous leader and Yawura man, Patrick Dodson, to bring about lasting and true reconciliation between the Aboriginal owners and the immigrant settlers of the area in far north Western Australia. The documentary screened at the Bunjilaka Museum, Melbourne on 24 August 2007.

Other awards presented at the ceremony today are for achievements in Law, Arts Non-Fiction, Print Media, Radio, Community Awards for both organisations and individuals and the prestigious Human Rights Medal. For more information see www.humanrights.gov.au/about/hr_awards

Media contact:  Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529