In November of 2017, the Australian film community suffered a great loss. Samantha Rebillet - writer, director, producer, performer, musician, academic and rebel, died by suicide. To commemorate her spirit, tenacity and formidable creative legacy, FFS has created an inaugural award with UTS to honour one female filmmaker with a similar flair for risk-taking and innovative and lateral approaches to production.

Awarded in its first year to Australian director Jessica M. Thompson (The Light of the Moon), the award includes a travel stipend to progress the filmmaker’s career through the broadening of networks and opportunities beyond Australian shores.

To honour Sam’s memory, her 2011 short, Hapless Heart will be screened alongside the Australian premiere of Jessica’s SXSW Audience Choice Award winning first feature, The Light of the Moon.

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“Working with Sam was always incredibly easy. She was so intelligent, intuitive, generous with her heart and mind. She brought Hapless Heart to me after her brain tumour operation and although we knew it was going to be a challenge we were determined to raise the funds independently in order to bring Sam’s vision to life in the way she had imagined it. We managed to raise over twenty-five thousand and as she always did, Sam turned that into so much more. Sam had a knack for connecting with actors in order to connect them to their characters. Understanding her craft in front and behind the camera, directing allowed her to express all the wonderful facets of her character, her complexity, her musicality, visual acuity, intellectuality, beauty and spirituality. On set, she balanced them wonderfully, a calm, yet focussed energy. “
— Sunny Grace, producer, Hapless Heart