Iris Interview: AACTA Nominees Ewan Leslie, Tasma Walton and Catherine Knapman.

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Following their nomination announcements earlier this week, we caught up with three of the AACTA nominees to discuss what this recognition meant to them, learn a little bit more about their films and find out what they thought about the broader nominations. With thanks to Chris Singh for taking on these interviews:

CATHERINE KNAPMAN: PRODUCER, THE GREAT GATSBY

So how does it feel to be so well represented at this year’s AACTAs?

We’re thrilled with our nominations. Gatsby has 14 nominations, which is wonderful. It’s a great way of recognizing the depth of Australian talent. Because it is an Australian movie. There were an enormous number of artisans, craft people, designers, technicians involved in making the film. It is a real tribute to all those people who participated. Obviously I’ve got to tip my cap to Baz and Catherine who are the fearless leaders and inspirational people.

We’re really thrilled. It’s wonderful to be acknowledged in our home country. Obviously it travelled very well. But it’s always wonderful to be acknowledged by the local AACTA awards. So fingers crossed! It’s stiff competition – The Rocket, The Turning and Mystery Road are all very fine films. I’m delighted to see them so well represented.

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EWAN LESLIE: BEST LEAD ACTOR, DEAD EUROPE

Tell us about the role you’ve been nominated for:

I play a character called Isaac who’s Greek Australian. His father dies and he heads to Greece to scatter his ashes and finds out that there’s a curse on his family. So he travels around Europe chasing more information about this curse and he slowly, psychologically unravels.

What does this nomination mean to you?

It’s really wonderful. I had a beautiful time making the film. I got to go to Greece, we went to Paris and Budapest. It was such an extraordinary experience making the film. I’m really proud of it and it’s lovely to be recognized for it.

Are there any films that weren’t included that you think should have been?

Look, I don’t know! These can’t be easy decisions. There’s only four slots per category, I was just really thrilled to be put into one of them!

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TASMA WALTON: BEST LEAD ACTRESS, MYSTERY ROAD

Tell us about the role you’ve been nominated for:

I’m nominated for a character in the film Mystery Road, which was written, shot, directed, edited and scored by IVAN SENN??, the character I play is the ex wife of AARON PERSONS character, who is pretty much the central character of the film. The story is told through his eyes and in his perspective. I play a woman who’s been separated from him for about a decade and has pretty much raised their child by herself. She struggles with addictions and a low socio-economic bracket and lots of other social pressures. Throughout the film she has to find redemption somehow, and whose return to the town enables her to make the progress she needs to make.

What does this nomination mean to you?

Anytime you’re acknowledged by your peers is a really wonderful thing, particularly for this film. I think Ivan has done an amazing job. I think it is a great story as well as it has some wonderful commentary that I feel needs to be discussed, so I’m really thrilled!