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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Local scriptwriter wins Emmy Award

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Local scriptwriter Belinda Chayko has won an Emmy Award. Photo supplied.

Paul Bibby

A local scriptwriter has received a prestigious International Emmy Award as part of the team that produced the SBS mini-series Safe Harbour.

Mullumbimby resident Belinda Chayko and her colleagues clinched the award for best mini-series at the November 25 event.

The four-part thriller explores a moral dilemma centred around an asylum seeker vessel found floundering off the Australian coast.

‘The premise of Safe Harbour asks a very simple question: what would you do if you came across a group of people in the middle of the ocean who needed help?,’ Ms Chayko told The Echo.

‘It’s about a tragedy that occurs during that event, and the way two groups grapple with the consequences.


‘I was drawn to the project because Australia’s offshore detention program has been very effective in removing the question of our nation’s obligations to asylum seekers – out of sight, out of mind.’

The idea for the series came from Brisbane writers Simon Kennedy and Phil Enchelmaier.

‘As they were both new to television, Matchbox Pictures asked me to come on board to guide the development of the series, as show runner and lead writer, working with Phil and Matt Cameron,’ Ms Chayko says.

‘In the scheme of things, it was a small production. But it’s managed to go a long, long way. I’m stoked.’

She said it was much easier to have a film and/or television career while living in a regional area than it had been in the past. More and more writers were leaving the city and living regionally.

‘However, it’s really important to make contacts in the industry,’ she said.

‘We’re very fortunate in this region to have Screenworks, an organisation which is devoted to developing regional talent and creating networking opportunities for career development.

‘If you’re interested in a screen career, then you should join Screenworks!’

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