Kurdish Genocide Survivor, Rahel Romahn Reaches Milestone as a Finalist for Prestigious Heath Ledger Scholarship

Rahel Romahn, Western Sydney based actor, known mainly for his roles in The Principal, Here Out West, Alex and Eve, Australian Gangster, and many more, is among the six finalists selected for a prestigious Hollywood acclaimed scholarship.

Australians in Film, a Los Angeles based non-profit film, television and digital content foundation that supports and promotes Australian screen talent and culture in the United States, have announced the finalists in the prestigious career and life changing Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2021.

As a Kurdish genocide survivor who came to Australia at the age of four, Rahel certainly exceeded all expectations and became one of Australia’s best young actors with a Logie and AACTA award nomination for his role in The Principal and now being selected as one of the six finalists out of 600 applications.

The Heath Ledger Scholarship is awarded to an emerging Australian actor with extraordinary ability and dedication to their craft who wishes to work and train internationally. It is named in memory of Ledger, the Perth raised actor who sadly passed away in 2008, aged just 28. Ledger made his mark in Hollywood in films including Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight, and 10 Things I Hate About You. 

Rahel Romahn has appeared in many Film, Television and Theatre productions in the last 15 years with multiple awards, for his performance in the internationally acclaimed The Principal. He has in the past year, worked on multiple films and US TV shows, one of them being God’s Favorite Idiot, starring Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. He is also the lead character in the upcoming Australian film Streets of Colour.

The other five actors in the running for the scholarship are Max Brown (The Tourist, The Gloaming), Mabel Li (The Tailings, New Gold Mountain), Andrea Solonge (Privileged, Girl, Interpreted), Zoe Terakes (Wentworth, Nine Perfect Strangers) and Harvey Zielinski (Don’t Look Deeper, My First Summer).

The 2018 scholarship winner Charmaine Bingwa, who has gone on to star opposite Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin in the Chicago based series The Good Fight announced the finalists on Australians in Film’s Instagram page.

The scholarship has been awarded 10 times previously and previous recipients have included Bingwa, Bella Heathcote (Relic), Cody Fern (American Horror Story), Ashleigh Cummings (Citadel) and Mojean Aria (The Enforcer).

“We had a staggering 600 applications this year, which is a record for the scholarship. Leading Australian and US Casting Directors, including, from the US; Barbara McCarthy, Alyssa Weisberg, Jason Wood and John McAlary, and from Australia; Ann Fay, Anousha Zarkesh and Amanda Mitchell, had the hard task of narrowing the field down to just six finalists. We thank them enormously for their passion in finding new Australian talent for the world.”

“The intelligence, dedication, commitment and talent of the six finalists really shined through in not only their auditions, but their applications, in which they had to talk about what being a HLS recipient would mean to them. Given their combined lived experience, they were indeed powerful reads. On behalf of the Ledger family, the Patrons of the Scholarship and the Board of AiF we congratulate them all.”

The six finalists have now recorded additional material, which will be sent to the final scholarship jury, made up of iconic Australian actors Chris Hemsworth and Jacki Weaver, acclaimed director Rachel Perkins, leading casting director Nina Gold and award-winning US actor Alia Shawkat.

Prizes this year include a US$10,000 cash prize to support the recipient with living expenses in the US while studying, a return economy flight to the US, plus a stack of educational training and career preparation worth over AUS$50,000.

The scholarship winner will get speech and dialect coaching, private acting coaching, headshots, immigration advice, personal styling, and even meditation classes.

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