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Heath Ledger Scholarship Awarded to ‘War Horse’ Stage Actor Cody Fern

Los Angeles based non-profit Australians in Film names Fern 6th annual winner, with Charlotte Best and Axle Whitehead as runners up

Australians in Film has announced Cody Fern as the winner of the 6th Annual Heath Ledger Scholarship. He was named at an invitation-only fundraising dinner on Thursday, June 12 in Los Angeles.

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Fern is from the small Australian mining town of Southern Cross, becoming the first of his family to attend University, where he achieved honors status. He has appeared in numerous plays, including National Theatre of Great Britain’s “War Horse,” and took the lead role in the multiple-award-winning short film, “The Last Time I Saw Richard.”

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As a recipient of the scholarship, Fern will receive a $10,000 cash fund, a two year scholarship at Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theater in Los Angeles, a 10-day California trip from Visit California, $5,000 worth of Visa and Immigration services from Raynor & Associates and complimentary lifetime membership to StarNow.

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He also received complimentary airfare to Los Angeles for the announcement ceremony, as well as a second flight when he’s ready to break into the industry in L.A., and mentoring opportunities with industry professionals and the AiF network, as well as Heath Ledger’s father, Kim Ledger, who is patron of the scholarship.

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Charlotte Best and Axle Whitehead were named runners up. They will each receive round-trip tickets to Los Angeles to network and further their international careers. Best rose to prominence from a young age with Australian television roles on “Home & Away” and “Puberty Blues,” before making the shift to feature films. Whitehead came through the first season of “Australian Idol,” which helped him land the hosting job for the country’s highest-rated music show, “Video Hits,” as well as a role on “Home & Away.”

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“Congratulations to Charlotte and Axle as Runners Up in a super amazing field of applicants. We were so excited by the sheer numbers across such a broad range of talent,in every sense,” Kim Ledger said. “To the final winner, Cody Fern, we have no doubt you will gently lift the mantle from James and project forward your fabulous talent in Heath’s good name, and go on to carve a place in film history.”

James Mackay was the 2013 recipient of the scholarship, most recently seen on The CW’s “The Tomorrow People.”

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The judges for the 2014 scholarship included actors Colin Ferrell, Miranda Otto, and Wes Bentley, as well as directors Gregor Jordan and Robert Luketic, casting director Ann Fay, and Vice President of Feature Casting at Walt Disney Studios, Randi Hiller.

Founding benefactors include Deborra-Lee Furness, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Catherine Martin, Baz Luhrmann, Phil Noyce, and Michelle Williams.