Will Rogers remains well known and respected in Australia. In fact, most months Australia leads the pack with number of foreign country visitors to Will Rogers Memorial Museum – and Australia was a place he visited often.
More than once Will wrote of his fondness of the Australian people and bragged about their horses. His relation-ship with them goes back to 1903 when he was there with Wirth Bros. Circus.
It was no surprise to get a Will Rogers Motion Picture Festival entry from there in the inaugural year of the Festival, which also celebrated Will’s November 1879 birth and the 101st anniversary of his first movie. Australian resident Radheya Jegatheva’s entry “iRony” won the Dog Iron Award for “Best College Short.”
He was unable to be in Claremore for presentation of the award during the Festival. However he did see the awards presentation with his parents on Facebook live. “Thanks so much. Our whole family saw it live, well me, and dad & mom,” he wrote. “Was really cool to win the award linked to the great man,” he said.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of getting the award to Jegatheva, because of the size and weight of the Dog Iron, was getting it delivered to Australia. But more than a month after the Festival, he had the Dog Iron and had his photo made with it.
The winning film explores the relationship between man and technology told from the perspective of a phone. The hand drawn animated film is based on the poem “Seven Billion,” written by the film director, who won two national poetry awards. It was created on his laptop.
It’s not his first award. His films have been selected for Academy Award Qualifying Festivals along with the Australian Academy of Cinema & TV Arts. The 23-year-old Australian filmmaker was born in Johor, Malaysia, to parents of South Korean and Malaysian ancestry. He is a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts student at Curtin University in Western Australia after having completed high school at Perth Modern School.
Radheya’s film will be shown in the future on RSU-TV.