Dirtgirl was created by Whiporie locals Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace.
Dirtgirl was created by Whiporie locals Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace.

Dirtgirlworld lands an Emmy nomination

FINDING out you've just received an Emmy nomination when you're flooded in at Whiporie is all part of a day's work for dirtgirlworld creator/producers Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace these days.

The internationally acclaimed, locally produced kids' hit television series is the only Australian entry listed for an International Digital Emmy Award announced in New York last Friday.

Following a swag of awards and nominations since its inception in 2009, including an AFI and an Australian Directors Guild award, dirtgirlworld's latest nomination comes from doing what few television shows have attempted before - getting kids away from the TV screen and out into the garden - "from viewing to doing", Cate said from Whiporie, having just returned from the International Children's Television Emmy Awards in New York.

"We're really lucky in that we've got a ridiculously engaged audience in four to seven- year-olds," Cate said.

"They're digital natives and they're up for anything - so anything we can think of, dream up or create is absolutely in the pocket for them - it's not about learning how to use a smart phone or a tablet for them, it's in their blood."

While 'interactivity' is the buzz word in contemporary digital production - and a key consideration of the Digital Emmys - dirtgirlworld's end-goal goes further in that it tries to change the way kids interact with the world around them.

"While our project has the capacity for 'speccy' and innovative technology, its core base is about getting outside and getting grubby," she said.

"We've been able to dream up really crazy stuff like point your phone and have a 3D augmented reality dirtgirl pop up to tell you how to grow your plants.

"So while we're playing in a world where virtually anything is possible, to us it's also as rudimentary as nature itself - it's just extraordinarily wonderful that Hewey and I get to play like this in this 'anything's possible' world."

Hewey and Cate are hoping the prospect of more flooding won't stop them getting out of Whiporie for the award ceremony at Cannes in April.

"We had to go through water to get Cate to the airport in the last flood; I stayed home as there's plenty enough for me to do here at this stage," Hewey said, who was already digging deep in his Whiporie wardrobe to recycle the right red carpet outfit.

"We recycle everything," he laughed.

"I like to get one new piece of clothing a year to add to the mix. This year it was a green jacket.

"I get my shopping done in New York you see - Cate sends me photos and I say 'I like that' - it's the perfect internet shopping, couldn't be easier."


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