Ian Gracie APDG received the 2018 APDG Award for Excellence in Screen – Acknowledging excellence in Design and Practice or Artisan Excellent on Australian or International Productions for his work as Supervising Art Director on Alien: Covenant. 

 1. Do you have any fond (or not so fond) memories of working on Alien: Covenant? 

Pictures of that scale & expectation often have moments of elation & disappointment unfortunately.  Yes demanding, yes infuriating, yet amazing. Recreating the iconic Engineers’ Dreadnaught from the original Alien was definitely a highlight. Ridley Scott was everything I had expected, he demanded excellence & set a high bar, always entertaining, generous & loved a story, even if it was often the same one…  Filming across 2 countries is never straightforward but with the right team as we had it came off as arrogantly seamless…

2. You worked with an awesome team of art directors and accredited APDG members including Damien Drew, Michelle McGahey, Jacinta Leong & Charlie Revai. Can you give us any insights on how the team worked together? 

If I am good at anything it’s supporting the Production Designer with the best available talent. All of our team, experienced Art Directors & all incredibly talented, a wonderful cross-section of specific skills & when a team is that strong there isn’t a lot of supervision required!

3. Why did you decide to enter your work on Alien: Covenant into the APDG Awards? 

As a Supv Art Director I actively try to draw as little attention as possible & have mostly enjoyed award anonymity as the Production Designer & Set Decorator are the ones historically accredited with awards or nominations. Having said that a lot of productions I work on are off shore or based O/S & as such, in the past ineligible.  To be honest I was worn down by others & as it was the first time that specific “Artisan Excellence on Australian or International Productions” Award was included thought it probably as good a time as any.

4. What do you think makes a work “award winning”?

That is & will always be the ‘64 Dollar question’ (Google that)… it is all in the eye of the beholder & there is just no constant in that eye. If I could tap into that cordial I’d be a genius, besides once our work during production is completed, it is then up to many others to convert that raw material into a success, or not. Some pictures have a good feeling at the time, however that doesn’t always convert into visual or financial reward.