WHEN dirtgirlworld creators Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace came up with the concept for their environment-themed kids' TV program, they never dreamed it would see them travelling the world – let alone winning multiple awards.

After trips to Europe, the US, the UK and Canada in the past two years, the Whiporie couple were rubbing shoulders with Aussie television and film elite on the weekend after taking out the Australian Film Institute (AFI) award for best children's animated television program on Friday night.

Talking to the Daily Examiner from Melbourne yesterday, Ms McQuillen said winning the AFI award was an amazing experience.

“We really wanted to celebrate the work of the five actors in the show ... it was a great opportunity for them to be recognised with their peers,” she said.

Ms McQuillen said to share such a prestigious moment with Graftonians Michael Baulk and Maree Lowes, both actors in dirtgirlworld, was incredibly special.

“I was so chuffed to look around and see Michael and Maree and think back to the days when I taught them at the conservatorium in Grafton; it brings a tear to my eye to look at them now,” she said. “Grafton should be very proud of them, they are shining stars.”

The AFI success caps off a massive year for dirtgirlworld that began with winning the Clarence Valley Cultural Citizens of the Year Award.

“Then we had the Logie nomination, then we went to Germany where we were nominated for the Prix Jeunesse award, then we had the Australian Directors Guild Awards where we won best animation for the year, also we won the Grass award which is for the greenest program across all genres, then we were nominated for the BAFTA,” Ms McQuillen said. “It's been an amazing 12 months.”

Despite all their success, Ms McQuillen said she and Mr Eustace still got extremely excited about any award wins.

On Friday, their ABC for Kids-screened dirtgirlworld was up against two of the Seven network's animated programs – Erky Perky and The Legend of Enyo.



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