The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has announced the five finalists for AACTA Pitch: Elevate, a national pitching competition aimed at discovering high-concept scripted series.

The finalists, chosen from almost 100 submissions, are: Endgame, My Mother the Witch, The 8, The Department of Last Requests and The Replicas.

In a statement, AACTA said the five finalists have been selected for their “unique interpretations of an elevated concept; each beginning with a simple premise and an unusual set of circumstances, while holding the potential for mass audience appeal and endless possibilities within the world for their series.”

Each finalist will pitch their concept live at the upcoming AACTA Shorts + Web Fest, in front of a judging panel that includes:

  • Carly Heaton, executive producer at Foxtel;
  • Stephen Corvini, drama development executive and producer at Matchbox Pictures;
  • Tracey Robertson, CEO Hoodlum Entertainment;
  • Billy Bowring, development manager at FremantleMedia Australia.

The competition will be hosted by comedian Gen Fricker and the winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, feedback from the judging panel and guidance on the development of a pilot screenplay through script coverage from partnering production companies. The winner will also receive support from Spectrum Films to the value of $2,500, and tickets to the 2019 AACTA Awards.

The live final will begin with a ‘Short & Sharp’ lesson in mastering the Perfect Pitch. The AACTA Pitch judges, will be joined by Nicole Coventry (Production Supervisor, Commissioned Content – Scripted, SBS) and Bobby Romia (Screen Investment Manager, Create NSW) who will share their expert advice for refining a concept into a professional media pitch.

After the live final and announcement of the winning pitch, AACTA Shorts + Web Fest host Jan Fran will sit down with the winner of AACTA Pitch: Forever Unexpected Loani Arman to share her experience bringing her short film concept Our Greatest Escape to life after winning funding and production support in early June.

The finalists:

Endgame | Gabriel Bergmoser, Bryony McLachlan
A young couple’s life is shattered when they discover they are non-player characters in a violent video game.

My Mother, The Witch | Anya Beyersdorf
1693 — A Lawman is called to God’s Country to hear the wildly divergent confessions of two accused witches due to hang – a young girl and her mother – each swearing black and blue the other is the witch and should be put to death.

The Eight | Adam Kiers, Barbara Stephen, Hannah Carol Chapman, Amal Awad
Christo has been found dead in the carpark of his apartment block. The viewer may follow their own path to investigate the crime with the ability to watch each episode – from the perspective of The Girlfriend, The Brother, The Old Lady, The Young Mum, The Brazilians, The Bikie and The Real Estate Agent – in any order to unravel the mystery.

The Department of Lats Requests | Angela McDonald
You’ve probably never heard of the Department of Last Requests. A run-down legal department that processes people’s wills – specifically, wills where the deceased had strange or complicated final wishes and where two drop-kick lawyers have been assigned to carry out their last requests.

The Replicas | Adam Daniel
After passing through a strange electrical storm at sea, the passengers of a transit ferry arrive at their island home to discover that they are duplicated versions of passengers that arrived on the same ferry thirty minutes earlier

AACTA Pitch: Elevate will be held at AACTA Shorts + Web Fest August 31 at 1.00pm at The Factory Theatre in Sydney.