Corrie Chen (left) is part of the creative team behind ‘Attempts’, one of the recipients of funding via the Half Hour Drama Development Initiative. 

Create NSW and the ABC have unveiled the recipients of $445,000 in funding, spanning across three different drama initiatives and expected to create 530 jobs in NSW.

This includes $225,000 towards the Digital First Comedy Initiative, run between the agency, the broadcaster and Western Sydney creative hub I.C.E (Information+Cultural Exchange). This will fund the production of three shorts from teams that include a Western Sydney-based key creative, set to premiere on ABC iview later this year. The shorts cover carpark adventures of three women in Western Sydney, the tales of hijabis enduring culture clash and vampire slayers in Parramatta.

Another $100,000 has been put towards the Half Hour Drama Development Initiative, supporting four NSW-based teams to develop distinctive character driven 30-minute drama series “with heart and humour”, and to attend a masterclass workshop. They include projects from Brooke Goldfinch and Corrie Chen; Imogen Banks and Alice Bell; Jane Allen, Stuart Page and Catriona McKenzie; and Brooke Wilson and Hamilton Budd.

Finally, $120,000 in 360 Vision Virtual Reality Development investment will allow four teams $30,000 each to develop content across VR/AR.

“From vampire slayers in Parramatta, destigmatising mental illness in regional towns and a VR haunting experience, this funding is enabling local employment through the creation and development of a series of intriguing and important stories for NSW and beyond,” said Create NSW acting director screen investment, engagement and attraction Sally Regan.

“We’re extremely proud to be able to encourage such diversity and excited about seeing these stories reach a broad range of Australian audiences through our collaboration with the ABC.”

ABC acting director entertainment and specialist Michael Carrington said: “As the nation’s largest creative employer the ABC, in collaboration with Create NSW, is proud to support Australian creatives in bringing their bold content to life. The richness and diversity of these projects across comedy, drama and VR technologies will showcase homegrown talent and stories for our audiences across the country.”

I.C.E. executive director, John Kirkman added, “I.C.E. is pleased to be partnering with Create NSW and the ABC on the Digital First Comedy Initiative. Stories from Western Sydney-based creatives are universal, unique, funny and well able to resonate with local and global audiences and communities.”

All recipients are below:

Create NSW, ABC and I.C.E. Digital First Comedy Initiative – recipient teams:

Genre: Comedy
Company: Bistro
Key Creatives:
• Director: Sarah Bassiuoni
• Producers: Elliot Clifford
• Writers: Monica Kumar, Tasnim Hossain and Sophea Op
Synopsis: With nowhere else to go for fun, three young women from Western Sydney individually try to escape their responsibilities by hanging out in the carpark of a Western Sydney doughnut shop, only to fall into a surprising friendship triangle and a series of outrageous situations.

Genre: Comedy/Drama Company: In-Between Pictures
Key Creatives:
• Director: Vonne Patiag, Aanisa Vylet
• Producer: Petra Lovrencic, Vonne Patiag
• Writer: Hajer Al-Awsi, Frida Deguise, Sara Mansour, Vonne Patiag, Danielle Stamoulos, Aanisa Vylet
Synopsis: Halal Gurls is a 6 x 6 minute comedy online series offering a candid look into the lives of three 20-something Hijabis living in Bankstown as they endure the unseen everyday culture clash between their faith and desire. These women are strong, smart and sassy – 100% certified.

Genre: Horror/Comedy Company: Fideo Films Pty. Ltd
Key Creatives:
• Director: Adrian Castro
• Producer: Bee Cruse, Adrian Castro
• Writer: Taylor Davis, Georgina Neville, Adrian Castro
Synopsis: Sam and Charlie Corey are vampire slaying sisters. With the increase of vampire related activity in Parramatta, the slayers uncover a sinister plot by the Master of the city, an age-old vampire hell bent on creating a vampire army. The slayers race against time to stop a vampire apocalypse

Create NSW and ABC Half Hour Drama Development Initiative – recipient teams

Genre: Dramedy
Company: Brooke Goldfinch and Corrie Chen
Key Creatives:
• Writer & Director: Brooke Goldfinch and Corrie Chen
No longer able to claim youth as an excuse for their personal failings, two strangers – Brie Lark and Jo Lau – come together to confront adulthood head-on after revealing painful truths to their friends and family.

Genre: Dramedy
Company: Typing Pool Productions
Key Creatives:
• Producer: Jane Allen
• Writer: Jane Allen and Stuart Page
• Director: Catriona McKenzie
Christos and Stevie are close friends and business partners. He’s married with three enormous teenagers, and she’s childless and just been thrown out by her long-term girlfriend. Christos offers
Stevie refuge in the backyard studio, while his family camps in the remaining two rooms of his half-renovated house. She moves freely between being one of the boys with him, one of the girls with his wife, and a big kid with the teenagers. There’s sex and drugs and rock and roll, Tinder and lesbian porn and football. Love and lovers. Laughter. Girls who like cars, and builder blokes who like singing Cyndi Lauper. Drunken dinner parties and parent/teacher nights. Family life in all its messy, hilarious, confusing glory.

Genre: Buddy Comedy
Company: Endemol Shine Banks
Key Creatives:
• Producer: Imogen Banks and Alice Bell
• Writer: Alice Bell
A companion comedy about the growing friendship between an unexpectedly-pregnant-single woman, who discovers her unborn baby has Down Syndrome, and a young man with Down Syndrome she encounters while considering what it would mean to keep the baby.

Genre: Drama
Company: Scorpio Media
Key Creatives:
• Writer & Producer: Brooke Wilson and Hamilton Budd
Synopsis: A young woman is determined to hang on to her sense of humour and remain ‘normal’ in the eyes of her small coastal town as she struggles with the unexpected, surreal and nightmarish onset of schizophrenia.

Create NSW and ABC 360Vision Development Initiative – recipient teams

Genre: Drama
Company: Last Frame Productions
Key Creatives:
• Producer: Taylor Litton-Strain
• Writer & Director: Lester Francois
• Technical Leads: Supernaut & ALTVFX
Synopsis: Aloft is a short meditative film with minimal dialogue. The heart of the story is a teenage girl who herds sheep on her family’s farm. The land is lush, green and beautiful but she is alone. The next day her routine continues as she sits in a hill as the sheep graze – but to her surprise a hot air balloon appears over a nearby ridge and lands in the valley below.

Genre: Fantasy Drama
Company: Dreamr Studios
Key Creatives:
• Producer & Director: Pete Short
• Writer: Garth Nix
• Technical Leads: Shalloh James
Synopsis: Exile is an abstract look at one man’s battle with drug addiction. Simon has fled his home and now lives alone in a frozen wasteland. For Simon, the temptation to delve deeper into the darkness seems more appealing than accepting his addiction and facing judgement from the ones he has left behind. His drug-fuelled hallucinations constantly taunt him, playing tricks on his mind. Unless he can overcome his addiction, he knows that it will eventually consume him. But to conquer it, he must face the monsters in his mind. Exile deals with themes of drug abuse, loneliness, vulnerability and redemption.

Genre: Dramedy
Company: Paper Moose
Key Creatives:
• Producer: Maren Smith
• Writer & Director: Steve Anthopoulos
• Technical Leads: Michael Funnell and Maren Smith
Synopsis: It’s one of humanity’s oldest fears. Your dead ancestor watching you masturbate. In Grandma’s Ghost you are a puritanical granny who recently kicked the bucket. Now you’re haunting your family and are horrified to discover what they get up to behind closed doors. Marijuana. Masturbation. Non-missionary-position sex. It’s an affront to the values you cherish.

Genre: Social Realist Drama
Company: Yaara Bou Melham
Key Creatives:
• Producer: Brietta Hague
• Writer: Yaara Bou Melham, Ali Khadim
• Director: Yaara Bou Melham
• Technical Leads: TBC
Synopsis: Every Friday night in the suburbs of Sydney, a team of youths known as ‘Team 9 Lives’ scale buildings, jump off bridges and leap from buildings in Australia’s grittiest streets. They’re led by a young Iraqi-Thai Australian-born Parkour instructor Ali Khadim who’s developed a way to instil fearlessness and motivation in young people from immigrant backgrounds through a life-changing movement philosophy that mixes parkour, martial arts and mindfulness. Through this immersive VR experience, users will join ‘Team 9 Lives’ and go through Kadhim’s mental and physical training, gaining insight into growing up as an immigrant in Western Sydney in the process.

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1 Comment

  1. If this is the best filmmakers can come up it, Australia’s film industry is in serious trouble. I would sooner by tax dollars be spent on more worthwhile endeavours than these “films”.

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