Macario De Souza, the writer/director behind ‘6 Festivals’.
Screen Australia has announced production funding for three feature films and one online project, to a total of $1.4 million.
The slate includes supernatural drama You Won’t Be Alone from writer/director Goran Stolevski and producers Kristina Ceyton and Samantha Jennings of Causeway Films; and 6 Festivals, a drama centred on a group of friends who commit to a bucket list of music festivals over one summer from writer/director Macario De Souza.
Also receiving funding are writer/director Tyson Johnston’s Streamline, about a prospective teen Olympic swimmer to played by Levi Miller; and Moments of Clarity, an online animated comedy about the existential truths of ordinary life from writer/director Tim Logan.
In addition to the above slate, completion funding was supplied to See Picture’s comedy feature June Again. Written and directed by JJ Winlove and produced by Jamie Hilton, Michael Pontin and Drew Bailey, the film stars Noni Hazelhurst, Claudia Karvan and Stephen Curry.
Screen Australia head of content, Sally Caplan said: “We are really pleased to support so many debuts in this slate and I’m confident this will mark the start of very successful careers and some great Australian stories.”
In 2018-19, Screen Australia invested over $44 million in 81 projects through its drama production funding programs. This included 20 features, 17 television shows, eight children’s television programs and 36 online projects.
Screen Australia noted in its press release that it continues to see a low number of feature film production funding applications with female directors attached, though pointed out that some of the most successful films of late have come from first-time female directors Rachel Griffith’s box office hit Ride Like A Girl, Unjoo Moon with I Am Woman (TIFF World Premiere) and Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth (Venice Film Festival world premiere). All three films received principal production funding from Screen Australia.
Industry-wide data released by the agency in August showed that the number of female directors working on feature films has increased by 1 per cent in the last five years, from 16 per cent to 17 per cent.
In the 2018-19 financial year, 27 per cent of feature films to receive production funding from Screen Austraila had a female director, when compared to just 10 per cent in 2016-17.
The feature projects:
6 Festivals: A coming of age story about three music-loving teens, Summer, Maxie and James, who make a pact to go to six music festivals in six months when James is diagnosed with brain cancer. Along the way they meet an up-and-coming music artist who helps the trio face the reality from which they’re running. Driven by music at current Australian festivals and featuring cameo appearances from popular artists, this project is the first feature drama from writer/director Macario De Souza (Bra Boys). De Souza is joined by producers Michael Wrenn (Three Summers), Blayke Hoffman (Poo Bear: Afraid of Forever), Shannon Wilson-McClinton (Hearts and Bones), Jade van der Lei (The Butterfly Tree) and executive producer Mark Fennessy (Mystify). 6 Festivals is financed with support from Universal Music Australia and festival partners include Groovin The Moo, Lost Paradise, The Drop and Big Pineapple.
Streamline: A drama that centres on gifted 15-year-old swimmer, Benjamin “Boy” Lane, who is training for the Australian Olympic team but his preparations are derailed when his violent father returns from prison. To succeed in the pool, Boy must confront not only his father but also the darkest parts of himself. This is the first feature film from writer/director Tyson Johnston who draws on his own experience as a teenage competitive swimmer. The film will star Levi Miller (Jasper Jones) as Boy along with Jason Isaacs, and five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe is on board to mentor Miller throughout production. Streamline will be produced by Blake Northfield and Nathan Walker of Bronte Pictures (Escape and Evasion) and executive produced by Clement Dunn (2067) and Jane Corden (Escape and Evasion). This project is financed with support from Rebellion Studios and the Gold Coast Council.
You Won’t Be Alone: A supernatural drama and debut feature film from writer/director Goran Stolevski (Nowhere Boys). Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, this film tells the story of a young witch who is left to go feral in the woods. Becoming curious about life as a human, she kills a woman in the village, then takes her shape to see what life is like in her skin. This ignites her deep-seated curiosity to experience life inside the bodies of others. This project is produced by Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton (The Nightingale) and Samantha Jennings (Buoyancy). It is financed with support from Film Victoria.
The online project:
Moments of Clarity: A 24 x 1 minute animated series for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram which follows neurotic 30-year-old Tim and his wise little dog Ra, as they confront the truths of everyday life and try to figure out the world around them. Building from the comic strip of the same name, this project is written and directed by comedian Tim Logan (Noirhouse), co-created with artist Jess Murray, and features Logan’s voice along with other Australian comedians. It is produced by Paul Moran and executive produced by Alicia Rackett who previously worked together on animated series Dumbotz. Moments of Clarity has been developed with support from Screen Tasmania.