Georgina Jenkins. 

Georgina Jenkins’ feature concept Blackbird has won the AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes competition.

Blackbird tells the story of a feisty but forgetful Greek woman who, when forced into aged care, must manipulate her carer into taking her on a road trip to retrieve her lifesavings before the family home is sold.

The AACTA pitch comp, put on in partnership with Screenworks, called for ideas inspired by Australia’s regional landscapes.

Blackbird was one of five finalists, with Jenkins’ prize including script development from Emma Jensen (I Am Woman, Mary Shelley), industry connection opportunities through the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathway Program, and ongoing feedback from the judging panel, who included producers Michele Bennett and Deb Cox, SBS acting head of scripted Amanda Duthie and Umbrella Entertainment MD Jeff Harrison. The writer will also receive Screenworks annual membership, AWG membership and tickets to the AACTA Awards.

“We operate in a highly competitive industry largely driven by relationships, and regional filmmakers are often disadvantaged by being outside key networks, so an initiative like this which aims to remove those barriers is a game changer. I am absolutely over the moon to be the winner!” said Jenkins.

“It means my project Blackbird will get the access to market and feedback it needs at this crucial stage of development. I’m especially looking forward to working with talented screenwriter Emma Jensen. Massive thanks to AACTA, Screenworks and the judging panel for this fantastic opportunity!”

Originally, the competition was meant to be held as a live pitch at the Screenworks Business of Producing Conference, however was moved to an online format after the event was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Other finalists included The Artisan, from Amanda Bridgeman; Big Things from Anna Lindner; Samantha Laughton and Tracey Rigney’s The Boundary Rider, and Timothy Walker and Gretel Vella’s A Sunburnt Christmas.

“These types of initiatives are crucial in assisting regional practitioners to connect with key industry opportunities in order to progress their projects, their skills and their careers – especially at the moment when our members, colleagues and the industry more broadly is being challenged by COVID-19,” said Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch.

“We are delighted with the outcomes from this partnership with AACTA and look forward to continuing to work together on many projects in the future. Congratulations to Georgina!”

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