Leah Purcell and Warwick Thornton.
Warwick Thornton, Leah Purcell, Ivan Sen, Steven McGregor, Erica Glynn, Danielle Maclean and Bain Stewart will travel to Los Angeles next month for high-level networking.
The visit by the delegation, which includes David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin and Charlotte Seymour, is an extension of Screen Australia’s Talent USA initiative and coincides with the agency celebrating 25 years of Indigenous screen stories.
The November 5-10 program will focus on setting up business connections for the delegates with US film and TV industry stakeholders and providing opportunities to learn from established LA-based creators and decision-makers.
Participants were selected based on their international success and/or having established interest in the US.
“It is fantastic to be able to offer this incredible opportunity to luminaries of our industry, which will assist in opening new doors to expand their already successful careers in the US market,” said Penny Smallacombe, Screen Australia’s head of the Indigenous.
“This program is about fostering new relationships to ensure that our Indigenous stories can continue to find international audiences and possible financing beyond Australia. As we’ve seen recently with the Mystery Road series on Acorn TV, there is definitely an appetite for our stories in the US and interest in what our creators can deliver.”
The visit has been supported by a grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to the Australians in Film Foundation.
“The Australians in Film Foundation was established to provide opportunities for Australian screen creators to develop their craft in the US market and we are excited to be working with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department in bringing some of the top Indigenous Australian filmmakers to Los Angeles, along with the incredible support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Foundation,” said Australians in Film Foundation president Kate Marks.
TALENT USA: INDIGENOUS CONTINGENT
An AFTRS graduate, Glynn’s story-telling career spans over 20 years. Erica developed her skills working for the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) in Alice Springs before directing the award-winning short film My Bed Your Bed, which screened at over 14 film festivals around the world. Along with directing short film and documentary, Glynn’s television works include working as an executive producer on the AACTA Award winning TV series Redfern Now, and the ground-breaking Indigenous-led drama series Gods of Wheat Street and 8MMM Aboriginal Radio. Erica also headed up the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia, in which she developed numerous feature films, and Indigenous filmmakers. Her credits also include writing for the Logie winning animated series Little J & Big Cuz and directing the ABC Comedy series Black Comedy. Erica is currently developing a feature film, and new drama series.
A former Executive Producer with the ABC, Jowsey has extensive experience in the Australian television industry. In 2009, he transitioned into film as he formed the production company BUNYA Productions alongside acclaimed director Ivan Sen. Jowsey has since gone on to produce a range of award-winning films, notably Toomelah, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, and Sweet Country, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2017 Venice Film Festival and the Platform Prize at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. Jowsey also worked as a producer on Mystery Road and its sequel Goldstone along with the ABC series of the same name (Mystery Road TV Series), which has received international acclaim as it has become available on the BBC in the UK and Acorn TV in the US.
Maclean is an award winning writer, director and producer with an extensive range of credits across film, television and documentary. She wrote and directed the drama Queen of Hearts, winning the AFI Award for best non-feature screenplay. MacLean also won an AWGIE for her writing on the children’s TV series Double Trouble, and wrote two episodes of the Logie winning animated series Little J & Big Cuz, as well as writing for NITV’s children’s series Grace Beside Me. Her 2014 ABC documentary to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy, Blown Away, was also nominated for an ADG Award. Danielle is a director of Tamarind Tree Productions along with Steven McGregor.
An award-winning writer and director, McGregor co-wrote Sweet Country, which was selected to screen at numerous international film festivals, taking home the Special Jury Prize at the 2017 Venice Film Festival and the Platform Prize at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. McGregor also worked as a writer on Redfern Now, Ready for This, and the Mystery Road TV Series, which ranks as the most watched non-children’s series of all time on the ABC’s iview platform. The series was also selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick in August of 2018. Steven also directed the third series of Black Comedy, and the drama series The Warriors. He is based in the Northern Territory and is a director of Tamarind Tree Productions along with Danielle MacLean and Anna Grieve.
Purcell is one of Australia’s most respected and admired actors, writers, producers and directors, most well known for her role in the international hit TV drama Wentworth. She is an AACTA, Helpmann, ADG, AWGIE, Logie award-winning and nominated artist for her outstanding work in various roles on iconic feature film and TV including Cate Shortland’s Somersault, John Hillcoat’s The Proposition, Last Cab to Darwin, Redfern Now, Cleverman and The Secret Daughter. In 2017, Purcell was placed in the Australian Financial Review’s 10 most culturally influential Australians. In 2017, Purcell was awarded with the Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for her stage play of The Drover’s Wife. Recently, she signed the publishing deal to deliver The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson novel, and will soon begin filming The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson feature film where she will write, direct and star. Purcell is also currently developing a TV series of the same name.
An AFTRS filmmaking graduate, Sen is one of Australia’s leading filmmakers having written, directed and composed all of his works. A recipient of the Best Director Award at the AFI Awards, Sen’s first feature film Beneath Clouds screened at Sundance Film Festival and won the Premiere First Movie Award at Berlin Film Festival. His second feature Toomelah was selected for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard. In 2013, Sen wrote, directed and composed the feature film Mystery Road, which had its international premiere with a special presentation at the Toronto Film Festival. He has also received the prestigious Byron Kennedy Award at the AACTA Awards in 2011 for his unique artistic vision and multidisciplinary filmmaking.
A recipient of the Kenneth Myer Fellowship for Producing, Seymour boasts over 20 years of screen industry experience. Having worked as an Executive Producer at the ABC, her producing credits now span across documentary and TV drama, including a feature film currently in development with writer/director Erica Glynn. Seymour was the producer on the AFI-winning short feature Queen of Hearts for SBS and recently produced the dramedy web series Other People’s Problems for ABC TV, which was invited to screen at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival. Seymour and Glynn have a keen interest in developing works with strong Indigenous female characters.
With extensive experience working in production in both Australia and the UK with the likes of ABC and Channel 4, Simpkin joined BUNYA Productions as Producer and Head of Television in March 2015 after 12 years of working at the ABC. Since joining BUNYA, Simpkin produced the Mystery Road TV Series, which is currently the highest ranking non-children’s show in ABC iview history. She has also produced award winning films Goldstone and Sweet Country, which was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. She also worked as an executive producer on the AWGIE winning feature film Jasper Jones.
An arts producer working in the areas of film, TV, theatre, visual arts and publishing, Stewart is a seasoned storyteller. Along with Leah Purcell, Stewart founded Oombarra Productions, an Australian independent production company in 2011. He is the originating producer of the highly anticipated film The Drover’s Wife, which he recently received funding to go towards building a business plan for the film. His other production credits include award-winning short films Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun and She. Say., as well as the documentary Black Chicks Talking, which was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival and won the audience award at the Brisbane International Film Festival.
Thornton is an internationally-recognised director, screenwriter and cinematographer. One of Australia’s most acclaimed directors, he was named on the Australian Financial Review’s 10 most culturally influential Australians for 2018 for his work in projecting the story of Australian culture on the international stage. Thornton quickly gained international success, with his short Nana winning the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film at Berlinale. Thornton then went on to make his first feature Samson & Delilah, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the prestigious Caméra d’Or. His most recent feature, Sweet Country, gained Thornton further international success as it was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 2017 Venice Film Festival along with the Platform Prize at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival.
*Non-Indigenous creative partner