National call-out for feature film scripts

16 October, 2014 by Don Groves

ScreenWest has issued a national and international call for scripts to be developed as a debut feature for Western Australian directors.

The aim is to find well-developed projects for each of three directors in the agency’s 2014-15 Feature Navigator initiative.


Mike Hoath, Maziar Lahooti and Robert Forsyth will participate in the innovative development program designed to progress the careers of WA directors through skills development and identifying and developing a debut feature film project.

Agents, managers, distributors and credited producers are invited to submit scripts to the Feature Navigator directors for their consideration.

“Mike, Maziar and Robert have each shown a huge amount of talent in their short films and other work to date, and have a stand-out command of the directing craft that will certainly lead to a strong debut feature film and ongoing career in the screen industry,” said ScreenWest acting CEO – development, Rikki Lea Bestall.

“It was a competitive round and we’re very excited to be working with all three directors over the next year. The program, to our knowledge, is a first for an Australian screen development agency and we’re proud to be giving Western Australian directors this opportunity.”

Script submissions should be sent to by October 31.

The program aims to channel projects towards the West Coast Visions funding rounds, an annual facility set up to support debut features, which backed These Final Hours, Blame, Wasted on the Young and Last Train to Freo.

But  the agency will also look at the opportunity to fund any of the Feature Navigator projects through its general production rounds.

"The key criteria here is achievability, both in scale and overall package," communications manager Kathyrn Ogilvie told IF. "We hope that by drawing on our collective experience and networks we can help that first film get a leg-up, when it can be so hard for talented first-time feature filmmakers to gain traction.

"We aren’t applying set amounts to projects or indeed the program overall. We want to be flexible so that we can respond to the needs of the projects we pick up. The agency will also be sending the directors on professional development opportunities/training such as director attachments, so the financial support for the program extends beyond specific project development.

"A project may require only traditional draft development with a script editor. Or it may make sense to bring the writer here, or send the director to the Eastern States or overseas to further develop the project together."

Director Profiles

“I’m looking for projects that can be shot on a limited budget – around the 1 million dollar mark . Tight, contained thrillers, dramas and horrors with a focus on story and character. Think; Kill List, Enemy, Tape, Boxing day…small scale, big impact.” – Mike Hoath

Mike is a graduate of The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) Screen Academy and got his start as a director on the children’s television series Castaway. In 2009, Mike was named Young Filmmaker of the Year at the Western Australian Screen Awards. His short film Crosshairs screened at festivals around the world, picking up accolades including several Best Film awards. He works at documentary production house Prospero Productions and his next film project is the ScreenWest funded $70,000 short film Long Highway, an intense short drama to be shot in the Kimberly outback in January 2015.

Director’s Filmography

2012 – Crosshairs
2012 – Django Unchained, Winner, Sony Aspiring Filmmaker Competition (Australian winner)
2009 – Castaway – Children’s Drama Series Episodes 17, 18, 19, 20
2009 – Young Filmmaker of the Year, WA Screen Awards
2009 – WA Screen Academy graduate

"I’m currently working on developing some low budget crime dramas/thrillers or dramatic comedies to be shot for around the 750 K – 1 Million dollar mark, and I'm seeking stories and scripts in the genre, as well as anything aimed at senior audiences. Character driven stuff, minimal locations, minimal cast, high stakes. Drama or comic drama in the vein of Richard Linklater films like Tape and the sunset/sunrise/midnight trilogy. For the crime related stuff think Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher trilogy. But in all honesty, I love anything that's good and has something to say.” – Maziar Lahooti.

Maziar graduated from the Perth Central TAFE Film School with an Advanced Diploma in Cinematography/Directing in 2005. He then worked as a technical assistant in lighting, grips and camera on feature films, TV shows, commercials and documentaries whilst directing and often writing his own short films on the side. He has written and directed several short films at varying budgets, most of which have screened at several Academy accredited festivals. He has won awards in Australia as well as abroad including Western Australian Young Film Maker of the year in 2008.

In 2009, Maziar was accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School into the Directing stream and returned there in 2012 to complete a Masters Degree.

Director’s Filmography

2014 – Henry & Aaron’s 7 Steps to Superstardom
– Sleep Your Way to the Top
– Get Your Brand Out There (Winner, LA Webfest Outstanding Directing)
2012 – AFTRS Masters – Directing
2012 – Heaven (AFTRS) – (Finalist, DENDY awards at Sydney FF; Winner, Best Director – Western Australian Screen Awards)
2011 – Good Pretender (Flickerfest, Palm Springs, Seattle; Winner, Best Short Screenplay – Western Australian Screen Awards)
2009 – The Luger Story – Winner, Silver ACS Award, Vic
2009 – Loveless (AFTRS) (Palm Springs, Flickerfest)
2008 – Crossroad (New York City Int’l Film Festival, Flickerfest)
2008 – ABC Young Filmmaker of the year award – Western Australian Screen Awards

"I find myself drawn to film noir archetypes; flawed, ambiguous, compulsive characters whose tragic circumstances are brought about largely by their own broken psychology. And I'm particularly interested in authentic and uniquely Australian stories that are specific to their setting, evoking worlds at once familiar and exotic; Chopper, The Proposition, and Snowtown are all great examples.”– Robert Forsyth.

After several years working in advertising as an illustrator, graphic designer and storyboard artist, Forsyth transitioned to directing with his first short film, Stump, in 2001. The self-funded film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and launched Robert’s career as a television commercials director.

For commercial work, he is represented by The Penguin Empire. He's an ardent admirer of Joel and Ethan Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Andrew Dominik and David Fincher.

Director’s Filmography

• 2007 – Marx and Venus (TV series) 3 episodes
• 2004 – 2014: Commercials Director – Bluestone Films (WA), Ernie Clark Films (SA), Spirit Films (SA), Nylon Films, (SA)Sauce Films (WA) Factor 30 Films (WA) Siamese (WA) The Penguin Empire (WA)
• 2001 – Stump (short film) (Premiered Telluride Film Festival 2001; Nominee, AFI Awards 2001 – Best Editing; Nominee, IF Awards, Best Short Film, 2002; Winner, St Kilda Film Festival, Best Editing)
• 1996 – Bachelor of Arts, Design, Curtin University