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Baz Luhrmann. 

A new feature film from Baz Luhrmann, set in a small Australian country town, is among the 18 projects to recently receive story development funding from Screen Australia.

The agency announced today it will share $620,000 between 11 films, five TV series and two online projects.

These projects come from both the existing Premium and Generate development funds. Generate Fund is for lower budget projects with an emphasis on new and emerging talent, or experienced talent wanting to take creative risks. The Premium Fund is for higher budget projects of ambition and scale from successful screen content makers.

Projects pitched for Premium Plus funds – the additional development funding the agency announced in response to COVID-19 – are still being assessed.

Screen Australia head of development Nerida Moore said: “With many productions temporarily halted it is more important than ever for us to support the development of Australian stories for all platforms. I’m encouraged to see the industry is taking advantage of this time, and we’ve seen a significant increase in Story Development applications with 92 applications received in April. This number includes the first Premium Plus applications.

“What excites me about this latest mix of projects is the strategic pairing of emerging creators with experienced producers. We’re also thrilled to support teams taking on new challenges, with Bjorn Stewart adapting his short film Killer Native to a feature film, the team behind Robbie Hood developing a prequel story, and Adele Vuko building on the success of Over and Out with new science-fiction series Galactic Guardian. Baz Luhrmann developing a coming-of-age story set in regional Australia is also very exciting.”

The feature film projects:

PREMIUM

LENNIE & GINGER MICK
Stranger Than Fiction Films
Genre 
Drama, Family
Director Lisa Matthews
Writer Reg Cribb
Producers Jo-anne McGowan, Jennifer Peedom
Synopsis In 1932, a 9 year old boy makes history by riding his horse 600 miles to the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – alone.

RUNAWAY
Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama
Writer/Director Mirrah Foulkes
Producer Liz Watts
Executive Producers Jan Chapman, Jane Campion
Synopsis Fearing the unravelling of her relationship, a young woman leads her husband into a complex and dangerous world of sexual fantasy that entangles the lives of her older neighbours.

THE CREEK (WORKING TITLE)
Bazmark Inq Ltd
Genre Coming of Age Drama
Writer/Director Baz Luhrmann
Producers Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Knapman, Paul Watters, Schuyler Weiss
Synopsis A coming of age story set in a small country town.

THE WEDDING OFFICER
Revlover Films
Genre 
Drama, Romantic comedy
Writers Hannie Rayson, Andrew Knight
Producer Martha Coleman
Synopsis When 25 year old Captain Gould is sent to allied occupied Naples to vet the romantic liaisons between British soldiers and Neapolitan women, he upsets the local mafia and his allied kinsmen with his naive, by-the-book approach. Livia Pertini is sent to awaken him to the Neapolitan way with her incredible cooking. He learns more than he expected and is changed forever. A sensuous tale of food, passion – and multiculturalism. Based on the best selling book by Anthony Capella.

UNTITLED ORPHANAGE PROJECT
Aquarius Films
Genre 
Drama
Writers Sinet Chan, Anya Beyersdorf
Director Jen Peedom
Producers Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Synopsis After being wrenched from her family as a child and enduring years of abuse in a corrupt orphanage, a determined Cambodian orphan teams up with an Australian voluntourist. Together, they uncover the dark and dangerous secrets of an exploitative orphanage industry and fight to end the era of child trafficking. An incredible true story about the life of Sinet Chan.

UNTITLED MATT OKINE PROJECT
Aquarius Films in association with Wooden Horse
Genre 
Comedy, Drama, Family
Writer Matt Okine
Producers Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Executive Producer Jude Troy
Synopsis Loosely based on Matt Okine’s experiences of growing up in Brisbane, this film is a journey back to 1998, when 12-year-old African-Australian Mike Amon struggles with entering high school, finding first love, twisting his testicle – and learning that his mother has been diagnosed with late stage cancer.

GENERATE

AUDREY
Invisible Republic Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy, Drama
Director Natalie Bailey
Writer Louise Woodruff Sanz
Producer Michael Wrenn
Synopsis Ronnie is a frustrated mother who lives vicariously through the dreams she seeks to install in her two daughters so when Audrey ends up in a coma Ronnie believes she has no choice but to become her daughter.

INVASION OF THE KILLER NATIVES
Noble Savage Pictures
Genre 
Comedy, Horror
Writer/Director Bjorn Stewart
Producers Majhid Heath, Hayley Johnson
Synopsis A British couple try to make their new life in a new world, but zombie natives won’t make it easy.

NO EXIT
Rodd Rathjen
Genre
 Comedy, Drama
Writer/Director Rodd Rathjen
Synopsis In the early 1960’s, the west is undergoing a hysteria of middle class status anxiety influenced by advertising, television and comic books. A young writer who resists these forms of charm, descends into his own frustrated hysteria as he tries to retain his soul.

SHAYDA
Porchlight Films
Genre
 Drama
Writer/Director Nora Niasari
Producer Vincent Sheehan
Synopsis A young Iranian mother finds refuge in a women’s shelter where her search for freedom brings her face to face with the violence from which she has fled.

VESNA
Sweetshop&Green
Genre
 Drama
Writer/Director Sara Kern
Producer Gal Greenspan
Synopsis After her mother’s sudden death, Nika (10) becomes the unexpected grown-up of her fragmented family, trying to bring her troubled older sister and distant father together.

Television projects:

DALHOUSIE
Film Depot Pty Limited
Genre 
Drama, Comedy
Writer Melina Marchetta
Creators Melina Marchetta, Louise Smith
Producer Louise Smith
Executive Producer Louise Smith
Synopsis Since the tragic death of her husband, Martha has done a great job of avoiding her old life, until her 21 year old step-daughter Rosie arrives on her doorstep with a baby, demanding to take back her father’s house.

HEROINE
Goalpost Television Pty Ltd
Genre
 Fantasy drama
Writer Matthew Whittet
Producers Kylie du Fresne, Rosemary Blight
Consultant Kate Erickson
Synopsis Annie’s normal student life is abruptly upended when a dramatic encounter brings back missing memories, sending her on the run to save her supernatural Shadow Twin, Celeste – but their time is running out, and powerful destructive forces are hot on their heels.

THE MESSENGER
Lingo Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama
Writers Sarah Lambert, Kirsty Fisher, Leon Ford
Producer Jason Stephens, Helen Bowden
Synopsis Ed Kennedy is a young, directionless man. His life is one of peaceful routine until a playing card inscribed with cryptic messages arrives in the mail. Chosen to care, Ed makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

GENERATE

DIRTY THIRTIES
John Kassab
Genre 
Comedy, Drama
Creators Khaled Abdulwahab, John Kassab
Directors John Kassab, Craig Irvin
Writers John Kassab, Jane Allen, Craig Irvin, Candy Bowers
Producer John Kassab
Executive Producer Michael McMahon
Synopsis A group of newly single African/Middle Eastern Australian friends navigate the ups and downs of modern dating.

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL
Ludo Studio & Since1788 Productions
Genre
 Comedy, Drama
Writer/Director Dylan River
Producer Tanith Glynn-Maloney
Development Producer Lauren Brown
Executive Producers Daley Pearson, Charlie Aspinwall
Synopsis After finding out a dark family secret. Robyn (17) a young Aboriginal delinquent, goes on a journey from her small desert community to the city in search of answers, learning some much needed moral values along the way.

Online projects:

GENERATE

SWAMPED
Stupid Old Studios Pty Ltd
Genre 
Comedy
Writers Bec Petraitis, Kate Dehnert
Director Evan Munro-Smith
Producer Emma Sharp
Executive Producers Bec Petraitis, Kate Dehnert
Contributing Writers David Koutsouridis, Urvi Majumdar, Xavier Michelides
Synopsis Two digital media burnouts become their own bosses, only to find themselves trapped in the business they’ve created.

THE GALACTIC GUARDIAN
Thirty Three Films
Genre
 Comedy, Science fiction
Writer/Director Adele Vuko
Synopsis Celeste is a self-destructive dirtbag and unwilling Galactic Guardian, responsible for protecting the Milky Way against evil. But when she accidentally opens a wormhole to dark realm, she’ll be forced to grow up and accept responsibility for her actions – or pay the ultimate price.

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