Screen Australia puts development funding towards more than 40 projects

05 August, 2020 by Staff Writer

Toni Collette. 

Toni Collette’s directorial debut, an animated series based on The Sapphires and a Shakespeare-inspired anthology are among the 42 projects to recently share in $1.4 million of development funding from Screen Australia.

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The slate, which includes 14 features, eight online projects and 20 TV dramas, marks the final development funding Screen Australia awarded in the 2019-20 financial year.

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.

The agency reports receiving over 534 applications across both funds, up 41 per cent on the 378 application received in 2018-19.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Nerida Moore said, “While this has been a turbulent, challenging time for many in the industry, it hasn’t stopped the drive, passion and imagination of Australian creative teams. In fact we have continued to see applications coming through with really strong and distinctive content, with the application numbers across March-June this year up 76 per cent on the same period last year.”

“It’s exciting to see re-imaginings of well-loved stories such as Shakespeare Now and an animated series inspired by The Sapphires. And we continue to support storytelling on all platforms, with two online series from comedians Gabriel Willie (better known as Bush Tucker Bunjie) and Chloe Black who are each creating their first scripted narrative comedies.”

“We are really pleased to see more ambitious television projects in the pipeline, with 32 television projects funded through the Premium stream in the past 12 months, up from 12 projects last year.”

In response to the impact of coronavirus on the industry, Screen Australia launched the Premium Plus fund in April to provide late-stage development funding to high-budget projects with firm market interest. The agency has funded 17 projects under this fund, including ABC drama The Newsreader and feature film You Won’t Be Alone. The fund closed on July 31.

Feature film projects:

PREMIUM

UNTITLED CHRISTMAS MOVIE
Every Cloud Productions Pty Ltd

Genre Comedy, Family
Director Christiaan Van Vuuren
Writers Gretel Vella, Elliot Vella, Timothy Walker
Producer Mike Jones
Executive Producers Fiona Eagger, Deb Cox
Synopsis The lives of a struggling family are upended when a runaway criminal dressed as Santa Claus crashes onto their farm.

BLOWING THE WHISTLE
See-Saw Productions Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama
Writer Sarah Walker
Producers Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Rachel Gardner
Executive Producers Lesley Williams, Tammy Williams
Synopsis The inspiring true story of an indefatigable Murri woman, Lesley Williams’ hard-fought journey to self-empowerment and dignity in proud defiance of a lifetime of disenfranchisement, that would change not only her life but the lives of thousands of fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

IN MY BODY
Truant Pictures

Genre Horror, Thriller
Writer/Director Miranda Nation
Producer Zareh Nalbandian
Synopsis At a prestigious Parisian acting school, a young woman fights to keep her sanity as the rigorous classes, merciless instructors and cut-throat co-students turn her success into a matter of life or death.

IRMA VOTH
Closer Screens Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy, Drama
Director Sophie Hyde
Writer Tilda Cobham-Hervey
Producers Bryan Mason, Rebecca Summerton, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Sophie Hyde
Synopsis An isolated young Mennonite woman in Mexico agrees to be the translator for a visiting film crew in order to escape her community and save her sister. An adaptation of the novel by Miriam Toews, Irma Voth is a humorous, dark and uplifting story of a woman who is not recognised by those around her, learning to recognise herself.

NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS
Aurora Films Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama
Writer Ákos Armont
Producers Ákos Armont, Gal Greenspan, Antony Waddington, Kerrin McNeil
Story Consultant and Associate Producer Behrouz Boochani
Executive Producer Tracey Robertson
Synopsis Imprisoned without a crime, on an island hidden from view, Kurdish refugee journalist Behrouz Boochani weaponises WhatsApp to rally the world, behind the cause of those in offshore detention.

SHEILA
Revlover Films and Goalpost Pictures
Genre
 Drama, Romance
Writers Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Samantha Strauss
Producers Martha Coleman, Rosemary Blight
Synopsis Based on the best-selling book by Robert Wainwright, Sheila tells the true story of the Australian beauty who stole the heart of the future King of England.

SIGNAL
Truant Pictures
Genre
 Action adventure, Science fiction
Writer Anya Beyersdorf
Producers Zareh Nalbandian, Todd Brown, Casey Walker
Synopsis In the near future, a street orphan discovers her uncanny ability to manipulate electromagnetic waves. When dangerous factions attempt to exploit her power she sets off on a perilous journey into lawless lands to track down her infamous mother, a woman who holds the secret to her power and the key to her survival.

TALK TO ME
Causeway Films HQ Pty Ltd
Genre
 Horror
Directors Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou (RackaRacka)
Writers Danny Philippou, Michael H Beck
Producers Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton
Synopsis Feisty teenager Mia becomes hooked on the thrills of conjuring spirits through an ancient disembodied hand. But when she is confronted by a soul claiming to be her dead mother, a plague of supernatural predators is unleashed, and she must decide whether to trust the dead or the living.

THE BEST OF
New Sparta Productions & Vocab Films
Genre 
Drama, Romantic comedy
Director Toni Colette
Writers Mark Watson, Graeme Simsion
Producers Toni Colette, Christopher Simon
Co-Producer Jen Turner
Synopsis Amateur-musician-turned-IT-specialist Adam Sharp has a stable, albeit dull, life in Norwich with his matter-of-fact wife, Claire. But when his first love, Angelina, gets in touch with an offer of reuniting, Adam must choose between the fantasy of a life unlived, or the reality of his marriage in its quiet beauty.

THE CALLIGRAPHER
Bronte Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama, Romantic comedy
Director PJ Hogan
Writers PJ Hogan, Charlie Carman
Producers Blake Northfield, Cecilia Cordeiro
Synopsis A young calligrapher is commissioned to recreate the love poems of John Donne. He didn’t expect that the works would transition into reality.

THE WHITE MOUSE
Easy Tiger Productions Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama, Mystery
Writer Sarah Lambert
Producers Ian Collie, Rob Gibson, Peter Glover
Executive Producer Katherine Langford
Development Producer Rachael Turk
Synopsis Her passion made her the most ferocious female spy in history… at the cost of her one true love.

GENERATE

HIGHWAY
Goalpost Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
 Thriller, Mystery, Science fiction
Writer/Director Vanessa Gazy
Producers Kylie du Fresne, Liam Heyen
Synopsis A young woman wakes up on the side of a highway with no recollection of who she is, and is unknowingly forced into a testing series of events that question what makes us human. Based on the award winning short film.

MOONGIRL (WORKING TITLE)
Arenamedia Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy, Drama
Writer/Director Santilla Chingaipe
Producer Chloe Brugale
Executive Producers Robert Connolly, Liz Kearney, Robert Patterson
Synopsis Tash, a Melbourne schoolgirl, travels to Zambia for the first time to visit family and encounters more than she’d anticipated – including a rocket scientist uncle.

THE FOX
Causeway Films Hq Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy
Writer/Director Dario Russo
Producers Kristina Ceyton, Samantha Jennings
Synopsis In this blackly comic folktale, an affable foxhunter encounters a shape-shifting fox who offers him an opportunity to transform his partner into the perfect woman and in doing so take control of the natural world.

Television projects:

PREMIUM

DNA DAD (Working Title)
Northern Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy
Director Darren Ashton
Writers Darren Ashton, Ben Miller
Creative Consultant Cian O’Clery
Producers Ben Miller, Joanne Weatherstone
Executive Producer Catherine Nebauer
Synopsis When a neurologically diverse young man discovers his biological father is UK actor Ben Miller, he heads to London to meet him. But Ben barely has time for his young family, let alone a grown-up son.

FIND ME
Closer Screens Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama, Science fiction
Writer Matthew Cormack
Producer Rebecca Summerton
Executive Producer Matthew Cormack
Synopsis Based on the novel by Laura van den Berg, Find Me is a science-fiction drama series about a young woman, Joy – an unreliable narrator who’s repressed her traumatic past – who finds herself immune to a sickness sweeping the country which causes sufferers to forget (everything) and decides that she is key to finding the cure to the pandemic.

FRAMED
Princess Pictures Holdings Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama, Thriller, Crime
Director Anna Dokoza
Writer David Chidlow
Producer Laura Waters
Executive Producer Emma Fitzsimons
Synopsis Based on true events, 40 years after the fact, a young woman battles to clear the name of a relative wrongfully convicted of an attempted terrorism attack. Along the way she uncovers systematic abuse and violence, espionage and some really, really dodgy cops.

GOLD DIGGERS
Kojo Productions Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy
Director Shannon Murphy
Writer Jack Yabsley
Script Producer Trudi-Ann Tierney
Co-Producer Kate Butler
Producer Muffy Potter
Executive Producers Linda Ujuk, JP Sarni, Greg Silverman, Michael Horrocks
Synopsis Desperate for money, love and freedom, sisters Gert and Marigold Brewer move to the gold rush to hustle their way to success.

MAGIC BEACH
Arenamedia Pty Ltd
Genre Family, Animation
Creator Robert Connolly
Writers/Directors Susan Danta, Pierce Davison, Jake Duczynski, Emma Kelly, Anthony Lucas, Simon Rippingale, Marieka Walsh, Eddie White, Lee Whitmore, Kathy Sarpi
Producers Robert Connolly, Liz Kearney
Synopsis Based on Alison Lester’s much-loved illustrated children’s book, Magic Beach is reimagined as an innovative screen production (episodic short-form and companion feature film), with a unique mix of live action entwined with extraordinary animated stories from 10 leading Australian animators.

MIRRORBALL
Easy Tiger Productions Pty Ltd
Genre
 YA Drama
Writer/Director Hannah Lehmann
Producer Rob Gibson, Ian Collie
Synopsis Following a freak accident, Cyd (17) is diagnosed with retrograde amnesia and hallucinates a counter reality in the future. Convinced she is dreaming, Cyd focuses on recovery and returning to her highschool life – until she is confronted with the possibility that her counter reality might be the real one.

NEW ANIMAL
Lingo Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama
Writer Marieke Hardy
Producers Jason Stephens, Helen Bowden
Synopsis After the sudden death of her mother, a 28-year-old woman who works as a cosmetician at a family funeral parlour is drawn into the local BDSM community to process her grief.

OVER AND OUT
Midwinter Films, Easy Tiger, 33 Films
Genre Comedy
Writers Adele Vuko, Christiaan Van Vuuren
Producers Bridget Callow-Wright, Rob Gibson
Executive Producer Ian Collie
Synopsis Two parents, Lewis and Freya, are struggling to survive the trials and tribulations of raising toddlers… Whilst being smack bang in the middle of the post-apocalypse.

THE STRANGER (WORKING TITLE)
Werner Film Productions Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Creator 
Angela Betzien
Writers Angela Betzien, Jada Alberts and Kylie Needham
Producer Joanna Werner
Synopsis A television adaptation of a classic Australian novel.

A TOP END WEDDING STORY
Goalpost Television Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama, Romantic comedy
Writers Miranda Tapsell, Joshua Tyler
Producers Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne
Co-Producers Miranda Tapsell, Joshua Tyler
Synopsis A one-hour comedy drama based on the Australian hit film TOP END WEDDING.

SHAKESPEARE NOW
Hoodlum Entertainment, LuckyChap Entertainment
Genre
 Drama
Creative teams Anya Beyersdorf, Corrie Chen, Lucy Coleman, Elissa Down, Anchuli Felicia King, Michelle Law, Claire McCarthy, Elise McCredie, Leah Purcell, Amelia Roper, Sarah Scheller, Nadine von Cohen, Vivienne Walshe, Rachel Ward
Executive Producers Sally Riley, Margot Robbie, Brett Hedblom, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara, Tracey Robertson, Nathan Mayfield, Kerrin McNeil
Synopsis Shakespeare Now is a bold anthology series led by all-female creative teams. Adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, MacBeth, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night, will be re-imagined, afresh, for television.

SICKOS
Werner Film Productions Pty Ltd
Genre 
Action adventure, Comedy, Mystery, Science fiction
Creator Keir Wilkins
Writers Keir Wilkins, Mithila Gupta, Michele Lee
Producer Joanna Werner
Synopsis When six chronically ill teens discover they are the only people immune to the alien virus sweeping across Australia, they must bust out of the Undiagnosable Diseases Unit they call home and kick some serious alien patootie in a battle to save humanity.

THE LOST FLOWERS OF ALICE HART (Working Title)
Made Up Stories
Genre
 Drama, Mystery
Writers Sarah Lambert, Kirsty Fisher, Kim Wilson
Producers Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson, Steve Hutensky
Executive Producers Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson, Steve Hutensky, Sarah Lambert
Synopsis THE LOST FLOWERS OF ALICE HART is about a girl whose violent childhood casts a dark shadow over her adult life.

THE MAYOR OF NOTHING
Easy Tiger Productions Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy, Drama, Family
Directors David Michod, Mirrah Foulkes
Writers Andrew Knight, Mirrah Foulkes
Producers Rob Gibson, Ian Collie, Richard Roxburgh
Synopsis Carl, a usually cautious and sensible insurance broker, does something truly unexpected: in a grief-induced act of insanity, he buys a rundown village in rural Italy and drags his three daughters on an ill-conceived restoration mission.

THE SAPPHIRES ANIMATION
Goalpost Television Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy, Musical, Family
Writer Kodie Bedford
Producers Rosemary Blight, Tony Briggs, Kylie du Fresne
Synopsis A celebration of sisterhood, sass and sweet, sweet grooves. Inspired by the much-loved film The Sapphires animated series reimagines the four girls growing up in today’s world, as they follow their musical dreams, and in the process learn about life, love, and who they are.

UNRAVEL
Lingo Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama
Writers Sarah Walker
Producer Helen Bowden
Executive Producer Jason Stephens
Synopsis A mysterious young woman will upend the lives of two women in a story about infidelity, forced adoption, and many, many secrets.

THE SISTERS ANTIPODES
Endemol Shine Banks
Genre
 Drama
Writers Fiona Seres, Rebecca Rigg
Producers Imogen Banks, Asher Keddie
Synopsis In 1965, two families collide. Affairs ignite, couples switch and the scandal pushes the realigned families to opposite sides of the world. Reeling, two little girls are given each other’s fathers. The Sisters Antipodes is the ensuing story of the lifelong competition between them and the tragedy that ends it.

THE WHITE ROOM
Goalpost Television Pty Ltd
Genre
 Thriller, Crime
Writer Josh Whiteman
Story Consultant Dr Jane Park
Script Editor Jane Allen
Producers Kylie du Fresne, Rosemary Blight, Les Hill
Synopsis After undergoing illegal stem cell surgery in Korea, a brilliant Australian Paediatric Surgeon experiences horrific visions of a mysterious young girl and becomes convinced that her donor was murdered. Meanwhile in Seoul, Detective Park Young uncovers a crime scene with links to a fabled organ-trafficking organisation known as ‘The Dosan’.

GENERATE

MY FRIEND ANXIETY
Robot Army Productions Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy, Drama
Writer/Director Ryan Chamley
Producers Madison Chamley, Stu Ross, Mario Bancacci
Synopsis MY FRIEND ANXIETY is a comedy about a man’s attempt to reason and live with his mental health, which he has manifested into pyhisial characters he can see and interact with.

THE C WORD
Continuance Pictures
Genre
 Comedy, Drama
Writers Sian Laycock, Joel Stephen Fleming
Producers Julie Eckersley, Tristan Barr, Sian Laycock, Joel Stephen Fleming
Synopsis Siobhan is a 20-something, single, aspiring poet, who is searching for her place in the world. In her desperate quest for transformation she tells a terrible lie that will change her life forever.

Online projects:

GENERATE

AFRO SISTAHS
Afro Sistahs Collective Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Safia Amadou Hamidou, Mumbi Hinga
Director Hawanatu Bangura
Writers Moreblessing Maturure, Rebekah Robertson
Synopsis Western Sydney’s Premiere Afro Hair Salon – the social hub to recuperate, rejuvenate and glow up away from nosey aunties, ‘woke baes’ and shoddy jobs. Here we meet four eclectic sistahs learning, the hard way, that they’re gonna need more than Afro picks, hot combs and rollers to untangle the mess of their lives.

BUSH TUCKER BUNJIE GOLD COAST ADVENTURES
Jetzak Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy
Writers Gabriel Willie, Angelina Hurley
Producers EJ Garrett, Dena Curtis
Story Producer Mark O’Toole
Synopsis Bush Tucker Bunjie becomes the Indigenous heart and soul of the Gold Coast one odd job at a time.

COLOURFUL FACES
Media Farm
Genre
 Comedy
Writers Bjorn Stewart, Rami Fischler
Producers Rami Fischler, Amanda Reedy, Bjorn Stewart
Synopsis Talent. Drive. Skill. Who needs it when you have colourful faces!

JUMP BLUE
Pernickety Split Pty Ltd
Genre
 Drama, Mystery
Director Ben Joseph Andrews
Writers Hannah Silva, Ben Joseph Andrews
Producer Emma Roberts
Executive Producer Mark Atkin
Synopsis Memory and sensation fragment and intertwine in the final descent of freediver Natalia Molchanova.

ME AND HER(PES)
Chips & Gravy Films Pty Ltd
Genre
 Comedy, Romantic comedy
Creators/Writers Gemma Bird Matheson, Kasia Vickery
Producers Gemma Bird Matheson, Hannah Ngo
Executive Producers Alexandra Keddie, Gemma Bird Matheson
Synopsis When Saffie discovers she has herpes, she reaches out to Bek; the one night stand who ghosted her and the only person she’s ever slept with.

THE FOLLOWERS
Monster & Bear Pty Ltd, Goodall & Gallagher Pty Ltd
Genre 
Comedy
Directors Luke Goodall, Marc Gallagher
Writers Luke Goodall, Marc Gallagher
Producers Jessica Pearce, Sarah Hickey
Synopsis  A true crime parody about a wellness cult in the Victorian bush, its charismatic leader and an amatuer filmmaker determined to uncover their dark secrets.

TRANSFERRED
Electric Yak
Genre
 Comedy
Director Adele Vuko
Writer Chloe Black
Producers Alicia Rackett, Paul Moran
Synopsis Meet Alex. She is a 35-year-old transgender woman and it is her first week back at work after announcing her transition.

VAG OF HONOUR
Hayley Adams
Genre
 Comedy
Directors Em Baker, Melanie Killingsworth
Writers Em Baker, Melanie Killingsworth, Jean Tong
Script Editor Jane Allen
Producer Hayley Adams
Synopsis Synopsis Football. Physio. Feminist happy endings. Two best friends moonlight their physio practice as a happy endings massage parlour for local nonnas to fund their AFLW dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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