Goran Stolevski, Hannah Lehmann and Nina Oyama.
Twelve Aussie creatives are off to Los Angeles for Talent USA: LA, a week-long program that involves meetings, workshops and networking opportunities.
Talent USA: LA is an initiative of Screen Australia and the Australian Writers’ Guild, and participants were selected due to their existing international profile or having already attracted US interest in their work.
Film Independent and Australians in Film USA (AiF) will assist setting up the program, and AiF are also providing financial assistance to Mentor LA recipients to attend the Talent USA: LA program.
“LA is the epicentre of the English-speaking screen industry, so Talent USA is an opportunity for the Australian creators to understand how the US system works and increase their visibility amongst core decision-makers,” said Screen Australia’s head of development Nerida Moore.
“The ultimate goal of the program is to empower these creators to do their best work back in Australia, with the confidence that there is potential creative partners, finance and audiences beyond our shores.”
AWG CEO Jacqueline Elaine said that building on the success of previous Talent USA: LA delegations was vital to creating strong and lasting connections between US decision-makers and Australian creators.
“With global demand for top quality content and unique voices only increasing, there’s never been a better time for Australian screenwriters to affirm their presence in LA, building relationships and showcasing all that Australian creators can offer the global industry. We’re excited to continue to work hand in hand with Screen Australia to deliver this incredible opportunity.”
Trent Atkinson: Trent Atkinson is a self-taught screenwriter who has worked for networks and streaming services including AMC, Channel 7, Canal+ and Netflix and has created over 65 episodes of television that have screened all over the world. His Australian screenwriting credits include A Place to Call Home, All Saints, Home & Away, and Between Two Worlds, a thriller currently in production for Channel 7. Atkinson is currently working as executive producer on We’re Really Happy for AMC studios and Chernin Entertainment, while creating and writing a new series, Stereoscope for Crypt TV. His first pilot for the US, Burns, is being produced by Ivan Reitman/Montecito Picture Company, with Kari Lizer (Will & Grace) attached as showrunner. Atkinson is also attached to direct his own feature film False Flag, with Michael Roiff (Waitress) producing.
Lucy Coleman: Lucy Coleman is a screenwriter and director. Her debut feature Hot Mess premiered at Seattle International Film Festival in 2018 and was named “one of the best films of 2019” by The Curb. Coleman’s follow-up project was the highly acclaimed web series, On the Fringe, which made its International Premiere at UK’s Pilot Light TV Festival in Manchester and had its North American Premiere at LA Comedy Festival – 365. Off the back of these projects, Coleman now has her first TV series, Exposure, in development. Her second feature film as writer/director, The Witches, is also in development with producers Toby Nalbandian and Greg Schmidt of Truant Pictures, and independent US producer Alex Tompkins, who has worked extensively with genre giants including Jordan Peele, Ari Aster and Denis Villeneuve.
Philip Tarl Denson: Philip Tarl Denson is a screenwriter from the Northern Territory. Denson was recently selected to take part in Imagine Impact, a professional development initiative founded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer under the auspices of Imagine Entertainment, where he developed an original science fiction television series which has attached producer Michael London at Groundswell Entertainment and which is currently fielding studio offers. Denson also has a science fiction feature film moving towards production with Intrepid Pictures. Denson has been the recipient of several awards and nominations including winning the NT Literary Award for Screenwriting, and being shortlisted for the 2016 John Hinde award for Science Fiction. He was a finalist in the 2016 INSITE award, the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, the Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition, quarter-finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting contest, and finalist in the 2017 Gateway LA ‘Aussie List’ of the best unproduced scripts by Australian writers.
Justine Flynn: Justine Flynn is an established creator, writer, director and producer who has produced hundreds of hours of content at the helm of series including Me and My Monsters, Five Minutes More and Hot Spell. She was the co-creator of Blue Water High, Islandares and Bindi’s Bootcamp and has directed for Nickelodeon, Dirtgirlworld and The Justine Clarke Show. Flynn is the creator, showrunner and director of the ABC/Netflix series The Unlisted produced by Aquarius Films, which will premiere on the ABC in September 2019.
Kym Goldsworthy: A winner of six AWG AWGIE Awards, Kym Goldsworthy is one of Australia’s most versatile and highly regarded writers. His four-part series Deep Water for SBS won Silver at the 2017 Seoul International Drama Awards. Goldsworthy has also worked as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed ABC series Mystery Road, as well as Janet King and Pulse. He was a writer on the Emmy Award-winning kids series Beat Bugs, a writer and script producer on the ABC/HBO Asia series Serangoon Road, and is developing a number of original projects featured on the AWG’s Pathways Showcase.
Hannah Lehmann: Hannah Lehmann is a creator, writer and director whose short-form series have collectively clocked up millions of views. She created and wrote two seasons of Instagram series The Out There, which was distributed by Adolescent Content in the US in 2018. This year, she created, wrote and directed the Snap Originals series Two Sides, which was commissioned by SnapChat and produced by New Form Digital in the US. She currently has projects in development in Australia and the US. Lehmann also starred in the feature film Suburban Wildlife, which played at Sydney Film Festival this year.
Nina Oyama: Nina Oyama is a writer, actor and comedian whose comedy writing credits include You’re Skitting Me, The Chaser’s Election Desk, Tonightly with Tom Ballard and Squinters. Oyama recently co-wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in the comedy web series The Angus Project which was a finalist in ABC’s Fresh Blood Initiative, and earned her a nomination for an Australian Director’s Guild Award. As a stand-up comedian, Oyama’s televised appearances include Just for Laughs and Stand Up at Bella Union. Her acting credits include comedy series Utopia and Kinne Tonight.
Madeleine Parry: Madeleine Parry is a writer, director, producer and host whose work traverses television, film, documentary, comedy and virtual reality. Parry directed the critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated first Australian Netflix Original Comedy Special, Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. Her previous work as a director includes the 10-part comedy-documentary series Corey White’s Roadmap to Paradise. Her short film Murder Mouth won multiple best film awards and was screened internationally. She has written, directed and presented documentaries for the ABC including Maddie Parry: Tough Jobs, and ADG award-winning Meatwork. Parry is currently in development on scripted projects that explore intergenerational female perspectives.
Claire Phillips: Claire Phillips is a highly-sought after writer and producer known for her work across both comedy and drama. Most recently Phillips wrote the pilot, co-developed and co-script produced the first season of Network Ten series Playing for Keeps, a heightened drama about Aussie Rules footballers’ wives. She has also written for the critically acclaimed series Offspring and both seasons of The Wrong Girl. Phillips has twice been nominated for an AWG Award. She is currently developing film and television projects for both local and international audiences, including the satirical comedy Public Relations for Revlover.
Bradley Slabe: Bradley Slabe is an Annie Award-nominated and Oscar® shortlisted writer and director. His latest short film Lost & Found which he wrote and co-directed, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and won an Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts Award (AACTA), Major AWGIE Award, and ADG Award. Listed as one of “25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019” by Austin Film Festival and Moviemaker Magazine, Bradley currently writes for animation for the international screen, most recently the Kidscreen nominated, Kitty is Not a Cat on the Disney Channel.
Melissa Lee Speyer: Melissa Lee Speyer is a graduate of NIDA (Playwriting) and AFTRS (Screenwriting) as a recipient of the Foxtel Diversity Scholarship. Her television screenwriting credits include ABC drama series The Heights, series two of Random and Whacky, and the first season of forReal!. Speyer has also written a number of short films – her co-written short Jadai The Broome Brawler won the 2018 Sydney Film Festival Lexus Australia Fellowship, and premiered at the 2019 Sydney Film Festival. Lee Speyer’s theatre credits include TickTickBoom (2018, The Actors Pulse) which won the 2015 Silver Gull Play Award, A Christmas Carol (2017, KXT Bakehouse), and Trade (2017, Adelaide Fringe and Old 505 Theatre). She is a founding member of The Collective, an Asian-Australian performing arts collective.
Goran Stolevski: Goran Stolevski is a writer and director whose film Would You Look at Her won Best International Short at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. He won the Rouben Mamoulian Best Director award for You Deserve Everything at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival and the $50,000 Lexus Australia Fellowship the following year for My Boy Oleg. Stolevski co-wrote a season bible and directed three episodes of BAFTA- and International-Emmy-winning series Nowhere Boys. His 25 shorts have collectively screened at over 200 festivals including Clermont-Ferrand, Palm Springs, Raindance, Frameline and Outfest. He’s written 11 feature scripts, receiving Screen Australia development grants for black comedy You’ll Love Me and supernatural witch drama You Won’t Be Alone, with Causeway Films (The Babadook, The Nightingale) on board as producers..