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:: Latest Screen Australia funding measures

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Screen Australia has announced development funding totalling almost $500,000 for 14 features, one high-end television project and two online series, as well as four supported talent development placements.

Nerida Moore, Senior Development Manager at Screen Australia said: “This round we have seen a diverse range of projects across features, TV and online, spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, thriller and family drama. This includes projects that are continuing their journey towards production, as well as new projects added to the development slate.”

“We continue to support projects from established creatives, such as Wayne Blair, Gerard Lee, Catriona McKenzie and Rachel Perkins, as well as impressive emerging screen talent such as Bec Peniston-Bird, Tania Ferrier, Shannon Murphy, Saman Shad and Jack Yabsley.”

Among the projects funded for development are:

Rita Kalnejais’ adaptation of her successful stage play Babyteeth. Shannon Murphy (Offspring, Love Child) is attached to direct, which would be her feature debut. A bittersweet comedy about how good it is not to be dead yet and how far we will go for love, the film will be produced by Alex White, with Jan Chapman as Executive Producer.

Television drama series Darby and Joan, about two strangers who set out on an epic outback journey, is to be produced by Claire Tonkin and Glenys Rowe for CJZ, with executive producers Matt Campbell and Nick Murray, and writer Phillip Gwynne (Australian Rules).

Godfrey, from AACTA-award winning writer/director Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Cleverman) and Emmy®-nominated and AACTA-award winning writer Gerard Lee (Top of the Lake, Breath), which will be produced by Jamie Hilton and Ester Harding for See Pictures. The film tells the story of Godfrey, a man in his 30s with autism who lives with his Indigenous adoptive-brother David. Their precarious domestic balance is destabilised when Godfrey’s new physiotherapist Annie arrives in town.

Online comedy series Gold Diggers to be directed by Shannon Murphy, written by Jack Yabsley and produced by Muffy Potter. The executive producers will be Muffy Potter, Michael Horrocks and Trudi-Ann Tierney, and follows two women in the Gold Rush in Australia who go in search of their own jackpot: newly rich idiots.

Actor/director Matt Day’s first feature directorial project Killing Betty. Based on Day’s 2017 Tropfest-winning short film The Mother Situation, this dark comedy about greed, euthanasia, family and real-estate will be written by Kirsty Fisher and produced by Vincent Sheehan for Porchlight Films.

Award-winning director Rachel Perkins (Jasper Jones) and writer Craig Silvey (Jasper Jones) will reunite for feature The Prospector. This period drama/thriller is set in Western Australia’s Gold Rush, where a woman searches for her missing husband and is forced to question if he truly is the man he claims to be. Miranda Dear and Darren Dale will produce for Blackfella Films.

Stolen is writer/director Catriona McKenzie’s second feature film project, following the award-winning Satellite Boy, and is co-written with Patricia Cornelius (Blessed). Stolen tells the story of a white baby girl who is brought into an Aboriginal community by a dingo. The mystery of her and those around her unravels in reverse-chronological order to reveal who she is and how she came to be. McKenzie will also produce, alongside Liz Kearney for Arenamedia.

Thought Talent+ producers Anthea Williams, Fiona Tuomy, Santilla Chingaipe and Mala Sujan will undertake placements with Causeway Films, Film Art Media, Arenamedia and Easy Tiger respectively. All four producers are alumni of Screen Australia’s Developing the Developer program.

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