A slate of 15 television dramas, 11 feature films, and five online series will share in more than $1 million of development funding from Screen Australia.
They include science fiction drama Immersion from Lion director Garth Davis; queer family drama Jimpa from writer/director Sophie Hyde; a television version of the online series Girl, Interpreted; and Northern Territory comedy, The Hairy Marys.
Of the 31 titles, 22 have been funded through the Generate fund and nine have been funded through the Premium fund.
Screen Australia head of development Louise Gough said the agency was delighted to support a mix of originals and adaptations from established and new talent.
“We’re pleased to see a diversity of themes and genres, from coming of age, to gripping thrillers, queer quests, and absurdist comedy, that have the potential to connect with a wide range of audiences.”
“Now five months into the job as the new head of development, it’s thrilling to see the stories that are being developed, the hands they are in, the formats being written for, and the audiences these stories seek to connect with.
“We look forward to continued engagement with talent and the content they are developing.”
Aquarius Films Pty Ltd
Directors: Phoenix Raei, Rhys Graham
Writers: Abdul Karim Hekmat, Roger Monk
Producers: Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford, Osamah Sami
Synopsis: Paradise is the powerful true story of two men who meet and fall in love in an Australian offshore detention centre. Their relationship becomes a life-affirming source of strength as they take on institutional indifference and overcome hopelessness, finally making their way to freedom.
Closer Screens Pty Ltd
Director: Sophie Hyde
Writers: Sophie Hyde, Matthew Cormack
Producers: Liam Heyen, Sophie Hyde
Executive Producer: Audrey Mason-Hyde
Synopsis: A straight woman, her Queer family, and a life-changing visit. Acclaimed director Sophie Hyde’s most personal film yet – Jimpa – is a celebration of LGBTQI+ culture and considers, with nuance, the conflict and connection of a multigenerational Queer family on screen.
Bluey (working title)
Genre: Drama, Coming of Age
Writer/Director: Darlene Johnson
Producers: Darlene Johnson, Tania Chambers
Synopsis: Bluey, an angry young woman trapped in a life of violence, meets a mystery mentor who could change everything. Bluey is a story of courage, transformation, and survival.
Blackfella Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Director: Amanda Blue
Producers: Darren Dale, Erin Bretherton
Synopsis: A curious teenage girl escapes the restrictive confines of her migrant suburban community to discover love, her sexuality, and acceptance in 1980s queer Sydney.
Everyone We Know
Director: Jessica Barclay Lawton
Writers: Jessica Barclay Lawton, Zef Aster
Producer: Lizzie Cater, Zef Aster
Executive Producer: Kate Laurie
Synopsis: A genderqueer 21-year-old is propelled into a complicated sexual awakening, while they wrestle the angst and restlessness of a young life in crisis.
Down the Hume
Azure Productions Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Neo-noir
Director: Craig Boreham
Writers: Craig Boreham, Peter Polites, Adrian Chiarella
Producers: Annmaree J Bell, Paul Struthers
Synopsis: When Bux, a young gay Greek man, suspects his Anglo boyfriend, Nice Arms Pete, is stepping out on him he decides to stalk him amongst the gay beats of the western suburbs. But he soon discovers that the web of betrayal goes far deeper than he could ever have imagined.
Sweet Milk Lake
Writer: Harvey Zielinski
Producers: Rosie Lourde, Harvey Zielinski
Synopsis: After being mistaken for his alpha-cis twin brother by his estranged and dying dad, a soft-spoken trans-man relishes the opportunity to be “one of the boys”; until the weight of the lie becomes heavier than his need for the truth.
Carolyn Johnson Films Pty Ltd
Writers/Directors: Amin Palangi, Eve Spence
Producer: Carolyn Johnson
Synopsis Kayla, a couch-surfing young woman in need of a home, sets out to find her estranged cousin who can support her. Then she meets a refugee with nothing to offer but love. Will Kayla risk her newfound security for him?
Simpatico Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Crime
Writer/Director: Charles Williams
Producer: Marian Macgowan
Synopsis: When a soon-to-be-paroled inmate manipulates a juvenile into murdering Australia’s most infamous never-to-be released prisoner, a strange paternal love triangle forms, with transformative and shocking consequences for all.
My Brilliant Career
Jungle Entertainment Pty Ltd
Writer: Liz Doran
Executive Producers: Shay Spencer, Chloe Rickard, Liz Doran
Synopsis: Sybylla Melvin, a headstrong country girl, must choose between everything a conventional life offers and her own plans for a ‘brilliant career’.
The Last Guests
Lingo Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Writer: Giula Sandler
Producer: Helen Bowden
Executive Producer: Jason Stephens
Synopsis: After renting out their vacation home online, faltering newlyweds Cain and Lina undergo a terrifying ordeal that strikes at the heart of their innermost secrets. A piercing dissection of shame, trust and surveillance in our most intimate of spaces. Based on the novel “The Last Guests” by J.P. Pomare.
Film Art Media
Genre: Drama, Political Thriller
Lead writer: Suzie Miller
Producers: Sue Maslin, Charlotte Seymour
Synopsis: Bruny is a political thriller/drama about love, loyalty and the new world order.
I Am That Pty Ltd
Genre: Crime, Science Fiction, Neo Noir
Director: Garth Davis
Writer: Matt Vesely
Producer: Samantha Lang
Executive Producers: Garth Davis, Emile Sherman
Synopsis: When an investigation into his daughter’s illness leads to signs of a shadowy government agency experimenting with the subconscious, a police detective becomes trapped in an immersive reality.
Speaking in Tongues
See-Saw Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Writer: Andrew Bovell
Producer: Emile Sherman, Iain Canning
Executive Producers: Liz Watts, Emilie Sherman, Iain Canning, Jan Chapman
Synopsis: Interconnected lives are thrown into turmoil when a woman goes missing in mysterious circumstances.
Writer: Brendan Berne
Producer: Matthew Gledhill, Ailish McElmeel
Development Executive: Julia Flaster
Synopsis: Western diplomats courageously decide to put self-interest before world peace after a dictator with a complex captures a North Korean scientist, looking to go nuclear.
Journey to the Stone Country
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Writers: Katherine Thomson, Chantelle Murray, Wesley Enoch, Isaac Drandic
Producers: Michael Boughen, Matthew Street, Daryl Sparkes
Synopsis: After her marriage dissolves, Annabelle Beck moves back to her hometown of Townsville, Queensland. She joins her archaeologist friend, Susan, in exploring the mining fields of central Queensland and meets up again with a long lost childhood friend Indigenous officer, Bo Rennie. Bo takes Annabelle on his exploration of his traditional lands, the area she left as a young girl, and tells her of the secret “Elder’s Playground” deep in the Stone Country. Their professional relationship soon develops into a personal one. But both are historically interconnected in ways they could never imagine, a connection that could rip their relationship apart.
Writers: Lauren Rowe, Mansoor Noor, Steve Anthopoulos
Producer: Belinda Dean
Synopsis: In this anti-inspiration-porn comedy, a young woman with cystic fibrosis faces the wrath of everyone she loves when she impulsively decides to reject lifesaving treatment and face an early death.
Mad Dan Productions Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime, Mystery, Family
Creator: Rowena Mohr
Directors: Madeleine Dyer, Rachel Griffiths
Writers: Madeleine Dyer, Daniel Mulvihill, Hannah Belanszky, Sam Carroll
Script Producer: Sam Carroll
Producers: Daniel Mulvihill, Madeleine Dyer, Rowena Mohr
Executive Producer: Rachel Griffiths
Synopsis: As four orphaned kids fight to save their family’s wildlife park from threatening outside forces, they come to realise that the greatest threats don’t always come from outside their sanctuary.
NG Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writers: Grace Feng Fang Juan, Nikki Tran
Synopsis: On an expiring visa, a desperate Chinese graduate picks up easy work as a Mandarin interpreter hoping to stay in Australia, only to find herself ungracefully stomping on cultural landmines and confronting her definition of home and success.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Writer: Glace Chase
Story Consultants: Vanessa Alexander, Christiaan Van Vuuren, Davey Thompson
Synopsis: Charismatic trans performer Dexie and straight wall-street banker bro Scotty battle the world and themselves in an explosive, sexy & illicit dramedy charting the impossibility of trans love. Based on Glace Chase’s hit play Triple X.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Ben Chessell
Writer: Luke Ryan
Synopsis: A downtrodden library clerk trades places with his charismatic doppelgänger, starring in a theatre production that delivers him adulation and a renewed sense of potency, yet confounds his sense of identity and endangers almost all that he has.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Creators: Beatrix Christian, Meg O’Connell
Writers: Meg O’Connell, Beatrix Christian, Boyd Quakawoot, Stuart Page
Development Producer: Sanja Simić
Synopsis: Una is a scientist. Has never been interested in giving birth. Sure, she’ll study the biology of other animals, but a stranger developing inside her? Nope. That’s a 40-week experiment she’s not keen to run. But then an ill-timed passion brings the experiment to her; a short-term lover gets long-term ideas; and a neighbourhood cat develops troubling symptoms that mirror her own. Now Una is convinced that a deadly parasite is using her to breed.
Unless Pictures & Audiocraft
Genre: Action Adventure, Disaster
Writer/Creator: Meg O’Connell
Executive Producer: Kate Montague
Development Producer: Sanja Simic
Audio Producer: Jessica Hamilton
Synopsis: The silence at a meditation retreat is interrupted.
Phi and Me Too
Northern Pictures Pty Ltd
Creators: Fiona Chau, Diana Nguyen
Writers: Diana Nguyen, Chi Nguyen
Script Producer: Kelly Lefever
Producers: Serena Hunt, Joe Weatherstone
Executive Producer: Catherine Nebauer
Synopsis: Phi and Me Too is a relationship comedy between a Vietnamese refugee mother Kim Huong and her Australian-raised teenage daughter, Phi. Kim Huong goes to outrageous lengths to give her daughter a better life, to love her, and protect her from the big scary western (suburban) world. A beautiful balance of humour and heart – it’s tough love – The Viet Way!
Ding Dong I’m Gay (season two)
Wintergarden Pictures Pty Ltd
Writers: Tim Spencer, Zoe Norton Lodge
Producer: Tim Spencer, Rosie Braye
Executive Producer: Joshua Longhurst
Synopsis: A high-achieving neurotic seeks to guide his naive, newly-out country cousin through the urban gay experience, but his insecurities blind him to the genuine connection they share.
Haven’t You Done Well Productions
Producer: Sam Lingham
Director/Producer: Max Miller
Writers: Madi Savage, Millie Holten, Ella Lawry
Synopsis: Convinced they can save humanity from climate doom, three disgraced scientists descend the deepest and most treacherous hole in the ocean … the Mariana Trench.
Director: Natalie van den Dungen
Writers: Frankie McNair, Harris Stuckey, Scout Boxall
Producers: Emma Sharp, Evan Munro-Smith
Executive Producer: Max Miller
Synopsis: A depressed and socially anxious Banana tries to win therapy so they can win back their human ex-girlfriend.
Single: An Animated Series
Studio Antics Australia
Genre: Action Adventure, Romantic Comedy, Animation
Creator: Tilly Robba
Director: Tilly Robba, Steph Jowett
Writer: Ang Collins, Michael Costi
Producer: Steph Jowett, Tilly Robba
Synopsis: Dating isn’t easy, even for a cartoon character. Single follows housemates Tilly, Luke and Bridie as they bamboozle their way through a trippy inner west kaleidoscope of blind dates, trendy pubs, casual hookups, gynaecologist appointments gone wrong, and a bunch of other psychedelic encounters. Their hilariously unsuccessful quests for love in the Sydney cesspool of disappointment ultimately leads them to interrogate their own friendship.
The Hairy Marys
Ffunky Munky Productions
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Creators/Writers: Tamara Whyte, Michelle Crozier
Producers: Serena Hunt, Tamara Whyte
Synopsis: In the remote Northern Territory town of Nhulunbuy, sassy and intelligent single mums Queen Nwa and Revolution roll through the punches of their chaotic lives as carers to their children on the spectrum.
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Screen Australia puts $1 million in development funding toward 31 projects – IF Magazine