Screen Australia has announced over $550,000 in funding for 16 feature film projects, backing a number of debut and second-time writers, directors and producers – including many making the transition into features for the first time after creating for other platforms. Eleven new projects have been added to Screen Australia’s development slate, while five projects will receive continued support.
Screen Australia’s Head of Production, Sally Caplan, said, “The funding decisions made in this last quarter reflect the breadth of stories coming out of this country and the depth of talent. It is great to be able to support such a spread of genres and ideas and such a range of established and emerging writing, directing and producing talent.”
The new projects to receive development support include comedy Madams by producer/writer/director Stephan Elliot, writer Sheridan Jobbins and producer Gary Hamilton; and an edgy feature debut from television writers Kirsty Fisher and Marieke Hardy, Death Is for the Living, to be directed by Trent O’Donnell. Also supported in this round are romantic comedies EM, from director Kate Reidl, writer Emma Jensen and producers Matthew Dabner, Karen Radzyner and Anna Vincent, and All I Know of the Devil, from television writer Shanti Gudgeon in her first feature script.
Family projects that will receive backing include Blinky Bill, from director Deane Taylor, writer Fin Edquist and producer Barbara Stephen, based on the classic Australian children’s book, and The Wiggles: Pandamonium!, produced by Paul Field, Michael Wrenn and Gary Hamilton, with comic-turned-writer Ben Elton directing and writing the script.
Two thrillers have also been selected for development – Damien Lay’s To the Bitter End, a psychological thriller about a pirate and pursuer locked in a treacherous ocean pursuit, written by John Goldsmith and produced by Carolyn Frichot, and The Phobos Experiment from director Rowan Woods, written by Jacquelin Perske and produced by Penny Wall. Director Eron Sheean’s horror film End of Animal, written by Shane Danielsen and produced by Michael Wrenn and Paul Yi, also received development support.
In the action adventure arena, Mulan, a story inspired by an ancient Chinese fable about a legendary female warrior, from producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning and writer Jan Sardi, will be supported.
Writer/director Jennifer Kent has received early-stage funding to support work on her second feature, Interior, the follow-up to her Sundance hit The Babadook.
Acclaimed theatre director Michael Kantor will receive support to begin work on his second feature with writer Marion Nelson – an adaptation of Chloe Hooper’s critically-celebrated novel The Engagement, to be produced by Bruno Charlesworth and Jo Dyer.
Other dramas supported in this round include Undertow by writer/director Miranda Nation and producers Lyn Norfor and Sylvia Wilczynski, and King: A Street Story by producer/writer/director Jacqueline McKenzie and producer Rob Coe.
Projects to receive continued feature development support are included in the project details listed below.
SINGLE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT: Feature Development
ALL I KNOW OF THE DEVIL
Genre Comedy, drama
Writer Shanti Gudgeon
Producer Barbara Stephen
Writer Fin Edquist
Director Deane Taylor
Synopsis A young and mischievous koala embarks on a journey across the wild and dangerous outback in the hope of finding his missing father, but discovers that there's more to being an adventurer than meets the eye. Based on the characters from the children's book of the same name.
DEATH IS FOR THE LIVING
Genre Romantic comedy
Executive Producer Jason Burrows
Director Trent O'Donnell
Writers Kirsty Fisher, Marieke Hardy
Synopsis In search of pain relief from her terminal illness, Sara encounters Dan, a psychotherapist who, through hypnosis, gives her a way to ‘live’ her ‘future’ in her subconscious – but things get complicated when Dan, enamoured by Sara, begins to ‘write’ himself into her ‘dream’ future.
Genre Romantic comedy
Producers Matthew Dabner, Karen Radzyner, Anna Vincent
Director Kate Riedl
Writer Emma Jensen
Synopsis Jane Austen’s Emma Down Under.
END OF ANIMAL
Producers Michael Wrenn, Paul Yi
Director Eron Sheean
Writer Shane Danielsen
Producers Bruno Charlesworth, Jo Dyer
Executive Producer Robert Connolly
Director Michael Kantor
Writer Marion Nelson
Synopsis An erotic weekend in the country becomes a trap where a woman is lost in a labyrinth of lies, fantasies and fear – but of whose making?
Writer/Director Jennifer Kent
KING: A STREET STORY
Producers Rob Coe, Jacqueline McKenzie
Executive Producers Jocelyn Moorhouse, Timothy White
Writer/Director Jacqueline McKenzie
Synopsis King, a courageous and resourceful 12-year-old street-kid who acts like a dog, finds acceptance in a small community on the outskirts of the city. But the threat of a redevelopment forces King to his final redemption.
Producers Stephan Elliott, Gary Hamilton
Director Stephan Elliott
Writers Stephan Elliott, Sheridan Jobbins
Synopsis A comedy from the writers of Easy Virtue.
Genre Action adventure
Producers Emile Sherman, Iain Canning
Writer Jan Sardi
Synopsis Inspired by the ancient Chinese fable, this new take on the story of Mulan recounts the legendary heroine’s rise to greatness and her quest to discover her true identity.
THE PHOBOS EXPERIMENT
Producer Penny Wall
Director Rowan Woods
Writer Jacquelin Perske
Synopsis Their mission: simulated training to take humanity 40 million miles to Mars and back. But what if their mission is a lie? A lie that will push the crew beyond breaking point and into a desperate fight for survival.
TO THE BITTER END
Producer Carolyn Frichot
Executive Producer Sue Maslin
Director Damien Lay
Writer John Goldsmith
Synopsis A psychological thriller in which pirate and pursuer become locked in a dangerous ocean pursuit, to bring home the catch at all cost.
UNDERTOW (AKA HALFWAY MOTEL)
Producers Lyn Norfor, Sylvia Wilczynski
Writer/Director Miranda Nation
Synopsis When a journalist investigates her husband's suspected infidelity, she becomes obsessed by the young girl in question and ensnared in a sex scandal that threatens to engulf her marriage and her sanity.
THE WIGGLES – PANDAMONIUM!
Producers Paul Field, Michael Wrenn, Gary Hamilton
Executive Producer Anthony Field
Writer/Director Ben Elton
Synopsis The Wiggles race against time and must employ all their unique talents to overcome mysterious challenges in order to safely return a lost baby panda to his family. Based on the characters from the highly-acclaimed children's television show The Wiggles.
SINGLE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT: Feature Matched Funding
Producer Chris Brown
Writer Craig Rosenberg
Director James McTeigue
Synopsis A reinvention of the 1988 film of the same name.
Producer Antony I. Ginnane
Executive Producer Anthony J. Lyons
Writers Kris Wyld, Tim Knapton
Synopsis A 70s crime figure and nightclub owner overcomes insuperable odds to achieve his dream, but loses his soul along the way.
TALENT ESCALATOR PROGRAMS: Industry Placements
Director Shannon Murphy will spend six months at Endemol/Southern Star under the tutelage of producer Imogen Banks Murphy, on the productions of Gallipoli, Offspring and Party Tricks.
TALENT ESCALATOR PROGRAMS: Director’s Acclaim
Director James Vaughan's short film You Like It, I Love It was selected for competition at the Berlin International Film Festival and Clermont Ferrand.
TALENT ESCALATOR PROGRAMS: International Script Workshop
Writer/Director Bryn Chainey will attend the Torino Script&Pitch workshops in Europe.
- See more at: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/news_and_events/2014/140411_development.aspx#sthash.Jhco9Z7k.dpuf