From top left: Michelle Brasier, Sam Lingham, Jenny Wynter, Sunny Grace, Penny Greenhalgh, Jon Rex Williams, Katie Huggins, Norah Masige, Leslie Simpson.

AACTA and Screenworks have announced the seven finalists for the annual feature film pitching competition, Regional Landscapes.

The national pitching and screenwriting initiative is aimed at developing an original feature film that celebrates Australia’s regional areas – one where the regional setting lends itself as a central character to the narrative.

The winner will be announced at Screenworks’ Regional to Global Screen Forum March 26.

The finalists are: 

  • The Alien Abduction of Emily Hill (set in fictional town of Yabby Flats) | Michelle Brasier and Sam Lingham
    When Emily’s boyfriend, mid-proposal, is abducted by a beam from the sky, she finds herself sucked into her own bright spotlight.
  • Blackout (set in Alice Springs, NT) | Leslie Simpson
    When the power cuts out in Alice Springs, the remote Outback town plummets toward anarchy. In a desperate bid to stay alive, a small group of ordinary citizens establish a safe haven inside Bunnings Warehouse.
  • Coxy’s Funland (set in South Coast, NSW) | Penny Greenhalgh and Jon Rex Williams
    Trapped in a run-down family fun park on the south coast, an over-protected 9-year-old boy must survive the deadly attractions and escape the unhinged owner in order to save his parents.
  • The Deb (set in New England, NSW) | Katie Huggins
    A teen boy in a small, rural town, wants to take part in the town’s Debutant Ball – as his Drag Queen persona. The town is left reeling in the wake of one boy’s search for true identity.
  • Living Country (set in Gunnedah, NSW) | Norah Masige
    A 15-year-old Ugandan girl and her family move to a town in Country New South Wales as Australia is on the brink of a severe drought.
  • Never the Bride (set in Byron Shire, NSW) | Sunny Grace
    A commitment phobic marriage planner in Byron Bay has her life turned upside down when she discovers she is in the middle of planning the wedding for her ex, whom she believes was the love of her life.
  • Off Grid (set in Huon Valley, TAS) | Jenny Wynter
    After being conned out of her entire life savings, a pregnant single mother is forced to live the off-grid lifestyle in rural Tasmania with her hippy ex-father-and-brother-in-law.

The judges include Event Cinemas general manager of content Clare Gandy; actor and writer Pallavi Sharda; GoodThing Productions head of production Virginia Whitwell; Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) industry director Mark Woods and See Pictures producer Isabel Stanfield.

Each finalist will be competing for:

  • Script development sessions with development executive and senior screenwriting lecturer at AFTRS, Kate Stone.
  • Invaluable feedback and ongoing mentorship from the judging panel.
  • AACTA annual membership, including ongoing support and profiling of the project.
  • Profiling and industry opportunities through the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathways program.
  • A three-day pass to all sessions at the Screenworks 2021 Regional to Global Screen Forum.
  • Screenworks annual membership.
  • Australian Writers’ Guild annual membership.
  • Two tickets to the 2021 AACTA Awards and Official After Party.

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