The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has unveiled the finalists for two of its pitching competitions, one in partnership with Monster Pictures and the other with Sony.

Both events will be held during the upcoming AACTA Screenfest.

AACTA Pitch: Focus

Developed with Sony, AACTA Pitch: Focus is aimed at film students, offering the opportunity to pitch, develop, shoot a proof of concept and produce a short film, with
guidance from an experienced panel of short filmmakers. The grand prize is $15,000 in production funds along with an extensive suite of complimentary film equipment from Sony.

Finalists include:

I Can’t Get Next To You – Mollie McGregor, Jenna Woodhouse, London Hartard, Chloe Bobbin (AFTRS)

Trapped within her father’s grief and desperate to connect with her late mother, Glen
accidentally travels back in time, from 1988 to 1969, where she must contest with her teen father for her young mum’s attention and find the key to becoming a family once again.

Rearranged – Hebah Ali, Mohammad Awad, Kerim Col (UTS)

Two chronically single Muslims get set up for an arranged marriage. It would never work between them – but a little rearranging goes a long way.

Jia (aka 475 Miles) – Vee Shi (RMIT)

Ming, a grieving Chinese mother, arrives in Australia to mourn her son Yao who was recently killed in a road accident. She sets off to embark on a road trip with Eric, only to realise that Eric was in a romantic relationship with Yao which clashes with her conservative values.

Artefacts – Matt Bostock (NIDA)

A young couple fall rapidly out of love with each other at a social obligation. The truth about what happened will be found in the gaps between their stories.

The Adventures of Nevi-Drew – Madeleine Jurd, Laura Rose, Kyneisha Murray, Skye
Leong (AFTRS)

The wild and imaginative Nevi-Drew stumbles across a neglected true crime after playing a game of ‘detective’. She then attempts to solve her first real case with the help of her cousins Indiana, Jez and Courtese.

The five finalists will all screen their proof of concepts and deliver their final pitch to our judging panel consisting of Charles Williams (All These Creatures), Tanith
Glynn-Maloney (Nulla Nulla, Robbie Hood), and Leanne Tonkes (This is Desmondo Ray) at the 2021 AACTA Screenfest.

The AACTA Pitch: Focus Final will screen at 9am AEDT Wednesday December 8.

AACTA Pitch: Bite

AACTA Pitch: Bite, put on in partnership with Monster Pictures, is a horror and
genre film development initiative.

The eight finalists, having undertaken multiple rounds of real world challenges
including financial planning, marketing and audience development, and concept art creation, will now pitch their project to a panel of judges comprised of established horror filmmakers.

Bad Moon Rising – Scott Hamilton

Trapped inside a bank after a botched robbery, a group of criminals must fight to survive the night when their hostages become werewolves.

Blood Red Sun – Michael Hearle

Early settlers hunt a vampire across the Australian Outback.

Blooded – Andre Miller | James Cripps

An alienated teen learns he can save his dying mother by becoming a human blood runner in the ruthless vampire underground.

Drop Bears – John Sambono | Laura Sambono

A bullied Indigenous teenager and an international marsupial expert must protect a baby koala from a hoard of vicious Drop Bears. Humans set their world on fire… now they want revenge!

Scorn – Abel Robinson
In the confines of her home, a woman holds her abusive husband captive at gunpoint, looking for him to answer to his past transgressions, but unbeknownst to them both, the true test of their relationship waits just outside their door.

Skinbags – Adam Dunn | Jeremy Brull
A man struggles with his social identity in the aftermath of a zombie attack when he realises that while his body is undead, his mind is still very much alive.

The Revived – Clea Frost | Robbie Studsor
After discovering her new partner is a supernatural being, an insomniac paramedic
embraces the ultimate sacrifice in order to save her troubled half-sister.

Wolfcat Fever – Josh Collins
The ultimate rock and roll animals.

The judging panel will include Kathy Charles (Castle Freak, Jakob’s Wife), Chris Brown (Daybreakers, Bait, The Railway Man) and Monster Pictures co-founder Grant Hardie.

The AACTA Pitch: BITE final will screen as part of AACTA ScreenFest 12pm AEDT Tuesday December 7.

The winner of this year’s AACTA: Pitch Bite in Partnership with Monster Pictures will receive $10,000 in development funds and an Australian theatrical distribution agreement with Monster Pictures Distribution.

“After an incredibly successful first year working with AACTA on the Pitch initiative, I’m very happy to say that AACTA: Pitch Bite has followed up on this success. All of the Top eight finalists pitches are of exceptional quality, so I’m really looking forward to the seeing who brings it home in the final pitch and takes out the prize,” said Hardie.

AACTA awards and development manager Ivan Vukusic said the academy was proud to be working with partners such as Monster Pictures and Sony on targeted development initiatives.

Last year’s Isolation endeavour with Monster was incredibly successful, with multiple projects moving into development and pre-production, including the dark Burning, and the completely unique and buzzworthy Jonesy. This year looks
equally exciting,” he said.

“And with education and young creatives an increasing focus for AACTA, we look forward to working with Sony on giving talented young filmmakers a much needed head start in their careers. The finalists of our inaugural collaboration with Sony represent the richness and diversity of stories and storytellers to come from our filmmaking schools and we look forward to bringing one of these great short films to life”.

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