AACTA names Pitch: Focus finalists

In partnership with Sony, AACTA today announced the five finalists for its Pitch: Focus initiative, which aims to give student filmmakers the opportunity to create an original production with industry mentorship and funding support.

The final five teams were determined by a panel of judges that included Lyn Norfor, chief technology officer at AFTRS; producer/co-founder of Emerald Productions, Nicholas Colla, director Imogen Thomas and producer Liam Heyen.

“The first hurdle in film production is always knowing how to pitch in a convincing, yet succinct way. These five teams not only presented unique and interesting pitches, along with well developed scripts, but they also convinced us that their ideas were viable and suitable for the initiative, which is no easy feat,” said Heyen.

“I was incredibly impressed with the ideas and creativity that these students brought to the table, which in my mind represent an exciting cross-section of what emerging Australian filmmakers have to offer. I’m looking forward to seeing how the top five bring their short films to life during Round 2.”

The finalists are:

Corduroy (AFTRS) – Anthony Arcaya, Adam Chesher, Ashwini Kangatharan, Rhory Mackellar, Siobhan Mithen, Kristen Settinelli, Jacqueline Sharah, Emilie Ziolkowski

Following his mother’s passing, a reluctant young man must return home to pack his late mother’s estate, yet struggles to sell his beloved family couch.

Inconvenient (Murdoch University) – Ben Davidson, Kyle Dessent, Mya Elliott, Carmel Fox, Sam Lane, Abby Marshall

When a convenience store goes into a mysterious lockdown, meek late night shopper, Eve, must find overcome her reservations of disrupting the status quo or risk being trapped under the rule of absurdist shop owner, Godfrey, indefinitely.

Pre-Drinks (Various) – Aaron Healey, Reilly O’Byrne-Inglis, Meredith Williams

Carla, a bisexual 20-something, reluctantly agrees to introduce her new partner, Sam, to her two very queer best friends, Lauren and Xavier, at pre-drinks before a night out. When Sam turns out to be very much the opposite of the queer woman they had imagined tensions build to a boozy breaking point.

The Sight of Sound (RMIT) – Sophie Kesoglidis

A diligent yet ordinary 17-year-old high school viola student pursuing a coveted position at the conservatorium is faced with making an unorthodox decision in order to be truly heard.

The Smell of Bones (Various) – Ainhoa Barriola, Melissa Black, Trystyn Bowe, Jess Fisher, David Gaherty, Bret Salinger

Isolated and lonely forensic pathologist Romy finds an unlikely connection with a secret pen pal on the other side of the heavily guarded border, risking both of their lives by hiding their friendship from the ruthless new world authorities.

AACTA industry awards and development manager Ivan Vukusic said the finalists were an example of the wealth of interesting ideas that came through the initiative.

“The quality and confidence points to a healthy and supportive learning environment for all involved. We look forward to nurturing these teams through the next phase and bringing to life one of these great student projects,” he said.

These five teams will move on to Round 2, where they will be given two weeks to shoot a proof of concept using Sony equipment to present to the judging panel, which will then determine a winner.