An Australian children’s drama which centres on a 10-year-old boy who believes he was born in the wrong body has been acclaimed by TV executives during the inaugural pitching competition for live-action youth programming at MIPTV in Cannes.
Based on a 17-minute film funded by Screen Australia, Mrs McCutcheon was one of five finalists in the pitch selected by a jury comprising BBC Children’s Jo Allen, Nickelodeon International’s Nina Hahn, Disney Channels EMEA’s David Levine, Toon Googles’ Lee Adams and Gloob Brazil’s Paula Taborda dos Guaranys.
Buffalo Media’s Andre Lima and John Sheedy pitched the show as a 12 x 30 minute series in the initiative designed to meet the growing international demand for live-action children’s series.
Allen, a producer at BBC children’s animation and acquisitions, praised the show’s positive representation of diversity, C21 Media reported.
Lee Adams, chief creative officer of Toon Goggles, said it was “bold, buzzworthy and tackles some amazing issues.”
“Mrs McCutcheon is a modern-day superhero,” Sheedy said. “Not because she can fly or shoot laser beams, it’s because she has the courage and the bravery to assert her true identity and will hopefully inspire millions of other young people around the world.”
An experienced theatre director, Sheedy directed the short which was written by Ben Young, inspired by a lonely Indigenous boy named Cameron who was a fellow student of Sheedy’s at Oberon Primary School in Victoria.
Alec Golinger played Tom, who wears a dress and insists on being known as Mrs McCutcheon. In his third school Tom has trouble settling in and finding acceptance except for Trevor (Wesley Patten), who also suffers prejudice due to his Aboriginal heritage.
With the school dance approaching, Tom embarks on a journey of self-discovery and sacrifice to find his place in the world.
The film screened at dozens of festivals and won the best Australian short film award at MIFF and the short film production of the year prize in the Screen Producers Australia awards last year.
The producers said the film aims to give voice to the thousands of trans and gender-diverse children.
The other projects pitched in Cannes were Newton Camp for Extraordinary Children from Argentina’s Avi Films; Piperazzi by Piper Entertainment in the US; Tess the Inventor from The Gault Shop in the US; and White Dragons & the Secret Crypt of Gaudi from Spain’s Diagonal TV.