Dee Dogan’s ‘A Cup of Tea’ among Attagirl prize winners

Writer-director Dee Dogan and producer Bethany Bruce.

Australian comedy/drama feature A Cup of Tea is one of three prize winners from this year’s Attagirl global film incubator, receiving $5,000 for development.

Written and directed by Dee Dogan, and produced by Bethany Bruce, the story follows the journalistic aspirations of a Kurdish teenager who ends up spilling tea rather than serving it.

The UK filmmaking team of writer Jodie Ashdown, director Amy Coop and producer Daniel Harris also received a $5,000 production prize for Spring Tide, while writer/director Laura Bergeron, producer David Baeta, and producer Simon Madore took the $25,000 production prize home to Canada with their film Medium Beluga.

It comes after seven teams were selected for the second stage of the For Film’s Sake initiative, which is designed to support women and non-binary filmmakers.

The second iteration of the flagship program featured filmmakers from Australia, Canada, England, Wales, Portugal, South Africa, and Scotland.

Dogan said Attagirl not only provided access to notable industry experts but also “many inspiring filmmakers and projects”, while also noting the development prize would help her and Bruce get to the final draft stage of their script.

For Bruce, the funding was not as important as the endorsement of Attagirl that “increases the momentum for financing our project and raises our visibility in the international marketplace”.

The other projects to make it through to this year’s second stage consist of Feed by writer Stephanie Johns and director/producer Nancy Urich; Laugh Club by writer Lou Sanz and producer Michael Wrenn; Who’s Afraid by writer Sarah Walker, director/producer Nicole Da Silva, director/producer Danielle Cormack, and producer Liliana Munoz; and Big Fish by writer/director/producer Victoria Thomas, producer Eliane Ferreira, and producer Cati Weinek.

For Film’s Sake executive director Sophie Mathison paid tribute to all the teams in the “phenomenal cohort”.

“Female and non-binary filmmakers and teams often contest with additional barriers to market participation, the result of which is less likelihood of production investment,” he said.

“Attagirl doesn’t assume that filmmakers can or should know how to successfully develop films in isolation, and instead provides access and opportunity to leading experts and peers within a structured, supported environment.

“In 2022 we have again seen the profound impact this program has had on the speed of development, the quality of the projects, and the innovation of the filmmakers behind them.”

Attagirl is supported by Screen Australia, the British Film Institute (BFI), and Telefilm Canada.