Finalists announced for AACTA Pitch: Mother

The eight finalists have been announced for AACTA Pitch: Mother.

The Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) has unveiled the eight finalists for its horror feature film pitching initiative with Monster Pictures.

Featuring explorations of both the sacrifice and triumph that comes with pregnancy, motherhood as a bond or tie, and the potentially sinister power of artificial intelligence, the AACTA Pitch: Mother concepts are in the running to receive $10,000 in development funds and an Australian theatrical distribution agreement with Monster Pictures Distribution.

As part of their application, teams were required to submit a logline, video pitch, and synopsis that met the requirements of being relatively low in budget, with minimal location and small casts. Round two then tested the creatives’ competence in getting their project from the page, asking for a pitch deck, audience engagement and marketing plan, sizzle reel, and concept art.

The finalists were determined by a panel of judges comprised of established horror filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers, including Robbie Miles, Rosie Lourde, Pictures in Paradise head Chris Brown, Monster Fest programmer Kim Taylor, and co-founder and head of Monster Pictures, Grant Hardie.

AACTA awards and industry development manager Ivan Vukusic said this year’s theme drew some “wild and inventive interpretations” from the entrants.

“These finalists and their film projects exemplify creativity and originality, and throughout the process have delivered materials that show a confidence in storytelling and a clear understanding of their audience,” he said.

“All of the films are different and unique and each of them is very much worthy of ongoing support.”

The eight AACTA Pitch: Mother in Partnership with Monster Pictures finalists and their loglines are as follows:

Alterate – Jonny Morfoulis & Samuel Keene

After the death of his mother, a software engineer visits his childhood home reminiscing his upbringing when he discovers his memories have been twisted as old scars are cut back open.

Freya – Rhona Rees

In a future where birth control is available only to men and abortion is completely outlawed, a young woman must fight for her autonomy and her life when she is tricked into falling pregnant to a one-night stand.

Fungal – Nick King & Kriv Stenders

Heidi — a workaholic nurse — must learn to trust her wayward ex-fiancé when a fungal brain parasite unleashes the zombie horde. Divided, they’ll die. As a team, there’s a chance. But the pathogen makes you helpful and kind before it makes you kill, so Heidi’s faith in Aiden will be stretched to breaking point as she tries to escape with her life — and that of her unborn child.

Koan – Grace Tan & Neilesh Verma

Devoted to a mysterious online cult that watches her every move, a formerly incarcerated woman consumed by a delusion of divine purpose finds her grip on reality crumbling when she reconnects with her estranged mother.

Mids of the Night – Oscar Thorborg & Simone Alcorn

While working the graveyard shift at a hospital, five midwives are trapped together during a blackout. To pass the time they share their most shocking and grizzly stories, only to realize they all have one thing in common.

Mother Tongue – Amelia Foxton & Glenn Fraser

When biology and the system fail them in their dream of motherhood, childless couple Alexandra and Jade turn to the dark arts to craft a most unique solution.

Spawn of Sylvia – Rosie Traynor & Martin Sharpe

A group of elderly women in an idyllic commune in the forest, become trapped when their leader is convinced they’re being watched by a dark presence. Something wicked this way has come.

Specimen – Ella Cook

A young man contracts a rare parasite whilst on schoolies in Thailand and is forced to carry it in his system as part of a medical trial.

The ultimate recipient of the AACTA Pitch: Mother development funds and distribution deal will be announced Thursday, November 24, 2022.