Leading female directing team join emerging writers for anthology feature ‘Here Out West’

Here Out West' writers (top to bottom, L-R): Nisrine Amine, Matias Bolla, Dee Dogan, Vonne Patiag, Claire Cao, Arka Das, Bina Bhattacharya and Tien Tran.

Ana Kokkinos, Leah Purcell, Julie Kalceff, Fadia Abboud and Lucy Gaffy will helm anthology feature drama Here Out West, penned by eight emerging writers and now shooting in Sydney.

The project is the result of Co-Curious’ Behind Closed Doors initiative, a two year development program designed to connect new voices to experienced talent, backed by Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Nisrine Amine, Bina Bhattacharya, Matias Bolla, Claire Cao, Arka Das, Dee Dogan, Vonne Patiag and Tien Tran are the scribes in question, having written a work follows the desperate kidnapping of a baby from hospital; an act that sets off a chain of events that bring together complete strangers over the course of one dramatic day.

Newcomers Khoi Trinh, Jaime Ureta and De Lovan Zandy will star alongside Das, Geneviève Lemon, Rahel Romahn and Leah Vandenberg.

Selected via a competitive application process, the eight writers worked with writer-producer Blake Ayshford to develop their screenplays over a series of intensive workshops alongside Emerald Productions and Co-Curious.

Annabel Davis from Co-Curious and Bree-Anne Sykes will produce the film, alongside Emerald Productions’ Sheila Jayadev. Ayshford, Lyn Norfor and S. Shakthidharan are serving as executive producers.

In a joint statement, producers Davis, Sykes and Jayadev said: “We have an exceptional team to help bring this ambitious project to the screen; a team that shares our vision to create a ground-breaking work that tells the story of modern Australia with authenticity and integrity. Featuring nine languages and set in the buzzing melting pot of Western Sydney, Here Out West will be a leading example of a new wave of Australian storytelling for the world stage.”

Screen Australia, Screen NSW, ABC and Spectrum Films have eached backed the production, while Mind Blowing World will handle distribution in ANZ. The film will be broadcast on the ABC following a theatrical release.

Screen Australia head of content Sally Caplan said: “Here Out West is set to be a touching drama, showcasing the voices of eight emerging writers and celebrating their communities in Western Sydney. It is also an excellent opportunity for the writers to continue to be involved throughout the production in credited associate producer roles. We are proud to have supported this distinctive project from development and I can’t wait to see it come to life.”