SBS and Screen Australia back ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Grief’

Anna Lindner, creator and star of 'A Beginner's Guide to Grief'.

A Beginner’s Guide to Grief is the latest project to be greenlit via SBS and Screen Australia’s Digital Originals initiative, with an additional six projects selected for further development.

The series, written by and starring Anna Lindner, follows 31-year-old Harriet Wylde as she returns to her hometown in remote South Australia to care for two terminally ill parents. When both pass away within weeks of each other, she’s forced to face her ultimate fear: absolute aloneness. After reconnecting with her dysfunctional childhood friend Daisy, Harriet discovers that grief doesn’t play by any rules and soon, neither will she.

Renee Mao directs and the series’ EP and creative producer is Linda Ujuk, working with KOJO Studios colleague Kate Butler. Julie Byrne also produces. The South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) has supported the production.

The series emerged from the Digital Originals initiative in 2019, which also included the upcoming queer dramedy Iggy & Ace, due to premiere on SBS next month.

The six series chosen for further development also come from a shortlist of 12 projects from the 2020 Digital Originals initiative candidates. All 12 teams took part in exclusive development workshops held virtually in May, which culminated in a pitch.

Digital Originals is a joint initiative of Screen Australia and SBS created to develop exciting and innovative scripted short form projects to premiere on SBS On Demand, providing opportunities for screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector.

SBS scripted commissioning editor Donna Chang said incredible talent and surprising stories were being unearthed through the initiative.

“It’s fantastic to be taking A Beginner’s Guide to Grief into production and we can’t wait to bring it to screens on SBS On Demand next year. It’s also exciting to see the dynamic mix of projects from this year’s submissions being developed, reflecting more genres – from comedy, crime and even horror – showcasing unique Australian stories, and challenging us to think about what a digital series can be.”

Screen Australia senior online Investment Manager Lee Naimo, said: “From the moment we heard the pitch for A Beginner’s Guide to Grief from creator Anna Lindner, we knew we wanted to see this project through, and we’re delighted to support Lindner and the talented creative team bring it to life. And the exciting talent keeps coming – we’re so impressed with the calibre of projects in our next crop of Digital Originals and look forward to seeing them develop their projects further.”

The six projects funded for further development, are:


Three penniless delivery riders must battle the multinational food delivery company, Appetite, after becoming personally entangled in a conspiracy surrounding the death of a rider on the streets of Sydney.

Creatives: Mohini Herse (Writer/Director/Producer), Neilesh Verma (Writer), Neil Sharma (Director), Sleena Wilson (Executive Producer).


When his truck happens across a police raid, a young garbage collector becomes entangled in a drug deal that goes terribly wrong. If he’s to escape he must not only face down a dangerous criminal syndicate, but his own fear of failure amidst a profound family crisis.

Creatives: Hunter Page-Lochard (Writer/Director/Producer), Luke Bouchier (Writer/Director/Producer), Kobie Duncan (Writer).

Let Me Help

After watching their care workers hook up at a bar, two strangers with cerebral palsy are determined to explore their relationships with sex and each other.

Creatives: Emma Myers (Writer/Creator), Nina Oyama (Writer/Creator), Angus Thompson (Writer/Creator), Hannah Ngo (Producer).

Night Bloomers

Dark tales from the Korean diaspora that bloom in the night and move you.

Creatives: Andrew Lee (Writer/Director/Producer), Ashlea Ritchie (Producer), Michael McMahon (Executive Producer), Barry Gamba (Executive Producer).

DIVA (previously known as ‘SONNY’)

Inspired by a true story, ‘DIVA’ follows the journey of a young queer Samoan man who discovers himself through the world of professional wrestling.

Creatives: Jason Dewhurst (Writer), Taofia Pelesasa (Writer), Jessica Magro (Producer). 

Unicorn Hunters

Sick of being hunted on Tinder to fulfil straight people’s fantasies, Sunny decides to catfish “straight girl” Elise, but instead starts to fall for her, before realising she’s also not who she claims to be.

Creatives: Rachel Perks (Writer), Jean Tong (Writer), Tessa Mansfield-Hung (Producer).