Screen Australia has backed 13 feature films for development by some of Australia's best known filmmakers, including Bruce Beresford, Bryan Brown, Gregor Jordan, Rachel Griffiths, and the Spierig brothers.
Hannah Hilliard (Franswa Sharl) and Callum Cooper (Little Brother) have also been announced as the first recipients of the new Director’s Acclaim Fund, which backs directors following critical acclaim of their short film at an A-list festival.
The national funding agency has also backed two animated shorts, two games and the completion of two short films.
Screen Australia’s head of development, Martha Coleman, said the projects are getting stronger.
"It’s exciting to see emerging writers coming through who have an innate appreciation of audience engagement along with some quality projects from established writers,” she said in a statement.
Among the animated shorts approved are The Story of Percival Pilts ,written and directed by John Lewis and Janette Goodey and produced by Terri Dentry, and Waiting for Rusty, produced by Nigel Christensen and written and directed by Nick Donkin.
“Screen Australia’s animated shorts program has a strong track record for consistently backing quality films and the incredible creative talent behind these two films gives me confidence they will also make their mark,” Coleman said.
Producers: Rachel Griffiths, Louise Smith
Writer: Samantha Strauss
Director: Rachel Griffiths
Synopsis: A young Australian girl gets swept up into the chaotic, exciting world of high fashion modelling. Sydney, Tokyo, London and New York. An innocent in a sex-soaked business, she is seeking love and validation, but isn’t sure what either looks like. As her crazy life begins to feel normal, she finds herself far from proud. But through her mistakes and friendships she discovers the strength she needs to be true in a false world.
Producer: Damien Parer
Executive Producer: James Michael Vernon
Writer: Alexa Wyatt
Synopsis: Mr Chaucer, a beautiful princess and the 10-year-old heir to the throne of England embark on a romantic adventure that will inspire The Canterbury Tales.
Producer: Bryan Brown
Writer/Director: Gregor Jordan
Script Consultant: Michael Hauge
Synopsis: A love story between Lili, a purist chef from Shanghai, and Luke, the son of a billionaire who is in China setting up a frozen Chinese meal business.
THE FORTUNES OF RICHARD MAHONEY
Producer: Sue Milliken
Executive Producers: Zelda Rosenbaum, Oscar Whitbread
Writers: Chris Anastassiades, Andy Cox
Director: Bruce Beresford
Synopsis: When restless romantic Polly Turnham marries debonair doctor Richard Mahoney she believes a bright future is before her, but soon begins to realise she may have fallen in love with the one man who will hold her back.
Producers: Chris Brown, Emile Sherman
Writers: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, Justin Monjo
Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Synopsis: A young Australian gets lost in the Bolivian jungle. When his two companions die he is forced to survive on his own. Based on the stirring true story of Yossi Ghinsberg.
KING OF THIEVES
Producer: Ian Collie
Writers: Adam Shand, Andrew Knight
Synopsis: In 1788, Britain sent its thieves and low-lifes to the colony of Australia. Two hundred years later they are returning home. The true story of the infamous Kangaroo Gang.
Producer: Eva Orner
Writer/Director: Elissa Down
Synopsis: Leni Riefenstahl – Nazi propagandist or apolitical artist?
THE MAKE-UP GIRL
Producer: Su Armstrong
Writer: Eleanor Smagarinsky
Script Editor: Sheridan Jobbins
Synopsis: Faith is a single make-up girl and beauty blogger whose wonderful fake boyfriend keeps her mum off her back. When her younger sister returns home to get married, Faith has to find a real version of Mr Perfect, fast. Frank is Faith’s repulsive and reclusive neighbour. As Frank hijacks her fantasy life, Faith falls in love with him and finally learns that true love can never be made up. Based on the novel by Andrea Semple.
Writer: Shirley Pierce
Synopsis: A lonely teen from Western Australia rises above the bullying of his youth to pursue his passion for urban, high octane country dancing and becomes a Triple Dance Champion of the World. Based on the inspiring true story.
Producer: Trevor Blainey
Writer: Mick Connolly
Script Consultant: Steve Kaplan
Synopsis: Tom and his mates are happily divorced and free to drink all the booze, sleep around and do as much therapy as they please. When Tom decides to go sailing solo around the world his mates try to stop him, but Tom proves unstoppable so the guys decide to hijack the trip and go along with him. However, on the eve of their departure Tom meets a woman and against his better judgement, falls in love again.
Producer: Danny Mackay
Executive Producer: Matt Carroll
Writer: Sam Meikle
Director: Peter Andrikidis
Synopsis: A courageous young man, a steadfast donkey and the ANZAC legend is born… Simpson, the story of Pvt John Simpson Kirkpatrick.
Producer: Emile Sherman
Writer: Marion Nelson
Director: John Curran
Synopsis: One woman’s journey through the desert. A universal story of discovery and survival, based on the acclaimed novel by Robyn Davidson.
Producer: Deborah Balderstone
Writer/Director: Peter Duncan
Synopsis: A comedy about Adele, a plain girl from a wealthy family trying to live up to the pressures her mother places on her to find a suitable husband. When she meets Max and discovers he is a prince of a long forgotten kingdom, both mother and daughter refuse to let anything stand in the way of the perfect fairytale wedding – including his sexuality.
DIRECTOR’S ACCLAIM FUND
Writer/Director/Producer: Callum Cooper
For development on his first feature after the success of his short Little Brother which screened in competition at Sundance in January 2011.
Writer/Director: Hannah Hilliard
For development on her first feature after the success of her short Franswa Sharl which won the Crystal Bear at Berlin in February 2010.
THE STORY OF PERCIVAL PILTS
Producer: Terri Dentry
Writer/Directors: John Lewis, Janette Goodey
Synopsis: A poetic and funny stop-motion chronicling the eccentric life of the titular Percival who has lived his whole life on stilts.
WAITING FOR RUSTY
Producer: Nigel Christensen
Writer/Director: Nick Donkin
Synopsis: A film noir that tells the tragic story of Dotty, a betrayed gangster’s moll waiting for her lover in a lonely dust-bowl diner as a police dragnet closes in.
COME WITH ME
Producer: Celia Ritchie
Writer/Director: Jessica Redenbach
Synopsis: The passionate first few days of a new couple’s relationship: is it love or lust?
Producer: Jessica Mitchell
Writer: Julius Avery
Director: Michael Spiccia
Synopsis: A young girl with violent psychic powers who lives in a remote wrecking yard takes on the local bullies when they travel out to torment her father.
INNOVATION PROGRAM: DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
Game Developer Pandora’s Blocks
Producer: Luke Jurevicius
Writer/Director: Nathan Jurevicius
Synopsis: A single-player game designed to appeal to social gamers with a heavy focus on exploration and customisation within a unique visual style developed by Nathan and Luke Jurevicius.
Producer: Andrew Dillon
Executive Producers: Catherine Nebauer, Gary Kurtz
Director: Andrew Dillon
Synopsis: The fate of humankind is in the hands of a small group of brilliant resistance fighters. Armed with technology beyond the cutting edge and trained to the highest level by a mysterious young billionaire, they’re our last line of defence against alien invasion.