Screen Australia and SBS select seven Digital Originals for development funding

'Iggy & Ace.' (Photo: @Mac1Photo)

Screen Australia, SBS and NITV have announced seven projects from this year’s Digital Originals initiative to receive development funding, with three titles from the group to eventually go into production.

It follows a week-long workshop for the first round of selected applicants, during which the 12 teams benefitted from the expertise of facilitator Rosie Lourde, as well as guest presenters and industry figures, including Sierra Teller Ornelas, Leah Purcell, Michael McMahon, Kodie Bedford, and Corrie Chen.

The emerging creatives were then required to pitch their projects to Screen Australia, SBS, and NITV on June 14, from which the successful participants were chosen.

Last week, SBS announced that production had wrapped on 2020 Digital Original project Latecomers, which will premiere on SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand later this year.

Other titles to come out of the initiative, which aims to develop short-form drama from screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector, include the upcoming A Beginner’s Guide to Grief, as well as Tasmanian murder mystery The Tailings and Western Australian comedy Iggy & Ace, both of which premiered on SBS On Demand last year.

The successful projects are:

Confinement (QLD): A new migrant mother must battle postpartum depression and a tyrannical confinement nanny with seemingly nefarious intentions. Team: Jacqueline Lim, Lark Lee, Daniel Stevenson.

Dark Matter Don’t Matter (NT/SA): After the mass evacuation of Earth, a small Aboriginal community is left behind and decides to take matters into their own hands… by launching themselves to the stars. Team: Tamara Whyte, Isaac Lindsay, Warren Milera, Philip Tarl Denson.

Earshot (VIC/NSW): A seemingly happy Indian-Australian actress is asked to record the last messages of a missing immigrant woman for a true crime podcast. Embodying one of the justice system’s forgotten victims causes her to obsess over the case – and unravel the course of her own life. Team: Vidya Rajan, Alistair Baldwin, Renée Marie Petropoulos.

Moni (NSW): Moni, now in his mid-30s, still single, Samoan, and gay, is alone. Truly alone. That is until his parents return from the dead as their 20-something selves, to help their son make peace and seek the life he kept hidden from them. Team: Taofia Pelesasa, Eliorah Malifa, Alana Hicks.

Moonbird (TAS): An 11-year-old pakana boy takes on the responsibilities of an adult when his father drowns on a remote Mutton Bird Island in Bass Strait. Team: Nathan Maynard, Adam Thompson, Matthew Newton, Catherine Pettman, Courtney Gibson.

Ned (NSW/VIC): An awkward serial killer takes a couch surfing cult survivor under his wing and agrees to teach her the dark art of murder so she can enact her revenge on the evils of the world, and all he wants in return is a Sunday night scrabble partner. Team: Samuel Paynter-Nuggin, Andrew Arbuthnot.

Warm Props (WA): 8-hour call. 40-degree heat. Culturally clueless crews and locals who haven’t spoken to each other in decades. What could possibly go wrong with this casting call? Team: Jub Clerc, Jodie Bell.