'Iggy & Ace' writer AB Morrison and producer Hannah Ngo.

AB Morrison and Hannah Ngo. 

Screen Australia and SBS have selected three short-form series from the 2019 Digital Originals initiative – A Beginner’s Guide to GriefFreewheelers and Iggy & Ace 5eva – to further develop, with the intention of at least one going into production for SBS On Demand.

The three projects will share in $65,000 worth of development funds. The Digital Originals initiative was aimed at supporting writers with backgrounds underrepresented in the screen sector. The three projects were selected from 10 that were developed as part of workshop held under the mentorship of director and producer Anna Dokoza (Flight Of The Conchords, Lady Dynamite, Special) and Ryan O’Connell, writer, producer and star of the Emmy-nominated Netflix short-form series, Special. In total the initiative received more than 220 applications.

Screen Australia online investment manager Lee Naimo said: “The Digital Originals initiative was incredibly effective at bringing new creators into our orbit, and all three of the teams going into further development feature creators at early stages of their careers. These three stories are clever, engaging and offer a slice of Australian life not often seen on screen.”

SBS director of TV and online content Marshall Heald said: “The Digital Originals initiative has been a great success in supporting some of Australia’s next generation creatives, to ultimately bring more diverse stories to our screens. While sharing very personal experiences, the selected projects have themes that resonate with all Australians. We’re incredibly excited to progress them to the next stage of development.”

The projects are:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Grief: An 8 x 12 minute drama/comedy about 28-year-old Harriet Wylde, who returns to her home town 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. But when she reconnects with a dysfunctional childhood friend Daisy, Harriet discovers that grief doesn’t play by any rules and soon, neither will she. Exploring themes of death, grief and identity, this series is written by South Australian Anna Lindner.
  • Freewheelers: A 6 x 12 minute adventure comedy centred on Abe Walker, a teenager with cerebral palsy, his terminally ill grandmother Jude and his best friend Sally. In a bid to establish Abe’s independence, they concoct a plan to exchange thousands of cans for the cash needed to get him to school camp. But what starts as a simple journey to the local recycling centre, becomes a last hurrah to remember. This Sydney-based creative team features creator and producer Belinda Dean (Cloudy River) and writer Emily Dash (The Milky Pop Kid).
  • Iggy & Ace 5eva: A 6 x 15 minute comedy that explores friendship, addiction and recovery through a queer lens. Iggy and Ace are two gay alcoholic best mates who live, work and play together. After Ace decides to get sober, a rift develops between the two friends as Iggy balks at the idea of recovery. This project is written by Sydney-based AB Morrison and produced by Perth-based Hannah Ngo who previously teamed up on short films Carnal Privilege and Tribunal.

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