Screen Australia announces $2.2 million for 11 online projects

'Miss Ink: The Documentary Series'

Screen Australia will support 11 projects with $2.2 million of online production funding.

Included in the slate are documentary series Facing the Numbers, exploring testimonies of First Nations people; the third instalment in Luke Eve’s Cancelled web series; and comedy Plausible Deniability, a series written and produced by It’s Fine, I’m Fine co-producer, Iain Crittenden.

Screen Australia’s head of online Lee Naimo said online creators had yet again shown they were capable of telling clever and complex stories for a variety of platforms.

“From impactful documentaries to rom-coms, the range of genres covered in these projects shows that Australian creators are constantly exploring new and exciting ways of engaging their audiences,” he said.

“It’s great to see so many newer voices and talents represented in these teams, demonstrating the opportunities for emerging Australian talent that Screen Australia is providing.”

Over the past four years, Screen Australia has supplied more than $22 million of funding to online creators for projects across a variety of platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

The funded projects are as follows:

Facing the Numbers: A 9 x 5-min documentary series using emotive cinematic visuals to explore deeply personal testimonies of First Nations peoples’ encounters with violent systems of oppression. Gurindji, Pertame Arrernte, and Worimi writer/director/producer Kieran Satour is the co-founder of the First Nations-owned production company behind Facing the Numbers, GARUWA. He is joined by writer/director and Arrernte and Kalkadoon man Tyson Perkins. Kaytetye woman Rona Glynn-McDonald and GARUWA’s Andrea Distefano are executive producing, with Ramona Telecican producing. Facing the Numbers is funded in association with Bright Moon Trust, with support from the Shark Island Institute and the Reichstein Foundation. Common Ground, a First Nations not-for-profit, will be distributing the series and delivering an impact campaign.

Love Me Lex: A 7 x 9-min romantic comedy for Lesflicks which explores what it’s like being a lesbian on the ‘other side’ of 45 looking for love through the eyes of Lex Adamson. Just as she meets the perfect woman in ‘off-limits’ Kat, her ex Miranda arrives back in town determined to win her back – forcing her to decide whether to stay with the woman who broke her heart or to be with the woman she loves. This series is written and directed by Sanja Katich, writer of the award-winning short film When Harri Met Salma. Stephanie Davis from Somedae Pictures is attached as producer while Claire Leach is executive producing.

Plausible Deniability: A 7 x 10-minute Facebook comedy which follows 11-year-old social warriors, Abeba, Harriet, and Tron, who are making a homelessness documentary at school. When a who’s who of ‘thought leaders’ come to their school to participate in the doco, hidden agendas are exposed and hollow platitudes are batted aside as the three kids tackle our national disgrace head-on. The series is from writer/producer Iain Crittenden, with Victoria Thaine directing. Amal Awad, Claire Christian, Samuel Gebreselassie and Meg Mundell are also attached as writers, with Benjamin Law and Catherine Hill executive producing. Gabriel Aleksandrs, Ayub Abdi-Barre, Maurya Bourandanis, Stephanie Dower, and Rachel Kurzyp are also attached as story consultants.

Behind the Seams: A dramedy for Facebook that centres around India Scott who, after the death of her father, finds a photograph of a mother and child and discovers that she has an extraordinary talent for reading the past in pre-loved items. As India tugs at the threads of the past – uncovering more mysteries begging to be solved – she finds her present life unravelling, until she’s forced to reshape her life, business, and relationships for the better. Joining director Tiffany Lyndall-Knight is writer Ruth Estelle. Attached as a producer Victoria Morgan, with Richard Jasek onboard as executive producer. This six-part series will be released on Facebook to fans of slow fashion.

Compulsory Entertainment: This 9 x 4-minute dark comedy for YouTube is a sketch series that takes a look at the inherent strangeness underpinning show business, corporate arrangements, interactions with technology, and the unique apathy that Australians use to deal with it. In the director’s chairs are renowned comedian Eric Hutton and makeup artist, Mariel McClorey. Hutton will also be joined by writers Sam Campbell and Laura Hughes, with Bryan Moses as producer.

Miss Ink The Documentary Series: This 6 x 15-minute docuseries celebrates tattooed women from across the country as they participate in Miss Ink Australia; the only beauty pageant in the world where age, size, shape, sexuality, scars, culture, colour, creed, and cellulite don’t matter. Along the way, audiences will learn that it is so much more than a beauty pageant; it’s a platform for women to express themselves – busting stereotypes and redefining beauty. Attached as director is Jo-Anne Brechin, who will also be producing alongside Shari Hutchison, Shannon Wilson-McClinton, Tessa Mansfield-Hung, Katherine Shearer, Mariah Gates, and Veronica Wain. Janelle Landers, Taryn Brumfitt, Ari Harrison, Jeff Harrison, Bonnie Cee, and Hannah Barnes are executive producing. Miss Ink will be released by VA Media Network on the Pride Central YouTube channel.

Rules to being a Fckgurl: This 6 x 11-minute comedy revolves around hopeless romantic Nilu and her ‘Fckgurl’ mentor, Zarina, as they navigate whether they should stick to their rules or break them over love, lust, and just plain foolery. After a soul-crushing break-up with her boyfriend and business partner, Nilu has vowed to learn how to enjoy casual sex while Zarina is determined to stay on the single path and not succumb to that nasty little thing called love. From writer/director Nelya Valamanesh and producer Samantha Sharplin, Rules to being a F*ckgurl will release on YouTube and is financed in association with the South Australian Film Corporation.

Shippers: An 8 x 10-min rom-com about two enthusiastic fangirls who become the face of an opinion piece hating on ‘shippers’ – the term given to people who support romance in fanfiction. As they battle the onslaught of comments and bullying that comes with doing reaction videos online, the pair must find a way to fight back against the romance-hating trolls. The creative team features writer/director/producer Joanna Beveridge, director/producer Erica Long, writer/producer/director Vimbai Nenzou, writer/director Nicole Delprado, writer/director Rachael Belle Myers, director Fern Mei Sim, and writer Niamh Donohoe. Shippers will release on YouTube and is supported by Arts & Cultural Exchange (ACE).

UnCANCELLED: Following on from the success of Cancelled and ReCancelled – which have collectively garnered over 10 million views online – UnCANCELLED is a 105-min drama and rom-com feature film that continues the story of parents Luke and Maria who had to cancel their wedding in Spain two days before the strict COVID-19 lockdown. Three years on, Luke and Maria’s wedding has continually stalled but Luke is running out of excuses and Maria is running out of patience. Written and produced by Luke Eve and Maria Albiñana, Eve is also onboard to direct the third installment of the popular Facebook series. Emilio Oviedo is also attached as producer. UnCANCELLED is financed in association with Soundfirm.

Videoland: A 6 x 10-min romantic comedy set in 1998, Videoland follows 17-year-old Hayley who works at a video store and has just come out – sort of. Needing help to figure out what being a lesbian entails, Hayley uses movies as her personal lesbian how-to guides on her journey to find a way to be herself, embrace her sexuality, and impress the girl of her dreams. This series for YouTube is from writer/director Jessica Smith and producer Scarlett Koehne.

Wispy: A 22 x 2-minute rom-com for fantasy lovers, which tells the story of Wispy, a hopeless witch whose ultimate goal is to master magic. This becomes a lot harder when distractingly gorgeous fellow witch Joseph appears in her life, causing her heart to pound but her magic to flounder – begging the question of whether Wispy can balance becoming the best witch ever with falling in love, or if she will have to choose between the two. Wispy is created by, written by, and starring Emily Kruse. Molly Daniels is directing and producing. Patrick Jhanur, Ming-Zhu Hii, and Adam Saunders also star. This project will release on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.