Screen Australia announces $600,000 in story development funding for 21 projects

Yael Stone in 'High Maintenance' (Image: David M. Russell/HBO)

A spin-off of High Maintenance, starring Yael Stone, and a comedic crime series from Jungle Entertainment are among the 21 projects that will share in more than $600,000 in story development funding from Screen Australia.

The slate includes 14 feature films, six television dramas and an online project, with 11 titles supported through the Generate Fund and 10 through the Premium Fund.

Screen Australia’s head of development Nerida Moore, who will depart the agency in December after nine years, said she felt privileged to support more many creative projects and people during the time she has left in the role.

“This is an exciting mix of projects and it’s great to support creatives expand on their careers and take on new challenges, including producer Alex White working on her first TV series, and writer Arka Das and writer/director Hannah Hilliard on their debut feature films,” he said.

“The shared vision we are working towards is an inclusive industry where the best Australian talent can tell their stories to all Australians and global audiences. To this end, I’m grateful for the support of the industry while we made some seismic but necessary changes to open up eligibility and support storytelling on all platforms.

New head of development Louise Gough will start in the role on November 15.



Drum Wave
Carver Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Folk Horror
Director: Natalie Erika James
Writers: Natalie Erika James, Christian White
Producers: Sarah Shaw, Anna McLeish, Natalie Erika James
Synopsis: A young composer confronts her fear of motherhood when she marries into a remote island community with bizarre fertility rituals.

In My Body
Truant Pictures
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Writer/Director: Miranda Nation
Producers: Zareh Nalbandian, Toby Nalbandian
Synopsis: At a prestigious Parisian acting school, a young woman fights to keep her sanity as the rigorous classes, merciless instructors and cut-throat co-students turn her success into a matter of life or death.

Laugh Club
Invisible Republic Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writer: Lou Sanz
Producer: Michael Wrenn
Synopsis: In the wake of a miscarriage, mummy-blogger Morgana King rejecting all sympathy assaults another parent and is sentenced to community service running the local misfit-filled Laugh Club.

No Friend But the Mountains
Aurora, Sweetshop&Green and Hoodlum
Genre: Drama
Director: Rodd Rathjen
Writer: Ákos Armont
Co-Writer/Associate Producer: Behrouz Boochani
Producers: Ákos Armont, Gal Greenspan, Antony Waddington, Kerrin McNeil
Executive Producer: Tracey Robertson
Synopsis: Imprisoned without a crime, on an island hidden from view, Kurdish refugee journalist Behrouz Boochani, weaponises WhatsApp to rally the world, behind the cause of those in offshore detention.

The Architect
Big and Little Films Pty Ltd and Cameron Lukey
Genre: Drama
Director: Leah Purcell
Writers: Matt Cameron, Peter Houghton
Producers: Cameron Lukey, Michael McMahon
Synopsis: Based on the original play by Aidan Fennessy. Terminally ill, Helen has a decision to make. Her husband John is about to travel overseas and is insisting she hire a carer. To John’s surprise, she chooses the least likely candidate – Lennie, an enigmatic drifter, and jack-of-all-trades. As Lennie wrestles with his past and Helen confronts her future, an unexpected friendship forms between two unlikely strangers.

The Sweet Above
Every Cloud Productions Pty Ltd
Genre: Action-adventure, comedy, drama
Writers: Elliot Vella, Gretel Vella, Timothy Walker
Original Story by Wain Fimeri.
Executive Producers: Fiona Eagger, Deb Cox, Mike Jones, Drew Grove, Michael Smith
Synopsis: How an Air Race that changed history turned the people of a battling country town into heroes.

The Vibe
Ben Howling
Genre: Action-adventure, musical, science fiction, family
Writer/Director: Ben Howling
Producer: Ben Howling
Synopsis: In Duey’s world, people radiate a visible and audible aura of music which reflects their mood, known as their ‘Vibe’. After a dance battle gone awry, Duey has his Vibe knocked completely out of him, leaving him Vibe-less and with only one option – to undertake the Sacred Pilgrimage to recapture his Vibe.

Princess Pictures
Genre: Horror
Writer/Director: Michael Shanks
Producers: Mike Cowap, Andrew Mittman
Executive Producers: Emma Fitzsimons, Laura Waters
Synopsis: When not-so-young-anymore couple Tim and Millie finally take the plunge and buy a house they are exposed to a mysterious virus that causes their bodies to start to fuse together.

Untitled Matt Okine Project
Aquarius Films in association with Wooden Horse
Genre: Coming of Age Drama
Writer/Director: Matt Okine
Producers: Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Executive Producer: Jude Troy
Synopsis: Based on his debut novel, Being Black n’Çhicken n’Chips, and loosely based on Matt Okine’s experiences of growing up in Brisbane, this film is a journey back to 1998, when 12-year-old Australian-African Mike Amon faces the struggle of entering high school, falling in love for the first time, a rapidly changing body – and learning that his mother has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer.


A Good Librarian’s Guide to Vengeance
Peking Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writer/Director: Sam Voutas
Script Editor: Sarah Golding
Producer: Melanie Ansley
Synopsis: When a librarian is sent into aged care against her will by her best friend, she sets about escaping in order to settle the score.

Co-Curious Ltd
Genre: Drama, Crime
Writer: Arka Das
Executive Producer: Annabel Davis
Synopsis: A young migrant worker clocks long hours as a dish-pig at an Indian restaurant in Sydney’s Western suburbs. When the opportunity arises to achieve his dream of becoming a chef, Ronny feels his life is about to change. However, he quickly finds his dream has become a prison and he is drawn into the dark underworld of indentured labour where freedom comes at a hefty price.

Triptych Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Science fiction
Director: Hannah Hilliard
Writers: Hannah Hilliard, Ian Shadwell
Producer: Kristian Moliere
Synopsis: When gifted computer scientist Beth Francis, resurrects her dead sister in the form of an Artificial Consciousness, she hopes to come to terms with her own grief and heal her relationship with her mother. Once brought to life, the virtual sister struggles with her new identity and draws Beth and her mother an exploration of the days leading up to her unexplained death, changing their relationship forever.

Piano Mums
Nimbus Creative Co
Genre: Drama
Writer: Aven Yap
Producers: Aven Yap, Gabrielle Dalton, Judd Tilyard, James J Yi
Synopsis: The close bond of a pushy migrant piano mum and her teenage prodigy son is tested when the pressure to realise unfulfilled dreams and justify sacrifices force them apart, until the power of music and self-discovery brings them back together.

Thrum Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Horror
Writer/Director: Natalie Erika James
Synopsis: A young medical student attempts to win the affections of her personal trainer with a sinister underground diet craze: eating human ash.



The Pastor’s Wife 
Jungle Entertainment Pty Ltd / About Premium Content
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Creator/Writer: Romina Accurso
Producer: Bridget Callow-Wright
Executive Producers: Romina Accurso, Shay Spencer, Laurent Boissel 
Synopsis: An out-of-character snap leads a dutiful pastor’s wife to murder. Desperate to evade capture, she sets her faith aside in order to lie, cheat, and manipulate only to discover that an unruly teen has uncovered some pretty damning evidence. Blackmail leads to extortion which leads to an unlikely friendship as together they go down a rabbit-hole of some seriously ungodly behaviour in order to get away with murder.


Beth (working title)
Whitefalk Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Creators: Alex White, Eden Falk, Charlie Garber, Lexi Freiman, Yael Stone
Director: Eden Falk
Writers: Charlie Garber, Lexi Freiman
Producer: Alex White
Executive Producers: Katja Blichfeld, Ben Sinclair, Russell Gregory
Synopsis: Beth is a half-hour comedy series that follows Beth, a feisty, freewheeling thirtysomething dog walker just returned to Sydney after ten wild years in New York.

Donna McRae
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Writer/Director: Donna McRae
Synopsis: A neurotic spinster must make amends for a forgotten incident in order to rid herself of a childhood ghost.

Orange Entertainment Co
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Writer: Jane Allen
Producer: Dan Lake
Executive Producers: Kurt Royan, Jane Allen
Synopsis: When the Molloy family are publicly humiliated by their dad walking out on them, all their deeply hidden issues come to light and they have to do the one thing they suck at to get through it – rely on each other. Based on Shannon Molloy’s memoir Fourteen: My Year of Darkness and the Light that Followed.

She’s Got Balls
Northern Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy
Director: Marni Little
Writers: Marni Little, Lisa Hughes, Christine Milo
Producers: Lisa Hughes, Darren Ashton
Executive Producer: Catherine Nebauer
Synopsis: She’s Got Balls is a female-centric comedy that follows a social basketball team as they compete in the unnecessarily high stakes world of mixed C-Grade community sport, and attempt to apply the universal lessons of team sport to their dysfunctional personal lives.

Troubled Youth
Vanessa Bates
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writers: Vanessa Bates, Ross Mueller
Synopsis: Three suburban middle-aged women reform their teenage rock band, Troubled Youth, to rage against the dying of the light.



Hail Draconis
Truce Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy
Co-Creator: Micca Delaney
Director: Nicholas Clifford
Writers: Nicholas Clifford, Nina Oyama
Producers: Emma Roberts, Elise Trenorden, Jim Wright, Michael Sinterniklaas
Synopsis: The misadventures of four Reptilian shapeshifters trying to take over the world in Earth’s first crypto-powered animation.