A feature film from Mia Wasikowska and a TikTok mockumentary series from the creators of Turn Up The Volume are among the projects to be included in the newest round of story development funding from Screen Australia.
The agency will give $700,000 to 17 feature films, two television dramas and one online feature, with 11 projects supported through the Generate Fund and nine through the Premium Fund.
Screen Australia head of development Bobby Romia noted the four stories for children and families, including animated family adventure film Laser Beak Man, and The Great Dinosaur Rescue, which features a re-invigoration of the Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular animatronics.
“These heart-warming stories will explore themes including the importance of chasing your dreams, taking care of the planet, and the power of teamwork and community,” he said.
He added that the inclusion of projects from Rachele Wiggins and Vonne Patiag, both alumni of Screen Australia’s Talent USA program, was an example of career development and talent escalation opportunities that were “at the core” of the agency.
Eggshell Skull Thirdborn Pty Ltd Genre: Drama Writer/Director: Mia Wasikowska Producers: Nicole O’Donohue, Shaun Grant, Justin Kurzel Synopsis: Eggshell Skull is a coming-of-rage story charting a young woman’s journey through the Australian legal system, first as a judge’s associate and then as a complainant seeking justice for a crime that has haunted her since childhood.
The Star of the Sea Last Cab Productions Pty Ltd Genre: Drama, Western, Mystery Writer/Director: Jeremy Sims Producers: Jeremy Sims, Greg Duffy, Daniel Ostroff Synopsis: Hope is restored to a tiny Tasmanian fishing village when Jan, a stubborn Dutch fisherman at war with himself, his wife and the community around him, has his bleak world-view changed by an apparent ‘Visitation’ by the Virgin Mary…
Cooch Hannah Barlow Genre: Horror, Science Fiction Writer/Directors: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes Synopsis: When Polly, a talented but timid bio-engineer, creates a device capable of hacking the female orgasm, her dream of bettering womankind becomes a nightmare with a tragic climax.
Laser Beak Man Studio B Animation Pty Ltd Genre: Family Writer: Fin Edquist Producers: Su Armstrong, Brian Rosen, Barbara Stephen Executive Producer: Tim Sharp Synopsis: Laser Beak Man – superhero and champion of Power City, who brings colour to his world, has to re-imagine himself when the mischievous Peter Bartman steals his magical colour crystals and trades them for glory to the evil controller, Hewzaplenty, of rival city Jumbopolis, causing Power City to start losing its colour. Laser Beak Man must learn to team up with an odd cast of characters to win the crystals back and return Power City to a world of colour.
Flip More Sauce Genre: Action adventure, Comedy, Drama Director: Luke Eve Writers: Alli Parker, Warwick Holt Producers: Luke Eve, Adam Alcabes Synopsis: A gutsy Aussie teen skateboarder joins the world’s top female skaters on a wild bus trip across Australia, as part of the inaugural Women’s World Cup tour, and fights ingrained prejudice and doubts in her quest to become the first women’s number one.
The Great Dinosaur Rescue Fnbproductions Genre: Family Writers: Belinda Bradley, Franz Docherty Producers: Belinda Bradley, Franz Docherty Synopsis: For twelve years a pack of animatronic dinosaurs toured the world bringing joy to millions of people while celebrating their ancestors. Where are those rock star dinosaurs now? Scattered around Melbourne, gathering dust in shipping containers, waiting to be destroyed. Every tick of the clock bringing them closer to their extinction. That all changes when ten-year-old Spike hears about it. She grew up with those dinosaurs. They’re family. Spike’s determination will not only save the dinosaurs but find them a home.
Melaleuca Everyone We Know Pty Ltd Genre: Drama Director: Jess Barclay Lawton Writer: Jess Barclay Lawton Producers: Lizzie Cater, Zef Valdes Executive Producer: Kate Laurie Synopsis: Remy makes a decision to finally get out of Cairns, but when their notoriously elusive mother reappears, they are forced to re-evaluate their choices, relationships, and identity.
Kings Sweet Shop & Green Pty Ltd Genre: Drama Writer/Director: Sione Sisifa Producer: Gal Greenspan Executive Producer: Sharlene George Script Editor: Matthew Dabner Synopsis: When Toby, a talented-but-impressionable young Tongan rugby player, is offered an athletic scholarship to an elite private boys school, his chance at going pro inches closer to reality. But when his efforts to integrate are resisted by his teammates, Toby is faced with a decision: give up his rugby dream, or find a way to continue without sacrificing who he is to get there.
Method to Madness Silent Assassin Films Genre: Horror, Thriller, Psychological Director: Rachele Wiggins Writers: Rachele Wiggins, Jennifer Van Gessel Producers: Rachele Wiggins, Sandy Stevens Executive Producers: Greg McLean, Kristian Moliere Synopsis: Starlet Anna wins the role of a lifetime, but her director’s intentions may not be entirely artistic.
Creative Differences Truce Films Genre: Romantic Comedy, Romance Director: Bec Peniston Bird Writer: Graeme Simsion Producers: Jim Wright, Bec Peniston Bird, Elise Trenorden Synopsis: When an up-and-coming literary writer is roped into re-writing an overconfident amateur writer’s genre novel, the result is a surprise success – critically and commercially – and the pair find themselves at professional and romantic crossroads. It’s structure versus prose and planning versus intuition in this whip-smart romantic comedy from the bestselling author of The Rosie Project.
Tomgirl In-Between Pictures Pty Ltd Genre: Drama Writer/Director: Vonne Patiag Producer: Maren Smith Synopsis: Justin, a shy nine-year-old, is bullied at school, much to the shock of his overbearing Filipino mother. When his queer cross-dressing Uncle moves in, Justin begins dressing as a girl, receiving an enchanting crash course in his homeland culture and finds the unexpected superpower in being himself.
Song of Songs Anita Lester Genre: Drama, Romance Writer/Director: Anita Lester Producer: Jamie Bialkower Synopsis: Over the seven days of mourning following her grandmother’s death, Miriam forms a forbidden connection with a young Rabbi that sets in motion the unravelling of a complex family reckoning with their identities. As she navigates the dynamics of those left behind, and the truth about their matriarch’s controversial past, Miriam’s unexpected feelings for the Rabbi lead her toward a profound personal and spiritual transformation.
Uplift Kabul Causeway Films HQ Pty Ltd Genre: Drama, Thriller, True Story Writer/Director: Brietta Hague Producers: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton Synopsis: An Afghan athlete and her family are aided by two Australian women to escape Afghanistan before the country falls under Taliban rule.
Anna Robi and the House of Dogs Maxine Mellor Genre: Comedy, Drama Director: Stef Smith Writers: Maxine Mellor, Stef Smith Synopsis: Luminescent optimist Anna Robi, sole carer for her overbearing mother and their once-pedigree dogs, dreams of romance and independence, but when Anna gets her first startling taste of life and love outside the home, she must choose between the familiar comfort of the whelping box or finally taking off the leash.
Mortal Coil 8 x 40 mins Magpie Pictures Pty Ltd Genre: Comedy, Drama Creator: Roger Monk Director: Christiaan Van Vuuren Writers: Roger Monk, Christiaan Van Vuuren, Rebecca Ingram Script consultant: Belinda Chayko Producers: Lois Randall, Roger Monk Synopsis: When a thrill-seeking couple finds an opportunity to pay their spiralling fertility debts by turning their tourist adventure business into a niche euthanasia service, they jump – literally.
Debatable 8 x 30 mins Unless Pictures Pty Ltd Genre: Comedy, Drama, Young Adult Writers: Jessica Tuckwell, Enoch Mailangi, Thomas Weatherall, Maddie Nixon Development producers: Sanja Simić, Diya Eid Executive producers: Meg O’Connell, Kurt Royan, Dan Lake Synopsis: When a recently disgraced high-school debater is moved to a small coastal town to recover from unspeakable humiliation, rumours quickly follow and she must think, talk and act fast. Even if that means joining the new school’s motley debating team and learning to speak truth to power.
CEEBS BANTA Productions Pty Ltd Genre: Comedy Writers: Betiel Beyin, Leigh Lule Producers: Nikki Tran, Amie Batalibasi Synopsis: Two neurotic best friends join forces to run for Youth President at their local youth centre. The resulting fallout threatens the survival of their community ties and lifelong friendship.