Screen Australia announces $810,000 of story development funding for 29 projects


Nearly 30 projects, including a new animated series from Ludo Studio, will benefit from more than $810,000 of story development funding from Screen Australia.

The slate included 23 feature films and six television dramas, 19 titles supported through the Generate Fund and 10 through the Premium Fund.

Among the funded projects is Willy, a ten-part coming-of-age animated series from Ludo Studio, Mad Ones, and Sad Man Studio that follows a barely-closeted 15-year-old as he struggles to navigate puberty in the farming town of Toee, where he is (mis)guided by a private cast of imaginary friends.

There is also Moving Floor Entertainment’s family feature film The Last Tiger, about a friendship between 12-year-old girl Pippa and an injured thylacine pup; and horror/comedy feature The Black Talons from director Shari Sebbens, star of Jon Bell’s upcoming psychological horror, The Moogai.

Screen Australia head of development Bobby Romia said the agency looked forward to following the development journey of each project closely.

“All of these projects are driven by teams deeply connected to the content they’re creating, opening up new avenues for creative expression whilst championing new voices to tell their unique stories,” he said.

Shari Sebbens, Mark Coles Smith, and Maria Lewis.



Desert Fish
Liyan Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Wayne Blair
Writers: Victor Hunter, Melanie Hogan
Producers: Victor Hunter, Melanie Hogan, Lisa Scott
Executive producer: Mark Coles Smith
Script editors: Mark Coles Smith, Keith Thompson
Synopsis: Alfie Munns, a lost soul burdened by a turbulent past, seeks salvation in the remote Kimberley when he stumbles upon the visionary Frances Nerrima, a respected Elder determined to empower her people by building homes together. As they face setbacks, legal troubles, and bitter adversaries, Alfie must confront his demons and embrace his roots to bring hope, unity, and a sense of purpose to a community.

Wee Beastie Productions Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Road Movie
Writers: Dave Johnson, Lou Sanz, Sean Ellis
Producers: Christine Alderson, Kate Neylon
Synopsis: Reverse is a high concept contemporary comedy road movie, epic in setting, yet intimate in its portrayal of one woman’s struggle against gambling addiction.

The Yarrabah Brass Band
Yarrabah Films Pty. Ltd.
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Family
Director: Bjorn Stewart
Writer: Kodie Bedford
Producers: Mitchell Stanley, Tim Sanders
Synopsis: When a young Indigenous man returns to his divided hometown, he transforms the community – and himself – through the magic of music by re-forming Australia’s first-ever Aboriginal Brass Band.

The Other War
Jessica de Gouw
Genre: Drama
Director: Emma Freeman
Writer: Sarah L. Walker
Producer: Martha Coleman
Associate producer: Nicole La Bianca
Executive producers: Jessica de Gouw, Sarah L. Walker, Martha Coleman
Synopsis: When the Australian Women’s Land Army sends a misfit woman to fill in for a war-absent husband on a remote property in Western Australia, it ignites an epic forbidden love story. A sweeping wartime lesbian romance that explores the tragedy of historical gender and sexual inequality in 1940s rural Australia.

The Last Tiger
Moving Floor Entertainment
Genre: Family
Writer: Leigh McGrath
Producers: Leigh McGrath, Stephen M. Irwin
Script editor: Stephen M. Irwin
Synopsis: Set in the breathtaking wilds of Tasmania, The Last Tiger tells the story of a remarkable friendship between twelve-year-old Pippa and an injured thylacine pup, which she rescues from near death and decides to raise in secret. But when Pippa’s discovery is exposed, forces beyond her control threaten to take her beloved tiger away… unless she can find a way to stop them and reunite the pup with its family.

Two Nations
Jungle Entertainment Pty ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writer/director: Trent O’Donnell
Producer: Bridget Callow-Wright
Executive producer: Jason Burrows
Synopsis: The true story of one of journalism’s most audacious undercover stings – when Australian man Rodger Muller went undercover for three years to infiltrate the NRA on behalf of Al Jazeera, only to find himself at the very centre of a 20 million dollar scandal.

Carver Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Psychological horror
Writer/director: Natalie Erika James
Producers: Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw, Natalie Erika James
Synopsis: A lovelorn medical student becomes terrorized by a hungry ghost after taking part in an obscure weight-loss craze: eating human ashes.

7 1/2
Daybreak Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama
Director: Rhys Graham
Writers: Christos Tsiolkas, Rhys Graham
First Nations Consultant: Leroy Parsons
Synopsis: In a remote coastal town, a provocative writer who has retreated into isolation to write about an aging pornstar, is overwhelmed with his memories as a migrant child experiencing beauty, desire, and love for the first time.

Blackfella Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama
Writer/director: Amanda Blue
Producer: Darren Dale
Synopsis: A curious teenage girl escapes the restrictive confines of her migrant suburban community to discover love, her sexuality and acceptance in 1980s queer Sydney.


ANA Productions Pty Ltd (24Six Films)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Young Adult
Director: Ali Sayed
Writer: Jayant Sharma
Additional writers: Swarnima Singh, Arka Das
Story consultant: Bina Bhattacharya
Producer: Aniket Deshkar
Synopsis: A mixed-race teenage musician discovers his cultural identity as he must race against time to create a rap song in a language he doesn’t speak to honour his dying grandmother.

Matthew Whittet
Genre: Drama
Writer: Matthew Whittet
Synopsis: The kindness of friends is never forgotten. For 20-year-old Lucas, his friends are his world. But his older brother Oliver is his solar system. And when a life-changing event takes place, Lucas starts to slide. Only the gentle, unwavering love of his friends can lift him again. With luminous, intimate, piss-taking kindness.

This Suburban Life
Pancake Originals
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama
Director: Gabriel Carrubba
Writers: Gabriel Carrubba, Luke J. Morgan
Producers: Gabriel Carrubba, Luke J. Morgan, Zane Borg
Synopsis: Set in the outer suburbs of Melbourne in 2007, the story follows two teenage boys, Matteo and Andre, inseparable friends from contrasting socioeconomic backgrounds, who spend every moment of their waking lives together. However, when the growing pains of Matteo’s mother’s financial struggles become too much, and Andre stumbles upon the indiscretions of his father, the boys run away, embarking on a journey into the bustling city. This Suburban Life is a story of self-discovery, friendship, identity, and seeing the world outside of your suburb for the first time.

The Mati
Panayioti Peter Ninos
Genre: Horror
Writer/Director: Peter Ninos
Synopsis: In the shadow of his brother Stavros, Niko grapples with his self-acceptance as a gay man in a traditional Greek family. Living with the weight of his truth, Niko is preyed upon by a malevolent force known as the Mati, the evil eye, which feeds on his jealousy. This ancient curse offers Niko the chance of a better life, Stavros’ life, and he accepts it. Soon, with their fortunes reversed, Niko realizes the price he will pay for invoking the Mati will consume him, destroy his brother, and bring an end to his family under the deadly shadow of the Mati.

Counting Cards With My Father
Lydia Rui Huang
Genre: Drama, Crime
Writer/Director: Lydia Rui
Producer: Rachael Fung
Synopsis: Sick of bouncing around from home to home, a misfit teen tracks down their absent father hoping to rebuild their relationship through poker.

Lightning Ridge
Never Sleep Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Director: Nathan Lewis
Writer: Tara June Winch
Producer: Kate Glover
Synopsis: There are places we go to disappear… other places disappear ourselves. In 1992, young Aboriginal woman Marlee arrives in Lightning Ridge, population unknown, with her daughter Lily in tow to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance. Serg, a migrant dreams of leaving. Marlee’s hunt for revenge and Serg’s quest for a ticket out entangle them in a criminal underworld of opal mining, where a gemstone is worth more than morals. For both to escape, they must pay debts neither know they owe.

Catherine Smyth-McMullen
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Writer: Catherine Smyth-McMullen
Producer: Catherine Smyth-McMullen
Synopsis: An ambitious real estate developer must convince an eccentric homeowner to sell his bizarre property – a house that has been completely transformed into a giant ants’ nest. But as she learns more about this strange house and its tragic secrets, she starts to feel a kinship with the tiny ant inhabitants. As reality starts to slip away and the nest closes in, she’ll eventually have to choose – her sanity or her freedom.

One Hundred Days
Michelle Law
Genre: Drama, Psychological
Director: Corrie Chen
Writer: Michelle Law
Synopsis: Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Alice Pung, One Hundred Days is a psychological drama about motherhood, autonomy, and the frightening singlemindedness of those desperate to protect their loved ones… at any cost.

Far From Everything Films Pty. Ltd.
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Director: Rachele Wiggins
Writer: Jennifer van Gessel
Synopsis: A bored young misfit attempts to impress girls at a house party by summoning the Goddess Aphrodite to make them fall in love with her but feels she has instead summoned a demon as hell is unleashed upon them.

The Black Talons
Maria Lewis
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Director: Shari Sebbens
Writer: Maria Lewis
Synopsis: A 90-minute horror/comedy feature that follows a teen-girls netball team forced to fight for their lives in a public housing tower as reptilian monsters emerge during a flash flood.

Sophie Next Door
Contra Stories
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Science fiction, Psychological thriller
Writer/director: Clare Sladden
Producers: Danielle Redford, Clare Sladden
Synopsis: When a woman finds herself living next door to her 12-year-old self, she takes on the persona of a mysterious stranger from her childhood in order to change the past. But as past and present collide in real-time with devastating consequences, she must make new choices in order to escape a tragic fate.

Lake Martin Films
Genre: Action, Horror, Comedy
Writer/director: Nicole Delprado
Producer: Kate Separovich
Synopsis: A frustrated gymnast and her overbearing stuntperson mother are hired for a feature film. Arriving at a remote location they’re pulled into a strange building where all the fights are real and they must be the last ones standing to win a bizarre battle royale-style reality show.

Love Is, Love Is
Gemma Bird Matheson
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Writer: Gemma Bird Matheson
Synopsis: A camping trip goes awry when soon-to-be parents Clare and Dana encounter a group of threatening homophobic men. Isolated and with no reception, a game of cat and mouse ensues… but our protagonists may not be the lesbian damsels in distress we first thought them to be.

The White Girl
Typecast Pty Ltd
Genre: Thriller
Director: Tony Briggs
Writer: Dallas Winmar
Producers: Maggie Miles, Damienne Pradier
Synopsis: Odette Brown, desperate to protect her light-skinned granddaughter from the Aborigines Welfare Board, hatches a defiant plan to outsmart newly appointed Sergeant Lowe. The White Girl is a co-production with Savage Films.

Television Series


10 x 24 mins
Ludo Holdings Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Animation
Creators: Samuel Leighton-Dore, Bradley Tennant
Writer/director: Samuel Leighton-Dore
Producer: Liam Heyen
Development producer: Chloe Hume
Executive producers: Daley Pearson, Charlie Aspinwall
Synopsis: Willy is a 10-part coming-of-age animated series. It’s 2003 and 15-year-old Willy is on the cusp of a sexual awakening, which would be great if he wasn’t stuck in the rural sugarcane farming town of Toee. Willy’s only salvation is his colourful imagination and the cast of fantastical friends who inhabit it, including razor-tongued rescue cat Beverley and a scornful op-shop portrait of the Virgin Mary. But soon the arrival of hot new neighbour Jack threatens to bust Willy’s carefully constructed inner world wide open, changing the lives of Toee locals forever.

8 x 60 mins
Mess Productions
Genre: Drama, Science fiction
Director: Madeleine Parry
Writers: Madeleine Parry, Maddison Connaughton
Producers: Madeleine Parry, Peter Hanlon
Synopsis: Ambitious 26-year-old dropout Mia gets caught in a corporate battle whilst trying to save her mother from a degenerative illness.


Are We Good?
8 x 30 mins
Makes You Think Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writers: Ben Manusama (aka Ben Abraham), Liam Maguire
Producers: Ben Manusama (aka Ben Abraham), Liam Maguire
Executive producer: Debs Paterson
Synopsis: Inspired by real events, Are We Good? is a dramedy about a young Christian leader who, on the eve of being announced as a new pastor at his parents’ church, confesses to his fiancée that he cheated on her with a man off craigslist. What follows is the messy, heartening, darkly-funny story of a man trying to reconcile the person he is with the religion he’s devoted his life to.

The Golden Ass
6 x 40 mins
Goalpost Television
Genre: Family Drama, Comedy
Writer: Lâle Teoman
Executive producers: Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne
Development producer: Polly Rowe
Synopsis: A mixed-Cypriot family descends into chaos when patriarch, Mazhar, has a spectacular meltdown in the fruit and vegetable section of the local supermarket. The resulting notoriety lures his adult children home but, instead of dealing with the mess, they are drawn into a desperate plan: to create a viral cooking show with Mazhar and his delinquent pet donkey as the stars. Can they reach 1 million followers or will death and dysfunction stand in their way?

Half A Man
8 x 30 mins
Christopher Squadrito
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writer/producer: Chris Squadrito
Script editor: Blake Ayshford
Synopsis: After outing himself as bisexual, 30-year-old personal trainer Max Morello strives to keep his engagement afloat and his sense of masculinity intact – only to find his newfound evolution shifting the very nature of his relationship, his family, and his group of all-too-Australian mates.

Die and Let Live
8 x 30 mins
Chemical Media Pty Ltd
Genre: Black comedy, Drama
Creators: Beth Knights, Tony Jackson
Writer: Beth Knights
Producers: Tony Jackson, Lucy Maclaren
Executive producer: David Collins
Synopsis: When newly pregnant Olivia fakes her own death to escape a dangerous marriage to a criminal in Ireland, she re-surfaces with a new identity as a single mum in the suburbs of Perth – the most remote city on earth. Resourceful, ambitious, and not entirely averse to illicit activity, Olivia soon realises she can earn a decent living helping all sorts of desperate people fake their deaths too. While her black-market business is booming, Olivia’s hard-won new life is about to unravel with disastrous consequences.