Screen Australia announces $975,000 in story development funding for 28 projects

Comedy duo Hot Department are developing online series 'Home'.

Nearly 30 projects will share in $975,000 of story development funding from Screen Australia, including a television series inspired by the 1999 film Two Hands from director Gregor Jordan, and a family feature film from the producers of Bluey.

The 28 recipients for the final round of development funding in the 2020/21 financial year comprise 12 feature films, 13 television dramas, and three online projects.

Screen Australia head of development Nerida Moore said there was no shortage of variety across the projects.

“Screen Australia is really proud to be supporting this impressive mix of projects,” she said.

“This includes fresh genre-bending comedies Home and Our Haunt, and beautiful romantic drama 10 Moments that will bring together 10 chapters from a great team of exciting creative voices.

“It’s also wonderful to support more children’s content with Big Serious Studios’ Goo Zoo set to invite children into the world of microbiology as part of the company’s aims to deliver more STEM content for kids.”

During the 2020/21 financial year, Screen Australia received 397 story development applications across the Premium and Generate Funds, going on to provide funding to a total of 83 projects out of a pool of 387 projects that were creatively assessed.

This included 45 through the Generate Fund for lower budget projects, and 36 through the Premium Fund for higher budget projects from established creators.

There were also two projects funded through the Premium Plus Fund for critical late-stage development funding to high-budget projects with firm market interest that were impacted by COVID-19 (this fund closed in July 2020).

Moore said she looked forward to seeing the end results of some of the projects in the coming months.

“One year on it’s great to see the success of projects that we were able to support during the initial impacts of COVID-19 through our Premium Plus Fund, including The Newsreader which is set to air on the ABC next month and New Gold Mountain which is coming to SBS later this year,” she said.



Salvation Creek
Galvanized Film Group
Genre: Drama
Director: Tori Garrett
Writers: Heather Ogilvie, Megan Simpson-Huberman
Producer: Heather Ogilvie
Co-Producer: Michael Selwyn
Synopsis: Salvation Creek is based on the true story of a woman whose husband and brother die within days of each other. Derailed by grief but determine to rebuild her life, she quits her job, sells her house and buys a waterside rundown shack. In this tight knit, boat-only-access community, she discovers the simple joy of friendship and a man who will love her no matter how hard she tries to push him away.

Ludo Studio
Genre: Comedy, Family
Director: Daley Pearson
Writers: Kim Huffman Cary, Donick Cary, Daley Pearson
Producer: Charlie Aspinwall
Synopsis: After their dream holiday is cancelled a battling, highly strung and dysfunctional family try to survive their summer break stuck at home together on their first… “Family Staycation”. Tempted by the luxuries of the rich-house across the street the family begin living at their neighbours where they are soon mistaken as the family who they discover are under witness protection.

Causeway Films
Genre: Drama
Director: Catriona McKenzie
Writer: Catriona McKenzie, Patricia Cornelius
Producers: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton, Catriona McKenzie
Synopsis: A white baby girl is carried by a dingo into a remote Aboriginal community where she is raised, at the ongoing peril of her mob. But when questions of belonging set her on a reckless path of self-discovery, the community is forced to confront the burning grief of past wrongs.

The Road Less Travelled
Faraway Films Entertainment Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama
Director: Lynda Heys
Writers: Steve Turnbull, Lynda Heys 
Producers: Steve Turnbull, Lynda Heys, Paul Ranford
Executive Producer: Mark Montgomery
Synopsis: One road. Two journeys. A lifetime apart. Inspired by the true-life adventure(s) of Sydneysiders, Beth and Ivan Hodge, The Road Less Travelled tells the tale of a retired ‘ordinary’ couple who, on the eve of their 50th wedding anniversary, cancel a 5-star luxury cruise to instead re-live their original 1969 honeymoon.  So – driving the very same Volkswagen Beetle – they again set off on a ten-thousand-kilometre trek from London to Kolkata.   Through this story of indelible love spanning decades and crossing continents, Ivan finally discovers that life’s a journey that doesn’t always come with a map.


10 Moments
Big and Little Films
Genre: Drama
Writers/Directors: Neil Triffett, Roger Monk, Adrian Chiarella, Brendon McDonall
Producers: Michael McMahon, Mat Govoni
Executive Producer: Tony Ayres
Synopsis: 10 Moments tells the story of a gay male relationship from the moment a couple first meet through to their decision to continue or separate 10 years later, using 10 key moments told by 10 gay male writers/directors working in a multiplicity of genres.

Fads & Miracles
Rush Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Thriller 
Director: Zoe Pepper 
Writers: Zoe Pepper, Adriane Daff 
Producer: Cody Greenwood
Script Editor: Brita McVeigh 
Executive Producer: John Maynard 
Synopsis: A down-and-out single mother believes the new school principal when he promises to transform her average teenager into a star pupil. But his mysterious quick fix has increasingly bizarre and inexplicable side effects that cast a dark shadow over the transformation. 

Isabel Joan Peppard
Genre: Horror, Fantasy
Writer/Director: Isabel Peppard
Script Editor: Lynne Vincent Mccarthy
Synopsis: Grace (30s) is a joyless husk of a person, defined by her job at her father’s art gallery and unable to connect with those around her. When a chaotic young artist, Kate, is granted a residency, Grace’s ordered facade begins to crumble and she is plagued by visions of a nightmarish clay world. As fantasy and reality collide Grace is forced to reckon with the monstrous truth of her own identity and the mysterious presence that haunts the gallery.

Take Me Home
Sweetshop & Green
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Director: Sameh Zoabi
Writers: Sarah Bassiuoni, Sameh Zoabi
Producers: Gal Greenspan, Amir Harel
Synopsis: When Sara Mustafa (20s) is contacted by her estranged father, she reluctantly agrees to fulfil his dying wish – repatriate his remains to his birthplace of East Jerusalem, for burial. Travelling from Sydney, to Amman, to Jerusalem and into her grandmother’s house that is partially occupied by settlers, Sara discovers the family she’s never known, and understands the bitter legacy of a childish decision that kept her Palestinian father from his homeland until his death.

Take My Hand
Invisible Republic Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama
Director: Jack Dowdell
Writers: Dean Nash, Jack Dowdell
Producer: Michael Wrenn
Synopsis: Noah is a successful young man who has always dismissed his disability, working hard to master short term goals. Now, just when he should be celebrating, his lucrative job might not be the right fit; and his girlfriend Libby, is unexpectedly pregnant, throwing him into an unknown future he feels he won’t be able to control. Into this existential crisis steps Toby, the role model with disability he never had who sees Noah as someone he can influence.

The Sound of Light
Photoplay Films Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Writer/Director: Julietta Boscolo
Producer: Linda Micsko
Synopsis: A gifted teen singer/songwriter – too ashamed of her poor background to sing in public – masquerades as middle class in order to win a music competition and escape to a joyful new life.



Detective Cooper
Goalpost Television and Quizzical
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Writers: James McNamara, Amy Jephta
Story Editor: Malla Nunn
Producers: Kylie du Fresne, Nimrod Geva, Rosemary Blight
Synopsis: Adapted from Malla Nunn’s novels – a detective with a dangerous secret, a Zulu constable linked to the resistance, and a German surgeon tortured by loss unite to defy an all powerful police force and solve murders in Apartheid South Africa.

Laugh of Lakshmi
Felix Media Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Musical
Director: S. Shakthidharan
Writer: S. Shakthidharan
Producer: John Maynard
Executive Producer: Bridget Ikin
Synopsis: Separated during Sri Lanka’s civil war, a mother and son are re-united in modern day Sri Lanka.

Lawyer X
Fremantle Australia Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama
Writer: Sarah Walker
Producer: Carly Heaton
Executive Producer: Chris Oliver-Taylor
Synopsis: A Shakespearean epic of power and betrayal, Lawyer X is about a woman who wanted everyone to remember her name…and they will.

Our Haunt
Daniel Ashley Reisinger
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery
Directors: Daniel Reisinger, Ben Howling
Writers: Daniel Reisinger, Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling, Romina Accurso
Producer: Daniel Reisinger
Synopsis: When a hapless couple buys an old Surry Hills terrace to do it up, they find this haunted house wants to do them in. Unable to afford to leave, they’re forced to become bumbling investigators of the previous occupants’ murders (all while choosing the perfect wallpaper).

Song of the Sun of God
Dragonet Films Pty Ltd (and Synchronicity Films UK)
Genre: Thriller, Family saga
Writer: Olivia Hetreed
Producers/Exec Producers: Karen Radzyner, Claire Mundell
Executive Producers: Olivia Hetreed, Shankari Chandran 
Story Consultant: Shankari Chandran
Story Producer: Ruth Underwood
Synopsis: A gripping contemporary emotional thriller based on the breathtaking novel set across Australia, Britain and Sri Lanka, that plunges us into the loves, lies and misdemeanours of the close-knit Rajan family, whose story is entangled in Sri Lanka’s dangerous political history. It’s set against the fallout today of decades of conflict between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities, derived in no small part from the island’s colonial history. For ex-pat Leela, Sri Lanka’s controversial 2019 elections, an ocean away from her home, will create unimaginable impact on her quest to find her missing aunt.

The Hive
Magpie Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Writer: Angela Betzien
Script Producer: Blake Ayshford
Producer: Lois Randall
Co-Producer: Rebecca Ingram
Story Consultant: Rhoda Roberts
Synopsis: Adapted from the novel The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau – when human remains are discovered in a burned-out van on land that once belonged to a utopian community, a mother and daughter must confront the secrets that have silenced them.

Two Hands (working title)
Macgowan Films Pty Ltd and Fremantle Australia
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Crime
Director: Gregor Jordan
Writers: Gregor Jordan, Melissa Bubnic, Gretel Vella, Sarah Bassiuoni, Greg Haddrick, Meyne Wyatt
Producers: Marian Macgowan, Justin Davies
Executive Producers: Tim White, Chris Oliver-Taylor
Synopsis: Television adaptation of the hit Australian film Two Hands.


Carmen & Bolude
Draw Your Own Box Productions Pty Ltd
Genre: Buddy comedy, Adventure
Director: Penelope Berkemeier
Writers: Michela Carattini, Bolude Watson
Producers: Yolandi Franken, Michela Carattini
Synopsis: Best friends Carmen and Bolude must travel from Spanish-Harlem, NYC to Sydney, Australia, where they have ten days to collect 100 ‘welcomes’ so that Bolude’s traditional Nigerian father will agree to let her marry an Australian. Based on true events.

Dirty Thirties
John Kassab
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Creators: John Kassab, Khaled Abdulwahab
Directors: John Kassab, Craig Irvin
Writers: John Kassab, Candy Bowers, Craig Irvin, Jane Allen
Producer: John Kassab
Executive Producer: Michael McMahon
Synopsis: A group of newly single African-Australian friends navigate the ups and downs of modern dating and traditional family life.

Goo Zoo
Big Serious Studios Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Family
Directors: Charlotte Rose Hamlyn, David Peers
Writers: Charlotte Rose Hamlyn, Bruce Griffiths, Maria Lewis, Roshelle Fong
Producer: Katrina Peers
Synopsis: Set within a petri dish in a world populated by microbes, Goo Zoo blends the amazing world of microbiology with classic toon comedy.

Next Big Thing
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Writers: Michele Lee, Rachel Perks
Producer: Cathy Rodda
Story Producer: Kelly Lefever
Synopsis: A hot young talent in the Australian theatre scene is offered her first big break as a director in a prestigious theatre company but she has to start the job five months pregnant and with her inner doubt literally following her around.

Nicole Dade
Genre: Drama, Crime
Writer: Nicole Dade
Synopsis: The unravelling of a seemingly happy family culminates in an international abduction. 

Big Serious Studios Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Family, Adventure
Director: David Peers
Writers: David Peers, Charlotte Rose Hamlyn, John Armstrong, Roshelle Fong
Composer: Matthew Lee Robinson
Producer: Karina Peers
Synopsis: The THINKADINKS – Miff, Craniac, Booga and Squirt – are an adorable band of adventurers who love solving puzzles that expand their fantastical world.



Curry Me Home
Curry Me Home Web Series Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Romantic comedy
Writers: Floyd Alexander-Hunt, Noah Vaz
Producer: China White
Script Editor: Adele Vuko
Synopsis: Interracial millennial couple, Emily and Anand, are forced to move in with his eccentric Indian family and struggle to make their new life work under one roof. 

StudioBento Pty Ltd
Genre: VR, Drama, Mystery
Writer/Director: Anna Brady
Producer: Lester Francois
Synopsis: In the style of German Expressionism, Remembrance is an interactive VR experience where the user explores the memories of a shell-shocked World War I veteran, in a quest to find the source of his repressed trauma.

West Street Sports Pty Ltd
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror
Director: Liam Fitzgibbon
Writers: Patrick Durnan Silva, Honor Wolff
Executive Producer: Jono Mastrippolito
Synopsis: A sexy 90s sitcom-set comedy, centered around the dysfunctional Funkles family, as they navigate the horrors of a haunted home, and worse – suburban life.