Screen Australia announces finalists for $30,000 VidCon pitching competition

Screen Australia has announced the five finalists who will compete in its pitching competition, Pitcher Perfect, to be held at VidCon in Melbourne this Friday.

Each creative team will send two representatives, who have five minutes to pitch their concept live on stage to a panel of judges. The winning team will receive $30,000 from Screen Australia to develop their concept.

The inaugural Pitcher Perfect judges are:

  • SBS production supervisor Nicole Coventry
  • Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason
  • Viacom International Media Network ANZ general manager and SVP Ben Richardson
  • Warner Media director of communications Wadooah Wali

The session will be hosted by Susie Youssef and feature a performance by comedy duo Double Denim.

The finalists were selected from  93 applications, and will also receive intensive pitch training from Rosie Lourde (Deadhouse Dark, Skin Deep) and Jason Geary (Utopia, Thank God You’re Here).

“Being able to do a killer ‘elevator pitch’ is an essential skill for any creative, and something we want our emerging talent to nail early in their career,” said Screen Australia online investment manager Lee Naimo.

“Pitcher Perfect is designed to be the Hunger Games of elevator pitches, representing an incredible opportunity for all five finalists to get industry exposure at VidCon, and of course the winning team to leave with a cheque.”

The list of finalists:

V: A 8 x 12 minute dark comedy centred on forgettable introvert Virginia, who discovers that the popular augmented reality game “V”, in her hands, can kill people. Finding herself charged with the power to help women in trouble, pacifist Virginia reluctantly reinvents herself as a vigilante. But as she strikes fear into men, with little consequence, she begins to question if her actions are just as despicable as her victims.

V is written, directed and produced by comedian Nicolette Minster, whose credits include KINNE Tonight, Sammy J and the 2018 Tropfest finalist Paper Cut. It is co-directed and produced by Nicholas Colla, producer of The Wizards of Aus and AACTA-nominated short film Rebooted, which was supported through Screen Australia’s Skip Ahead initiative.

Return to Sender: A 6 x 5 minute dark satire about two estranged, mixed-raced sisters. When Australia’s right-wing, white supremacist government launches a ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ policy, the sisters are imprisoned in an offshore detention centre for the ethnically ambiguous. They must try to escape before the world forgets them, or worse, before they kill each other.

Return to Sender is written by Amy Stewart (News of the Wild, Play School), and directed by Pearl Tan, creator of YouTube series Minority Box. It will be produced by Kala Ellis (News of the Wild). Amy and Pearl will pitch at VidCon.

Part Time Heroes: A 6 x 10 minute fantasy comedy about a brother and sister duo destined to be heroes, who embark on a quest to save the realm from the evil queen. But being a hero is tough, and they suck at it, so they fight a lot, mostly among themselves.

The creative team features producer and director pair Josh Mawer and Stephanie Begg, who previously worked together on webseries Same Same and short film Opal. They are joined by writer and actor Drew Wilson, who was featured in Crownies and onstage in Melbourne Theatre Company’s ‘Storm Boy’. Josh and Drew will pitch at VidCon.

Sweet Pea: A 10 x 10 minute action adventure set in a world where abortion is punishable by death. The series follows four friends who become criminals overnight in their search for a doctor, and go face to face with government officials, corrupt police, secret societies and ex-boyfriends all set in Sydney’s gritty underbelly.

Sweet Pea is written and directed by Monique Terry and Hannah-Rae Meegan, creators of short films Bring Me Back, Ma and SLAG. It will be produced by China White, executive producer of Suburban Wildlife which had its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival this year. Monique and Hannah-Rae will pitch at VidCon.

Buffa: A 6 x 5-10 minute comedy series about 28-year-old Josie, who needs to do some major life purpose alteration after a medical condition shatters her dreams of becoming an opera singer.

Buffa will be directed by Emma Vickery, whose short film Barry was finalist at Tropfest 2019. It is written by Claira Prider who is an actor and trained opera singer, and produced by Katherine Marmion, creator of short film Date and co-founder of Veerhuis Pictures. Claira and Katherine will pitch at VidCon.