Like A Photon’s Nadine Bates and Kristen Souvlis, pictured with their muppet Violetta, have received funding from Screen Australia for two animated features. 

Two animated feature films from Queensland-based production company Like A Photon and Stan/Jungle Entertainment’s No Activity Christmas special are among the recent 12 projects to receive production investment from Screen Australia.

The agency announced today it will inject over $9 million in production funding across five features, five TV dramas and two digital series.

Kristen Souvlis and Nadine Bates’ Like A Photon will produce animated feature Combat Wombat, about a wombat turned unintentional superhero, as well as The Wishmas Tree, which follows a young possum’s misguided wish for a white Wishmas. Both projects will be directed by Ricard Cusso Judson, with Matt Everitt to act as consulting animation director (The Lego Batman Movie) on Combat Wombat.

The creative team behind web series High Life – producer Adam Dolman, writer Glen Dolman and director Luke Eve – have also received funding for feature film I Am A Girl. It follows Devon, an aspiring musician with schizophrenia as he searches for his missing love interest, Lucy. Melissa Kelly (Hounds of Love) is also producing, and Screenwest, Create NSW and Soundfirm have all also invested in the production.  

Writer-director Roderick MacKay will make his feature debut with The Furnace. Set in the 1890s in Western Australia’s gold rush, it follows a young Muslim Afghan who forms an unlikely partnership with a bushman on the run with Crown gold. Produced by Timothy White and Kelvin Munro (I Am Mother), it puts a spotlight on ‘Ghan’ cameleers, predominantly Muslim and Sikh men from India, Afghanistan and Persia.

Of the five television dramas supported by Screen Australia, Jungle Entertainment’s one-off No Activity Christmas special for Stan is the only project to have been announced so far. It will star Patrick Brammall, Darren Gilshenan, Harriet Dyer, Genevieve Morris, Dan Wyllie and David Field, with writer-director Trent O’Donnell teaming with series producer Bridget Callow-Wright and EPs Chloe Rickard and Jason Burrows.

Among the two online projects is Lucy and DiC, a new 1 x 60 minute/8 x 6 minute comedy produced by We Made a Thing Studios and based on a short starring live performer Lucy Gransbury and the voice of popular YouTuber Ethan Marrell (from Ozzy Man Reviews). Thee first two episodes will debut at the Adelaide Film Festival in October.

The other project, Internment, is a 6 x 10 minute web series about two girls stuck in an internship from hell and is written by Helena Ruse, Andrew and Pippa Mills, and directed by Andrew.

“It’s fantastic to see such a variety of stories being funded across multiple platforms, which will not only develop careers, but provide Australian and international audiences with engaging, thought-provoking, content that can cut through in this marketplace,” said Screen Australia head of production Sally Caplan.

“Promoting diversity and inclusion in Australian screen stories is imperative and I’m thrilled the projects in this slate have embraced these values. We relish the opportunity to support the development of emerging screen talent, and this slate includes a feature debut from Roderick MacKay who will direct The Furnace, a project with strong multicultural characters and themes.”

“I’m also delighted to see Brisbane-based production company Like A Photon, led by Kristen Souvlis and Nadine Bates, creating authentic Australian animation stories for younger audiences. Both The Wishmas Tree and Combat Wombat will bring real opportunity for growth in the animation industry in Australia.”

Feature projects:

Like A Photon Creative Pty Ltd
Producer Nadine Bates
Executive Producer Kristen Souvlis, Julia Adams
Director Ricard Cusso Judson
Writer Peter Ivan
International Sales Odin’s Eye Entertainment
Synopsis A young possum’s misguided wish for a white Wishmas not only freezes her entire hometown of Sanctuary City, but also threatens the lives of all those who live there. Before the magical Wishmas Tree dies, she must undertake a perilous journey, battling self-doubt, ghostly predator gangs and ultimately- extinction itself, to reverse the damage she has caused and save Sanctuary City!

Like A Photon Creative Pty Ltd
Genre Family
Producer Nadine Bates
Executive Producer Kristen Souvlis, Julia Adams
Director Ricard Cusso Judson
Writer Matthew Kinmonth
International Sales Odin’s Eye Entertainment
Synopsis In a fun and furry spin on the classic “recluse becomes reluctant hero” tale; Maggie Diggins, a wombat turned Wonder Woman, unintentionally becomes the city’s superhero after she begrudgingly saves a rookie caped crusader from certain doom.

Monsoon Pictures Australia Pty Ltd

Genre Drama, Comedy
Producers Adam Dolman, Melissa Kelly
Executive Producers Tait Brady, Timothy White
Director Luke Eve
Writer Glen Dolman
Australian Distributor Label Distribution
International Sales Alliance Media Partners
Synopsis An aspiring musician falls for a mysterious woman… who may be all in his head. But when she vanishes, he takes off across the country to find her, forcing his brother to try to rescue him.

Hoover’s Gold Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Producers Kelvin Munro, Timothy White
Executive Producers Grant Sputore, Brendon Grylls
Director Roderick MacKay
Writer Roderick MacKay
Australian Distributor Umbrella Entertainment
Synopsis 1897. To escape the outback, a young Afghan cameleer falls in with a mysterious bushman on the run with stolen Crown gold.

Television drama projects:

1 x 44 mins
Jungle Entertainment Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy
Producer Chloe Rickard
Executive Producer Jason Burrows
Directors Trent O’Donnell
Writer Trent O’Donnell
Created by Trent O’Donnell & Patrick Brammall
Broadcaster Stan
International Sales BBCW
Synopsis Two cops, Hendy and Stokes, examine the minutiae of life as they are tasked with a Christmas Eve stakeout.

Online projects:

1 x 60 mins/ 8 x 6 mins
We Made a Thing Pty Ltd 
Genre Comedy
Producer Tom Phillips
Executive Producers Greg Sitch, Wayne Lewis, Gail Fuller
Director Jeremy Kelly-Bakker
Writers Tom Phillips, Jeremy Kelly-Bakker
Platform Online
Synopsis It’s about a Lucy, a girl who’s always on the lookout for simple ways to improve her life. And DiC, her talking support drone who even with all the knowledge in the world…can be a bit of an asshole.

6 x 10 mins
Ruby Entertainment Pty Ltd 
Genre Comedy
Producer Mark Ruse
Director Andrew Mills
Writers Pippa Mills, Helena Ruse, Andrew Mills
Platform Online
Synopsis Internment is a six part web series about two girls, Helena and Pippa, stuck in the internship from hell. That is, if hell was a trendy inner city office where no one was doing anything or being paid.

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