Screen Australia announces Talent USA: New York recipients

Enoch Mailangi, Noora Niasari, and Hannah Carroll Chapman.

Heartbreak High creator Hannah Carroll Chapman and Shayda writer/director Noora Niasari are among those chosen to attend next year’s Australian International Screen Forum (AISF) as part of Screen Australia’s Talent USA program.

They join Enoch Mailangi, Tristram Baumber, Paddy Macrae, and Imogen McCluskey, as well as Sissy writing-directing duo Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes, and comedy pair Michelle Brasier and Sam Lingham in the contingent for the program, which offers Australian creators an opportunity to learn and network on the ground in the US.

Screen Australia’s content director Grainne Brunsdon said the agency looked forward to guiding and promoting the cohort in the coming months.

“Attending the Australian International Screen Forum in New York is an amazing opportunity to establish and nurture new and existing connections, and the extensive exposure these creators receive will be invaluable to their careers and their distinctive storytelling voices,” she said.

Now in its fifth year, the AISF brings together actors, filmmakers, producers, and industry at New York’s Lincoln Center for a showcase of new Australian film, television, and digital content.

In addition to attending the forum, delegates will take part in industry roundtables, panel discussions, mentoring, and pitching, as well as consultations with a selection of New York-based screen professionals.

AISF Director Michael Kelleher said it was always exciting to see a new group of “visionary artists who are reshaping the landscape of Australian storytelling”.

“From Enoch Mailangi’s ground-breaking comedy series to Noora Niasari’s evocative storytelling, each delegate exemplifies the innovative spirit and diverse storytelling that Australian cinema and television proudly offer to the world,” he said.

“Alongside our partner Screen Australia, we’re excited to provide the platform for their continued success on the global stage,” he said.

The Talent USA: New York 2023 delegates are as follows:

Enoch Mailangi: Mailangi created and wrote the five-part comedy series All My Friends are Racist, which had its international premiere at Series Mania. They have also written across several series including Stan Original’s Year Of, SBS’s While The Men Are Away, ABC Kids’ Crazy Fun Park, and the upcoming Stan Original series Invisible Boys.

Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes: A writing/directing duo from Sydney, Australia. Their sophomore feature Sissy opened both the SXSW and Sydney Film Festival Midnighters programs. The pair’s first feature together, For Now, which they also starred in, was nominated for best film at multiple international film festivals. Barlow and Senes are currently developing their latest feature, Cooch, with the assistance of Screen Australia development funding.

Hannah Carroll Chapman: Chapman is the creator of the hit Netflix series Heartbreak High, which spent over a month in the streamer’s global top ten ranking series following its release. Heartbreak High won the AACTA Audience Choice Award for Best Television Series and was nominated for the AACTA Best Drama Series Award. Her writing on The Heights also earned Chapman both an AWGIE and a Screen Producers Award nomination. Before screenwriting, Chapman contributed to shows such as Downtown Abbey, The Borrowers, and Whitechapel as a production operator for London-based production company Carnival Films, and to several series produced by Matchbox Pictures, notably The Slap, Nowhere Boys and Glitch, as a member of their development team. She has several projects currently in development.

Imogen McCluskey: A writer/director whose debut feature film Suburban Wildlife was runner-up for the Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival. She made her TV debut directing Season One of the ABC ME series Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse. Her short film Atomic Love has screened at festivals including Outfest, BFI Flare, Edmonton, Encounters, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and Short of the Week. Her comedy series Love Bug has more than 4 million views on TikTok, receiving nominations from both the Australian Directors’ and Writers’ Guilds. She is currently developing a TV adaptation of Atomic Love and her sophomore feature film DIAL-UP, with the assistance of Screen Australia development funding.

Michelle Brasier and Sam Lingham: Collaborators known for their work on Australian scripted comedy. Brasier is an actor, writer, singer and comedian who’s toured the world with her critically acclaimed comedy-as-philosophy live shows. She has written for YOLO: Crystal Fantasy (Adult Swim), YOLO: Silver Destiny (Adult Swim), Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe (ABC) and Why Are You Like This (ABC, Netflix). Lingham is a stage director, writer, and EP known for Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun (Netflix), Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe (ABC) and Aunty Donna’s live shows. Brasier and Lingham are currently in development for the Screen Australia-funded feature film The Alien Abduction of Emily Hill.

Noora Niasari: A Tehran-born, Australia raised writer/director/producer and – alongside Keiran Watson-Bonnice – co-founder of Parandeh Pictures. Her debut feature film Shayda – starring Zar Amir Ebrahimi and executive produced by Cate Blanchett – premiered in the World Dramatic Competition of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and was sold to Sony Pictures Classics. Shayda was the Opening Night Gala Film of the 71st Melbourne International Film Festival, the Closing Night film of the 76th Locarno Film Festival, Official Selection at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival, 28th Busan International Film Festival, 67th BFI London Film Festival, Young Talent Award recipient at the 31st Filmfest Hamburg and winner of Cine- festOZ, Australia’s richest film prize. Shayda is Australia’s official submission for Best International Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards.

Paddy Macrae: An executive producer and writer who has held multiple roles in scripted development since 2015. Macrae has worked across the drama slate at Matchbox Pictures on projects, including Barracuda, Glitch, Seven Types of Ambiguity, and all three seasons of Wanted for Channel Seven and Netflix. Most recently Macrae was executive producer, creator, and writer on his first original series, Irreverent, for Netflix and NBC Peacock. He is currently developing a slate of original TV series and feature films.

Tristram Baumber: Baumber is the co-creator and executive producer of ABC TV’s The PM’s Daughter, which was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Children’s Program. He was also a writer on the ABC’s Mother & Son. Baumber wrote for 2021 series Born To Spy, as well as Netflix and ABC’s 2019 series The Unlisted and Matt Okine’s The Other Guy for Stan and Hulu. From 2017 to 2019, Baumber was an in-house writer for Aquarius Films, working on a variety of feature and television scripts across genres. His children’s sitcom #bosslyfe and rom-com feature Faking Christmas are currently in development.