Leah Purcell at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre. (Photo credit: Anthony Johnson).

Projects from the likes of Jocelyn Moorhouse, Leah Purcell, Vicki Madden, Rachel Perkins, Luke Davies, Sophie Hyde, Nicholas Verso, Abe Forsythe, Craig Silvey and Corrie Chen have received development funding from Screen Australia.

“This round of development funding reflects the vibrancy of the story landscape in Australia with thrillers and romance, crime and comedies, sports dramas and musicals,” said Screen Australia's Senior Development Manager Nerida Moore. 

“We have projects from both seasoned storytellers and an exciting group of up-and-coming talents. And we are also seeing a greater mix of platforms from traditional features and high-end television to the ever-growing online drama and narrative VR spaces.”

Among the projects funded, which include 24 features, five online series and two "high-end" television projects, are:

Tasmanian-set gothic crime show The Gloaming, created and written by The Kettering Incident's Vicki Madden, who will produce with John Molloy (Boys in the Trees).

The series is described as "a Scandi Noir-styled police procedural where two police officers must overcome the lingering grief from their shared history to uncover the identity of a killer."

Feature film The Variations will mark a reunion for The Dressmaker's Jocelyn Moorhouse and Sue Maslin on a film about 19th century German musicians Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. 

Maslin spoke to IF last year about the film  "a project that Jocelyn has wanted to make for many, many years." 

"It’s a beautiful story about Clara Schumann and her relationship with her husband, the composer Robert Schumann, and then the young Johannes Brahms, who they mentored and who came to live with them. Brahms ended up being very much a part of a relationship between the three of them, which was expressed in their music. 

"Brahms was hopelessly in love, unrequitedly, with Clara, so it led to a very, very interesting triangular relationship. It’s really a love story: a film about music and creativity and madness."

Maslin is aiming to set the film up as a co-production, to be shot in Germany and Austria with post to be done back in Australia.

Also reuniting are Jasper Jones writer Craig Silvey and director Rachel Perkins. The two are developing a contemporary western titled The Prospector, set in WA, in which "a woman risks everything to find her missing husband".

Speaking to IF last week, Perkins described the film, set to be produced by Blackfella Films' Darren Dale and Miranda Dear, as "quite a commercial piece." 

"Craig loves the art of storytelling. A lot of my work has been based on telling these important historical stories, but I feel like I'm getting to the end of that and now I just want to enjoy the luxury of storytelling a bit. The script Craig's working on is a real adventure."

Perkins describes Silvey's script as a nice balance of "light and the shade. It's got deep emotion and vulnerability but, you know, good quirky comic characters."

Also receiving SA funding is a feature adaptation of Leah Purcell’s play The Drover’s Wife, which was staged at Sydney's Belvoir last year and recently picked up the Victorian Prize for Literature.

Purcell, whose helming credits include Cleverman, The Secret Daughter and Redfern Now, is directing, while David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin (Goldstone) and Bain Stewart (Black Chicks Talking) are attached to produce. 

Also backed is the sophomore directing effort from Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays), a feature adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth's novel Animals, the story of two best friends whose hedonistic friendship is tested when one of them decides to sober up and settle down with her fiancé. 

Unsworth is adapting her own book, while Hyde will produce with Rebecca Summerton (52 Tuesdays) and BAFTA-nominated Sarah Brocklehurst (Black Pond).

The full list of supported projects is here.

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