Screen Australia injects more than $800,000 into story development

‘Bin Chickens’ created by Nikos Andronicos and Dave Carter.

A family film co-produced by Ridley Scott, a live action/animated children’s anthology and features directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and first-timers Corrie Chen and Vanessa Gazy have received development funding from Screen Australia.

The feature slate also includes Nude Tuesday, a co-production between Australia’s Good Thing Productions and New Zealand’s Firefly Films, and an adaptation of Charlotte Wood’s critically acclaimed feminist novel The Natural Way of Things.

In the final development funding round under the previous guidelines which have been replaced by the platform-agnostic policy, the agency is also supporting Unknown Male No 1, a TV crime drama from Revlover Films and Porchlight Films and online animated series Bin Chickens and The Racka from YouTube stars Danny and Michael Philippou.

All told, Screen Australia is allocating more than $800,000 in story development funding for 20 features, 10 online series, one TV drama and four talent development placements.

Scott Free Productions’ Ridley Scott and Red Lamp Films’ Sylvia Wilczynski and writer-director Kim Mordaunt are working on the adaptation of Finnish novel Monster Nanny, an action adventure about children whose nanny is a hairy, dusty non-talkative monster. Animal Logic Entertainment’s Zareh Nalbandian is also involved in the project which is intended to be an Australian-UK co-production.

Arenamedia’s Robert Connolly and Liz Kearney are developing Alison Lester’s children’s book Magic Beach as an anthology with 10 of Australia’s leading animators.

Jocelyn Moorhouse will write and direct Agaat for Bronte Pictures, a drama based on a Marlene van Niekerk novel which spans 50 years and follows a young black girl who is adopted into a white family in apartheid era – South Africa and fights to forge an identity not defined by her skin colour.

Written by Jackie van Beek (The Breaker Upperers) and directed by Armagan Ballantyne, Nude Tuesday is an absurdist comedy about a couple who spend a week at a new-age retreat in a bid to save their marriage. Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell and Emma Slade are the producers.

Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens, Mustangs FC) is developing Empty Empire, a bittersweet coming-of-age tale to be co-written with Penelope Chai. Formerly titled Strangers, it was one of 45 projects that received development funding through Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories in 2016. The film will follow a bi-racial Australian woman as she travels to a mysterious city in China to track down her long-absent father.

Writer-director Vanessa Gazy has teamed up with Goalpost Pictures to create Highway, a high concept sci-fi feature based on her short film of the same name. It will follow Hester, a mysterious young woman who wakes up on the side of a highway with no memory of who she is and soon finds herself fighting for her life in a slippery and dangerous world of looping time and fatal prophesies.

Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things will be adapted for the screen by Katia Nizic and Emma Dockery of Generator Pictures with Sue Maslin as executive producer. The plot follows 10 women who wake up in a makeshift prison in the bush; their crime is being involved in sex scandals with high-powered men.

Bain Stewart of Tahlee Productions and Bunya Productions’ David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin and Alison Owen will produce The Drover’s Wife – The Legend of Molly Johnson, a re-imagining of Leah Purcell’s Belvoir St Theatre play and Henry Lawson’s classic short story The Drover’s Wife. Set in the Snowy Mountains, the revenge Western with love, family, survival, misogyny and racism at its heart will ask: How far do you go to protect the ones you love?

Martha Coleman, Liz Watts and Vincent Sheehan are developing Unknown Male No 1, based on a true story about the murder of a local in a mountain community which sets off one of the biggest DNA-led investigations of all time.

The Philippous of RackaRacka Productions will develop The Racka, a 6 x 22 minute comedy with Ludo Studio for the ABC. The series will reveal what happens when social media stars — famous for their juvenile behaviour — are rewarded with their first Hollywood movie and make up for their incompetence with dangerous improvisation. Charlie Aspinwall and Daley Pearson are the executive producers with twins Danny and Michael Philippou to star, creatively lead and direct.

Bin Chickens is a social satire set in the tourist heart of Sydney’s Darling Harbour, created by Dave Carter and Nikos Andronicos, which follows three ibises as they are forced to endure the daily parade of imbecile humans and their ludicrous civilisation, laws, technology, social mores and horrific taste in architecture. After receiving funding via the 2017 ABC Fresh Blood initiative, the creators will draft a script and teaser for a complete online series.

Four talent development placements have been issued through Screen Australia’s Industry Placements program. Candice Bowers was offered a placement with Arenamedia, Bali Padda has been given the opportunity to work in drama development at Jungle Entertainment, Fatima Mawas will shadow producer Sheila Jayadev of Matchbox Pictures on a new miniseries and Ana Tiwary will spend three months at See-Saw Films on a producer’s attachment.

“This slate encompasses a wide range of genres, from comedy to family drama, featuring both adaptations and originals. It’s great to see popular Australian children’s and fiction novels being adapted for the screen and some excellent comedies emerging from online creatives including Bin Chickens centred on Sydney’s ibis community and The Racka from renowned YouTubers Danny and Michael Philippou,” said Nerida Moore, senior development manager at Screen Australia.

“The new story development guidelines have opened up funding opportunities to creators across all platforms with a more streamlined application process and flexible eligibility requirements. We’re really looking forward to seeing how the industry takes advantage of these new opportunities to grow their creativity, their businesses, and create new content that resonates with audiences.”


Bronte Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Producer Blake Northfield
Director Jocelyn Moorhouse
Writer Jocelyn Moorhouse
Synopsis Adopted into a white apartheid era family in South Africa, and then cast aside into the servant’s quarters by the woman she considered her mother, Agaat fights to forge an identity not defined by her skin color.

Green Productions South Pty Ltd
Genre: Drama
Producer: Gal Greenspan
Writer: Sara Kern
Synopsis: Confronted by family tragedy, 10-year old Emi must find a new maturity from her fractured childhood.

Robyn Kershaw Productions Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy, Drama, Family
Producers Robyn Kershaw, Eleanor Winkler
Writer Genevieve Clay-Smith
Synopsis Sonja is a KRUMP-obsessed, rebellious young woman with Down syndrome whose unlikely relationship with a Sudanese refugee inspires her to reach her full potential.

Truant Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction
Producer Zareh Nalbandian
Director Stephen McCallum
Writer Michael Kratochvil
Synopsis In the near-future where most of the population is addicted to their neuro-implants, a young biohacker’s chance at forging a new life for his family is threatened when his wayward older brother returns from prison, hiding a plan that could change the course of human evolution.

Swing Wing Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Executive Producer Carolyn Johnson
Producer David Curzon
Writer Randa Abdel-Fattah, David Curzon
Synopsis To hijab or not to hijab – that is the question.

Goalpost Pictures Australia Pty Ltd
Genre Science Fiction
Producer Kylie du Fresne
Director Vanessa Gazy
Writer Vanessa Gazy
Synopsis Hester, a mysterious young woman wakes up on the side of a highway with no memory of who she is, and soon finds herself fighting for her life in a slippery and dangerous world of looping time and fatal prophesies.

Retro Active Films Pty Ltd
Genre Drama, Horror
Producer Trevor Blainey
Director Victoria Cocks
Writer Nigel Karikari
Synopsis A deadly vampire returns to her family farm for her human son and is confronted by her own lost humanity.

Simpatico Films Pty Ltd
Genre Drama, Crime
Director Charles Williams
Writer Charles Williams
Synopsis A reformed prisoner approaching the end of his sentence is forced to sacrifice his last chance at freedom when his estranged son pressures him into murdering a young inmate.

Red Lamp Films Pty Ltd & Scott Free Productions
EPs: Animal Logic Entertainment
Genre Family, Adventure
Executive Producer Zareh Nalbandian
Producers Sylvia Wilczynski, Ridley Scott
Director Kim Mordaunt
Writer Kim Mordaunt
Synopsis Based on the book “Monster Nanny” by Tuutikki Tolonen.

Red Lamp Films Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Producers Sylvia Wilczynski, Todd Fellman, Lance Kelleher
Director Kim Mordaunt
Writer Kim Mordaunt
Synopsis Australian combat cameraman Neil Davis flirts with love and death as he runs the frontline of the Vietnam War.

Revlover Films Pty Ltd
Genre Action adventure, Family, Animation
Producers Martha Coleman, Lauren Edwards
Director Simon Rippingale
Writer Erica Harrison
Synopsis In the land of Anywhere, flying pigs have been hunted to extinction to bake Pig Wing Pie, and now a sickly grey Encroaching Gloom threatens to smother the city. Believing her Grandma’s wild, fanciful stories, 11-year-old Ruby hatches one last flying pig, and must save him from a celebrity chef who’ll stop at nothing to rekindle his former glory. Together, intent on finishing Grandma’s story, Ruby and Pig set off in search of The Land Across The Sea where flying pigs roam wild and free.

YB Productions Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Producers Tui Ruwhiu, Yael Bergman, Lee Matthews (Co-producer)
Director Peter Carstairs
Writer Dianne Taylor
Synopsis The life of fourteen-year-old, Ty, a champion swimmer, takes a sudden turn when the sexual relationship he is having with his much older swimming coach becomes public. When it is discovered she is pregnant, his desire to be a teenage-Dad puts him on a collision course with his controlling single mother who doesn’t want to see him ‘throw his life away’.

Tahlee Productions PTY Ltd
Genre Thriller, Western, Mystery
Producers Bain Stewart, David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin, Alison Owen (UK)
Writer Leah Purcell
Synopsis A searing Australian Snowy Mountains revenge western with family, truth and survival at its core. How far do you go to protect the ones you love?

Causeway Films HQ Pty Ltd
Genre Drama
Producers Kristina Ceyton, Sam Jennings
Director Goran Stolevski
Writer Goran Stolevski
Synopsis In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young witch is left to go feral in the woods. Becoming curious about life as a human, she kills a woman in the village, then takes her shape to see what life is like in her skin. This ignites her deep-seated curiosity to experience life inside the bodies of others.


Revlover Films Pty Ltd, Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
Genre Drama, Crime
Producers Martha Coleman, Liz Watts, Vincent Sheehan
Synopsis Based on a true story, a murder of a local in a mountain community sets off one of the biggest DNA led investigations of all time – the search forUnknown Male DNA No. 1.- and unravels a close knit community.


Channel Plarb Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy
Producers Nikos Andronicos, Dave Carter
Director Dave Carter
Writer Nikos Andronicos
Synopsis Bin Chickens is a satirical adult animated series set in the heart of Sydney, Darling Harbour. It follows three ibises – Derek, Janice and Clive – and their adventures in the chaos and corruption of the modern-day human city as they try to live life to the max.

Wintergarden Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy
Producers Joshua Longhurst, Rosie Braye
Director Sarah Bishop
Writers Tim Spencer, Joshua Longhurst, Zoe Norton Lodge
Synopsis An overachieving neurotic reluctantly becomes a gay guru to his naive newly-out cousin, whilst deflecting the best intentions of his enthusiastic and dysfunctional friendship circle.

Spaceboy Pty Ltd & Paper Moose Pty Ltd
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Yingna Lu, Steve Anthopoulos
Director Steve Anthopoulos
Writers Mansoor Noor, Luke Davidson, Steve Anthopoulos, Yingna Lu
Synopsis Hassan Bashir, a young handsome Imam, becomes an overnight sensation when he rescues a Christian choir from their burning bus.

No Coincidence Media Pty Ltd
Genre Action adventure, Family
Producers Mitchell Stanley, Shakthi Shakthidharan
Writer Katherine Beckett
Synopsis A nine-year old Aboriginal trans gender boy calls on the strength of his cultural totems to become a super-hero and defeat the school bullies.

Cheeky Little Media Pty Ltd
Genre Action adventure, Comedy, Family
Executive Producer Patrick Egerton
Producer Celine Goetz
Creator Rob Macdermid
Director David Webster
Writer Charlotte Rose Hamlyn
Synopsis Lou and Danni are ALWAYS ready for fun and games in their amazing hand-drawn world made of recycled things!

Ludo Studio Pty Ltd
Genre Action adventure, Comedy, Horror
Executive Producer Charlie Aspinwall
Producers Julie Byrne, Daley Pearson
Directors Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou
Writers Michael Philippou, Danny Philippou
Synopsis Two renegade Youtubers chase Hollywood dreams in the outskirts of Adelaide.