Screen Australia names Developing the Developer workshop participants

(L-R) Moreblessing Maturure, Ratidzo Mambo, Taryne Laffar.

Screen Australia today announced the 11 creatives who have been selected to take part in the Developing the Developer workshop for 2019.

Held in Sydney from November 21-24, the workshop aims to diversify the pool of professionals developing Australian stories for the screen.

It will be co-run by script developer Louise Gough and Screen Australia’s industry development executive Bali Padda, who participated in the first Developing the Developer workshop in 2017,

The presenters will include Julie Kalceff (Starting from Now, First Day), Kodie Bedford (Mystery Road, Robbie Hood), and Penelope Chai (Other People’s Problems).

Among the creatives who took part in Developing the Developer last year, seven went on to secure work placements: Sarah Bassiuoni at Fremantle, Amy Stewart at Matchbox Pictures, Hiroki Kobayashi at Berg Shanley Productions, Dan Prichard at Lingo Pictures, Li-Kim Chuah at ABC, Vidya Rajan at Tony Ayres Productions, Jean Tong at Goalpost Pictures and Leticia Cáceres at Seven Studios.

Screen Australia head of development Nerida Moore said, “It’s important that we identify, nurture, and collaborate with the new generation of fiction developers to ensure there are a greater diversity of voices and ideas reflected in the content we see on screen. Louise Gough and Bali Padda have put together a fantastic workshop for the participants this year.

“Developing the Developer has proven to be an effective identifier of people with a broad range of story skills and has launched a number of careers in the screen industry. I look forward to following the careers of these 11 Australians as they bring their unique perspectives and skill sets into the industry.”

2019 Developing The Developer Participants:

Amal Awad: Writer, director and performer Awad was a recipient of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Brilliant Stories funding for Sex in the West (dir. Fadia Abboud). She has participated in numerous writers’ rooms including Muhammed Jones (2017) and Aleph (2019). In 2017 she was selected for SBS’s Diversity Talent Escalator, a national initiative focused on increasing the representation of Australia’s diverse communities within the television production sector.

Jack Dowdell: Aspiring writer and disability advocate Dowdell participated in the Createability Internship program earlier this year and worked at Goalpost Pictures.

Taryne Laffar: A producer who descends from the Bardi and Jabbir Jabbir peoples of the Dampier Peninsula in WA, Laffar was selected for the 2019 Screen Producers Australia Ones to Watch program. Last year she received Screenwest’s Spark funding a professional and project development initiative and worked as a producer on ABC iview comedy series KGB. Her credits includes documentaries Who Paintin’ dis Wandjina?, Rainforest Warriorz and On Country Kitchen and five short documentaries for NITV.

Gina Lambropoulos: Melbourne-based screenwriter Lambropoulos’ feature script That Time of the Year (aka The Princess and the Bear) won the 2016 Australian Writers’ Guild’s Open Channel New Writer’s Script Competition, is in development with Matthewswood Productions and has received development support from Screen Australia and Film Victoria. In 2015 she wrote and produced the short film The Escape Hatch which screened in more than 50 festivals including Frameline41 and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Melissa Lee Speyer: A graduate of NIDA (Playwriting) in 2011, Lee Speyer also studied at AFTRS (Screenwriting) after winning the inaugural Foxtel Diversity Scholarship in 2017. Her TV screenwriting credits include ABC drama series The Heights, series two of Random and Whacky and the first season of forReal!.

Ratidzo Mambo: Zimbabwean-born actor, creative producer and distribution consultant, Mambo has extensive experience as a sales agent and consultant for distributors including Vision Films, Switch International, Looking Glass International and Big Media TV where she managed film and TV content rights working with broadcasters across free-to-air, subscription TV, digital, mobile and inflight platforms. She is featured in the upcoming Stan drama series The Gloaming and feature film Escape from Pretoria with Daniel Radcliffe.

Moreblessing Maturure: Maturure is a Zimbabwean/Australian inter-disciplinary artist, TEDx Speaker and the creative director of FOLK Magazine. Her work across literature, stage and screen as writer and performer has included engagements with Playwriting Australia, Australian Theatre for Young People, and Sydney Theatre Company (STC). She has also worked with STC, Darlinghurst and Outhouse Theatres as dramaturg, outreach producer and cultural advisor. The actor is developing a Screen Australia-funded online series Afro Sistahs alongside a new commissioned work for Next Wave Festival 2020.

Oliver Ross: A writer, designer and producer who has worked across 70 projects in film and theatre, Ross has served on boards and committees with the MEAA, Union House Theatre, Transgender Victoria, Ruby Theatre Company, University of Melbourne and the Equity Diversity Committee. He worked as a rough cut consultant with Arenamedia on Rob Connolly’s feature The Dry and runs the reviewing website Shakespeare Oz.

Danielle Stamoulos: An actor and writer of Greek heritage who was one of the writers for the world’s first hijabi comedy web series Halal Gurls for ABC iview, Stamoulos was the script coordinator on The Letdown and was selected as an emerging producer from Western Sydney by Co-Curious and Emerald Productions for their Behind Closed Doors program. Her acting credits include Love Child and the 2019 NYC Web Fest-selected murder comedy series Sydney Sleuthers.

Courtney Stewart: Actor, director and dramaturg Stewart has worked on numerous productions and development of new Australian work such as Single Asian Female by Michelle Law, Australian Graffiti by Disapol Savetsila and White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King. Stewart recently directed Confessions of a Custard Melon Pan by Arisa Yura.

Adam Thompson: An emerging short fiction writer from lutruwita (Tasmania), Thompson has received various awards during his short writing career including the Tamar Valley Writers Festival Indigenous short story competition (2016), and the Emerging Tasmanian Aboriginal Writers Award (2017). In 2018 he was selected for a Copyright Agency Fellowship for Indigenous writers at Varuna Writers house.