Screen Australia has announced five online projects that will share in $500,000 funding, including an animated satire about the ghost of Captain Cook; a science fiction drama; and a romantic comedy told from the perspective of someone on the Autism spectrum.
Screen Australia’s online investment manager Lee Naimo said: “In this slate we focused on supporting teams who have established online careers off their own bat. Whether that be creators who published a proof of concept, needed funds to complete their project or are making the leap from documentary into drama.”
“We encourage online creators to not wait for permission to tell their story. It doesn’t matter about production values, length or style, it’s just important to be proactive and start to publish content. As you hone your voice and your skills, you’ll develop a pool of content that you can use to start a relationship with your local funding agencies and Screen Australia.”
The projects are:
2121: A seven-part science fiction series set in a strict dystopian future where society is controlled by an all-seeing AI system named Counsel. With citizens facing expulsion from the city if they break any rules, a group of rebels decide to outwit the authorities and take down Counsel to earn their freedom. The Melbourne-based creative team features writer, director and producer Jenna Cosgrove (Air) and director/producers Briar Rose and Thomas Petrakos. The series has received completion funding and will be released on YouTube.
Cooked: A five-part animated comedy about the ghost of Captain Cook and his friend Daringa the goat (voiced by comedian Steph Tisdell). They travel around Australia in search of a cure for Wyatt Gildt, an evil curse which has Cook bound to his ship for all eternity and plagues many parts of the nation. This series will be released on Facebook in 2020 to align with the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival to Australia. Cooked is written and directed by Sydney-based illustrator and animator Jake Duczynski (After The Apology), a proud Indigenous man with Gamilaraay and Mandandanji descent. Duczynski teams up with writer/producer James Hackett (The Ibis Queen), producer Bethany Bruce (Video Becomes Us) and development producer Sabina Pjetrovic.
Ding Dong I’m Gay: A six-part comedy for YouTube that follows high-achieving neurotic Cameron whose naive, country cousin, Toby, has arrived in Sydney with the news that he too is gay. Cameron takes it upon himself to guide Toby through the urban gay experience but when Toby flourishes, Cameron’s insecurities blind him to the genuine connection they share. Expanding on the pilot series which has gained over 1.6 million views, this project is presented by writer/producer Tim Spencer, director/producer Joshua Longhurst and producer Rosie Braye who previously collaborated on short film Cherry Season. They are joined by director Sarah Bishop (Skit Box) and writer Zoe Norton Lodge (The Checkout). Ding Dong I’m Gay is financed with support from Screen NSW.
Fracketty Frack: It’s the Frackpocalypse: An eight-part science fiction dramedy set in the Northern Territory that centres on Ben Slate, an easily-manipulated politician who has opened up the Territory to fracking. When Slate has second thoughts about green-lighting this controversial mining technique, he teams up with conspiracy nut Kenneth and his activist niece Charlotte to uncover the truth behind fracking and its possible extra-terrestrial origins. The series is written and directed by Nathaniel Kelly (We’re Family Now) and produced by Philip Tarl Denson (Mining Boom). This project has received completion funding and will be released on YouTube.
Sex & Death: A six-part dramedy from Melbourne-based writer/director Kathleen Lee (Bush Trip) who stars as an aspiring but hopeless actress called Charlie who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Navigating life in her mid-twenties, Charlie is haunted by two-faced lovers, selfish friends and a tyrannical acting coach, and her greatest performance is pretending to be happy in a world where she doesn’t seem to belong. Sex & Death is produced by Tobias Willis whose documentary Now Sound: Melbourne’s Listening premiered at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2019. This series has received completion funding and will be released on YouTube.