Screen Australia has invested in five short films this week, including the directorial debut of popular children's author and illustrator Graeme Base.

The Gallant Captain, adapted from Base's own picture book The Legend of the Golden Snail, was one of two films selected to share in $300,000 of financing as part of the Short Animation Production Program. The story, a child's pirate fantasy, will be co-directed by Base and producer Katrina Mathers (Nullarbor).

The second recipient, stop-motion sand animation short The Crossing, will be animated, written and directed by visual artist Marieka Walsh and producer Donna Chang. The Crossing is the pair's second sand animated short film, their previous collaboration The Hunter recently screened at the SXSW festival.

Previous shorts funded through the agency's animation program include the Oscar-winning films The Lost Thing and Harvie Krumpet.

After an intensive three-month development process, three live action films have also been selected to receive production investment as part of Screen Australia's Springboard Short Film Initiative.

Springboard initially oversaw the development of five projects before choosing which films to invest in.

The Last Time I Saw Richard (written and directed by Nicholas Verso and produced by John Molloy), Perception (written and directed by Miranda Nation and produced by Lyn Norfor) and Snowblind (written and directed by Sean Kruck and produced by Caroline Barry) will assist in leveraging finance and interest in the teams' debut feature films, which are currently in development.

“This year’s Springboard workshop has encouraged participants to focus on providing an intense emotional experience by combining a great script with a strong director’s vision,” said Screen Australia’s head of sevelopment Martha Coleman in a statement.

Each filmmaking team will receive up to $150,000 to produce their films.

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