Screenwest to back development of six features, launch new initiative

Zak Hilditch.

Screenwest will help fund the development of six new features from creatives including Alison James, Roderick MacKay, Zak Hilditch, Ben Young, Martin Wilson and Stephen McCallum.

The projects have been funded via the Brighter Ideas program, which was launched to bolster internationally successful WA talent who have either returned to, or been confined to the state, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

James said of her new project, A Haven for Strays: “I’m thrilled to be one of the recipients of the Brighter Ideas fund and to now have the opportunity to work with a script editor on this screenplay.

“We’re at a unique point where many mid-level and experienced writer/directors have returned to Perth from overseas due to COVID-19 and for a state that has long suffered from brain drain to the Eastern States and the US, I think it’s a great idea to focus their development on West Australian projects that will ultimately benefit the whole industry.”

The announcement came at the same time as Screenwest launched a new initiative for female and non-binary mid-career producers, Breaking the Celluloid Ceiling.

The bespoke mentorship program will match female and non-binary teams with an experienced script development executive. Applications close March 22, more info here.

The projects funded via the Brighter Ideas program are:

Key creatives: executive producer/writer/director Roderick Mackay and executive roducer Glen Kelly
Synopsis: A tall timber tale about people chopping down giants to become giants themselves.

A Haven for Strays
Key creatives: writer/director Alison James
Synopsis: A woman’s plans to adopt the baby of a troubled teen are thrown into turmoil when the infant’s biological grandmother learns of the adoption, creating a tug of war between the three women.

Key creatives: writer/director Martin Wilson, co-writer Monique Wilson and producers Ian Booth and Rikki Lea Bestall from Indian Pacific Pictures
Synopsis: A young film maker on a quest to prove his brother was taken by the fabled South West Big Cat uncovers secrets that threaten the survival of everything and everyone he loves.

Key creatives: writer/director Stephen McCallum and writer Guy Howlett
Synopsis: When a neglected child invokes a demon in order to prevent his estranged parents from divorce, it forces the couple to put aside their own resentments and work together to survive.

Here No More
Key creatives: writer/director Zak Hilditch, producers Jamie Hilton of See Pictures and Cody Greenwood of Rush Films
Synopsis: Molly, trapped in a car wreck and pursued by her abusive police officer husband, calls upon her estranged sister to save her and her children in a thrilling real-time race for survival.

Mrs. McCutcheon
Key creatives: writer Ben Young and director John Sheedy.
Synopsis: A family dramedy about a ten year old boy who refuses to wear anything but a blue dress or answer to anything but Mrs McCutcheon.