Simone La Martina achieves ‘Privileged’ position with SeriesFest awards

Simone La Martina in 'Privileged'.

A comedy pilot offering a snapshot of what it means to be desperate for success in your 20s has received a strong endorsement at US TV festival SeriesFest, winning Best Comedy and Best Writing in the Independent Pilot Competition.

Co-written, produced, and starring Simone La Martina, Privileged follows Amelia Waterford, a law student whose disposition to always strive for greatness is further realised when she is elected President of the University of Australia Law Society in a landslide victory (five votes to six).

To help with her endeavours, Amelia recruits a rag-tag group of fellow law students with absolutely nothing better to do.

La Martina wrote the pilot with Tom St John and produces with Joshua Anderson, James Kwong, and Hugo Koehne.

The half-hour episode, which is directed by Aaron Lucas, had its world premiere at the Denver-based SeriesFest, which took place from June 24 to July 11.

Now in its seventh year, the event celebrates the art of independent TV series creation and includes several panels and screenings.

Privileged cast member Saxon Blackett also received an Honourable Mention for Best Supporting Actor.

There was further positive feedback from the likes of US producer Evan Shapiro, who said the jury for the festival “laughed out loud” several times during the course of the pilot.

“It was hysterical from start to finish; the writing, directing and the performances were all marvelous,” he said.

“Congratulations to Simone and everyone at Privileged for raising the bar.”

La Martina was able to draw on her own experience for what is her writing debut, having created the concept when she herself was studying law in 2019.

She committed to the project full-time following her graduation, telling IF she had “fallen in love” with the creative process.

“I’d written a lot of fiction before, such as short stories, and I was encouraged by a lot of teachers, who thought I had a natural acting ability for comedy, so they encouraged me to write some comedy,” she said.

“Then when I was working in sketch comedy throughout uni I had this idea and thought I would give it a go.

“It got bigger and bigger until we ended up with a full pilot.”

La Martina admitted the feedback from the festival had left her hopeful of creating a series version.

“We’re really trying to push to get it in front of people but now that we have this great feedback, it’s going to be a lot easier,” she said.

“Given it is a young Aussie comedy that’s really funny, and we haven’t had anything like that breakthrough in a while, I could really see it on Amazon, Stan, etc – any of those services that are pushing young adult-type content at the moment.”