Stephanie Dower and Tanya Modini’s ‘Seeing Scout’ among Attagirl Film Lab prize winners

Stephanie Dower and Tanya Modini.

Director Tanya Modini’s Seeing Scout has won a $25,000 grant thanks to advocacy organisation For Film’s Sake and Sydney Film Festival.

It was one of six Australian projects selected for For Film Sake’s Attagirl, the development lab for feature films by female and non-binary creative teams.

Co-written with producer, writer and editor Stephanie Dower, Seeing Scout is billed as ‘a coming-of-age drama on wheels’, and follows a young woman with physical disability who embarks on a sexual relationship with local footy hero.

Along with Canadian director Sam Coyle’s White River, it wins the production prize for the most ‘market ready’ project from the Attagirl initiative.

The prizes are designed to incentivise further investment from public, private and equity financiers with a hope that films and teams will reach production and release faster than they otherwise would.

“We began the lab with an outline of an idea and a dream to make the film happen. Attagirl has been a real game changer and a wonderful learning and networking opportunity for Steph and myself,” said Modini.

“Our Mentors and FFS provided us with ongoing support and belief in the project and we are so thankful for the recognition of our work at this important juncture.”

Dower told IF last year that she hoped Seeing Scout would show that women with disabilities experience desire, intimacy and sex, just as men who use wheelchairs are often depicted in intimate relationships.

Originally, FFS and SFF had planned to give one prize, but the pool doubled due to philanthropic support.

Two teams at an earlier stage in development have been awarded the $5,000 Attagirl Peer Prize.

Attagirl was initiated to support exceptional works of narrative fiction reach production faster than they otherwise would independently. Pivoting the lab online amidst a global pandemic was certainly challenging; however our teams dealt with the complexity of digital delivery with dedication and grace. Doubling the Production and Development awards not only increases the impact Attagirl will have, it also highlights the high level of confidence there is in the projects and talent coming through the lab,” said FFS executive director Sophie Mathisen said.

Production Prize Recipients

–       Seeing Scout (AUS) dir. Tanya Modini

In a western Queensland town, a young woman with physical disability and the local footy hero commence a sexual relationship which not only confronts and divides their small town community, but challenges the couple’s expectations of themselves.

–       White River (CAN) dir. Sam Coyle

After a forest fire rips through her small town, Larleen – a fierce young woman of seventeen – is drawn into an underground female fight ring and realizes that her only way of escaping her fate is to fight her way out.

Peer Prize Recipients

–       Bruja (UK/MEX) dir. Michelle Garza Cervera

Casilda wants to use her power, wealth and influence to make the world a better place. But when she and fiance Max attempt to build their vision of an idyllic retreat commune in a remote jungle region of Mexico, she finds their dream overwhelmed by menacing forces.

–       In My Father’s House (US) dir. Abbesi Akhamie

Anna (nee Anike), a reluctant Nigerian-American woman returns to Lagos, Nigeria following the death of her mother. Determined to secure the property title of her mother’s house from her estranged father, Shola, Anna unexpectedly begins an emotional journey of self-discovery and new beginnings.

Attagirl is financed by major partner, Screen Australia in conjunction with the British Film Institute, Telefilm Canada, the Swedish Film Institute and the New Zealand Film Commission, along with domestic screen agencies and philanthropic supporters.