Taryne ‘Pinky’ Laffar has officially launched her own production company, Pink Pepper, boasting a diverse slate that includes a full docuseries based on Our Law, a comedy web series created by Clarence Ryan, feature film RED, and a six-part TV drama.
A descendant of the Bardi and Jabbir Jabbir nations, Laffar – who has worked variously as a writer, director, producer and in casting – has started the new venture with the aims of working with Indigenous and diverse creatives across documentary and drama.
Pink Pepper will also specialise in casting Indigenous and diverse talent, with Laffar also available as a freelance producer, writer, director, mentor and workshop facilitator.
The company’s debut project is documentary Our Law, following Australia’s first and only Indigenous-run police station, which recently screened in Sydney Film Festival and airs tonight on NITV as part of Karla Grant Presents.
With Periscope Pictures, Laffar has secured development investment from Screen Australia for an expanded six-part documentary series based on the 27-minute doco, covering the state of Western Australia. Our Law: The Series will be designed to open up the conversation, and expand understanding of Indigenous police officers and the Indigenous communities and peoples that they police.
The launch of Pink Pepper also coincides with Laffar securing Screen Australia development funding for six-part drama series Tata Detective, the first scripted project for which she is the creator, writer and producer.
The drama follows a feisty and gregarious Indigenous-gallery-owner-turned-culture-detective, Muriel Hunter. Muriel uses her wit, charm and influence to take down the underbelly of the arts world in her Kimberleys homeland, and finds herself caught between fighting for justice and protecting her family.
“Tata Detective is inspired by and dedicated to my Mama (RIP) and her once much loved Aboriginal Art & Craft gallery in Broome, Ganada. My mother was one of the first Indigenous owners of Aboriginal Art & Craft galleries in Western Australia and this is my way of making sure she is remembered and acknowledged,” Laffar tells IF.
“This year marks the 10 year anniversary since my most cherished mother passed away, so launching now is a stand of deviant survival and a public show of deep love and gratitude to my daughters Koda and Fenix for appreciating the demanding work that I do!”
Laffar will work with writers Beck Cole and Dot West, with Kelly Lefever script consultant and Magpie Pictures’ Lois Randall the co-producer.
“I’m excited to be collaborating with Pink Pepper to co-produce Tata Detective – this highly original project feels like a perfect fit, bringing together the deep experience that Taryne and I share in arts and cultural development, as well as screen production. Pink Pepper is about to make a colourful splash on the Australian screen industry landscape – congratulations and chookas PP!” said Randall.
Clarence Ryan has created and will star in Pink Pepper’s Old Mate, a comedy web series about a 47,000-year-old Indigenous Australian superhero. The series will show audiences a glimpse at modern Australia through the eyes of the nation’s oldest man, who has literally seen it all.
Galactic Baby’s Lauren Elliott is the EP, co-creator Renato Fabretti and writer/script coordinator, Clare Toonen. The team are currently developing the series with development investment from Screenwest.
Also on the Pink Pepper slate is RED, an eight-part scripted anthology series supported by Screenwest, to be produced by Laffar with Jodie Bell in association with Ramu Productions and Brown Sugar Apple Grunt.
Eight WA Indigenous female writer/directors will explore the impact of missing Indigenous women from a Western Australian female Aboriginal perspective, combined into an 80-minute film. It will follow the format of New Zealand producers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton’s Wara and Vai, which successfully launched Maori and Pacific filmmakers internationally.
Laffar also has two further feature films she plans to develop later this year, a psychological thriller and a coming of age film, and is in the early stages of developing a Pilbara-based documentary series and an AR project.
Prior to setting up Pink Pepper, Laffar recently served as a producers attachment on the ABC’s Mystery Road and produced iview series KGB. Her credits as a writer and director include Rainforest WarriorZ, BINGO!, Rubeun Yorkshire, Beccy Garlett, Taj Jamieson, On Country Kitchen and Who Paintin’ Dis Wandjina?, and casting credits include Go!, A Few Less Men, Mad Bastards, Stone Bros, The Circuit, Bran Nue Dae, Jandamarra’s War and Yagan.
In 2018, the filmmaker was the recipient of Screenwest’s year-long Spark initiative and in 2019, was selected for Screen Producers Australia’s Ones to Watch program, where she took out the $15,000 SBS First Glance development deal.
Last year Laffar was also selected for Screen Australia’s Indigenous Producer Program and Developing the Developer. The federal agency also picked Laffar to co-facilitate the No Ordinary Black Indigenous short film initiative, alongside Charlotte Seymour (Other People’s Problems).
“It’s been a privilege to have supported Taryne’s successful career, especially through such impactful initiatives as the Screenwest Spark Initiative, which has propelled her onto her current innovative successful trajectory. Taryne continuously pushes the boundaries within her slate of projects, resulting in impactful, thought-provoking, strong Indigenous-led stories,” said Screenwest Indigenous manager Devina McPherson.
“Taryne’s dedication, think-outside-the-box business approach and unwavering passion shines through every project she produces. I’m more than proud of what Taryne has achieved thus far in her career, and I’m excited to see what will be produced by the Pink Pepper team into the future!”