PR agency-based comedy and tabloid newsroom drama get Screen Australia funding

A comedy set in a public relations agency and a drama set in a “tabloid television newsroom in remote northern Australia” are among 58 projects that will share $3m in funding, Screen Australia announced today.

Screen Australia has greenlighted $3m in funding

Screen Australia has green-lit $3m in funding as part of its Gender Matters project

Other funding recipients include Mia Freedman’s news website Mamamia, which has been given money to enable the website “to move into the narrative story space while also providing an avenue for an online web series supported by Screen Australia to gain access to audiences and generate revenue.”

Screen Australia noted that the 58 projects, part of a project called Gender Matters, represented the largest number of projects funded in a single day in the agency’s history.

“Gender Matters is unashamedly providing express-lane access to female business ideas and stories,” said Screen Australia chief operating officer, Fiona Cameron.

“The funding boost provided by Screen Australia has been a game-changer, providing the industry with an opportunity to get behind some very commercial and creative prospects. It’s now time for action.”

The Gender Matters initiative was announced in December 2015 as a direct response to the gender imbalance in creative roles in the screen sector. Screen Australia noted last year the imbalance was most obvious in traditional film – with just 32% of women working as producers, 23% as writers and 16% as directors.

Screen Australia did not release the individual grant amounts but across 58 projects, funding works out to be an average of more than $50,000 per project.


Freedman: a recipient of a Screen Australia grant

In a statement, Mamamia Women’s Network co-founder and creative director, Mia Freedman, said of their grant. “By partnering with Screen Australia, MWN can fulfil our dream of creating and producing more of our own short and long form original content, as well as promoting and distributing the brilliant content produced by third parties who have been supported by Screen Australia. It’s great news for women on both sides of the screen.”

Gender Matters Task Force chair, Deanne Weir, added: “What is significant is not just the number of applications we have been able to attract and support, but that the Gender Matters program has opened up funding opportunities for applicants who might otherwise fall outside of the established structures.

A full list of projects is below:


8 x 30 min
Snap Pants Productions
Genre Action adventure, Comedy
Producers Diana Glenn, Katherine Stewart, Jane Harber, Andrew Walker
Director Sian Davies
Writers Diana Glenn, Katherine Stewart, Jane Harber
Synopsis Three washed up, co-dependent ex-superheroes living in a share house wrestle with their responsibilities to save the planet and their desire to do very little. Things heat up with the emergence of a new uber villain and news that they are about to lose their government superhero pay-outs.

6 x 1 hr
Film Art Media
Genre Drama
Producer Charlotte Seymour
Executive Producer Sue Maslin
Writer Jane Allen, Stuart Page
Synopsis The decline of an ageing parent is the catalyst for a complex drama series around love, loss, shifting loyalties and the discovery that sometimes those closest to you are the greatest strangers of all.

2 x 90 min
Werner Film Productions
Genre Drama
Producers Louise Smith, Joanna Werner
Writer Megan Simpson Huberman, Steven McGregor
Synopsis A two parts mini-series based on the inspiring true story of one of Australia’s best-known and most loved female heroes.

13 x 1 hr
Princess Pictures Holdings
Genre Action adventure, Drama, Thriller
Producers Andrea Denholm, Jessica Leslie
Writer Giula Sandler, Courtney Wise
Synopsis Vivica Webb, a 16-year-old orphan and murder suspect, is offered refuge at The Phoenix Institute for Gifted Teenagers, only to discover that the school is run by a highly evolved supernatural race preparing for a war against humanity.

6 x 1 hr
See Pictures, Bliss Bomb, Jungle FTV
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Ester Harding, Radha Mitchell, Chloe Rickard
Directors Alethea Jones, Daina Reid
Writers Liz Doran, Lally Katz, Greg Waters
Synopsis When media commentator Sarah runs to foreign correspondent Jonathan’s New Delhi doorstep, she keeps her reasons secret. A romantic adventure through India’s extremes is not what she expects, but it may turn out to be what she needs.

2 x 2 hr
Ruby Entertainment
Genre Drama
Producers Stephen Luby, Mark Ruse
Director Daina Reid
Writer Alica Gwinner
Synopsis 28-year-old Germaine Greer is at a crossroads. Does she choose marriage, academia and respectability, or instead pursue a burning personal intuition? Her decision leads to the publication of ‘The Female Eunuch’ which cements her place in the history books as a mother of modern feminism.

6 x 30 min
Porchlight Films
Genre Comedy
Producers Tanya Phegan, Sylvia Warmer
Executive Producers Anita Sheehan, Vincent Sheehan, Liz Watts
Writer/Director Kacie Anning
Synopsis A big-hearted comedic underdog sports series where a working class university student forms a jump-rope team to protest the repeal of free tertiary education in 1980’s Australia.

6 x 1 hr
Genre Drama, Crime, Mystery
Producer Claudia Karvan
Writer Elise McCredie
Synopsis When 17-year-old private school boy, Albie, disappears without a trace, Detective Sophie Krawitz is on a mission to find him, but his social media trail leads her back to her own family and the past she had determined to leave behind forever. Overflow is a dense, action-packed, crime drama set against the backdrop of the mysteriously rising Yarra River.

8 x 1 hr
FremantleMedia Australia
Genre Drama
Executive Producer Jo Porter
Director Rachel Ward
Synopsis A period drama set in a boarding house that explores the social, economic, gender and political issues of the late 19th century through the story of women’s suffrage activist, Vida Goldstein.

6 x 30 min
Revlover Films
Genre Comedy
Producer Martha Coleman
Director Sarah Bishop
Writers Claire Phillips, Sarah Bishop, Ainslie Clouston
Synopsis An outrageously funny and biting satirical ensemble comedy set in a PR firm that struggles to keep its clients out of the papers and their dick pics offline.

6 x 1 hr
Entertainment One Films
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Troy Lum, Jude Troy
Executive Producer Fadia Abboud
Writers Fadia Abboud, Lina Kastoumis, Gillian Stein, Amal Awad
Synopsis A sharp, warm and celebratory story of three Arab, Muslim and Christian female friends living in contemporary Western Sydney. Their friendships and loyalties are tested as they balance community and family expectations with their own desires and ambitions.

8 x 30
Carver Films
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw
Director Mirrah Foulkes
Writers Mirrah Foulkes, Luke Davies
Synopsis Rose returns from her life overseas to convince her eccentric ageing parents to move into assisted living. As they dig their heels in, she suddenly finds herself parenting them and having to face the dysfunctional family dynamics that bubble to the surface.

10 x 50 min
Madman Production Company
Genre Drama, Science fiction
Producers Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell
Director Amy Gebhardt
Writer Veronica Gleeson
Synopsis Sixteen girls disappear on a three-night hike. They return pregnant – carrying a new species.

10 x 1 hr
Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Genre Drama, Romantic comedy
Producer Paul Bennett
Director Jennifer Leacy
Writers Samantha Strauss, Ally Burnham, Paul Bennett
Synopsis A contemporary workplace comedy set against the dramatic highs and lows of the book publishing industry.

12 x 11 min
Spirited Pty Ltd T/Highly Spirited
Genre Family
Producer Sophie Byrne
Executive Producer Julia Adams
Director Shaun Tan
Writer Lally Katz
Synopsis Two siblings discover a strange world beneath a deceptively ordinary surface: a wise local buffalo; an inch-tall exchange student; a hidden room that leads to other countries; a lost deep sea diver and many other mysteries, all raising questions about what it means to be a family.

8 x 1 hr
Common Language Films
Genre Drama
Producers Julie Kalceff, Rosie Lourde
Writer/Director Julie Kalceff
Synopsis Two women, former school friends, are reunited.  While they each appear to have moved on with their lives, there is still one thing holding them back – their unresolved feelings for each other.


Genre Comedy, Drama
Producer Dan Prichard
Director Martha Goddard
Writer Vanessa Bates
Synopsis The journey taken by a family…to make a family, humorously navigating all the agonies and ecstasies of the Great Big Fertility Ride.

Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Trudy Hellier, Maria Theodorakis
Executive Producers Susie Dee, Nicci Wilks
Writer Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves
Synopsis A mother and daughter’s tumultuous relationship is put to the test in a bid to find love, hope, independence or even a Tinder date, after years of roaming in their caravan in search of greener grass.

Paper Rabbits
Genre Science fiction, Action adventure, Comedy
Producer Debra Liang
Writer/Director Makoto Koji
Synopsis A vivid intergalactic animated anthology following young space-faring women as they overcome, grow and succeed on the vast cosmic stage.

Genre Comedy
Writer/Director/Producer Biddy O’Loughlin
Synopsis A dark comic satire and poignant series about the human condition as told through the eyes of a rabbit named Bill.

Genre Comedy, Drama
Producer Amanda Reedy
Executive Producer Nicole Minchin
Director Amanda Jane
Writers Natalie Harris, Jess Harris
Synopsis A funny and touching series on grief. Whether it’s mourning a loved one, your youth, or last night’s bottle(s) of pinot, grief is inevitable and never convenient.

Genre Comedy
Producer Sarah Bishop
Writer/Director Shae-Lee Shackleford
Synopsis Post-apocalyptic creative slum has become home for three female creatives adjusting to life without chai lattes.  A book promising to manifest their desires out of thin air leads them to magical thinking and misconstrued ‘thanking the universe’ when really they are just ‘stealing’. Can love, belief and spirituality hold them afloat in a comedy of delusion, or do fabulous miracles just happen?

Weave Films
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producers Emma Masters, Kristy O’Brien
Director Emma Masters
Writer Lucy McNally
Synopsis Wannabe hotshot journalist, Elle Walker, gets more than she bargains for when she moves from Sydney’s Bondi Beach to a tabloid television newsroom in remote northern Australia.

Giant Dwarf
Genre Comedy
Producer Nikita Agzarian
Executive Producer Julian Morrow
Writers/Directors Eliza Reilly, Hannah Reilly
Synopsis A playful celebration of the forgotten and most badass women in Australian history.

Genre Comedy, Drama
Producer Eva Di Blasio
Director Julietta Boscolo
Writer Louise Woodruff Sanz
Synopsis When the global internet is destroyed, the residents of a sleepy town that technology forgot – Sunshine – find themselves catapulted to the verge of becoming a world power. As they ready themselves for their annual ‘Sunshiny Fair’, the population face a global apocalyptic meltdown, served up alongside a nice slice of award-winning sponge cake.

Genre Comedy, Drama
Producer Poppy Stockell
Director Melvin Montalban, Poppy Stockell
Writer Erica Harrison
Synopsis In the shadow of the night, a comically mismatched pair of Sydney ambulance paramedics working the graveyard shift inadvertently explore life, death – and each other, as Tayls introduces Josh to her policy of ‘life-affirming sex’ to help ‘balance things out’ when a patient dies.

Galvanized Film Group
Genre Comedy
Producers Holly Fraser, Heather Ogilvie
Director Erin White
Writer Fiona Gillman
Synopsis When did ‘virgin’ become the new ‘slut’?


Genre Comedy, Drama
Director Corrie Chen
Writers Penelope Chai, Corrie Chen
Synopsis Following the death of her mother, a young Australian woman travels to a mysterious city in China to track down her long-absent father, but all she finds is a desolate metropolis with a single inhabitant awaiting the arrival of others.

Storey Kids
Genre Drama, Science fiction
Producers Anna Kojevnikov, Sally Storey
Writer/Director Sarah-Jane Woulahan
Synopsis In 2064 the world’s leading social-robot engineer, Dr Olivia Hallaran, her robot partner and a robotics psychologist are drawn into a manipulative love triangle where they test what it means to love.

Bus Stop Films
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romantic comedy, Family
Producer Eleanor Winkler
Writer/Director Genevieve Clay-Smith
Synopsis A vivacious young woman with Down Syndrome who is obsessed with street dance, embarks on a quest to win the Philadelphia krump crew championships. She will need determination, the help of a duplicitous street dancer and some killer moves to win.

Rogue Productions
Genre Drama
Producer Glenda Hambly
Writer/Director Melanie Scammell
Synopsis With their father in jail, two sisters escape poverty-stricken suburbia and embark on a dangerous journey to find their absent mother. Sisterly bonds are pushed to the limit as they discover a new meaning of ‘family’.

Film Depot
Genre Comedy, Drama
Producer Louise Smith
Writer Liz Doran
Synopsis Three friends, one beach, four decades – and a secret that could tear them apart.

Brindle Films
Genre Comedy
Producers Rachel Clements, Meredith Garlick, Trisha Morton-Thomas
Writer Trisha Morton-Thomas
Synopsis An old female artist from a remote Aboriginal community runs away to France to fulfil a lifelong dream to see Claude Monet’s garden before her eyesight fails. Her community and family go into crisis and send out a search party to bring her back.

Aquarius Films
Genre Drama
Producers Angie Fielder, Cecilia Ritchie, Polly Staniford
Director Del Kathryn Barton
Writer Emma Jensen
Synopsis A middle-aged accountant fights against an increasingly intense erotic fetish for flowers. He meets a kindred spirit, a researcher who analyses historic suicide notes, who helps him accept and celebrate his secret sexual proclivities.

The Dollhouse Pictures, Ralf Films
Genre Drama, Mystery
Producers Jessica Carrera, Gracie Otto
Executive Producer Robyn Kershaw
Director Gracie Otto
Writer Lee Tulloch
Synopsis The last 24 hours in the life of one woman. Her final day is shared through the eyes of eight women around the world in multiple time zones and hotel rooms.

Feisty Dame Productions
Genre Comedy
Producer Tania Chambers
Writer/Director Renee Webster
Synopsis A mature woman starts a business providing women with quality sexual experiences packaged with a house clean, and discovers the boundless nature of not only their desires, but her own.

Handmaid Media
Genre Romantic comedy
Director Samantha Lang
Writer Nakkiah Lui
Synopsis Nakkiah and Peter are the two parts of a post-colonial interracial love story: passionately in love, and furiously at odds. As fiction and reality collide, Nakkiah has to rewrite their story if they are ever to have a happy ending.

Deep Blue Pacific
Genre Thriller
Director Unjoo Moon
Writer Joan Sauers
Synopsis In 1975, during the height of the Vietnam War, Pan Am flew one last commercial flight into the warzone. This is the untold true story of the five brave air stewardesses who volunteered for the heroic mission to rescue over 500 civilians.

Rummin Productions
Genre Post-apocalyptic psycho-biddy
Producers Briony Kidd, Catherine Pettman
Writer/Director Briony Kidd
Synopsis A mother and daughter running a motel in post-apocalyptic suburbia are each other’s fiercest ally, until the arrival of a disturbed solider turns the relationship deadly.

Carver Films
Genre Psychological thriller
Producers Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw
Writer Hannah Kent
Synopsis A doctor is frightened by her young son’s inexplicable visions of a past life. She must abandon her scientific rationale to uncover the hidden dark history of her estranged mother.

Carver Films
Genre Psychological horror
Producers Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw
Director Natalie James
Writers Natalie James, Christian White
Synopsis Creeping dread turns to sheer panic as a mother and daughter search an isolated town for their missing grandmother. To survive they must confront their worst fears and face a sinister manifestation of aged dementia.

100 to 1 Films, The Film Company
Genre Comedy, Drama, Family
Producer Richard Keddie
Director Rachel Griffiths
Writers Andrew Knight, Elise McCredie
Synopsis The inspirational true story of the youngest girl in a family of eight jockeys, determined to defy all odds and become the first female jockey to win the holy grail of horse racing: the Melbourne Cup.

Whitefalk Films
Genre Drama, Thriller
Producer Alex White
Executive Producers Jane Campion, Jan Chapman
Writer Mirrah Foulkes
Synopsis Fearing the unravelling of her relationship, a young woman leads her husband into a complex and dangerous world of sexual fantasy that entangles the lives of her older neighbours.

Epic Films
Genre Romantic comedy
Producer Kirsty Stark
Writer/Director Shideh Faramand
Synopsis When her mother’s matchmaking antics unearth a surprisingly charming suitor, a struggling 30-something actress is torn between ambition, family and the surprise return of an unrequited flame.

The Sound of Mumbai Australia
Genre Drama, Musical
Producer Michelle Sahayan
Writer/Director Sarah McCarthy
Synopsis Based on an extraordinary true story, a music teacher on sabbatical in India discovers a choir of children from Mumbai’s harshest slum, and conspires to have them perform a concert of songs from The Sound of Music at Mumbai’s most prestigious concert hall.

Gender Matters: Brilliant Careers

Australian Directors Guild (ADG)
Company Directors Ray Argall, Jonathan Brough, Samantha Lang, Michela Ledwidge, Jennifer Peedom, Nadia Tass, Stephen Wallace, Jeffrey WalkerManager Kingston Anderson Directors Gillian Armstrong, Rebecca Barry, Anna Broinowski, Megan Simpson Huberman
Summary At its core, the ADG Gender Careers program will identify, introduce and place female directors into the feature film and television space. Run over two years with production and broadcast partners, the program will provide 12 women directors with relevant credits to stimulate real directing opportunities.

Bunya Productions
Producer Greer Simpkin
Summary Bunya Production’s Engendered program will provide opportunities for emerging and mid-career creatives from diverse backgrounds to develop their stories within a TV writers lab run by a highly experienced international mentor. Engendered will also create ongoing networking and mentorship support.

the CauseWAY forward
Causeway Productions
Producers Kristina Ceyton, Sam Jennings
Summary Causeway Films continues to launch the international careers of some of Australia’s hottest female writers and directors. With Gender Careers support Causeway will consolidate and expand on its success by bringing in another female producer. It will also create a seed development fund with a commitment to identify, nurture and promote more female talent onto its expanding slate of screen projects.

Closer Productions
Company Directors Sophie Hyde, Rebecca Summerton Producer: Christine Williams
Summary Closer Productions will further support the careers of their existing female principals and offer opportunities for new talent. Committed to identifying and supporting exceptional female voices, Closer’s early development fund will allow the company to nurture identified talent and allow women’s stories to flourish.

Endemol Shine Australia
Producer Imogen Banks Writer Alice Bell
Summary ROAR’s premise is simple: take twelve, uncredited, female writers through the process of developing a television series from genesis to network pitch.  The renowned producer, Imogen Banks and writer Alice Bell will work to redress the serious problem of no new writers coming into the TV industry and will assist female writers to get their first job.

Company Directors Margie Brown, Mandy Lake
Summary Following the international success of the 10-part Animal Planet series Snake Sheila/Snake Boss, Queensland factual producer Flickchicks will realise the potential of its existing factual slate and provide career opportunities for two female screenmakers.

The Goodship Agency
Company Directors Courtney Botfield, Tracey Mair
Summary The Goodship Agency will upscale to employ a brand integration specialist to secure brand partnerships for an expanding slate of film, television and online productions. Brand integration and screen content has huge untapped potential which film distribution and marketing specialists Tracey Mair and Courtney Botfield are well placed to mine.

Hardy White Pictures
Company Directors Michelle Hardy, Erin White
Summary Michelle Hardy and Erin White will develop the Hardy White Pictures slate of original TV and online projects and develop professionally as business owners while nurturing emerging talent.

Company Director Alexandra Burke
Summary International Sales Agent, LevelK, offers a 1 year part time internship in Australia that will enable the successful applicant the chance to gain hands on market experience and the skills to further a career in distribution or production.

Creative Director Mia Freedman Managing Director Kylie Rogers Editor Kate de Brito, Head of Podcasts Holly Wainwright Head of Editorial Strategy and Product Rebecca Jacobs Head of Sales and Broad Media Danika Johnston
Summary Mamamia is Australia’s largest online distribution platform for news and stories about and for women. This partnership with Screen Australia will enable Mamamia to move into the narrative story space while also providing an avenue for online web series supported by Screen Australia to gain access to audiences and generate revenue.

The Natalie Miller Fellowship
Company Directors Julia Adams, Jackie Fletcher President Sue Maslin
Summary The Natalie Miller Foundation has built an impressive brand and reputation promoting female leadership in the screen industry. The Natalie Miller Leadership Program will focus on career advancement and leadership for women from all Australian states and territories as well as formal mentorships with established screen industry professionals.

Northern Rivers Screenworks
Managers Ken Crouch, Lisa O’Meara
Summary Screenworks will run The Athena Project, a program that will provide writers and directors from regional areas across Australia with the opportunity to participate in a career development forum in Byron Bay designed to impart strategies and information about building a successful career in the screen industries. There will also be ongoing support opportunities for participants that will build networks and create viable and strategic career pathways and plans following the forum.

The Real TV Project
Company Directors Angela Betzien, Leticia Caceres
Summary RealTV will enable successful theatre director, Leticia Caceres, and playwright, Angela Betzien, to extend their experience, skills and talent onto the screen via exciting long term attachments with Matchbox and Madman.


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