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28 08 2012 - Media release

Twenty-three feature projects to receive development support

Screen Australia today announced almost $700,000 in development support for 23 feature projects, enabling filmmakers to take their feature film script to the next level towards production readiness.

Fifteen new projects have been added to Screen Australia’s development slate, while eight teams will receive continued support to develop their projects.

Two Australian filmmakers will also be supported to undertake overseas internships. Producer Ma’ara Bobby Romia will work for six months with Screentime Group in New Zealand and director Ariel Martin–Merrells will work under the mentorship of director James Foley in Los Angeles for five months.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Martha Coleman said, “Following a now well-established tradition, the development slate announced today includes a diverse range of compelling stories from both established and emerging filmmakers. The high calibre of screenplays coming through our door backs up positive feedback we are getting from the domestic and international marketplace and I’m looking forward to seeing the best of these projects make their journey through to production over the next few years.”

The new projects to receive development support include a thriller script, Los Alamos, from writer Luke Davies (Candy) and Oscar®-winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech). Berlin Syndrome is a new psychological thriller in development from writer Shaun Grant (Snowtown) with producer Polly Staniford and executive producer Angie Fielder. Shaun Grant will also be supported to develop Jasper Jones, a coming-of-age story based on the award-winning Australian novel by Craig Silvey with producers Vincent Sheehan and David Jowsey.

Writer Joan Sauers will be supported to develop the biopic Enemy Alien about mercurial classical violist, Richard Goldner, with producers Brian Rosen and Su Armstrong. The Canary Cottage is a black comedy script being developed by writer/director Heath Davis, producer Luke Graham and executive producer Jonathan Page and The Stockpicker is a romantic comedy script in development from writer Dave Warner and producer Phillip Bowman.

Writer Peter Ivan will be supported to develop his drama script, An Oddball Solution, with producers Steve Kearney and Richard Keddie, and writers Stephen Ramsey and Bob Ellis will be supported to develop their biopic script The News of the World. Emma Jensen will develop the biopic Mary Shelley about the life of the novelist who wrote Frankenstein. Matthew Dabner is on board as an executive producer.

Marauder is a true-crime story being supported for development by writer Lee Sellars and producer/director Marion Pilowsky about a rookie detective, a killer on the loose and a mother who never gave up hope.

David Williamson and Craig Monahan will be supported to develop crime drama The Removalists, a reimagining of David Williamson’s iconic play of the same name. Tait Brady and Craig Monahan are attached to the project as producers.

The Riders is a drama in development from Susie Brooks-Smith who is adapting for the screen the acclaimed novel of the same name by Tim Winton. Director Robert Connolly and producer Timothy White are attached to the project.

Writer/producer Trish Graham will receive development support for her new family/fantasy script Little Fur: The Legend Begins with executive producer Matt Carroll.

New projects to receive matched feature development funding include the drama script The Devil’s Staircase from writer Sergio Casci with director Ben C Lucas (Wasted on the Young), producer Marian Macgowan and UK producer Claire Mundell. Training Grounds is an action feature project in development from writers Oscar Redding and Jonathan auf der Heide with director Jeremy Sims, producer Ranko Markovic and executive producer Piers Morgan.

Writer/directors Patrick Sarell and Alister Lockhart will also receive financial support from the Director’s Acclaim Fund to strategically assist them towards the next stage in their career path.

Projects to receive continued feature development support are included in the project details listed below.


Genre Comedy
Producer Michael McMahon
Writer Katherine Thomson
Director Tony Ayres
Synopsis Five actresses compete for the role of a lifetime – an ensemble comedy about women, friendship and competition.

Genre Psychological Thriller
Producer Polly Staniford
Executive Producer Angie Fielder
Writer Shaun Grant
Synopsis A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive relationship when an Australian photojournalist wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave.

Genre Black Comedy
Producer Luke Graham
Executive Producer Jonathan Page
Writer/Director Heath Davis
Synopsis A broken young man learns to live and love again when he moves into his mother’s nursing home.

Genre Drama
Producers Naomi Wenck, Kristina Ceyton
Writer Nam Le
Synopsis A teenage assassin living in the slums of Columbia finds himself ordered to do a hit on his best friend. Choosing between loyalty to his friend, and the loyalty required of him by a merciless drug lord, Juan Pablo is a normal boy caught up in a ruthless world. Based on the best-selling novel by Nam Le.

Genre Thriller
Producers Bill Bennett, Anupam Sharma
Writer/Director Bill Bennett
Synopsis Two young lovers from different castes in India are marked for honour killings. Based on true events.

Genre Biopic
Producers Brian Rosen, Su Armstrong
Writer Joan Sauers
Synopsis The true story of mercurial classical violist, Richard Goldner, who escapes Nazi-occupied Austria to settle in Australia where he’s faced with a different kind of tyranny before discovering his true calling and forming Musica Viva. Based on the book by Suzanne Baker.

Genre Comedy Drama
Producers Leah Churchill-Brown, Amanda Higgs
Writer Alice Bell
Director Hattie Dalton
Synopsis A baby is abandoned on 14-year-old Ashlee’s doorstep, shining light on her broken family and her secret teenage life.

Genre Coming of Age
Producers Vincent Sheehan, David Jowsey
Writer Shaun Grant
Synopsis Based on the award-winning Australian novel by Craig Silvey.

Genre Family/Fantasy
Writer/Producer Trish Graham
Executive Producer Matt Carroll
Synopsis Little Fur is the story of how even a small creature – an elf-troll, no larger than a 4-year-old child – is able to find the courage to overcome her fears, to understand that there is good and bad in all of us, and decides to become a hero.

Genre Thriller
Producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman
Writer Luke Davies
Synopsis Spring, 1945. Michael Connolly, a disgraced intelligence operative, enters a labyrinth of secrets and espionage when he arrives at the high-security military base of Los Alamos. Sent to investigate a seemingly open-and-shut murder case, Connolly is thrown into the heart of the Manhattan Project and must navigate a path through military protocol, political intrigue and personal agendas in order to uncover the truth in the most secretive place in the world.

Genre True Crime
Director/Producer Marion Pilowsky
Writer Lee Sellars
Synopsis A rookie detective, a killer on the loose and a mother who never gave up hope. Based on a true story.

Genre Biopic
Executive Producer Matthew Dabner
Writer Emma Jensen
Synopsis A young woman with a family legacy and a passion for writing goes on a quest to find a story which results in the groundbreaking novel Frankenstein. However, Mary learns that creativity and love can come at a high price when she embarks on a passionate and tumultuous love affair with the poet Percy Shelley.

Genre Biopic
Producers Sue Murray, Richard Lowenstein
Executive Producer Domenico Procacci
Writer/Director Richard Lowenstein
Synopsis At the height of his internationally renowned career, a sudden blow to the head robs the famously sensual rock star of two of his most cherished senses. A series of personal battles follows ending tragically with his death at the age of 37, the night before embarking on a world tour.

Genre Biopic
Writers Stephen Ramsey, Bob Ellis

Genre Drama
Producers Steve Kearney, Richard Keddie
Writer Peter Ivan

Genre Drama
Producers Heather Ogilvie, Mark Gooder
Writer Jan Sardi
Synopsis Together, one woman’s gift and another’s determination result in one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 19th century. A revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship, based on the acclaimed novel by Tracey Chevalier.

Genre Crime Drama
Producers Tait Brady, Craig Monahan
Writers David Williamson, Craig Monahan
Director Craig Monahan
Synopsis A blackly comic exposé of unequal social relationships and abuse of authority – now and then. A reimagining of the iconic Australian play by David Williamson.

Genre Drama
Producer Timothy White
Writer Susie Brooks-Smith
Director Robert Connolly
Synopsis Scully takes his young daughter, Billie, across Europe on a search for his missing wife. Based on the acclaimed novel by Tim Winton.

Genre Coming of Age
Producer Tom M Jeffrey
Writer Lachlan Philpott
Synopsis Teens Tamara and Squid are in love, but their fragile relationship is broken by a betrayal of trust that puts their futures at risk.

Genre Crime
Producer Timothy White
Writer/Director Julius Avery
Script Editor John Collee
Synopsis A young man is sent to prison where he becomes the perfect apprentice to ‘public enemy number one’, beating him at his own game.

Genre Romantic Comedy
Producer Phillip Bowman
Writer Dave Warner
Synopsis Dylan Gilbert, a back room guy dreaming of becoming a glamorous stock picker realises that one of his firm’s small-time clients has an amazing success rate and by copying their picks he can achieve his dream, but when Client 68745, Holly York, falls in love her picks begin to tank! Dylan decides he must break up the love match if he is to achieve his goal.


Genre Drama
Producer Marian Macgowan
UK Producer Claire Mundell
Writer Sergio Casci
Director Ben C Lucas
Synopsis An 18-year-old girl runs away from small-town Australia to London, hoping to overcome her justifiable yet incapacitating fear of death by moving into an abandoned London townhouse with several young travellers, but she discovers before long that death seems to have followed her.

Genre Action
Producer Ranko Markovic
Executive Producer Piers Morgan
Writers Oscar Redding, Jonathan auf der Heide
Director Jeremy Sims
Synopsis A group of young Western travellers are traversing the Silk Road when a land slide leaves them stranded without their vehicles. As they search for the destroyed 4x4s they discover a cave that’s being used as an Al-Qaeda training ground. The soldiers aren’t there, but plans for a new international terrorist plot and a dirty bomb are.


Producer Ma’ara Bobby Romia
Synopsis Ma’ara will work with Screentime Group in New Zealand for six months across all facets of television concept development, writing and producing, production, post-production and marketing/distribution strategies.

Director Ariel Martin-Merrells
Synopsis Ariel will work under the mentorship of director James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, Fear, Perfect Stranger) in Los Angeles for five months during post-production on House of Cards and collaborate in the development of two upcoming feature films projects Winter Hill Gang and Recoil.


Writer/Directors Patrick Sarell, Alister Lockhart

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