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13 06 2017 - Media release

Talent USA: Australian creatives head stateside


The Superwog Show © Princess Pictures

Eleven directors, six screenwriters and ten online creators are being funded by Screen Australia to travel to the USA in June for a series of career growth opportunities. The screenwriters’ delegation is being co-sponsored by the Australian Writers' Guild (AWG) and Scripted Ink.

The directors and screenwriters will participate in Screen Australia’s Talent LA program taking part in a bespoke course of masterclasses, professional development activities and industry networking.

The online creators will perform and host workshops at the world’s largest online video conference – Vidcon.

“Given the burgeoning international demand for distinctive and engaging screen content, it is more important than ever for Screen Australia to promote and profile both our best creatives as well as production companies to the international sector,” said Richard Harris, Head of Business and Audience. “This Talent USA mission will showcase some of Australia’s most exciting emerging creative talent across feature film, TV and online to the American industry, while at the same time offering them a unique opportunity to access some of the most plugged-in creative and commercial minds in the business.”

TALENT LA (June 26-29)

Talent LA will be held at Charlie’s and the Creative Collective, the Australians in Film space at Raleigh Studios in West Hollywood. Leading US screen industry practitioners including Meg LeFauve, Sheila Hanahan Taylor, Joan Scheckel and Judith Weston will host a series of professional development and creative masterclasses. The emerging Australia directors selected are:

  • Sarah Bishop – known for comedy trio Skit Box, Sarah co-wrote/directed and starred in the sketch comedy series Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am and is currently in development on webseries Plus Ones for ABC iView and Public Relations for Revlover. 
  • Corrie Chen – writer/director of AACTA nominated short film Reg Makes Contact, director of ADG award- winning documentary Suicide and Me, a director on upcoming teen series Mustangs FC and currently co- writing/directing her first feature film Strangers and directing the SBS webseries Homecoming Queens.
  • Victoria Cocks – writer/director of ADG award-winning webseries Wasterlander Panda, Victoria is currently directing her first feature film In The Blood.
  • Beck Cole – director of AACTA award-winning series Black Comedy, as well as The Warriors and Redfern Now Series 2, Beck is also the writer of children’s series Little J and Big Cuz and drama Plains Empty, writer/director of feature film Here I Am and documentaries Wirriya; small boyFirst Australians and Making Samson & Delilah
  • Sophie Hyde – writer/director/producer of feature film 52 Tuesdays which was awarded the Crystal Bear at Berlinale and best directing for world cinema at Sundance. Sophie produced Sam Klemke’s Time Machine and Shut Up Little Man!, and is currently directing feature Animals and TV series F**king Adelaide.
  • Tim Marshall – writer/director of award-winning short films Gorilla which won the Iris Prize, and Followers which screened at Sundance and SXSW. Tim is currently developing a feature version of Followers and a second feature The Love Division
  • Jennifer Peedom – BAFTA nominated writer/director/producer of documentary feature Sherpa, writer/director of Life at 9Life at 7 and SOLO, and producer of the Camera D’Or nominated David Stratton: A Cinematic Life. Jennifer’s latest feature Mountain will premiere at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival. 
  • Claudia Pickering – writer/director/producer of feature film Frisky and short film Potluck, writer/producer of feature Winning Formula and short film Quit Yer Lion!, Claudia is also co-creator of a series of online videos as part of comedy trio Frothpocalypse.
  • Damien Power – writer/director whose debut feature Killing Ground screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Damien’s short film credits include PeekabooBat Eyes and Boot which have screened at film festivals around the world.
  • Luci Schroder – writer/director/producer of short film Slapper, Luci was nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and awarded Best Emerging Australian Director at Melbourne International Film Festival, Best Short Film at Sydney Film Festival and the ADG Award for Best Direction in a Short.
  • Nicholas Verso – writer/director of award-winning debut feature Boys in the Trees which was selected for Venice, Toronto and Busan Film Festivals, Nicholas is also the director of shorts Hugo, Apocalypse BearFlight, AACTA award-winning The Last Time I Saw Richard as well as episodes of teen drama Nowhere Boys and Grace Beside Me.

The below six Australian screenwriters will attend Talent LA with the support of the AWG, Scripted Ink. and Screen Australia’s Enterprise program:

  • Shelley Birse – co-creator/writer of Love Is a Four Letter Word, Shelley has a long history in TV including SatisfactionRush and Wildside. Shelley is best known as the creator and producer of multi- award winning series The Code
  • Kristen Dunphy – Kristen has 25 years of experience writing television drama and has received three Australian Writers' Guild Awards - for East West 101, The Straits and White Collar Blue. In 2015, she co-created and co-wrote The Principal and is currently creating her own eight-part drama series.
  • Matt Ford – an experienced television writer, producer, show-runner & story editor. His credits include the US series Farscape.
  • Chris Lee – having held several senior roles on TV series Police RescueBig SkyLove My Way and The Secret Life of Us, Lee has most recently written ratings hit mini-series Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo and Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War
  • Michael Miller – co-creator of the upcoming ABC series Pulse, Michael also wrote critical and audience favourites Cleverman (series one) and Peter Allen – Not The Boy Next Door
  • Sue Smith – with over 30 years in the industry, Sue’s work includes feature Peaches, co-writer for Saving Mr Banks and television series including MaboTemptation and Brides of Christ.

VIDCON (June 21-24)

VidCon is the largest online video conference in the world and showcases the most innovative and influential online video creators through a series of live performances, workshops and networking events.

The Australian delegation who will travel to this year’s Vidcon, with the support of Screen Australia, include comedy trio Aunty Donna (Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly and Zachary Ruane) who will give a live performance and also host a panel on performing sketch comedy; Julie Kalceff and Rosie Lourde, the team behind award-winning multi-platform drama Starting From Now who will host a writing workshop; comedy duo Superwog (Theo and Nathan Saidden) and comedy trio Skit Box (Sarah Bishop will represent the group).


ShortFest is the largest short film festival and market in North America and includes an Australian showcase of seven films in partnership with G’Day USA, Screen Australia and Ausfilm. The films in the showcase are:

All Australian creatives attending Shortfest have also been invited to some of the Talent LA sessions.

Director Mirrah Foulkes with actor Maya Stange on the set of Trespass / Mark Rogers

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