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20 07 2017 - Media release

11 Hot Shots Plus projects to share in nearly $1 million in funding


Risen. Photo credit Tony Radevski and Anna Howard

Screen Australia has selected 11 emerging filmmaking teams to share in $989,000 of Hot Shots Plus funding, which will encompass both production funding to make a short-form narrative proof-of-concept (POC), and development funding to progress their POC to a longer form project.

The 11 projects cover a range of platforms; seven are short films that will aim to progress to a feature film, two are Virtual Reality (VR) shorts with plans for a full VR series, one is a short film that will serve as a TV series concept, and one is a pilot for a web series.

“A number of our country’s most exciting new voices burst onto the scene with a feature inspired by a short film, as was the case with Jennifer Kent, whose short Monster went on to become The Babadook, and Yolande Ramke and Ben Howling’s short Cargo, whose feature length version has been picked up by Netflix,” said Nerida Moore, Senior Manager of Development at Screen Australia.

“We recognise there are now a number of ways to develop a proof-of-concept and we wanted the revamped Hot Shots to reflect this. We are delighted to see such a diversity of platforms and voices represented in this group of recipients, who are now presented with a unique opportunity to build on previous successes and kick start their careers.”

From 162 applications, 26 projects were shortlisted in May with the help of 10 external assessors. Initially the available pool of funds was $750,000 however due to the exceptional quality of the applications this was increased to $989,000.

The funded projects are:

Virtual Reality

  • Passenger (VIC) from producer Phillipa Campey and writer/director/animators Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine. Using stop motion puppets, this animated VR experience will tell the story of a migrant who has made the immense journey from her homeland to Australia. The longer form series will be designed to immerse audiences in VR worlds that allow them to experience stories about the transformative power of migration.

  • The Unknown Patient (VIC) from producer Bethany Jones, writer/director Michael Beets and design studio VRTOV. Based on a true story, this VR short will use innovative technologies to allow the viewer to step inside the fragmented mind of a WWI soldier who is trapped in a 1920s asylum and suffering from PTSD. The aim of the longer form project is to develop a complete VR experience which will invite audiences to piece together the remarkable story of the soldier.

TV series

  • Risen (NSW) from producer Peter Ireland and writer/director Tony Radevski. The short film will follow teenager Sean who roams the streets with other teenagers searching for bodies of ‘the fallen’ - reckless users of a street drug which causes people to float and then plunge to their deaths. The full series will flesh out this story world and look at the wider impacts of drug use in a society that is geographically and socially divided.

Web series

  • Boy (Space) Friends (NSW) from producer Maren Smith and writer/director Vonne Patiag, a fresh new comedic take on contemporary male relationships that will also showcase the cultural diversity of Western Sydney. The team will shoot the pilot episode Too Many Ethnics about a group of friends who strive to downplay their ethnicity on a night out, highlighting the added pressure race plays in the clubbing scene. The longer form project is a 10 x 6 min web series, which has the Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) on board as a community partner.

Short Films

  • Bondi 1hr Foto (NSW) from producer Nash Edgerton, writer Anya Beyersdorf and director Sean Kruck. Set in 1980s Bondi Beach, the short centres on a teenage girl’s clash with her father and will set the tone for a feature film about an underworld figure dealing with family, crime and police corruption. In 2016 Kruck underwent a director’s attachment on Edgerton’s upcoming Amazon Studios-backed feature film Gringo, and subsequently joined the Blue-Tongue Films collective.

  • Drum Wave (VIC) from producer Emma Haarburger, writer Christian White and writer/director Natalie Erika James. A psychological thriller, both the short and the feature film follow a young pianist who travels to her fiancé’s peculiar island hometown where she comes into conflict with his family’s expectations and is subjected to their unusual fertility rituals, while being haunted by a local folklore ghost.

  • Girl & Body (NSW) from writer/director Charlotte Mars, producer Ella Millard and executive producer Martha Coleman. It will follow the story of a dancer who wakes from an unexpected collapse to find she is partially paralysed and her struggle to regain control over her body against a strange force inside. Expanding on the tone and world of this story, the feature film Somnio will explore the tumultuous relationship between two women whose love is put on trial when, through sleep therapy, they begin to access each other's dreams.

  • Haunted (VIC) from producers George Rubanov and Katerina Mitropoulos, and writer/director Eddie Diamandi. This supernatural dramedy centres on a middle-aged Russian immigrant who is haunted by her late husband’s ghost every time she verges on a sexual experience. The feature length version, Svetlana, will expand on these themes and tone, exploring the challenges of assimilation and life after great loss, using humour and a distinctly European sensibility.

  • Sleepwalking (WA, NSW) from producer Eva Di Blasio, writer/director Melissa Anastasi and executive producer Robyn Kershaw. This team has secured completion funding for their short, which is an atmospheric drama about a young boy living in an isolated religious family whose loyalties are torn between his fanatical stepfather and his sleepwalking mother. The feature film Bluebirds is inspired by a true story about a toxic friendship between two girls, and will explore similar themes about how trust, control and power can lead to inexplicable acts.

  • The Hitchhiker (NSW) from writer/director Adele Vuko and producers Johanna Somerville and Chloe Rickard. The short will set the scene for a genre-bending all-female comedy/horror road movie about three girls who are on their way to a music festival when they pick up a hitchhiker, not realising she is also a vampire, and have to decide how far they’re willing to go in order to survive.

  • The Projectionist (SA) from producer Kirsty Stark and writer/director Marcus McKenzie. Both the short film and the feature length version will tell the story of a recently widowed pensioner who discovers he can travel into the world of his old Super 8mm home movies and revisit his life as a young man, allowing him to come to terms with the present.

Each POC and long form project will have a bespoke development process according to the needs of each team and project.

The original Hot Shots short film program has funded 28 shorts since it began in 2013. Past recipients include Corrie Chen’s 2015 AACTA nominated Reg Makes Contact and Lucy Gaffy’s 2016 AACTA-winning Dream Baby.

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