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18 06 2018 - Media release

ABC TV and Screen Australia announce five Indigenous Shock Treatment shorts


Scare Campaign

Screen Australia and the ABC have today announced five horror short-film projects from the Shock Treatment initiative will go into production. The joint initiative between the Indigenous departments at Screen Australia and the ABC, with in-kind support from the Indigenous unit at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) was developed to find emerging Indigenous storytellers with a passion for the horror genre.

The call-out received 38 applications, from which seven projects were selected to participate in an intensive workshop in May 2017 led by experts in the horror genre Colin and Cameron Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres, Scare Campaign). Following the workshop, the filmmakers wrote their full scripts – with five scripts then selected to go into production and start pre-production today. The Cairnes brothers will continue to work on the projects as directing mentors and Executive Producers.

The five x 15 minute short-film projects will be produced by Majhid Heath at Noble Savage Pictures (Brown Lips, A Chance Affair) and will be released on ABC iview in October 2019 in time for Halloween. They go into production in the 25th anniversary year of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department.

“Yet again we are going to break new ground with this series of horror shorts. The ABC really wanted to push the envelope with this initiative and it’s fantastic to see five original short-films led by emerging Indigenous creatives from around the country,” said Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia. “This shows how our partners, in this case the ABC and AFTRS, are key to allowing Indigenous creators take charge of their careers.”

“This initiative presents a brilliant opportunity to support and provide a platform for emerging filmmakers to tell Indigenous stories for a younger audience. The Producer, Majhid Heath, is a star on the rise and I look forward to seeing him bring these concepts to life on screen.”

Kelrick Martin, Head of Indigenous at ABC Television, “ABC Indigenous is excited to be part of the evolution and redefining of Indigenous storytelling in this country, alongside Screen Australia and AFTRS. Building upon the incredible heights of genre TV offerings like Cleverman, we can’t wait to work with these fresh new voices to deliver Indigenous horror content that entertains and thrills ABC audiences.”

  • Foe — Strange attacks in her neighbourhood cause a chronic insomniac to question whether sleep might actually be a portal to something terrifying deep inside her. Melbourne based writer/director Liam Phillips is a new talent discovery as a direct result of this initiative.

  • Killer Native — A bitingly wicked take on first contact between British settlers and Aboriginal people - and zombies. Sydney actor Bjorn Stewart uses his experience on shows like Get Krack!n, Black Comedy and Tonightly to deftly create a comedic spin on the horror genre in his second short film as writer/director.

  • Scout — Kidnapped and subjected to degrading abuse, Scout has finally had enough. Scout wants out. The assured writing voice of Kodie Bedford (Grace Beside Me, Mystery Road TV Series) brings a revenge-fuelled take on the value of Indigenous women in our society today.

  • The ShoreA young girl living an isolated life in the woods with her father, discovers that growing up alone isn't just for her protection - it's for ours. Drawing upon a personal love of the macabre, this gothic tale will be the second short film from former Bangarra dancer turned writer/director Perun Bonser (Blight, Fighter).

  • Vale LightIn the public housing commission estate of Pendle Vale, a single mum and her daughter do it tough, until one day a witch decides to change their fortune. Drawing upon his childhood growing up in Clarendon Vale, Tasmanian filmmaker Rob Braslin weaves a highly emotive and thrilling short film that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

About the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia

2018 marks 25 years since the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia was established, resulting in some of the nation’s most beloved films, television shows and documentaries. The Department has provided over $35 million in funding for development, production and talent escalation, with over 160 titles produced in that period. The work of the Department and its partners including the ABC is credited with forever changing Indigenous representation on screens, and ensuring Indigenous people can tell their own screen stories. The model has been so successful, it has recently inspired the Canada Media Fund to create their own Indigenous Film Fund.

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