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Intro to... the Content Team

Hear from Screen Australia’s Content team about the changing sector, what they’re looking for in funding applications, and their recommendations for what to watch right now.


Head of Content

Grainne Brunsdon

As Head of Content at Screen Australia, Grainne Brunsdon leads production investment, story development, distribution support, and initiatives across Australian screen content, including feature film, television, online, documentary and games; industry development programs for above and below the line practitioners; and international initiatives. Grainne has more than 25 years’ experience working in the creative industries, including roles at Screen NSW and Arts NSW, as well as leadership positions in international cultural relations with the British Council and arts organisations in Sydney. As Head of Screen NSW, Grainne oversaw the state’s investment in the local screen sector, including industry development and international production incentives. Prior to this Grainne was Director of Arts Investment, Engagement and Development at Create NSW, overseeing all arts funding programs and initiatives.



Head of Development

Bobby Romia

Bobby Romia is the Head of Development at Screen Australia with over 15 years’ of industry experience. Prior to joining the agency, Bobby was Acting Senior Investment Manager at Screen NSW where he managed scripted projects including Bali 2002Underbelly: Vanishing ActAfter the VerdictBump, Upright, Here Out WestThe Secret She KeepsFrayedJune AgainThe Drover’s WifeTrue Colours and Hardball, and talent escalation initiatives such as Talent Camp NSW and the Emerging Writers’ Incubator. Bobby previously worked as a Commissioning Supervisor (Scripted Drama, Comedy & Entertainment) and Producer at SBS Australia and NITV (National Indigenous Television). He has also worked with Screentime Australia, Hopscotch Films, eOne Entertainment, and Screentime New Zealand in Auckland. Bobby holds a Master of Arts in Screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).


Senior Manager, International and Business Development

Harry Avramidis

Harry Avramidis is a highly experienced screen executive who has worked for numerous prominent film entertainment companies such as Twentieth Century Fox, Beyond Films International, Arclight Films International and Becker Films International, as well as holding senior Industry Development positions at Sydney Film Festival and Screen Australia. As Screen Australia's Senior Manager, International and Business Development, he oversees the agency's participation in major markets and designs funding programs to support Australian creatives and projects to engage internationally. Harry has been instrumental in the conception and success of initiatives including Talent LA and Talent USA, International Finance Fund, Talent Gateway, Global Producers Exchange, and the revamped Enterprise Business and Enterprise People funding programs.


Development Executive

Imogen Gardam

Imogen Gardam is a Development Executive at Screen Australia and has worked in development and production across film and theatre for Entertainment One Australia, Hopscotch Features, Griffin Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare and The Festivalists. She co-founded independent theatre company Montague Basement, producing the group's twenty-one productions from formation in 2014 to 2022, and co-founded and ran independent theatre company Fervour, producing and developing the company's work from 2020 to 2022. Imogen was the 2018 winner of the Rose Byrne Scholarship for an Emerging Female Leader in the Arts and served on the Board and as Deputy Chair for Theatre Network NSW from 2018 to 2020. She has been published in Lumina Journal, Audrey Journal, Honi Soit and on Four Three Film. A graduate of Media and Communications from the University of Sydney, Imogen is currently completing a Masters of Research in Film Studies at the University of Sydney as well.


Development Executive (Enterprise)

Dr Jonathan Messer

Dr. Jonathan Messer is a director and producer who has dedicated his career to exploring collaborative filmmaking practices and storytelling with diverse communities. He obtained his education from prestigious institutions, including a PhD from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), a master’s degree in directing from the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles, and the post-graduate diploma in directing from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. With a wealth of experience, he has worked with renowned companies such as the Kennedy Marshall Company, the BBC, and completed an internship at Killer Films in New York. His expertise spans across Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.



Development Executive

Tanya Mukerjee

Tanya Mukerjee is a Development Executive at Screen Australia, with over two decades of experience working in TV broadcasting and production. In Sydney, she trained from script coordinator to script editor on returning and first series such as Water Rats, McLeod’s Daughters, Young Lions, Fireflies. In London, Tanya was Diversity Partnerships Manager at ITV, Executive Manager at the Creative Diversity Network and worked across the sector with organisations including the BBC, Channel 4 and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television. She studied Film and has worked as a creative diversity consultant and as a diversity, equity and inclusion lead in the corporate sector. Tanya joined the Story Development department in late 2022.



Development Executive

Toni Stowers

Toni is a proud Māori-Samoan screen developer and producer. She recently joined Screen Australia’s Development team as a Development Executive. Prior to Screen Australia she was producing and developing projects with No Coincidence Media where she worked on feature film projects with Beck Cole and Arenamedia, Samuel Nuggin-Paynter, and on Jon Bell's upcoming feature The Moogai with Causeway Films. She produced the anthology feature We Are Still Here together with Mitchell Stanley and Mia Henry-Teirney, which opened the 2022 Sydney Film Festival and had its international premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Toni has also held roles at NITV Commissioning, Sydney Film Festival, and previously worked at Screen Australia as Coordinator for the Documentary Unit. Toni first started working in the arts with the theatrical agency HLA Management, where she developed a long-standing passion to work with storytellers and their stories.



Head of Scripted

Christopher Sharp

With 20 years’ experience in the screen industry, Christopher has worked as a story developer and producer in Australia, the UK and the US. He has held senior development roles for production companies as well as at government funding bodies including a previous stint at Screen Australia as Development Executive in 2010. Christopher worked at the London-based Material Entertainment, a co-venture between New Line Cinema and Entertainment Film Distributors, as well as the New York-based film sales company FilmNation. During his career he has lectured at the Australian Film Television & Radio School where he designed and taught a course in Script Assessing.



Production Executive

Amy Powter began her film and television career joining Porchlight Films in 2013. While at Porchlight Films, Amy worked as an Associate Producer on the drama series Operation Buffalo and the first series of Fisk. Amy also worked as a Producer’s Assistant across development, production and post-production on projects such as The Kettering Incident, Jasper Jones, Mary Magdalene and True History of the Kelly Gang. In 2020, Amy joined Screen Australia’s Content team as a Project Officer and then as Production Executive in May 2022.


Investment and Development Manager

Andrea Ulbrick

Andrea Ulbrick is an Investment and Development Manager in Screen Australia’s Scripted Content Department. She has been working in the film and television industry since she first began as a television news reporter in 1990. Andrea joined Screen Australia in May 2022 after six years as Screen Investment Manager at Screen NSW where she managed projects including The Stranger, Carmen, Mystery Road, Girls Can’t Surf and Playing with Sharks. Andrea previously worked as a commissioning editor at the ABC in Factual. Formerly an award-winning documentary director/filmmaker, Andrea has also produced and directed a range of domestic and international observational, science and history co-productions for ABC TV, SBS, CBC, Arte France, BBC, Channel 4, WNET, National Geographic and Discovery. She has a Master of Arts (Film and Television) from AFTRS (2000).


Distribution Manager

Anthony Grundy

As Distribution Manager in Screen Australia’s Content Department, Anthony draws upon his extensive experience in film marketing and audience development with local distributors and filmmakers. In addition to the Distribution support funding programs (P&A+) he provides audience and distribution assessment across the slate of production investment projects for feature film and television. Previously, he served as Communications Manager at Animal Logic as well as National Publicity and Promotions Executive at Universal Pictures and Specialised Product Manager at United International Pictures where he managed relationships with media, exhibitors, government agencies, filmmakers and talent across a number of high profile Australian and international titles.



Investment and Development Manager

Lucy Hill

Lucy Hill is currently an Investment and Development Manager at Screen Australia in the Scripted Content Department. Lucy started at Hopscotch Films in 2007 and as Acquisitions Manager was actively involved in the acquisition of films including The Kids Are All Right, The Sapphires, Satellite Boy, Philomena and The Broken Circle Breakdown. From 2014 to 2019, Lucy was the Head of Acquisitions for Entertainment One Australia & New Zealand and managed the acquisition of films such as I Feel Pretty, Top End Wedding and Babyteeth. Lucy has also acted as Production Coordinator on several projects including acclaimed Australian artist Emma Magenta’s The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch for the ABC, and as Development Manager within Hopscotch Features, working on such films as Saving Mr Banks and The Water Diviner.


Development and investment Manager

Seph McKenna

Seph McKenna is headquartered in Screen Australia’s South Melbourne office and serves as an Investment and Development Manager in the Scripted Content Department. Seph has been working in the film and television industry since starting with Village Roadshow Pictures in Los Angeles in 2003, before relocating to Australia in 2006. Seph has held roles in Australia as Head of Production for Roadshow Films and CEO of Screenwest. Seph currently manages a range of feature film and television projects including Safe Home, Year Of, Shayda and many more projects soon to be announced! Seph holds a BA with double majors in philosophy and political science and a Juris Doctor all from Boston College and prior to working in entertainment was lucky enough to be employed as a Congressional Aide on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. during the Clinton administration.    

Industry Development


Head of Industry Development

Ken CrouchKen Crouch joined Screen Australia in February 2023 in the newly created role of Head of Industry Development. In this role Ken oversees national initiatives focused on training and skills development for below-the-line practitioners, in addition to collaborating with stakeholders across the industry to address the skills shortages and gaps currently being experienced by the sector. Prior to Screen Australia, Ken was CEO of Screenworks between 2014 and 2023 where he oversaw 280+ training and industry development initiatives, attended by and supported more than 14,000 regional Australians, and achieved an average annual revenue growth of 32%.



Industry Development Manager

Amelia Carew-Reid

Amelia Carew-Reid is Industry Development Manager at Screen Australia. Amelia has worked across the creative industries for over 20 years with a focus on industry development, professional pathways and vocational training. Prior to joining Screen Australia in April 2023, Amelia was the Manager, Industry Development at Screen NSW where she oversaw funding programs and designed initiatives in partnership with screen industry stakeholders to build capacity above and below the line. While at Screen NSW, Amelia managed the designation of Sydney as a UNESCO City of film and coordinated the 21 global cities of film in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Amelia has also previously held roles at Create NSW, Sydney Opera House, NSW Film and Television Office and Metro Screen.



Grainne Brunsdon: One thing that stands out in the past few years is the support we were able to give to the screen sector during COVID, so that production could continue. I was working at Screen NSW at the time and was able to work across Government departments to ensure that the screen sector was able to continue working, when so many other parts of the arts and culture sector (and other industries) were closed. It was possibly the hardest, most stressful couple of years, as we all tried to navigate constant changes to public health orders, border closures and movement of people within the state. Government support was vital to keep thousands of people in the sector working, with production expenditure in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Bobby Romia: You will never forget your first job in the industry. Securing a writer and producer attachment on Underbelly: The Golden Mile was that highlight. I was fortunate to absorb the inner workings, complexities, and pressure to deliver a compelling drama series to an audience with some of the best and most creative practitioners in the sector. These early learnings have been paramount in my current approach to work and nurtured my passion for story and storytellers. 

Harry Avramidis: Through work on Screen Australia’s international initiatives and more recently Enterprise, I’ve had the privilege of showcasing and supporting many of Australia’s leading creatives - at all stages of their careers. Watching them launch and command attention on the global stage has been, and continues to be, a career highlight.

Imogen Gardam: Every piece of new Australian storytelling that finds its audience is a career highlight. I loved the work that I had the privilege to produce at Griffin Theatre Company, including Whitefella Yella Tree by Dylan Van Den Berg, Orange Thrower by Kirsty Marillier and Green Park by Elias Jamieson Brown, and I was really lucky to have carriage of Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie through various remounts. I’m also proud of some of the weird and wonderful work I made as an independent producer through Montague Basement and Fervour, such as Kim Ho’s The Great Australian Play and Tasnim Hossain and Claudia Osborne’s Burn Witch Burn.

Dr Jonathan Messer: I’ve been involved in numerous prominent productions in various capacities, such as Top of the Pops and Absolutely Fabulous, as well as notable films such as The Bourne Supremacy, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Far from Heaven, and Seabiscuit. However, one of the most significant milestones in my career has been the opportunity to work at Screen Australia. In this role, I’m privileged to facilitate the growth of both established and emerging voices. It’s truly exciting to contribute to the advancement of the Australian screen community in such a dynamic industry-focused Enterprise team.

Tanya Mukerjee: Hard to pick one but a lot of my work has focused on diversifying content and creating pathways for underrepresented talent, it’s always a highlight to see people getting their stories and credits onscreen or in a good place in their careers. In particular, I’ve always enjoyed working with writers and seeing how their scripts develop.

Toni Stowers: Being one of the producers of We Are Still Here was a wonderful opportunity for me personally and professionally, and the connections and teachings from that experience will stay with me. I am one of many who brought this feature to light from conception with the Screen Australia’s First Nations Department and NZFC all the way through to distribution. Our filmmakers shared stories that at their core acknowledged and respected the multitude of experiences First Nations people have had and continue to face and showed our capacity to carry the hurt and joy of these and keep moving.

Christopher Sharp: One of the absolute joys of the work we get to do as producers or as screen agency executives, is to work with inspiring writers and directors and support them to realise their vision. I have had the privilege of working with some incredible people so far in my career.

Amy Powter: The first time I got to travel interstate for the premiere of The Kettering Incident which was the first project I ever worked on. It was definitely a highlight and being able to experience it for the first time with a large group rather than in an edit suite was exciting.

Andrea Ulbrick: Having always had an insatiable curiosity and a love of learning, working here as an investment manager is my career highlight. There’s never a dull moment. I spend every day working across feature films, television series and kids TV as well as collaborating with our development team, and assessing projects at the very earliest stages of creation. I read scripts every day! Everyone here is an expert in their field – from our lawyers to our marketplace analysts and our distribution manager Ant Grundy – we call these experts our “secret sauce”. We unite enthusiastically across the lifecycle of every project we’re involved in. It really is a big happy family, working towards a common goal; to ensure that the screen content we invest in is well-developed, distinctive, captivating and diverse, are properly budgeted with clever production methodologies, and wherever possible, make it to the world stage. It’s utterly satisfying, time after time. I also have to say a recent visit to the ABC’s kids live-action puppetry series Beep and Mort set at the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios was also a highlight. Just like thousands of families around Australia, I fell in love with Beep and Mort after we were invited to cuddle the handmade creatures from Mollyvale. We felt as if we were sprinkled with fairy-dust as we toured the puppet-creation workshops and spoke with the gifted and playful puppet-makers who took the time to explain their craft.

Anthony Grundy:
Creating new initiatives and programs is very rewarding. In 2021 we launched a consumer facing marketing campaign called Our Summer of Cinema and in February that year, Australian films took the top three spots at the local box office. We’ve just launched the next campaign called Our Cinema to celebrate another cluster of great Australian films opening in cinemas this July and August. I also enjoy working across the production and distribution divide, connecting the incredible work of our highly skilled screen sector to local audiences.

Lucy Hill: Attending my first film festival, the Berlinale in 2012, when I was working for Hopscotch Films, buying films for theatrical release. A different time! The days were long, the deals were happening live and it was a real rush!

Seph McKenna: For better and worse I’ve been around long enough to have experienced more than a few career highlights, such as Australian audiences enthusiastic embrace of 2011’s Red Dog, that for a time made Koko the Kelpie the most famous dog in Australia and lead to an entire sea-change in how we thought about Australian audiences - and the importance of producing feel good, family-friendly entertainment. More recently, it was attending the 2023 Sundance midnight premiere Screening of Talk to Me. Talk to Me lands its ending and there was electricity in the air from an elated audience as the credits rolled just before 2am on an otherwise still and snowy night in Park City, Utah. You knew two first time Australian feature directors, Danny and Michael Philippou, had just been launched into the world with that screening, and it was the beginning of something really special for all involved.

Ken Crouch: Over the past decade, I have been lucky to be involved with so many amazing training and industry development opportunities, but if I had to choose one, it would have to be the Regional Crew Development Program that Screenworks created with Netflix and the NSW Government. The program provided opportunities for young regional people which otherwise wouldn’t exist, especially for those from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds. Seeing the difference that this program made to regional people was very powerful.

Amelia Carew-Reid: Presenting at the annual UNESCO Creative Cities conference in 2019 on behalf of the global Cities of Film network was definitely a career highlight. What had led up to that moment was years of work, being part of a team, making a tangible difference to gender parity, diversity and inclusion across the film and television sector. Stepping outside of Australia to look back at what we had achieved and share was unbelievably rewarding, but the next best thing was being surrounded by likeminded people who want the very best for the industry and are committed to supporting a screen sector that better reflects the diversity of their community.


Grainne Brunsdon: It’s a challenging time right now. It’s never been easy to get productions up, but I think it is harder now – the rising cost of production, the rising cost of living, limited funds from the domestic market, finding audiences, competition etc. There are great opportunities because there are more places that need content, but the competition is fierce. Audiences have access to so much content from right across the globe so they are more discerning. Online audiences are growing rapidly (nothing new there) but finding your audience for your project has never been harder. However, there is an appetite for Australian content – we hear that all the time from international sales agents and distributors – they track Australian talent and want to be involved in the development of projects and careers.

Bobby Romia: Advancement in AI technology, growth and expansion of genre narratives, and capacity for more diverse and authentic voices. There’s a clear awareness for writer-led and/or creator-led stories with a singular authored voice that cuts through an increasingly crowded market, so the demands on quality scripts and creative approach are high. Programs like Story Development (Generate and Premium) continue to support competitive projects for market readiness and talent escalation.

Harry Avramidis: The decentralisation of Hollywood and the shift in focus for global audiences is leading to a demand to unearth new narratives from new voices. Programs like our Global Producers Exchange, Talent Gateway, Untapped, and Enterprise capitalise on this trend and aim to help industry to expand its skillsets, diversify pathways, and forge new partnerships with international collaborators, and ultimately elevate Australian IP to greater creative, financial, and audience ambitions.

Imogen Gardam: I’m invigorated by the appetite for genre and the opportunity this provides practitioners and audiences to play in familiar and unexpected places - and often to make the familiar unexpected and vice versa.

Dr Jonathan Messer: The size of screens varies, with some still large and many becoming smaller as technology evolves. The industries related to screens and content are expanding, and the multi-format approach presents exciting opportunities for both emerging and established practitioners. It’s thrilling to see stories being delivered directly to our handheld devices and content also now reaching us through algorithms. Despite this digital shift, many people still enjoy going to the movies, and engaging with compelling Australian dramas, as well as immersing themselves in web content. Diverse practitioners now have unprecedented access to a wider audience, which is opening new pathways for practitioners and content watchers alike.

Tanya Mukerjee: Practitioners are increasingly cognisiant of who’s telling whose story and who has agency in the writing of it. The diversity of talent here is really exciting and there are some great partnerships between emerging and experienced creatives. Thematically, there are fresh takes on what it means to be from this continent in terms of identity and history and that’s a good conversation to have in relation to what makes a distinctive Australian story.

Toni Stowers: What is great to see is an openness for inclusive rooms with positive contribution to the creative process through shared lived experience that turns into opportunities to continue with the project as key creatives. When teams embrace and acknowledge the importance of this meaningful contribution to story, we see creatives from a wide range of experiences and perspectives grow in skill and confidence to then be able to build teams and development their own stories, at which point we are hopefully lucky enough to see them come in for development support.

Christopher Sharp: Costs of production have gone up significantly in the last couple of years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down yet. This is a huge challenge for the sector as funds are limited between the Australian marketplace and Australian government funders. If projects can’t be made for less, then the challenge lies in finding ways to increase the value of the projects in other ways.

Amy Powter: We’re seeing a lot of increased costs at the moment; higher crew costs, higher equipment costs, travel, accommodation. Because of this, we’re seeing productions expend more of their contingencies much faster than we’d like.

Andrea Ulbrick: Increasingly, Australian television and feature film producers are taking greater creative risks in terms of storytelling, crafting bold formats and braving hybrid genres. One example is Goalpost’s sizzling French co-pro musical feature film Carmen; a modern interpretation of Bizet’s opera starring Paul Mescal, Melissa Barrera and the inimitable Rossy de Palma. There’s the ABC’s musical LGBTIQ drama In Our Blood which is luscious and tear-worthy. Producers are also frequently working with storytellers who have diverse voices and untold stories like Black Snow and discovering fresh ways of tackling difficult themes such as male suicide in In Limbo. There are so many brilliant First Nations films and television series that are world class such as Mystery Road: Origin from Bunya, Warwick Thornton’s The New Boy starring Cate Blanchett and the heart-warming feature documentary Kindred. Many of these projects have given rise to critical attention, globally and are selling well overseas. We’re experiencing strong worldwide interest in what we’re funding and making here. On the flipside, rapidly escalating crew costs across Australia is another painful trend we’re all dealing with right now.

Anthony Grundy: The theatrical landscape is unpredictable at the moment. In 2022, we started to see a stronger line up of films bringing audiences back to the movies but some demographics such as older audiences, discerning cinemagoers and families were slower to return to pre-COVID levels. Cinema-going behaviour has taken a hit due to a number of factors such as cinemas closures, production delays and the rise of the streamers but there seems to be a correction playing out this year. I suspect distributors will differentiate theatrical product from SVOD releases, both in the marketing messages and the availability windows of each, to help re-establish the value proposition for audiences.

Lucy Hill: Production is expensive! It is becoming even more expensive, with inflation, cost of living, etc. and not showing any signs of slowing. But locally, we need to keep up with international quality. It’s a tricky time.

Seph McKenna: On the feature film side, we are still adjusting to a post-COVID environment. Audience behaviour changed during the pandemic and whether you are Disney or Warner Bros. or one of our terrific local distributors, working out what audiences will come out to the cinema to see, (which has never been a certain thing), is now even more difficult to discern. In TV and streaming, in particular, we are in the midst of a market correction. The gold rush mentality has subsided (by one metric, 559 new shows were produced last year and audiences are more overwhelmed than delighted by the amount of choice), but that is unlikely to continue as there is a new level of scrutiny around cost. And what about AI? Is it all much ado about nothing, as Y2K was? Or is it soon to change our creative industries in fundamental ways that are heading our way? What is certain, is we are operating on a global stage and our practitioners have to make shows of scale that hook both local and international audiences to be competitive. It is a tall order, but we do see shows like Heartbreak High, Mystery Road and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries cut through to capture a global fan base.      

Ken Crouch: One key trend that I have noticed is the how important it is for everyone in the screen sector to collaborate to address the skills gaps and crew shortages that we have been experiencing. No matter which stakeholders we’re speaking to – production companies, streaming services, broadcasters, unions and guilds, training organisations, educational institutions, etc – all of them are keen to come together to share information and find ways to address the issues together.

Amelia Carew-Reid: Due to the current crew shortages in Australia, we are seeing people step up into opportunities and progressing their careers much quicker than they previously would have been. The Industry Development team is looking at how we can support career progression opportunities for below the line crew in a structured and supported way, and how can we partner with other stakeholders in our sector to address the skills gaps and crew shortages that we have seen emerge over the past few years.


Grainne Brunsdon: A story we haven’t seen before – whether that’s scripted or factual. A story that knows what it is, and who its audience is, where its audience is, and knows the potential for the project. Applicants who have read the guidelines, done their research, submitted their information and supporting documents. If you’re not sure, get in touch with the team.

Bobby Romia: Unique and bold stories from strong creative voices with a clear pathway to audience is a key focus when it comes to development funding. Talent escalation and support are ongoing through several initiatives, skills development programs and direct sector engagement such as – but not exclusive to – tertiary graduates, practitioners moving from one field or discipline to the screen industry, and carers returning to the workforce.

Harry Avramidis: I'm a big fan of the "why this, why you, why now" line of inquiry. When reviewing applications, I'm on the lookout for a truly unique value proposition and clearly defined goals. It's important to have practical pathways and a keen awareness of any potential risks involved. I also pay close attention to factors that strengthen the chances of the proposal succeeding if it receives funding, such as recent relevant experience, traction gained from existing work, the strength of the team and support network, and the overall scale of the opportunity.

Imogen Gardam: Distinctive stories told by teams that know their audience and also the work that lies ahead of them in development. We’re lucky to get to work in a space of imagination and growth where we’re supporting stories to take the steps they need to connect with their audiences, so it’s both about what’s on the page and what could be. 

Dr Jonathan Messer: When reviewing applications, I refer strongly to the guidelines; but I also search for vibrant potential that can flourish into something remarkable. I seek ambitious businesses and people that have honed their craft yet are also self-aware of their own and their teams’ capabilities (and shortfalls) to achieve growth. It’s important to keep the project’s scope realistic and achievable. Additionally, I’m interested in voices from individuals and businesses that will positively contribute to national and international conversations with a sense of optimism and integrity.

Tanya Mukerjee: Always something bold and original and while it’s important to get a sense of the creative vision, we’re looking for applications that centre the story and explain how the writer or team will elevate it through development. Some of the best ones also speak about the audience in the story notes – this could be an early-stage consideration of the ride for the audience overall, or how they might sit in certain scenes.

Toni Stowers: Whether it comes through in the written application or by video pitch, I’m looking to understand your drive to tell this story, who you want reach and how you want them to feel when they leave the cinema or turn off the TV. Also, to share where you currently are in your story development in both its strengths and weaknesses and how you plan to continue to push your story world and characters forward. I’m coming in at a specific point in the development and I want to see and read some of the passion you have for your project.

Christopher Sharp: The best applications for production investment are for projects where the creators know their audience well and are pitching an idea that will resonate strongly with them. The strongest applications are ones that have been laser focused on developing their project for their target audience, and understand why it’s going to work for that demographic.

Amy Powter: I’m always looking for context. What is your production methodology? How do you plan on shooting your project? I often find that there’s separation between the creative materials and the budget. I may love this particular written scene, but I want to know how you’re practically going to film that. Often times it’s in the producer or director’s mind, and sometimes hard to extrapolate from the budget.

Andrea Ulbrick: Assessing applications that are thoughtful, well-written, authentic and that address several fundamentals is a pleasure. The first fundamental is key knowledge of the audience. It’s critical you know how to describe the viewer and that you know where we’re going to see your project - is it online? Is it a feature? Is it for a streamer? Have you started initial conversations with your market partners? Is it a cracker of a story? The second fundamental is being able to articulate a genuine passion for the story because once that shines through, it becomes infectious. A great producer, whether emerging or strongly experienced, who is in love with the story should ignite my interest in the project. If you can bedazzle me, then we’re off to a solid start.

Anthony Grundy: I really appreciate when the applicant clearly understands the objectives of the funding program. Also consider the assessment criteria carefully, knowing the lens through which your project will stack up against the next application, is crucial. Clarity around the core audience, why they will care and where they will watch, is essential.

Lucy Hill: Quality, authenticity and originality. I want to see distinctive stories from exciting teams, with something to say. I want to see local stories with global appeal; I want our stories to travel far.

Seph McKenna: A page turner! Whilst the business of screen is always in flux and requires constant calibration by all its practitioners to stay competitive, a great story, well told, whether it be delivered on a big screen, small screen, or a computer screen remains fundamental. Yes, the I’s must be dotted and the T’s crossed (and the finance in place – that’s key) but when all is said and done, great stories carry the day, every time.

Ken Crouch: We’re looking for training and skills development opportunities for below-the-line crew that train people up and connect them to ongoing employment outcomes. We have a particular focus on roles that are experiencing skills shortages and are hard to fill, which generally are mid-level to senior leader/HOD roles – including Line Producers, Production Manager, Location Manager, Production Accountants and Post Production Supervisors. We’re also looking for below-the-line crew opportunities that focus on First Nations people; people who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or with disability; people who are female or gender diverse; people who identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

Amelia Carew-Reid: Where we differ slightly from the other Screen Australia departments is that the Industry Development team are looking for applications from across all genres in physical and virtual production, post-production, animation, and games development. We want to hear from any production or company that can provide meaningful skills development and training opportunities for below-the-line crew that lead to ongoing employment.


Grainne Brunsdon: There are so many…but here are a few to get started with: The Formal series on TikTok, Bad River on YouTube, The Australian Wars is essential viewing, and add into that The First Inventors and First Weapons too. Of an Age, feature film, any of the Online projects e.g. Appetite, Latecomers, A Beginners Guide to Grief, It’s Fine, I’m Fine. Also Talk to Me which is a feature film, The New Boy, and coming up: High Country, Narrow Road to the Deep North, Swift Street.

Bobby Romia: Too many to choose from. Current titles like The New Boy, Year Of and Gold Diggers offer a vast tapestry of story for all audiences and taste levels.  I’m excited to see what’s next for the creatives and their collaborations.

Harry Avramidis: Recent feature debuts like Shayda, Talk to Me, and Sweet As are all exceptional and not to be missed. In TV, binge-worthy and ground-breaking shows like Colin from Accounts, DeadlochFirst Day, and Latecomers also stand out. In the documentary space, The First Inventors and it is the type of rare gem of a show that you could recommend to anyone of any age, and they will find it accessible, striking and educational. All these impressive and diverse works showcase filmmakers who have forged their careers through different pathways, bringing a unique creative vision and viewpoint. It will be fascinating to see what paths each of them chooses next.

Imogen Gardam: I’m a long-time Ivan Sen fan and having Limbo in cinemas recently reminded me of Mystery Road, which is still one of my favourite cinema-going experiences at Sydney Film Festival. I think the entire State Theatre was holding their breath through the climax and collectively exhaled at the end.

Dr Jonathan Messer: I’ve been greatly impressed by two Australian independent queer films originating from Melbourne: Sunflower, directed by Gabriel Carrubba, and Of an Age, directed by Goran Stolevski. While these films share certain queer themes and belong to the indie film scene, they exhibit distinct emotional characteristics and were created with differing financial resources. Nevertheless, they both exemplify the potential for producing meaningful films within a limited budget, and effectively resonating with a broader audience poignantly. I cried at the end of both films.

Tanya Mukerjee: Recent film titles such as Sweet As and Of An Age, and I’m enjoying teen drama series Turn Up the Volume and short-form series Appetite.

Toni Stowers: Earlier this year I enjoyed Jub Clerc’s debut feature Sweet As. Recently, I watched Kindred a documentary from Gillian Moody and Adrian Russell Wills. Looking forward, Talk to Me from the writer/director brothers Michael and Danny Philippou is a title that I’m keen to see once it hits cinemas this month.

Christopher Sharp: Talk To Me is an exceptional horror film and it’s brilliant, terrifying and a thoroughly impressive debut feature film from YouTube stars Danny and Michael Philippou.

Amy Powter: There’s a lot of great Australian content right now: The New Boy, Talk to Me, Of an Age. Latecomers is a great series that our online department funded about Frank and Sarah, two strangers with cerebral palsy, who decide to explore their own relationships with sex and each other. It’s a very funny, very sweet web series that is available to watch on SBS On Demand.

Andrea Ulbrick: So many to choose from! I’m going to go wild and say the ABC’s upcoming Bay of Fires “Tassie Noir” series is unmissable. Co-created by Marta Dusseldorp (who also plays the lead protagonist), Max Dunn and Andrew Knight, this series is set on Tasmania’s rugged west coast, and is jam-packed with darkly comic characters, played by a range of incredible actors including Kerry Fox, Pamela Rabe, Rachel House and Yael Stone who seem to be having the time of their lives. It’s delightfully written with plenty of weird plot twists and unexpected outcomes to keep you coming back for more. Told across 8 X 56 mins, it’s a bit Ozark meets Schitts Creek with a hint of Northern Exposure. I also urge you to watch In Our Blood, produced by Hoodlum, this is an innovative and bold musical drama series inspired by Australia’s response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s. Highly emotional, with exquisite renditions of songs from the era, it stars Tim Draxl, Matt Day and Jada Alberts, and is a five-hankie weepie.

Anthony Grundy: John Farnham: Finding the Voice has taken over four million dollars at the Australian box office to become the highest grossing feature length documentary ever! Clearly local audiences will leave the couch for the right film. There are many feature docs that celebrate high-profile music artists and most don’t achieve this level of success. Sony, the ANZ distributor really understood how to reach beyond the John Farnham fanbase and sell not only the music angle but the nostalgia and personal triumph angles of the project. Timing the sneak previews for Mother’s Day was also genius!

Lucy Hill: I shouldn’t say this, because Screen Australia didn’t fund it, but the TV series Deadloch is fabulous: original, distinctive and local – with global appeal. My favourite thing funded by Screen Australia is Goran Stolevski’s film, Of an Age: beautiful and highly authored – and wickedly funny too. Goran is a major talent.

Seph McKenna: Hand on heart, I have to be dragged into the cinema to see a horror, and yet I still urge EVERYONE (who’s old enough) to go see Talk to Me at the cinema on opening night July 27 and enjoy the ride in a way that can only be had when you experience the story with a collective audience in a darkened cinema, popcorn in hand. A24, the US distributor, is releasing Talk to Me in the US as a wide release the very next day which is nearly unheard of in the long history of our independent cinema. Be part of it!     

Ken Crouch: So many to mention that it’s hard to know where to start. A couple of productions that were recently showcased at Sydney Film Festival would be a good place to start, including The New Boy, The Last Daughter, Kindred, and Bay of Fires.  

Amelia Carew-Reid: Our household has been going through an Australian classic phase. The spare and beautiful Samson & Delilah is one of my all-time favourite Australian films that I would recommend, and by contrast, I introduced my 11-year-old to The Castle and Muriel’s Wedding which still hold up - lots of laughs.


ABC iview

Bay of Fires here

Beep and Mort here

Frayed here

First Day here

First Weapons here

Gold Diggers here

Hardball here

In Our Blood here

Limbo here

Mystery Road here

Mystery Road: Origin here

Turn Up the Volume here

SBS On Demand

A Beginners Guide to Grief here

Appetite here

It’s Fine, I’m Fine here

Latecomers here

Samson & Delilah here

The Australian Wars here

The First Inventors here

True Colours here


The Formal Seasons 2 and 3 here

Bad River here

7 Plus

John Farnham: Finding the Voice here

9 Now

After the Verdict here

Underbelly: Vanishing Act here