Industry businesses receive Screen Australia funding

Industry businesses receive Screen Australia funding

Screen Australia has announced over $4.6 million in funding for 18 Enterprise People opportunities and 15 Enterprise Business proposals.

Each Enterprise recipient has been paired with a personalised creative and strategic business mentor to provide dedicated highly-specialised advice.

All recipients will receive exclusive access to a comprehensive 12-month education program facilitated by industry stakeholders, including 113 Partners, Screen Producers Australia, Australian Directors Guild, Australian Writers’ Guild and Australians in Film.

Screen Australia’s CEO Graeme Mason said, “We are absolutely thrilled to announce over $4.6 million in Enterprise funding that will create meaningful career pathways and offer businesses significant opportunities for growth. This diverse slate of recipients showcases the extraordinary potential and ingenuity of Australian practitioners and businesses in our local screen ecosystem, and will support them to continue to build their businesses into the future.”

“From trailblazing production companies, emerging talent and those looking to expand locally and globally, these Enterprise recipients are well-placed to shape the future of Australian storytelling at home and on a global stage,” said Mason.

Enterprise Business Recipients:

• Archipelago Productions: A boutique production company based in Lutruwita/Tasmania that has been operating since 2019 and most recently completed Bay of Fires series 1 for the ABC. Partners Marta Dusseldorp and Ben Winspear are the creative and business drivers of the company – producing, directing, writing, developing and performing across all projects in varying capacities. The company is a structure for artists and audiences in Tasmania to connect, tell stories of place, and to bring the unique characteristics of the state to national and international audiences. Enterprise will support Archipelago Productions to build a strong slate of projects to underpin the company’s longer-term sustainability. Funding will also be allocated to a number of key positions and activities, including the development of new intellectual property and a targeted international engagement.

• Blackfella Films: A 100% First Nations owned production company operating for over twenty years that has produced a number of award-winning drama and factual projects including The Australian Wars, Total Control and Redfern Now. With a strong commitment to take its scripted projects to the world, Enterprise will support Blackfella Films to compete more effectively on an international scale, continue to develop writers, directors, actors and crew in the First Nations screen industry and amplify its commitment to diversity, inclusion and representation on and off screen. With this funding, Blackfella Films looks to expand and diversify its slate, create new positions and improve its company structure and business for a better position in more competitive global market.

• Blacksand Pictures: A new production company founded by filmmaker and producer Kauthar Abdulalim, who produced short narrative productions including The Ninth Tower, #MATCHED and Salma’s Season and are currently taking the leap into long-form productions. Blacksand Pictures’ mission is to tell stories that humanise the Muslim experience and contribute towards the diversity of representation within the Australian screen landscape. Blacksand Pictures looks to grow with Enterprise support by creating an international business strategy and building key international partnerships specifically in the MENA region, with the goal of telling authentic stories of Muslims and catering to a Muslim audience of over 2 billion followers, globally.

• Causeway Films: Founded by producing-duo Kristina Ceyton and Samantha Jennings, Causeway Films focuses on the development and production of entertaining and socially relevant stories that allow diverse voices to achieve international success. Causeway launched with the globally acclaimed The Babadook that premiered at Sundance 2014, produced Goran Stolevski’s award-winning films You Won’t be Alone and Of An Age and the current RackaRacka horror hit Talk To Me. The core activities Causeway Films will implement with the Enterprise funding include the expansion of its company business structure to include a key strategic position to help sustain growth off the back of its continued success, a targeted international strategy to increase sustainability including slate diversity into new platforms and an increased output of the Causeway Films slate.

• Closer Productions: A multi-award-winning screen production company based on Kaurna Land in South Australia with credits including Aftertaste, The Hunting, Animals, In My Blood It Runs. Enterprise will support Closer Productions in expanding its capacity and to undertake marketing that will give it the greatest opportunity to make this transition. Over the next two years, it plans to work with aligned production and finance partners on a range of content, and actively increase its scripted television presence and the scale and ambition of its feature slate.

• Deerstalker Pictures: A YouTube channel known for their gaming and fantasy comedy web series (including the hugely successful 1 For All) with over 700,000 subscribers and 120 million views. Enterprise will support Deerstalker Pictures to streamline and scale up their art-department heavy production process to create more content, growing the 1 For All IP as well as expanding Deerstalker Pictures brand reach. Diversifying income streams through sponsored content, merchandising and crowdfunding, Enterprise support will also enable them to develop new original scripted series with the aim to explore longer format content for their eager fan base.

• GARUWA: A First Nations owned, values-led production company continuing intergenerational storytelling practice across platforms and promoting sovereign content creation and First Nations talent building. GARUWA’s credits include NGURRAWAANA (in competition ASFF, finalist MCSFA), Power to Country (ABC/DocSociety) and Through the Fire (Cannes Bronze Lion 2023). Enterprise will fund the employment of key executives to the company as it plans to expand its GARUWA Originals slate to create and sustain ethical First Nations screen projects.

• GoodThing Productions: GoodThing Productions whose credits include Nitram, The Australian Dream and Nude Tuesday has built a strong reputation for high-quality award-winning narrative and factual content that inspires and entertains – having produced over 20 projects in the last decade. Enterprise will support GoodThing to build an experienced, talented Scripted TV Department – helping it to expand further into screen industry, both in Australia and internationally. This funding will also support the company to extend its brand into the episodic arena and capitalise on several premium TV projects in late-stage development whilst also initiating growth in a new TV slate.

• LateNite: An independent production studio committed to investing in and celebrating emerging creatives with strong, unique voices – helping to tell their stories in a creatively supportive and collaborative environment. Renowned for ambitious original projects such as The Future of Everything, Rebooted and The Wizards of Aus, LateNite employs humour to explore outsider stories that are unmistakably human and navigate the line between light and dark. Enterprise will support LateNite to diversify into long form content and build a dynamic slate that responds to audience trends.
• Oombarra Productions: A First Nations owned and led production company, helmed by Bain Stewart (Nunuccul-Ngugi-Goenpul) and Leah Purcell (Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka), with over 25 years of history telling authentic Australian stories of First Nation voices including The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson. Enterprise will support Oombarra Productions to develop and implement a commercial strategy at scale, to increase commercialisation of intellectual property and generate diverse revenue streams from new service areas, especially in screen content and scripted TV production.

• Pink Lake Creative: A screen business conceived by award-winning filmmaker and playwright Tracey Rigney, a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman, who draws inspiration from her people and culture and is passionate about empowering local regional Victorian communities to access, celebrate and engage with Australia’s screen industry. Enterprise will support Pink Lake Creative in expanding and building on its creative ambitions, progressing its narrative slate, engaging with strategic development consultants and embedding plans to capitalise on and expand its intellectual property. The company will build greater knowledge, capacity and connections for marketing its unique business and slate and build its brand.

• Rush/Projector Films: Enterprise will support Western Australian based Rush Films (Under the Volcano and Revealed: Renee Gracie) and South Australian based Projector Films (Martha: a Picture Story and Barbecue) to join forces and collaborate on a new partnership that will leverage each other’s expertise, benefits of their track records and their pool of creatives and strategic relationships to move into premium international documentary production. The new slate of projects will focus exclusively on producing these premium international documentaries in genres highly desirable to global audiences and buyers – targeting global sales with international networks and streamers.

• SAM Content: Behind the soon to be released Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles are two of Australia’s most acclaimed filmmakers, Sally Aitken and Aline Jacques, in a female helmed company with a strategic mission to create authentic and distinctive stories from the Oceania region. Enterprise will support the company to focus on ambitious stories in all genres as SAM embarks on a strategic alliance with a major European studio to incubate a global slate delivering premium factual content from Australia for the world.

• Spaceboy Studio: A production company founded by Steve Anthopoulos and Yingna Lu, committed to telling attention-grabbing stories in accessible and entertaining ways. Work includes Love Bug and Voice Activated. Enterprise will support Spaceboy Studio to expand its slate, collaborate with local and international production companies, and progress rapidly with its five-year plan to improve its visibility and competitiveness.

• Unless Pictures: A socially conscious, female-led screen production company, dedicated to delivering intelligent and original works. Based out of Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra, Unless is spearheaded by International Emmy award-winning producer, Meg O’Connell. The team will expand under Enterprise to include Rosie Lourde (Executive Producer), AP Pobjoy (Development Executive) and Hannah Belanszky (Development Coordinator), while maintaining the current team. Enterprise is an opportunity for Unless to build its reputation, expand its international strategy, invest in its company infrastructure, diversify its slate and increase development funding. Credits include Retrograde (ABC) and the award-winning shorts The Moths Will Eat Them Up and Finding Jedda. Unless is currently in pre-production on their feature film Windcatcher (Stan/ACTF).

Enterprise People Recipients:

• Alena Lodkina: A writer/director whose credits include feature film Petrol and Strange Colours will undertake a six-month placement with Sixteen Films in the UK. She will shadow the director Athina Rachel Tsangari on the production of Harvest, as well as gain a range of insight into development, pre-production, production and post-production of scripted pieces under the guidance of producer Rebecca O’Brien, who started Sixteen Films with Ken Loach.

• Alex Barry: Alex (Between a Frock & a Hard Place) is a documentary filmmaker with writing/directing experience and will be completing a 12-month placement with Stranger Than Fiction Films, the production company behind River and Mountain. With a passion for visual storytelling, Alex’s goal on the placement is to gain new experience, training and mentoring in theatrical feature documentaries.

• Alexandra Keddie: An AWG and SPA nominated writer, producer and actor, best known for creating The Power of the Dream and the ABC series The Housemate. Keddie also produced and created her critically acclaimed solo-stage show I See Me & Meryl Streep, which had a sold-out tour in Australia. As an actor, Keddie has worked on Channel 10’s Offspring, ABC’s Utopia and most recently Amazon’s Deadloch. She will undertake a 12-month placement at Celeste Barber’s Nondescript Productions.

• Cath Moore: An award-winning screenwriter who has written for sketch comedy, children’s television, documentary and drama. Her work has been screened on the ABC, SBS and Seven Network, with credits including Sister Song, Classic Tales, Hearing James, Into The Night and Swing. Moore is also a published academic and literary author, singer/songwriter and screen story developer. Moore will undertake a 12-month placement with Princess Pictures where she will intensively develop her craft both as a screenwriter and producer.

• Christopher Amos: A British-Australian filmmaker whose work includes short films, promo videos, and feature documentaries, including the cult classic documentary Dressed as a Girl on Amazon Prime and Hating Peter Tatchell on Netflix. Having already held positions as Editor-in-Chief of the British magazine Bent, Trustee at the Peter Tatchell Foundation and the founder of gay venue Manbar in London’s Soho, Amos is undertaking a six-month residency at World of Wonder in Los Angeles.

• Emma Roberts: An extended reality (XR) producer based on Wathaurong country (kayjup/Linton) in regional Victoria. Roberts’ Gondwana – the world’s first durational XR project – premiered in 2022 at Sundance before showing at multiple festivals and winning Best Interactive/Immersive at the 2022 ADG and AIDC awards. She is a passionate storyteller and community builder with a drive to champion underrepresented perspectives and create innovative content at the cutting edge of documentary and hybrid storytelling. Working in France with leading XR media companies Astrea and Albyon, Roberts’ placement is designed to address the areas of production and distribution over a six-month period – bringing international knowledge and best practice in immersive production and distribution back to Australia.

• Hannah Reilly: An award-winning writer, director and actor for film, television and theatre whose credits include Growing Up Gracefully, Sheilas and many of The Chaser’s ABC TV satire programs. Her theatre work The Deb was an Australian Theatre for Young People Rebel Wilson Comedy Commission and her feature adaptation is currently being produced by AI/Unigram UK, and Bunya Productions with Rebel Wilson directing. Reilly will undertake a six-month placement at Invention Studios in LA in 2024 where she will develop skills as a creative producer, creator and writer, build her slate, and gain hands-on experience in the US market with the President of Invention Studios, Nicky Weinstock (Bridesmaids, Severance, Escape at Dannemora) and Australian Associate Carmen Knox, the director of Craft Services – an online network and support system for emerging screenwriters and directors across the world.

• Huna Amweero: Screenwriter and graduate of AFTRS, Amweero has co-written feature scripts with visual artist Del Kathryn Barton; Blaze for Causeway Films (earning her a 2022 AWGIE win for Best Feature Film – Original, and the 2023 NSW Premier Literary Awards Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting). She is also known for writing/producing webseries Krystal Klairvoyant. Amweero’s placement is for one-year at Djali House, a production company formed by established creators Hunter and Stephen Page. The placement will allow her the opportunity to develop wider skills as a producer and to create work that contributes to the global conversation about what it means to be Bla(c)k.

• Jessica Magro: Magro is a proud Samoan-Maltese-Australian Brisbane-based producer working across both scripted and unscripted formats and is the founder of independent production company Purple Carrot Entertainment with a strong focus on Pasifika-Australian stories. Her credits include Fez and The Alexander Ball. Magro has been awarded as a SPA Ones to Watch Producer (2021) and was named a ‘Rising Talent’ Producer of 2023 by IF Magazine. Magro will undertake a six-month placement with Grant Torre, VP of Film at Stampede Ventures, shadowing him across Stampede’s development and production pipeline. Grant is also a board member of PEAK (Pasifika Entertainment Advancement Komiti) who will also support Magro during this placement.

• Jessica Tuckwell: A screenwriter, script producer and director for television and feature film who specialises in drama, comedy-drama and adaptations. Tuckwell was script producer on seasons 1 and 2 of the record-breaking Stan series Bump and wrote multiple episodes across all three seasons. She is the co-creator, writer and director on Year Of for Stan. Tuckwell will undertake a program of industry meetings, key international market and conference attendance, professional development opportunities and 1:1 mentorship in London, to build her international relationships and gain insight into what makes a show travel internationally.

• Larissa Behrendt: Behrendt is a distinguished Professor at the University of Technology Sydney and the Director of Research and Academic Programs at the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research. Also an award-winning filmmaker, Behrendt has written and directed several feature documentary films including After the Apology and Innocence Betrayed and director of all 4 episodes of The First Inventors. Behrendt will undertake a placement with Eleven Film (Sex Education), focussing on preparing to write, direct and executive produce her own narrative drama, After Story. She will learn first-hand Eleven Film’s pitching and packaging process and have the opportunity to shadow directing talent and gain experience in their writers’ rooms.

• Liliana Muñoz: Muñoz is a SPA and MIPTV Ones to Watch alumni, and known for her Series Mania selected All My Friends Are Racist (ABC), The Unboxing (Facebook Watch), Famtime (Seven Network). Muñoz served as a development executive and series producer for Fremantle Australia, Fremantle North America and MTV. Muñoz is the founder of creative-led studio Maximo Entertainment. Together with writer-producer Kodie Bedford, Muñoz partnered with acclaimed multi-Emmy award nominee producer Nicholas Weinstock (Bridesmaids, Severance, Escape at Dannemora), to develop and produce Bedford’s 6 x 1-hour western series, Blood on The Ironwood. Muñoz’ Enterprise funding will allow her to undertake a comprehensive six-month residency with multi-Oscar winning powerhouse producer FilmNation Entertainment to gain a deeper understanding of international multi-party financing deal structures, market trends and the complexities involved when building a slate of high-quality, commercially viable and engaging content for global audiences.

• Madeleine Parry: Parry has been the key creative on 12 commissioned projects, including having written and directed five award-winning documentaries and a broadcast series commission – all by the age of 25. She also directed Hannah Gadsby’s Emmy-award-winning Nanette for Netflix. Parry will undertake a six-month residency in Los Angeles with a soon to be launched production company from an Academy Award, DGA, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning filmmaker. The placement will involve being hands-on across the creative and development process as well as their production pipeline including on set shadowing.

• Mohini Herse: A writer and director best known for creating the mystery series Appetite that was commissioned in 2022 through Screen Australia, SBS and NITV’s Digital Originals initiative. Appetite had its World Premiere at Canneseries in 2023. She also worked as Taika Waititi’s assistant on Thor: Love and Thunder and is responsible for directing Australia’s first Instagram series There Out There. Herse’s six-month placement is with BAFTA and EMMY winning UK production company Merman, well known for Catastrophe, This Way Up and Bad Sisters. The placement will coincide with the beginning of several productions on Merman’s slate and she will shadow the directors and/or the showrunners, observe writers’ rooms, read drafts and have access to the slate to learn from the company’s development and commissioning processes.

• Nara Wilson: A proud Wirangu, Kokatha and Larrakia woman and an independent screen producer, Wilson is based on Peramangk country in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. She will undertake a 12-month placement with Vishus Productions where she will increase her skills specifically across creating finance plans and A-Z budgets. In this placement, Wilson will receive hands on experiences hopes to gain a better understanding of working with national and international commissioners, running a small animation studio, and greater knowledge on sourcing finance.

• Rae Choi: An AWGIE and SPA nominated filmmaker and lawyer based in Meanjin/Brisbane. Choi produced short film My Home Is A Dog That Lives Inside Me and feature film Paris Funeral, 1972 followed by her directorial debut short, When The Sky Was Blue. Choi co-wrote and produced Viv’s Silly Mango, which was commissioned by ABC Children’s and produced with support from Screen Australia as part of The Kaleidoscope Project initiative. Choi will undertake her placement with Queensland’s Good Apples Pictures, founded by Kate Hynes and Kerrin McNeil, as a development producer and work alongside the co-founders/producers as the company builds out a slate of premium projects for the marketplace.

• Rob Innes: An experienced producer and director. In 2022 Innes was the director of the ABC TV three-part series Magda’s Big National Health Check for Southern Pictures. He has produced and directed original four-part ABC TV documentary series Housemates (series 1 and 2), produced the award-winning series Phenomena for ABC online, and online documentary series Unerased. Arrow Media in London, a world-leading producer of high-quality factual content will welcome Innes for an intensive six-month residency working alongside and under the purview of Managing Director Tom Brisley (America in Color, American Monster, Live from Space).

• Sierra Schrader: A Biri-Gubba, Guugu Yimidhirr and Kuku Yalanji filmmaker from South Australia. She has forged a path in the Australian Screen Industry, including directors’ attachments on sets like Upright with Matthew Saville, Bad Mothers with Catriona Mckenzie, and Total Control with Rachel Perkins. Her debut as a Producer was the mini-doc, Electric Mimili for ABC iView’s Deadly Family Portraits series. She was an associate Producer on the Australian/New Zealand Co-Production, We Are Still Here (TIFF 2022). Shortly after, she worked as the producers’ assistant/attachment on Netflix’s Heartbreak High series. Sierra also assisted director Rachel Perkins on The Australian Wars and worked as the Impact Campaign Coordinator on Incarceration Nation for Documentary Australia. In 2022, she was selected as one of SPA’s Ones to Watch. Schrader will undertake a six-month placement with Aaron Ryder at Ryder Picture Company in Los Angeles. She will focus on the company’s film production next year, gaining deeper insights into projects during their pre-production, production, and post-production stages, while continuing to build her skills as a true multi-hyphenate key creative.