Press release time!
Screen Australia has announced almost $750,000 of Story Development funding for nine feature films, 11 television series and two online projects.
And then there’s a lot of stuff of only marginal interest to anyone reading this, so let’s cut to the good bits – who got the big bucks:
Butch: A six-part online comedy series that follows ex-lovers, Tiff and Gem who are forced to work together to co-parent their all-knowing (and talking) dog, Butch. While Tiff and Gem try to get back out into the dating scene, Butch goes to drastic lengths to bring them back together. This series is created, written and produced by Holly Austin and Zoe McDonald whose credits include writing for Open Slather. They are joined by director Harry Lloyd (What It’s Like to be Queer), along with producers Jamie Houge (Acute Misfortune) and Jenni Tosi (How To Stay Married season 2).
Hair: A seven-part online magic realist comedy about 21-year-old Geraldine who opts for laser hair removal only to discover an incredibly hairy young woman trapped in her shower drain. Geraldine’s reluctance to accept her new found friend’s hairiness begins to expose the tangled relationship she has with her hair and with herself. The creative team features debut writer/director Mohini Herse (director of Instagram series The Out There), producer/writer Yingna Lu (Tangles and Knots) and producer’s attachment Lottie Aspinall (Don’t Forget To Go Home) with contributions from Michelle Law (Homecoming Queens), and writer Natasha Pincus (Fell).
Unbeweavable: An eight-part television series that follows the unlikely friendship between Anna, a Christian who is questioning her faith in God, and Josie, a hairdresser who is haunted by visions of her late grandmother. When the pair meet, they discover that they share electrifying, psychic visions in the form of choreographed musical numbers. While they can’t agree on what these visions mean, both Anna and Josie understand the potential of their newfound power. This musical dramedy sees writers Maria Angelico and Lucy Durack who performed together in Sisters, team up with Sisters co-creator Imogen Banks who will produce. Also attached are director Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens) and composers Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical). The series will also provide a mentorship opportunity for associate producer, Emelyne Palmer.
But there’s a lot of money to go around, so some people got paid without hitting the jackpot:
Tales From the United Nonsense: Tales from the United Nonsense is an 8 part series that follows the adrenalin fuelled dramatic tragi-comic adventures of the free spirited Janey Resnik, a 39-year-old Australian woman with an undiagnosed white saviour hero complex who – at a tipping point in her life – realises her life-long dream when she is posted to South Asia as a communication consultant for the UN in the politically charged years following 9/11.
Golden Boy (working title): Hassan, a charming young imam, shoots to national headlines when he saves Christmas carolling teenagers from a burning bus. However, he soon learns that the only thing Australia loves more than celebrating a hero, is tearing one down.
Unwell: Believing her partner is experiencing suicidal ideation, Carey panics and fakes a terminal illness in an attempt to keep her alive via distraction.
V: A forgettable introvert discovers that a popular augmented reality game, in her hands, can kill people. Charged with the power to help women in trouble, she reluctantly reinvents herself as a vigilante.
Rough: Needing money to pay for her mother’s funeral, a young woman in a small town turns to the world’s oldest profession in a misguided quest for independence.
And in movies:
Aussie Rules: Three relationship-challenged American women travel to Sydney in pursuit of the Great Australian Male only to land in the middle of Mardi Gras where, one-by-one, all preconceived ideas of Australia are turned upside down.
Once a Queen: Once a Queen is a Cinderella story with a different edge that celebrates the beauty and tradition of three generations of women all connected to the magical town they love which is locked in time. Shirley wants to rule, Lana thinks she wants a prince, Sally just wants to be the Queen!
Petey: Twenty-five years after a daring, cheeky boy became best-friends-forever with a stranded extraterrestrial, the alien is back with a whole lotta baggage and its ready to start a kraktix (translation: family).
How to Please a Woman: When her all-male house-cleaning business gets out of control, a mature woman must embrace her own sexuality, if she is to make a new life for herself.
Digger: Residents of a small town celebrate and embrace a mysterious stranger who is digging a hole in the middle of the desert.
While online we have:
50 Shades of Black (Girl):When Hanna gets mistaken for another, more successful black girl at a gig one night, the recognition and confidence she draws from this experience drives her and best friend Bonnie to conduct an experiment; what else can they get for free by pretending to be other people of colour?
The Emu War: An absurd take on the unbelievable true story of Australia’s war with the native emu (and how the humans were defeated).
She Becomes Her: Following a woman called Sam, She Becomes Her is a musical anthology series that explores the restrictive nature of gender roles and the social narratives that inform our lives.
The Trouble With Unicorns: A couple in their early-30s begin their first non-monogamous adventure, only to find that open relationships aren’t always as liberating as you might think.
… and a number of titles that were described along the lines of “comedy drama horror thriller” so we’ll wait and see how they shake out.
Oh yeah, we forgot to mention there’s a BMX Bandits reboot in there somewhere too. So you know, comedy isn’t entirely dead yet.