Screen Australia’s Skip Ahead funds four new online productions

Four online productions will share $480,000 to bring their screen projects to fruition.
A composite image featuring, left to right, Luke Goodall and Marc Gallagher, Mithuna Yoganathan, Saksham Sharma, and Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva of Hot Department.

Screen Australia and Google Australia have announced the four recipients of this year’s Skip Ahead initiative, who will share in $480,000 of production funding: Luke Goodall and Marc Gallagher (Goodall & Gallagher), Mithuna Yoganathan (Looking Glass Universe), Saksham Sharma (Saksham Magic), and Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva of Hot Department (on Grouse House).

The successful teams will participate in workshops in February to develop their projects with industry experts, including Skip Ahead alum Adele Vuko.

Now in its seventh year, the Skip Ahead initiative supports Australian online content creators who have YouTube channels with a substantial existing subscriber base and/ or content that has reached significant viewership, to expand their vision and create more ambitious content to grow their audience.

Read: 13 documentary projects selected to pitch at AIDC FACTory 2022

The Van Vuuren Bros’ comedy series Over and Out, funded through Skip Ahead 4, went on to win Best Short Form Series at Canneseries in 2019. From Skip Ahead 6, Celebration Nation was nominated for an AACTA Award and Small Footprint has hit over 1.1 million views across the series.

Screen Australia’s Head of Online, Lee Naimo said: ‘Skip Ahead is one of our longest running and most successful initiatives and we are proud to be partnering again with Google Australia to give these creatives a powerful launch pad. Each of these teams are already producing unique and engaging content that is resonating with audiences and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to take their project to the next level.’

THE FUNDED PROJECTS ARE:

  • Hot Department: Dark Web: A six-part comedy exploring the strangest parts of the internet. A chunky, retro computer will lead viewers into a rabbit hole of lost tapes, cursed deep web videos, surreal infomercials, viral music videos, deranged TikToks and needy viruses. Dark Web is created by writers Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva of comedy duo Hot Department. Emma Holland joins the writing team with writer/director Liam Fitzgibbon and executive producers Max Miller and Jono Mastrippolito. The series will release on the Grouse House channel.
  • Quantum Experiments At Home: In this six-part series, physicist Mithuna Yoganathan will demystify quantum mechanics and guide viewers step by step through experiments they can do at home. Directed and produced by Yoganathan, and produced by Emma Watts, this project will release on the Looking Glass Universe channel, which aims to help build people’s confidence to learn science. 
  • The Followers: A true-crime parody about a wellness cult in the Aussie bush and a rookie journalist’s endeavour to uncover its dark secrets. This five-part comedy will be written, produced and directed by Luke Goodall and Marc Gallagher, produced by Jessica Pearce, and will be released on the Goodall & Gallagher channel.
  • Unknown Filter: A five-part thriller series centring on Saksham, a university student who goes viral on his YouTube live stream, when the app detects an unknown face in the darkness and viewers discover that it is not a glitch but a spirit following and guiding Saksham. Writer and producer Saksham Sharma teams up with director/ producer Enzo Tedeschi (Deadhouse Dark). This series will release on Saksham Magic.

Paul Dalgarno writes novels: A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); memoir: And You May Find Yourself (2015); and creative non-fiction: Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. Twitter: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @narrativefriction