Screen Australia funds nine online projects

Over $750k worth of funding will be divided between nine Australian web production teams.

Screen Australia has confirmed funding for nine online projects, which includes web series being developed for Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

A harried single mum juggling school pickup and disposing of a corpse, aspiring young players on the cusp of AFL glory, and the space-bound mob of Mt Jorj navigating a galaxy far, far away‘ are just a few of the projects that will share in over $750,000 of funding.

‘It’s fantastic to be supporting another selection of unique and creative online projects in both production and development phases,’ said Lee Naimo, Screen Australia’s Head of Online and Games. ‘With the Online Development Fund still in its first year, it’s been amazing to witness so many emerging creators taking advantage of the opportunity and taking the time to develop their online projects.’

Instagram comic and cartoonist Evie Hilliar is using the funding to produce her animated series called Deadbeat Ends Meet.

‘Having been raised by cartoons and the internet, it has always been my dream to make an animated series,’ Hilliar said. ‘After making comics for Instagram for the past six years, short form comedic narratives come naturally to me, and I’m so keen to make online audiences laugh in a whole new way with Deadbeat Ends Meet. In my work I like to highlight that with sadness there can be silliness and it’s important to embrace both, and I think that’s why I’ve gained an audience – it’s as cathartic to me as it is entertaining for them.’

Read: Ben Cotgrove wins Cinematographer of the Year at ACS Awards

Over the past five years, Screen Australia has provided more than $23.5 million of funding to online creators for projects across a variety of platforms, and includes popular titles such as Series Mania winner Videoland, Content 21 Best Newform Drama Series Krystal Klairvoyant, and Skip Ahead series Life of Kea, that recently hit over 1.2 million views on YouTube.

The online projects funded for production are:

  • Buried: After single mum Abi accidentally kills a cyclist on the morning school run, her ‘to do’ list gets a lot more complicated as she tries to juggle parenting along with disposing of a corpse. The five-part comedic horror/thriller for YouTube is from actor/writer Miriam Glaser (Utopia, Why Are You Like This), writer/director Charlotte George (Surviving Summer, Assets) and producer Fran Derham (Surviving Summer, First Love). Buried is financed in association with VicScreen.
  • Deadbeat Ends Meet: Housemates Milo (a frilled-neck lizard) and Indy (a dingo) reckon with the cost of living and the pitfalls of the gig comedy in this comedic four-part animated series for Instagram by cartoonist Evie Hilliar (Yeevz). Written by Hilliar, alongside Holly Tosi (Neighbours) and Mike Greaney (The Future of Everything), with Nicholas Colla (The Future of Everything) and Scarlett Koehne (Videoland) producing.
  • Last Party of Summer: Experience the chaos and euphoria of the biggest party of the year. The 24-part rom-com drama for TikTok provides a window into the lives of eight characters as they navigate the excitement and heartache of coming-of-age in this pop culture-infused, neon candy night of love and loss. The series is from writer/director Mark Day and producer Lawrence Phelan, whose credits include Hot Bread.
  • Young Bloods: Go behind the scenes with the next generation of AFL players in this 30-part TikTok docuseries. With exclusive access to the Sydney Swans Academy, blending documentary footage with vision from the players themselves, follow their journey from locker-room to field as they immerse themselves in the Swans’ famed ‘bloods’ culture and compete for selection in the pathway towards the AFL or AFLW draft. Created by the team behind Just One: A Story of Hope, director/producer Hugh Humphreys and producer Sarah Neill, alongside Rosie Lourde (White FeverStarting From Now) executive producing. It is financed in association with Screen NSW, with support from Her Sport Her Way, QBE and the Sydney Swans.

The online projects funded for development are:

  • Curse of the Virgin: Determined to break the virginity curse, Greek Orthodox Maria and her virgin bestie Zimbabwean-Christian and realigning queer witch Zainab, to cast a sex goddess card spell to harness their inner confident energies, but find themselves stuck in a horny time loop until they can both lift the curse, their problems with purity anxiety and get absolutely laid. The seven-part comedy series is from director Grace Tan (Canneseries-selected Appetite), writer/producers Danielle Stamoulos (Here Out West) and Nicole Delprado (Sydney Sleuthers), writers Amal Awad (Plausible Deniability) and Vimbai Nenzou (Shippers), producer Chidiebube Uba (AfroSistahs), and executive producers Barry Gamba (Night Bloomers) and Bec Bignell (Homespun).
  • Dark Matter Don’t Matter: In the near future, 99% of the world’s population has left behind the ravaged ecosystems of Earth. Onboard the S.S. Troopy, the community of Mt Jorj make their way through the universe, dodging asteroids and space cops, while searching abandoned vessels for smokes. Ingenious and resourceful, the Mt Jorj mob get on with the job, but sometimes science fiction becomes science friction. Dark Matter Don’t Matter is a 20-part First Nations sci-fi comedy from writer/director/producer Tamara Whyte (Hairy Marys), writer/director Isaac Lindsay (Electric Mimili), writer Warren Milera and producer Philip Tarl Denson (Mining Boom).
  • Going Home: After being discharged from a psychiatric hospital, prodigal daughter Grace Kisakye heads to her childhood farm in outback Australia, in this 30-part drama series. Seeking answers in a familiar landscape, Grace processes how her life spiralled out of control by confronting her family and healing past wounds. Going Home is from creator/writer/producer Belinda Jombwe and writers Huna Amweero (Krystal Klairvoyant), Leigh Lule (CEEBS) and Claire Cao (Here Out West). Erica Long and Joanna Beveridge of No Ordinary Love and Shippers are producing and executive producing respectively.
  • Hysteria: A 25-part documentary that explores the barriers young women face navigating a health system designed for men, by men. Science TikToker Maddie Massy takes audiences to the ancient roots of this gender health gap and how it persists today – encouraging women to take their health into their own hands. Hysteria will be written, directed and executive produced by Maddie Massy (Space MedicineThe Truth About Glitter) and produced by Margie Bryant (Mutant MenuAttention Wars).
  • Murder on the Dance Floor: After receiving a surprise invitation to her ex-girlfriend’s upcoming wedding, Amber Rose convinces true crime podcaster Fox McKenzie to be her date. But when the insufferable maid of honour dies on the dance floor, they must work together to solve a real-life murder mystery. This 30-part comedic mystery series for Instagram Reels is from writer/director Rowan Devereux and director/producer Sophie Saville, whose credits include Evicted! A Modern Romance and Inspire ME!.
  • Trophy Boys: In this 20-part mockumentary, the Year 12 debating team from the elite all-boys St Imperium College have one week to prepare for the biggest night of their lives – the Interschool Debating Grand Final. Gearing up to annihilate their rival sister school, they’ll stop at nothing to get match-fit and bring home the trophy. Trophy Boys is being developed by writer/creator Emmanuelle Mattana, adapted from her critically acclaimed play of the same name, with producer Jo Dyer (Lucky MilesGirl Asleep) and collaborators from the original stage production, director Marni Mount and fellow cast members Leigh Lule (Turn Up the Volume), Gaby Seow (Celebration Nation) and Fran Sweeney-Nash.

For more information, head to the Screen Australia website.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports