VicScreen names four films financed through Originate Features

The $2.8 million investment program was launched in 2021 to champion the work of emerging writers and directors from underrepresented backgrounds.

VicScreen has announced the four feature films that are are set to be fully financed and greenlit through its inaugural Originate Features initiative .

The initiative is the result of a $2.8 million investment, delivered in partnership with SBS, Arenamedia and Screen Australia. Launched in 2021, Originate Features is designed to champion the work of emerging writers and directors from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in the screen industry.

The multi-stage initiative has quickly become the largest of its kind in Australia, said a VicScreen representative, ‘unearthing an exceptional and wide range of homegrown talent’.

Each finalist’s project has been supported from early concept to now, as they prepare to head into production and compete in the global marketplace. The successful teams and their projects are:

Sweet Milk Lake, by writer-director Harvey Zielinski and producer Rosie Lourde. The pitch: A softly spoken trans man who, after being mistaken for his alpha, cis twin brother by his
estranged and dying dad, relishes the opportunity to be ‘one of the boys’.

Pasa Faho, by writer-director Kalu Oji and producers Mimo Mukii and Ivy Mutuku. The pitch:
Struggling shoe shop owner, Azubuike, attempts to reconnect with his ten-year-old son,

Into the Blue, by writer-director Katie Found and writer Markella Kavenagh. The pitch: Destined for the nursing home after a dementia diagnosis, 80-year-old Iris enlists the help of her teenage granddaughter Poppy to help her fake her own death.

Leviticus, by writer-director Adrian Chiarella and producer Hannah Ngo. The pitch: Cursed by a supernatural being, two queer teenagers are forced to confront their desires.

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The investment will support two of the projects to head into production by June 2024, with the following two projects kickstarting production the next financial year.

Participants in the program have been mentored throughout the process by powerhouse industry figures, including Arenamedia producers Robert Connolly (The Dry) and Liz Kearney (Blueback), Headof Scripted at SBS, Julie Eckersley, and Commissioning Editors of SBS Scripted, Loani Arman and Donna Chang.

Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulous said: ‘Through VicScreen’s targeted
initiatives, we are providing a major career launchpad for new voices who will build their careers and help shape the future of our screen industry.’