Film Victoria and SBS announce successful pitch to pilot projects

Film Victoria and SBS have selected four television drama series to be developed through the Pitch to Pilot initiative, aimed at bringing compelling stories from diverse voices to our screens.

Both the stories and creative teams behind each of the successful projects are female-led, with emerging Victorian screen talent taking the opportunity to partner with experienced local screen practitioners.

Producer Paula Salini (Wentworth) has teamed up with Virginia Whitwell and Nick Batzias at Good Thing Productions to bring Victorian writer Enza Gandolfo’s extraordinarily moving novel The Bridge to the screen. Nicky Arnall (Playing for Keeps) is writing the series, titled West Gate, with Beck Cole (Mustangs FC) to direct.

Writer/director Fatima Mawas and writer Angela Dix have come together on The Backroom. The series marks the second time emerging filmmaker Mawas has been commissioned by the broadcaster after her short film, Amar, was developed through the SBS/Film Victoria Scripted Shorts initiative and premiered as part of the SBS Short Film Festival last September.

Experienced producer Amanda Higgs and Matchbox Pictures have teamed up with writer Pip Karmel (Total Control) and in-demand young Victorian director Corrie Chen (Five Bedrooms) on Bad Behaviour, based on Rebecca Starford’s searingly honest memoir of the same name.

On the heels of her debut feature Undertow, writer/director Miranda Nation is working alongside Porchlight Films’ producer Liz Watts (Stateless) on Aleph, an original sci-fi drama series that marks her first foray into writing for television.

The teams will each receive $20,000 for further development before they pitch the projects to SBS, with the successful team to receive an additional $20,000 to write a pilot script.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “It’s an important time to be investing in the development of new local content. We’re proud to be part of Pitch to Pilot, which is giving talented Victorian screen creatives the opportunity to develop their voice and share diverse perspectives.”

Marshall Heald, SBS Director of TV and Online Content, added: “SBS is committed to providing opportunities for emerging professionals from diverse backgrounds to bring their distinctive stories to our screens. We were hugely impressed with the applications received for this joint development initiative with Film Victoria, and are excited to be moving forward with four incredible Australian stories, and look forward to seeing the result of their work over the coming months.”

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