The Australian Film Commission has announced the first recipients of the New Screenwriters Scheme. Four new writers will receive investment funding to each develop a full length feature film screenplay.
Each of the four writers will be teamed with an experienced industry practitioner to act as script editor and mentor.
The four selected writers and their projects are:
Graham Peterson, a former biker and now a Brisbane bus driver. His script, The Meaning of The Patch, is a tale of a bike gang, riven by dissension over its drug policy, whose members become the target of a woman bent on vengeance for a previous wrong. Graham's mentor will be Jackie McKimmie, the Brisbane-based writer and director of the popular comedy Waiting.
Emily Ballou is an Australian/American filmmaker and academic. Her script, Sadie X Ray, is a breath-taking, poetic story of a love affair between Quinn, a female bicycle courier, and Sadie, a dying "astral bulemic". She has made many short, experimental films which have screened and won awards at many international festivals and she is currently working on a PhD on representations of anorexia. Mentor to be confirmed.
A former barrister, Nicholas Cole abandoned the world of law for the lure of celluloid, graduating with a Diploma of Film & Television from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1992. He has worked constantly since as a producer and director of short films and commercials and as an assistant editor. His script, Bad Angel, turns the standard Mafia flick on its head. His mentor is script editor Kevin Roberts.
Neil Mansfield is a former cinematographer for Film Australia, makes rock video clips and has directed a number of short films and videos. His script, Fresh Air, is a delightfully funny look at a houseful of Generation X-ers. Mentor will be filmmaker Bill Bennett (Two if by Sea, Spider and Rose)
"I am delighted to announce the first of what I hope will be many recipients under the New Screenwriters Scheme, a scheme which I refer to as 'searching for diamonds in the snow'," says Tim Read, Director of Film Development at the Australian Film Commission. "The nuturing of new talent in the film industry is a major priority of the Australian Film Commission and the search for new writers is of critical importance in that process."