Successful projects announced for Screenwest and Screen Australia’s Out Now initiative

Three Western Australian LGBTQIA+ web series will begin production next year after each receiving $100,000 funding via Screenwest and Screen Australia’s Out Now initiative.

Out of Here, The Curse of Baba Yaga and Yokai were selected from the six projects shortlisted for development earlier this year.

Produced by Sophia Armstrong, Out of Here will be written by Tina Fielding and directed by Jacqueline Pelczar, the pair behind CinefestOZ-selected short film, Sparkles.

Producer Brooke Batka and writer/director Christopher Colley will produce The Curse of Baba Yaga, which follows a gay high school student from a family with a magical twist.

Ramu Productions producer Jodie Bell, writer/producer Brooke Collard and director Ngaire Pigram will explore the life of a Noongar teen who finds herself through her connection to cosplay in Yokai.

Tina Fielding, Jacqueline Pelczar, and Gary Cooper on the set of ‘Sparkles’. (Image: Liang Xu)

It comes after the teams completed development workshops for their ideas, taking guidance from writer, director, and producer Julie Kalceff (Common Language Films), writer, actor and producer Tim Spencer (Wintergarden Pictures), and web series producer Melanie Rowland (Lilydale Films).

Speaking about the initiative, Screenwest CEO Rikki Lea Bestall said diversity within the WA Screen Industry was at the forefront of the organisation’s strategy.

“To have three very different Western Australian LGBTQIA+ web series funded to enter production will no doubt help to further screen representation for these communities,” she said.

“We sincerely thank Screen Australia for supporting this terrific initiative and look forward to when we can celebrate the release of this new WA content.”

Screen Australia senior online investment manager Lee Naimo said he was looking forward to seeing the projects take shape.

“This is such a talented group of creators working on three very different and engaging projects,” he said.

“It’s been a pleasure collaborating with Screenwest on Out Now, and we’re thrilled that it’s resulted in these three series moving into production.”

The successful projects are as follows:

OUT OF HERE
Format: 4 x 6 min Facebook series
Writer: Tina Fielding
Director: Jacqueline Pelczar
Producer: Sophia Armstrong
Executive Producer: Cody Greenwood, Deborah May
Logline: A young, gay woman living with Down syndrome goes to Gay Pride to find ‘her people’ and ends up having a wild and colourful adventure with new friends and finds her first love.’

THE CURSE OF BABA YAGA
Format:: 24 x 1 min TikTok series
Producer: Brooke Batka
Director, Writer: Christopher Colley
Logline: Lucá, a gay university student, is in love, and the only thing keeping him from his fairytale ending is that his family is an ancient coven of Witches, Daemons, and Deities.

YOKAI
Format:: 5 x 5 min YouTube series
Production Company: Ramu Productions Pty Ltd
Producer: Jodie Bell
Co-Producer, Writer: Brooke Collard
Director: Ngaire Pigram
Logline: A Noongar teen disconnected from her culture, finds her identity in Japanese pop culture until she reconnects with an estranged family member.

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