AACTA Development Initiatives

2021 AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in Partnership with SCREENWORKS

From more than 200 entries, seven film projects were selected as the finalists for AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks, with Katie Huggins and her project THE DEB named as the initiative’s recipient.

I saw the brief on Facebook and having come from regional NSW, I was compelled to do it. My process changed so dramatically from seeing that ad- I started out I talking through what I thought would be edgy, cool ideas and tried to think of an “Australian” story. My original idea was so far from The Deb, I set it in Lightning Ridge where I had never even been, but the story didn’t resonate and I struggled to wrangle it. And it was only when I thought of where I was from in Tamworth and my own experience that the characters came and the story was so much more effortless. I wrote the story to what Australia is to me and it couldn’t have been set anywhere else.” said Katie at the 2021 Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum.

Katie will receive:

  • Script development sessions with highly experienced development executive and Senior Screenwriting lecturer at AFTRS, Kate Stone.
  • Invaluable feedback and ongoing mentorship from the judging panel.
  • AACTA annual membership, including ongoing support and profiling of the project to industry.
  • Profiling and industry opportunities through the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathways program.
  • A three-day pass to all sessions at the Screenworks 2021 Regional to Global Screen Forum.
  • Screenworks annual membership.
  • Australian Writers’ Guild annual membership.
  • Two tickets to the 2021 AACTA Awards and Official After Party.

THE ALIEN ABDUCTION OF EMILY HILL (set in the fictional town of Yabby Flats) | Michelle Brasier and Sam Lingham
When Emily’s boyfriend, mid-proposal, is abducted by a beam from the sky, she finds herself sucked into her own bright spotlight.

BLACKOUT (set in Alice Springs, NT) | Leslie Simpson
When the power cuts out in Alice Springs, the remote Outback town plummets toward anarchy. In a desperate bid to stay alive, a small group of ordinary citizens establish a safe haven inside Bunnings Warehouse.

COXY’S FUNLAND (set in South Coast, NSW) | Penelope Greenhalgh and Jon Rex Williams
Trapped in a run-down family fun park on the south coast, an over-protected 9-year-old boy must survive the deadly attractions and escape the unhinged owner in order to save his parents.

THE DEB (set in New England, NSW) | Katie Huggins
A teen boy in a small, rural town, wants to take part in the town's Debutant Ball - as his Drag Queen persona. The town is left reeling in the wake of one boy's search for true identity.

LIVING COUNTRY (set in Gunnedah, NSW)| Norah Masige
A 15 year – old Ugandan girl and her family move to Hayden – a (Fictional) town in Country New South Wales as Australia is on the brink of a severe drought.

NEVER THE BRIDE (set in Byron Shire, NSW) | Sunny Grace
A commitment phobic marriage planner in Byron Bay, has her life turned upside down when she discovers she is in the middle of planning the wedding for her ex, whom she believes was the love of her life.

OFF GRID (set in Huon Valley, TAS) | Jenny Wynter
After being conned out of her entire life savings, a pregnant single mother is forced to live the off-grid lifestyle in rural Tasmania with her hippy ex-father-and-brother-in-law.


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