AACTA Development Initiatives

2024 AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with SCREENWORKS

AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks returns for its fifth year, giving aspiring Australian creatives the chance to develop a feature film that celebrates the idiosyncratically Australian stories inspired by our stunning regional areas - where the regional setting lends itself as a central character to the narrative.

Applicants are asked to submit an original film concept that features regional Australia as a central character and setting to the narrative. Selected finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of industry judges, with the recipient to receive development funding and support to refine their script and take their concept to market. Teams can consist of up to three creatives, with at least one based in regional Australia.

This year, finalists were pitching for the chance to receive:

  • Support to develop their screenplay and industry pitch
  • $5,000 in prize money, consisting of a $1,000 cash prize and $4,000 towards development
  • Supported live script read at the AACTA Festival in February 2025
  • Industry connection opportunities through the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathways program
  • Professional script development sessions
  • Invaluable feedback and ongoing guidance from the esteemed judging panel
  • AACTA, Screenworks and Australian Writers’ Guild annual memberships
  • Two tickets to Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum.
  • Exclusive one-on-one meetings with up to 2 industry professionals at Screenworks Regional to Global
  • Two tickets to the 2025 AACTA Awards Ceremony including discounted accommodation package


Karen Jackson & Nicole Sullivan

A rad teenage girl with a big teased-up 80s hairdo to match her big ambitious dreams, is slayed by her family, her school and her Far North Queensland small town, whose only interest is to studiously toe the patriarchal line.


Lisa Hoppe & Abi Tabone

Set after ‘The Great Famine’ when the quickest, bravest kids do the job of bees, How to Bee is the triumphant story of two young girls with a fierce friendship and minds of their own.

Jessi Le Brocq

After a heartbreak and a viral marriage mishap, disillusioned wedding celebrant Annie retreats to her rural hometown, Tamworth, only to find herself continually pulled back into the wedding world she's sworn off! Navigating family feuds, matrimonial emergencies and unexpected romances, Annie tries to find space to rediscover who she is, when she’s not ‘Marry Me Annie’.

Jacqueline Chii Chien Lim, Tamara Whyte & Daniel Stevenson

When Marilyn Fong is tasked with bringing her mum’s body home to the outback for her funeral, two tagalongs – her hyper-critical aunt and irresponsible brother – derail all her plans and drag her on the worst road trip of her life.

OVER HER DEAD BODY is a road trip comedy about death and family.

Francisca Braithwaite, Riccardo Pellizzeri

In a picturesque Australian fishing town, a daring young mother rallies a diverse group of women to restore an abandoned fishing trawler. Together, they challenge the local fishing community, including their own husbands and partners, overturning the town's dated gender roles and pushing their own personal limits in a bid for independence and community respect.




Belinda Chayko is an award-winning screenwriter and director. She was the co-creator and showrunner on FIRES*,* which won the AACTA for Best Miniseries or Telefeature and a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie. Belinda was co-creator and showrunner on SAFE HARBOUR, winner of the 2019 International Emmy for Best Television Series and an AACTA for Best Screenplay. Her recent writing credits for television include PROSPER (Stan), as well as STATELESS (ABC) and FIGHTING SEASON (Foxtel). Belinda co-wrote two seasons of the political drama SECRET CITY (Foxtel), and the miniseries BARRACUDA (ABC)*,* which won an AWGIE Award in 2017. She wrote the telemovie SAVED (SBS) which also won an AWGIE award. Belinda’s feature film LOU*,* which she wrote and directed, starred John Hurt and screened in competition at a number of international festivals, including Busan and Rome. Her debut feature, CITY LOOP, premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2000.




Nicole Dade is a writer, story developer and script producer with 15 years’ experience in connecting stories with global audiences.

As story developer, Nicole is Development Producer for Leah Purcell and Bain Stewart's company, Oombarra Productions, helping develop their slate of screen projects. Her recent production credits include script editor: Jonathan Ogilvie's IFRR opening film, Head South (2024,) script producer: TV show, Barrumbi Kids (SBS/NITV 2023,) and associate producer and script editor: Leah Purcell’s feature film, The Drover’s Wife the Legend of Molly Johnson (2022.)

As screenwriter, Nicole is developing a number of commissioned and original TV and film projects, and she contributes to writers’ rooms as script editor and writer.

Nicole is highly regarded for her expertise in screen story craft and genre, and she leads workshops and talent programmes in partnership with industry organisations. In 2023 she created a new story method, Elements of Story, to demystify story principles, break free of outdated storytelling ‘rules’ and empower storytellers of diverse experiences. 

Previously in her career, Nicole was a senior creative executive for international screen agencies, where she developed film and TV projects from early stage to production.





Stuart is an experienced writer and EP who co-created, produced and led the script team on all three seasons of the ABC series Total Control. He was nominated for Australian Academy of Cinema and Television (AACTA) Awards for Best Drama and Best Screenplay for his work on the second season of that show. Stuart won an Australian Writers a Guild (AWGIE) Award for Best Screenplay for his writing on the cult Foxtel prison series Wentworth . In addition, Stuart wrote for the acclaimed ABC/Sundance TV sci-fi drama Cleverman, and script produced and was head writer on the first two seasons of the  ABC murder mystery The Doctor Blake Mysteries. Other television credits include Nine Network’s Halifax: Retribution; ABC’s Janet King and Crownies, Seven Network’s Secret Daughter and Blue Heelers; and Channel 10s serial Neighbours. Stuart is currently in development on a number of his own projects for TV and film.




Nick Hayes, Head of Sales and Acquisitions, Umbrella Entertainment

Nick has spent his entire career in the film business, working across both exhibition and distribution. Prior to Umbrella, Nick has been Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Icon Films for a decade. He has also been Head of Dendy Cinemas and held senior management roles at the Sydney Film Festival and Hoyts Cinemas.

Nick has also served as a board member of Independent Cinemas Australia from 2010-2023 and Vice President of the Australian Independent Distributors Association 2017-2023.



$40 - AACTA, AWG, or Screenworks members 

$60 - non AACTA, AWG, or Screenworks members


March 7 - Call for Applications (Round 1)

Entrants are asked to submit a title, logline (1 – 2 sentence description of the film), up to 250 word description of the regional area where the film is set, up to 500 word treatment/synopsis/outline, first 10 pages of the screenplay, and résumé/CVs of each of the creative team.

April 22 - Applications Close

Applications are due by 9am AEST, Monday April 22, 2024

May 6 - Top 5 Finalists Advised and Start Round 2

Finalists must deliver the first 30 pages of the screenplay (or the complete draft) along with a 5 page pitch deck.

June 21 - Round 2 Materials Are Due

w/c July 8 - One-On-One Meetings and Training with Judges

July 17 - Final Pitch Meeting With All Judges

July 31 - Recipient Announced at Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum


  • Entry Fee $40 AACTA, AWG, or Screenworks members $60 non AACTA, AWG, or Screenworks members
  • Rules & Supporting Documents Terms & Conditions
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