Speaking to the creativity and resilience of Australia’s emerging creatives, the passionate screenwriters behind the final five feature film concepts shortlisted for our national pitching competition went online to participate in the previously live final event on Thursday 2 April 2020, where Georgina Jenkins' feature film concept BLACKBIRD was announced as the winner of AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks.

BLACKBIRD tells the story of a feisty but forgetful Greek woman who, when forced into aged care, must manipulate her carer into taking her on a road trip to retrieve her lifesavings before the family home is sold.

Georgina will be supported to develop her idea into a market-ready screenplay with:

  • Industry connection opportunities through the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathways program
  • Script development from acclaimed screenwriter Emma Jensen (I AM WOMAN, MARY SHELLEY)
  • Invaluable feedback and ongoing guidance from the esteemed judging panel
  • Screenworks annual membership
  • Australian Writers’ Guild annual membership
  • Two tickets to the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Industry Luncheon and two tickets to the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Ceremony and After Party and Awards Ceremony including associated networking opportunities.

AACTA congratulates all of the AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks finalists who pitched their unique concepts online. Read more about the development of each of their feature film concepts and the finalists here.

THE ARTISAN | Amanda Bridgeman | Western Australia
An eternally hopeful baker befriends a pessimistic graffiti artist, and together they fight to revive their dying town through art in order to win back the regional fair.

BIG THINGS | Anna Lindner | Regional South Australia
When wide-eyed roller girl Stevie has a chance encounter with her long absent father, her dream comes true as they reconnect on a road trip across Australia to see the country’s ‘big things’. However, she soon suspects her father’s real motives for the journey are far bigger than any pineapple or prawn.

BLACKBIRD | Georgina Jenkins | Australian Capital Territory
Forced into aged care, a feisty but forgetful Greek woman must manipulate her carer into taking her on a road trip to retrieve her lifesavings before the family home is sold.

THE BOUNDARY RIDER | Samantha Laughton and Tracey Rigney | Melbourne
Kitty, with her best friend Narnde, a stock horse, works the outback desert along the Boundary Line. Enslaved by harsh work and a cruel boss, she discovers the strength of her culture through the memories of her grandfather’s teachings, and her power and freedom as a woman.

A SUNBURNT CHRISTMAS | Timothy Walker and Gretel Vella | Regional Victoria
When an exhausted Santa and his reindeer crash-land in outback Australia, a drought stricken family must train a team of wild kangaroo’s in order to save Christmas.


Michele Bennett

Michele Bennett is an award-winning producer, who boasts an impressive oeuvre across a breadth of fields. Her extensive career has included feature films, television series, shorts, music videos, documentaries and commercials. In 2000, Bennett produced the international cult hit and Australian box office success, CHOPPER starring Eric Bana and directed by Andrew Dominik. CHOPPER was nominated for nine AFI Awards, winning three and was nominated at the British Independent Film Awards for Best Foreign Independent Film - English Language. Bennett went on to produce the highly acclaimed cult mockumentary THE MAGICIAN, along with Nash Edgerton. Written and directed by Scott Ryan, the film was recently made into a TV Series for FX Networks, MR INBETWEEN. Premiering at Sundance, MR INBETWEEN was green lit for a second season and picked up six AACTA Award nominations, including Best Television Drama, Best Direction and Best Lead Actor.

Bennett also produced DRIFT, directed by Ben Nott and Morgan O’Neill and starring Myles Pollard, Sam Worthington and Xavier Samuel; and executive produced the 2014 feature film, THE MULE, directed by Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson and starring Hugo Weaving, Ewen Leslie and Noni Hazlehurst.



Deb Cox
Creative Director and Co-Founder Every Cloud Productions (MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, SEACHANGE)

Over three decades, Deb Cox has created and produced some of Australia’s most iconic screen content. As Head of Drama for Artist Services, she developed a range of feature film and television projects, including the ABC miniseries SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR’S BABIES, feature film DEAD LETTER OFFICE and – as part of CoxKnight Productions with Andrew Knight - co-created and wrote three series of SEACHANGE for the ABC. Deb joined forces with Fiona Eagger to form Every Cloud Productions in 2009 and went on to co-create, co-produce and head the writing team on three series of international, award-winning, period drama MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES. Deb has worked as Executive Producer and Story Producer on Indigenous drama THE GODS OF WHEAT STREET. She co-created NEWTON’S LAW, and youth short form series DEADLOCK, which received the AACTA Award for the Best Online Series in 2018. Deb was Executive Producer and Head Writer on MS FISHER’S MODERN MURDER MYSTERIES for the Seven Network and for the reboot of the much-loved series SEACHANGE, for the Nine Network. She Executive Produced and wrote the highly anticipated feature film MISS FISHER & THE CRYPT OF TEARS. In 2016, Deb was jointly received the Jill Robb Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Service to the Victorian Screen Industry.



Amanda Duthie
Acting Head of Scripted at SBS/previously CEO/Creative Director Adelaide Film Festival & Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund (THE NIGHTINGALE, SWEET COUNTRY, TOP END WEDDING, HOTEL MUMBAI, ALI’S WEDDING)

Amanda Duthie is currently acting Head of Scripted at SBS. Previously she has been Head of Production, Development & Attraction at South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) working across projects such as STATELESS, FALLOUT, MORTAL KOMBAT, UPRIGHT, THE HUNTING, I AM WOMAN and various screen initiatives such as Centralised. Prior to the SAFC Amanda was Creative Director/CEO of the Adelaide Film Festival curating five major screen events as well as leading the award winning Investment Fund slate which included titles such as SWEET COUNTRY, THE NIGHTINGALE, TOP END WEDDING, ANIMALS, HOTEL MUMBAI, SHE WHO MUST BE LOVED, I AM MOTHER, ALI’S WEDDING, GIRL ASLEEP, SPEAR, FUCKING ADELAIDE as well as art and screen projects such as HIVE, installations for galleries and museums and VR/hybrid work such as Collisions and Summation of Force. Prior to this Amanda was Head of Arts & Entertainment at ABC TV delivering primetime and online projects working with Shaun Micallef, Hannah Gadsby, Bondi Hipsters, Annabel Crabb, Jennifer Byrne, Chaser and Sam Simmons.



Jeff Harrison
Managing Director Umbrella Entertainment/Executive Producer (THE BABADOOK, CARGO, THE MERGER, BUOYANCY)

Jeff Harrison founded Umbrella Entertainment in 2001. His extensive knowledge, encompassing all aspects of film acquisition, production and distribution, has ensured Umbrella’s position as one of Australia’s leading independent distributors and premium ‘all rights’ management companies, delivering content across multiple platforms throughout Australia and the world.

With theatrical highlights including THE BABADOOK, THE WAY, WALKING THE CAMINO, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, THE MERGER, CARGO, FOR SAMA, HONEYLAND and upcoming local features such as RELIC and THE FURNACE, Harrison’s passion for cinema has seen Umbrella amass a catalogue of over 1,500 titles, which also incorporates the largest collection of restored classic Australian films & TV shows outside of the National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA).

Drawing upon 30+ years’ experience as a business entrepreneur, Harrison has also formed strong personal relationships with leading international players in film and music, and in 2015 was appointed Treasurer of Australian Independent Distributors Association (AIDA).

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