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AACTA Pitch: 'Forever Unexpected' presented by MINI

In celebration of MINI’s 60th birthday, AACTA and MINI collaborated for AACTA Pitch: Forever Unexpected – an exciting short film pitching competition.

The competition gave filmmakers with fun, unique and innovative ideas that incorporated MINI’s ‘Forever Unexpected’ manifesto, the chance to make their idea a reality!

The winner of AACTA Pitch: Forever Unexpected presented by MINI was OUR GREATEST ESCAPE, from Loani Arman and Kelly Hucker.

Drawing from Loani’s personal experience in caring for a loved one with dementia, OUR GREATEST ESCAPE sees a young advertising executive getting back to her creative roots when she takes her mum on ‘one last ride’, reminding us all that even though life moves on, there's still magic and fun to be had. Pitching alongside her creative partner and Hot Docs Best Short Documentary award winner Kelly Hucker, the pair are also behind the online documentary MY BODY SAYS, made as a part of Screen Australia and News Digital’s Doco180, which currently has over half a million views online.

Loani and Kelly will bring OUR GREATEST ESCAPE to life thanks to MINI’s contribution of up to $15,000 towards their film’s production. The pair will also receive:

  • A $5,000 cash prize
  • Up to $15,000 towards the production of the short film
  • A complimentary MINI vehicle to be used for the duration of the shoot
  • Invaluable feedback and mentorship opportunities with the AACTA Pitch: Forever Unexpected judges
  • Post-production support from Spectrum Films to the value of $2,500
  • Tickets to the 2019 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Industry Luncheon and Awards Ceremony
  • All finalists will receive a year’s AFI | AACTA membership

Held in June 2019 at QT Sydney, over 80 people joined the judging panel – Damon Herriman, Alexandra Blue, Victoria Wharfe McIntyre, and Derin Seale – to hear the finalists pitch their short film ideas at the live final event.

AACTA congratulates all of the AACTA Pitch: Forever Unexpected finalists who pitched their ideas at last night’s event: LACHIE AND JOHN (Dan Haberfield), SPECIAL DELIVERY (Gemma Knight, Millicent Malcolm, Jasper Garner Gore and Liam French), THE ROCKSTAR (Jacqueline Lim and Daniel Stevenson), and TO THE RESCUE (Jamieson Pearce, Cyna Strachan, Liam Heyen and Alex Serafini).


LACHIE AND JOHN | Dan Haberfield
When John’s wife leaves unexpectedly, his young son Lachie helps him see how he can become a better man. LACHIE AND JOHN is a light-hearted comedy exploring the expectations put upon family members and the importance of stepping up to share responsibilities.

OUR GREATEST ESCAPE | Loani Arman, Kelly Hucker
A young advertising executive gets back to her creative roots when she takes her mum on ‘one last ride’. Drawing from her personal experience in caring for a loved one with dementia, Loani Arman, together with her creative partner and Hot Docs Best Short Documentary Award winner Kelly Hucker, remind us all that even though life moves on, there's still magic and fun to be had.

SPECIAL DELIVERY | Gemma Knight, Millicent Malcolm, Jasper Garner Gore, Liam French
From the producer of SKIT BOX and the Canneseries Award-winning comedy OVER AND OUT, comes the story of an Australian postman who faces a difficult choice when forced to deliver an increasingly bizarre and dangerous set of objects to a quiet suburban home.

THE ROCKSTAR | Jacqueline Lim, Daniel Stevenson
On her 60th birthday, Elsbeth receives and old guitar pick in the mail. The surprise reminder of her ambitious past encourages her to relive her dreams, breaking down stereotypes as she celebrates her birthday, her way.

TO THE RESCUE | Jamieson Pearce, Cyna Strachan, Liam Heyen, Alex Serafini
Can’t it still be magic? Can’t it still be fun? Following a couple going to extreme lengths to revive their romance, TO THE RESCUE is a comedy that plays with audience expectations, questioning the status quo while revealing the spirit that lurks beneath.


Everyone has a little bit of unexpected.
A spirit that lurks beneath the surface.
Behind appearances.
Alec Issigonis had it. He was already in his 50s when he threw out the design rulebook to create a car in an oil crisis.
John Cooper had it. He saw the potential of that car to revolutionise auto racing.
And every MINI driver, past and present, has it.
For that, we thank them.
Artists, musicians, creatives, mums, even grandparents.
People who want to be rejuvenated every time they get behind the wheel.
For 60 years, unexpected has been the DNA of the MINI brand.
We have valued open mindedness.
We have questioned the status quo.
Asked, can’t it be better?
Can’t it still be magic?
Can’t it still be fun?
It’s why our cars make you feel the way they do.
It’s in their go-kart handling.
Their emotional design – not changing for change’s sake but only for what’s needed.
Their innovations that push the entire industry forward.
This 60th anniversary, let’s celebrate this attitude by bringing MINI’s timeless sense of fun, individualism and creativity to everything we do. After all, most things get boring with age.
But not MINI. We’re forever unexpected.



Damon Herriman
AACTA Award-winning actor

Damon has been acting since the age of eight. His extensive credits are a testament to his versatility and standing.

Damon’s television credits include: the upcoming US Epix series PERPETUAL GRACE, LTD, alongside Jacki Weaver and Ben Kingsley; LAMBS OF GOD for Lingo Pictures; MR INBETWEEN for FX directed by Nash Edgerton; ABC mini series RIOT, for which he won the 2018 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama and was nominated for the 2018 Logie for Most Outstanding Actor; NO ACTIVITY SEASON 2 for STAN; TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL directed by Jane Campion; SECRET CITY for Matchbox Pictures and Foxtel, for which he won the 2016 AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama and the 2017 Logie Award for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor; and NEVER TEAR US APART as INXS manager Chris Murphy for the Seven Network. He is also well known for his recurring role as Dewey Crowe in the critically acclaimed FX series, JUSTIFIED opposite Timothy Olyphant.

Damon's recent film credits include JUDY & PUNCH which premiered at Sundance 2019, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD for Quentin Tarantino, and THE NIGHTINGALE which debuted at the Venice Film Festival 2018. All three films are due for 2019 theatrical release.



Alexandra Blue

Alexandra Blue is an award-winning and AACTA nominated producer, with accolades including a John Brabourne Award (2018), Emerging Producer of the Year (SASA 2014), and Best Emerging Filmmaker (Shorts Film Festival 2013). Her short films have been Oscar® Long Listed and received international acclaim at festivals such as Raindance, Palm Springs, Sydney and St Kilda.

Alexandra has been mentored by some of the top production companies worldwide, including a Screen Australia Talent Escalator placement with Element Pictures (THE LOBSTER, THE FAVOURITE) and a six-month Producer placement with Warp Films (THIS IS ENGLAND, FOUR LIONS). Alexandra also worked as a Development Executive at Heyday Films/Heyday TV for Producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER, GRAVITY) until 2017. Alexandra's feature and television slate includes projects in development with Film 4 and Screen Australia.



Victoria Wharfe McIntyre
Writer and Producer

Victoria’s short films have screened in over 200 festivals and won over 70 international awards including BAFTA and AACTA Awards.

Her film THE TELEGRAM MAN has played as part of the dawn service at ANZAC Cove Gallipoli for the last six years including the special 2016 Centenary service. Regarded as a film of artistic, cultural and historical significance by the Oscars® Academy Awards Film Archive, THE TELEGRAM MAN is part of its permanent collection at the Pickford Centre in Hollywood.

Victoria understands the power of supported collaboration and has a long standing creative team anchored by the beautiful images of DOP Kevin Scott and remarkable scoring by composer Petra Salsjö.

Their latest short film MIRO premiered at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival and Victoria was invited to participate in the Accelerator Lab for directors transitioning to feature films. MIRO was also nominated for Best Short Fiction Film at the 2017 AACTA Awards.

Victoria is currently shooting her debut feature film as writer/director to be distributed by Madman Entertainment and XYZ Films in late 2019.



Derin Seale

A Cannes, AACTA, One Shaw and NY Festivals Gold Award-winning and Oscar®-nominated director, Derin Seale is currently based in Australia and also works internationally directing campaigns in the USA and Europe.

Raised in a family of cineastes, Derin starting directing action sequences in the Hollywood feature films COLD MOUNTAIN and THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, putting him in great stead to create work with large scale visuals. This was never more evident than in his short film that helped the nation of Qatar win the hosting of the 2022 Football World Cup. His direction of the performance-driven spot ‘Mistakes’ for the New Zealand Transport Authority was highly celebrated around the world, including winning Gold for Direction at Cannes Lions. Seale directed the hugely successful ‘Stop it at the start’ campaign for the Australian Government. Aimed at reducing violence against women, the campaign received extensive coverage and reached 15.5 million views online after just one week.

His 2016 short film THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK attracted global recognition across the short film circuit. THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK was part of the Official Selection at over 20 international festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival, Valladolid, St Kilda Film Festival, Palm Springs, and Sydney Film Festival Dendy Awards. The film went on to be nominated in the Live Action Short category at the 90th Oscars® and won numerous awards, including: the 2017 AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film; Best Comedy Short at LA Shorts Fest; Best Screenplay at Flickerfest International Film Festival; and Best Narrative Short at Cleveland International Film Festival.

  • Entry Fee FREE
  • Entries & Materials Deadline Tuesday 7 May 2019, 5:00pm
  • Rules & Supporting Documents Terms & Conditions
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