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Judges announced and deadline extended for AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes screenwriting initiative, in partnership with Screenworks

16 February

Aspiring screenwriters now have an extra week to refine the first five pages of their screenplay, with entries for the second AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks now closing on Monday March 1. With films such as THE DRY, PENGUIN BLOOM and HIGH GROUND dominating the box office, Australia’s appetite for big screen stories set in our unique landscapes has never been stronger.

Regional Landscapes is a national pitching and screenwriting initiative aimed at developing an original 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. This initiative presents a great opportunity for early career screenwriters, particularly those from regional areas, to build a supportive industry network.

Reflected in our complex and developing sense of cultural identity is the rugged beauty of our natural environment; lush and tranquil rainforest meeting boundless bushland, vast oceans of great power and great calm, the rusting, arid desert stretching out into a far horizon. Land and location are essential pillars of Australian filmmaking, and of Australian culture, offering local and international audiences nuanced insight into Australian stories. Recent examples include the expanse of Victoria’s Mallee setting the moody tone for bush noir smash THE DRY, while both beauty and danger are encapsulated in the landscapes of the Kakadu showcased in HIGH GROUND.

“With local stories in local settings powering the box office, we are incredibly happy to be partnering with Screenworks again on this timely initiative. Last year’s entries were of such a high calibre, representing the scope and scale of story that is both uniquely Australian and universally relatable, and it was encouraging to see so many quality pitches from regional creatives” said AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manager Ivan Vukusic. “AACTA, in partnership with Screenworks and with the support of the AWG, are committed to discovering exciting new voices and stories from across the breadth of Australia. All you need is the first five pages of your screenplay, along with a clear understanding of where you want to take your story, and you have a real chance at developing your film and your career”.

"Without AACTA Pitch Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks we would never have met the amazing Deb Cox and the team at Every Cloud Productions who listened to our idea for an Australian Christmas film and saw its potential. Nine months later and with the help of so many other amazing people that it was launched as a Stan Original Film 'A Sunburnt Christmas'! I think it's fair to say we are incredibly grateful to AACTA and Screenworks for that opportunity to pitch," said Timothy Walker, A SUNBURNT CHRISTMAS co-screenwriter alongside Gretel and Elliot Vella.

The winner of AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks will have the opportunity to develop their story concept into a screenplay with prizes including: industry connection opportunities through the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathways program; professional script development; invaluable feedback and ongoing guidance from the esteemed judging panel; three day pass to all sessions at the Screenworks 2021 Regional to Global Screen Forum; AACTA, Screenworks and Australian Writers’ Guild annual memberships; and two tickets to the 2021 AACTA Awards and Official After Party.

Up to five finalists will be selected to pitch their ideas to our judging panel, comprised of General Manager of Content for Event Cinemas Claire Gandy, Actor and Writer Pallavi Sharda (LION, RETROGRADE, LES NORTON), See Pictures Producer Isabel Stanfield (LONG STORY SHORT, BREATH), Head of Production at GoodThing Productions Virginia Whitwell (THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM, 2040, ALL FOR ONE) and Industry Director for Melbourne International Film Festival Mark Woods (H IS FOR HAPPINESS, BRAN NUE DAE, THE TURNING). 

The final will be presented as part of Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum. A hybrid event to run from March 25 to 27, the forum will be held at Lennox Head Conference Centre and live-streamed online, and will feature workshops, presentations, one-on-one meetings and networking events.

"Uncovering authentic stories and the real voices of regional Australians are essential to the culture and success of our national screen industry," said Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch"That is why Screenworks is delighted to partner with AACTA for the second year of AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes in order to discover the regional stories that will be our next national and global box office success and to find the authentic regional voices to tell those stories." 

"The Australian Writers’ Guild is absolutely delighted to support AACTA and Screenworks again in 2021 with this brilliant initiative," said Susie Hamilton, AWG Professional Development Manager. “The domestic and international screen industry is going through a period of significant change but what continues unabated is the enormous hunger for unique content. AACTA Pitch Regional Landscapes in partnership with Screenworks gives Australian screenwriters, particularly those from regional areas, a terrific chance to showcase their original ideas that celebrate the Australian experience."

AACTA encourages all with an original idea to enter, particularly from creators and teams from regional, diverse and under-represented backgrounds. Entry fees and requirements can be found on the AACTA website.

Entries close at 9am AEDT on Monday 1 March 2021.


The AACTA Awards are supported by the New South Wales Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.


For full eligibility requirements and entry details, please visit here.


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