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The AACTA Pitch: Focus in partnership with Sony top 5 finalists are here!

The Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) today announced the five finalists for AACTA Pitch: Focus in Partnership with Sony, a development initiative aiming to give student filmmakers the opportunity to create an original production with industry mentorship and funding support. The five finalists will shoot a proof of concept with state-of-the-art Sony equipment and present it to a judging panel of esteemed judges, who will determine the 2022 recipient.

The five finalists were determined by a panel of judges comprised of short film and industry experts Lyn Norfor, Chief Technology Officer at AFTRS and producer/co-founder of Emerald Productions, Nicholas Colla (THE WIZARDS OF OZ, THE LEGEND OF BURNTOUT BARRY, NEIGHBOURS), Imogen Thomas (EMU RUNNER, MIXED BAG), and Liam Heyen (2021 AACTA Nominated Short Film YOU AND ME, BEFORE AND AFTER, 2022 AACTA Nominated Short Film VOICE ACTIVATED).

Two-time AACTA Nominated short film maker and AACTA Pitch: Focus judge, Liam Heyen, said “The first hurdle in film production is always knowing how to pitch in a convincing, yet succinct way. These five teams not only presented unique and interesting pitches, along with well developed scripts, but they also convinced us that their ideas were viable and suitable for the initiative, which is no easy feat.

I was incredibly impressed with the ideas and creativity that these students brought to the table, which in my mind represent an exciting cross-section of what emerging Australian filmmakers have to offer. I’m looking forward to seeing how the top five bring their short films to life during Round 2.”

The five AACTA Pitch: Focus in Partnership with Sony finalist teams and their loglines are as follows:

Corduroy (AFTRS) - Anthony Arcaya, Adam Chesher, Ashwini Kangatharan, Rhory Mackellar, Siobhan Mithen, Kristen Settinelli, Jacqueline Sharah, Emilie Ziolkowski

Following his mother's passing, a reluctant young man must return home to pack his late mother's estate, yet struggles to sell his beloved family couch.

Inconvenient (Murdoch University) - Ben Davidson, Kyle Dessent, Mya Elliott, Carmel Fox, Sam Lane, Abby Marshall

When a convenience store goes into a mysterious lockdown, meek late night shopper, Eve, must find overcome her reservations of disrupting the status quo or risk being trapped under the rule of absurdist shop owner, Godfrey, indefinitely.

Pre-Drinks (Various) - Aaron Healey, Reilly O'Byrne-Inglis, Meredith Williams

Carla, a bisexual 20-something, reluctantly agrees to introduce her new partner, Sam, to her two very queer best friends, Lauren and Xavier, at pre-drinks before a night out. When Sam turns out to be very much the opposite of the queer woman they had imagined tensions build to a boozy breaking point.

The Sight of Sound (RMIT) - Sophie Kesoglidis

A diligent yet ordinary 17 year old high school viola student pursuing a coveted position at the conservatorium is faced with making an unorthodox decision in order to be truly heard.

The Smell of Bones (Various) - Ainhoa Barriola, Melissa Black, Trystyn Bowe, Jess Fisher, David Gaherty, Bret Salinger 

Isolated and lonely forensic pathologist Romy finds an unlikely connection with a secret pen pal on the other side of the heavily guarded border, risking both of their lives by hiding their friendship from the ruthless new world authorities.

“These 5 finalists are a great example of the wealth of interesting ideas and strong themes that came through the FOCUS initiative. They all should feel very proud. The quality and confidence points to a healthy and supportive learning environment for all involved. We look forward to nurturing these teams through the next phase and bringing to life one of these great student projects,” said Ivan Vukusic, Awards and Industry Development Manager, AACTA.

These five teams will move on to Round 2, where they will be given two weeks to shoot a proof of concept to present to the judging panel.

This year’s recipients will receive $15,000 in production funds toward their short film, a loan Sony equipment kit (valued at over $6,000) to shoot their short film which will be featured in the Sony Catchlight Film Festival, invaluable feedback and guidance throughout the production process, mentoring opportunities, and tickets to the 2022 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel Group.

Earlier this week, AACTA also revealed a longlist for AACTA Pitch: Mother in partnership with Monster Pictures, Australia’s ultimate horror and genre film development initiative focusing on original horror or elevated genre feature film concepts. View the 20 finalists and their loglines here


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