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The Finalists for AACTA Pitch: Mother in Partnership with Monster Pictures have been announced

The Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) today announced the eight finalists for AACTA Pitch: Mother in Partnership with Monster Pictures – a horror or elevated genre feature film pitching initiative seeking to unearth a fresh supply of nightmare fuel for cinema fans. For its third edition, AACTA and Monster Pictures asked up-and-coming creatives to conceive fresh or unconventional ideas relating to the maternal horror cinema genre, with the theme MOTHER.

The top eight concepts feature explorations of both the sacrifice and triumph that comes with pregnancy, motherhood as a bond or tie, and the potentially sinister power of artificial intelligence. The winner of this year’s AACTA: Pitch Mother in Partnership with Monster Pictures will receive $10,000 in development funds and an Australian theatrical distribution agreement with Monster Pictures Distribution.

These eight AACTA Pitch: MOTHER in partnership with Monster Pictures finalists were successful in submitting a logline, video pitch and synopsis that met the requirements of being relatively low in budget, with minimal location and small casts. Round 2 then tested the creative’s competence in getting their project from the page, asking for a Pitch Deck, Audience engagement and Marketing Plan, Sizzle Reel, and concept art.

By advancing through both Round 1 and 2, the top eight concepts were determined to be on the right path towards production and distribution as decided by a panel of judges comprised of established horror filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers Robbie Miles (CRUSHED, DANGER CLOSE), Rosie Lourde (DEADHOUSE DARK, SKIN DEEP), head of Pictures in Paradise, Chris Brown, programmer for Monster Fest, Kim Taylor, and co-founder and head of Monster Pictures, Grant Hardie.

"This year’s theme threw up some wild and inventive interpretations from our entrants! These finalists and their film projects exemplify creativity and originality, and throughout the process have delivered materials that show a confidence in storytelling and a clear understanding of their audience. All of the films are different and unique and each of them very much worthy of ongoing support. With a new crop of exciting Australian horror coming through in the likes of SISSY and TALK TO ME, AACTA are very proud to be taking this ride with Monster in helping to foster this next generation of film makers," said Ivan Vukusic, Awards and Industry Development Manager, AACTA.

"The AACTA Pitch initiative has seen such a wealth of amazing ideas over the last two years, and this year's initiative is no different. The theme of 'Mother' seems to have resonated and made for some extremely creative and diverse pitches, and the quality of the materials were of a very high standard. This year's TOP 8 thoroughly impressed the other judges and me, so we are both thrilled and excited to participate in the final pitch session to see how it all plays out,” said co-founder and head of Monster Pictures, Grant Hardie.

The eight AACTA Pitch: Mother in Partnership with Monster Pictures finalists and their loglines are as follows:

Alterate - Jonny Morfoulis & Samuel Keene

After the death of his mother, a software engineer visits his childhood home reminiscing his upbringing when he discovers his memories have been twisted as old scars are cut back open.

Freya - Rhona Rees

In a future where birth control is available only to men and abortion is completely outlawed, a young woman must fight for her autonomy and her life when she is tricked into falling pregnant to a one night stand.

Fungal - Nick King & Kriv Stenders

Heidi — a workaholic nurse — must learn to trust her wayward ex-fiancé when a fungal brain parasite unleashes the zombie horde. Divided, they’ll die. As a team, there’s a chance. But the pathogen makes you helpful and kind before it makes you kill, so Heidi’s faith in Aiden will be stretched to breaking point as she tries to escape with her life — and that of her unborn child.

Koan - Grace Tan & Neilesh Verma

Devoted to a mysterious online cult that watches her every move, a formerly incarcerated woman consumed by a delusion of divine purpose finds her grip on reality crumbling when she reconnects with her estranged mother.

Mids of the Night - Oscar Thorborg & Simone Alcorn

While working the graveyard shift at a hospital, five midwives are trapped together during a blackout. To pass the time they share their most shocking and grizzly stories, only to realize they all have one thing in common.

Mother Tongue - Amelia Foxton & Glenn Fraser

When biology and the system fail them in their dream of motherhood, childless couple Alexandra and Jade turn to the dark arts to craft a most unique solution.

Spawn of Sylvia - Rosie Traynor & Martin Sharpe

A group of elderly women in an idyllic commune in the forest, become trapped when their leader is convinced they’re being watched by a dark presence. Something wicked this way has come.

Specimen - Ella Cook

A young man contracts a rare parasite whilst on schoolies in Thailand and is forced to carry it in his system as part of a medical trial.


The ultimate recipient of the AACTA Pitch: Mother development funds and distribution deal will be decided following a final, where the top eight will pitch their idea directly to the judges. This year’s recipient will be announced Thursday November 24, 2022.


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