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The Recipients of the 2023 AACTA Pitch: Focus in Partnership with Sony Initiative Announced

AACTA and Sony are thrilled to announce the 2023 recipients of $15,000 development funds and complimentary film equipment for AACTA Pitch: Focus in Partnership with Sony.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) today announced the team who took out AACTA Pitch: Focus in Partnership with Sony. Now in its third year, the national short film development and production initiative challenges student filmmakers to form teams and create an original production to be assessed by a panel of esteemed industry judges. 

Angie Kilsby (Director), India Stanley (Writer and Producer) and India Williams (Producer) are the 2023 recipients of $15,000 in development funds and a suite of state-of-the-art Sony equipment on loan, valued at over $20,000, to produce their film.

Five finalists pitched their ideas to industry experts – Lyn Norfor, Director of Production and Technology at AFTRS and producer/co-founder of Emerald Productions, Riley Sugars (2022 AACTA Nominated Short Film HATCHBACK), Nicholas Colla (THE WIZARDS OF AUS, THE LEGEND OF BURNTOUT BARRY, NEIGHBOURS), Luisa Martiri (2022 AACTA Nominated Short Film THE MOTHS WILL EAT THEM UP) and Vonne Patiag (THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS, HERE OUT WEST, HALAL GIRLS).

The winning concept Skin Deep explores the notion of societal beauty standards and the relationship between physical appearance and identity. The story follows “a single mother who is trying to get back into the dating game fears she is 'ageing badly' and goes to extreme measures to improve her appearance, with unexpected consequences.”

Speaking on the initiative, Angie Kilsby said, “The Initiative has pushed me out of my comfort zone, which has allowed me to learn so much in such a short amount of time. Skin Deep being the recipient for 2023 has given me a great platform to be able to continue to express my voice as a filmmaker coming into the industry”.

Previous recipient, Vee Shi and their short film Jia has just been announced as one of the six nominees for the 2024 AACTA Award for Best Short Film. It is a testament to the invaluable experience and support that AACTA aim to provide through each of their Pitch initiatives.

The Skin Deep team hope to find similar success, stating, “This initiative has allowed us a rare opportunity to reflect on our process in the proof of concept and ask ourselves ‘how can we push this film further?’. We’re extremely grateful for the funds and support we will receive as part of this initiative, which will allow us to ensure this ambitious project reaches its full potential.”

“We are excited to take this project to the next stage, test out new ideas, and really run with this opportunity”, said India Williams.

AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manage, Ivan Vukusic said, “Skin Deep is a highly evocative, elevated piece that we know audiences will respond to. I want to congratulate the team on their unique vision and applaud them on an incredible proof of concept. We look forward to working with India, Angie, India and their team to bring it to life. We’re very proud of the outcomes of our inaugural winners, Vee and Nicholson, for Jia, and look forward to shining a light on this wonderful team of up and coming film makers. Congratulations to all of our finalists on what was a very competitive year of high quality applications.”

Nick Rowe, Demand Cultivation Manager at Sony Australia said, “Sony is delighted to support this year’s winning pitch Skin Deep and see this project come to life. The creative team of Angie, India and India delivered a creatively clear and unique vision for their film and we look forward to seeing what they can produce on some of Sony’s best filmmaking equipment.”

Pitch Focus Judge, Nicholas Colla said, “The jury were taken aback by the quality of the entrants this year, making for a tough final decision. In the end, the team behind Skin Deep cut through with a unique idea and an impressive proof of concept. I look forward to seeing what this team of highly talented filmmakers can do with more support at their disposal.”



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