Scripts about Fyshwick becoming the porn capital of Australia and the spirit of King Arthur possessing a downtrodden single mother were among the nine recipients to share in over $100,000 from the ACT Screen Arts Fund in 2016.
The successful applicants were announced on Monday by Minister for Small Business and the Arts Chris Bourke.
Screen ACT project manager Victor Willis said 29 applications were received and were assessed by a panel consisting of Arts ACT's Narelle Marlow, Canberra National Film and Sound Archive's Cris Kennedy, who has written on film for The Canberra Times, and film-maker Marisa Martin.
He said the aim, besides quality, was to look at the process of the applicants and how the grants would help them move forward as a screen artist.
For Fyshwick – which Willis described as "a story of the unholy trinity of porn, pyrotechnics and politics" – for example, producer Clare Conroy received $3350 to go towards developing the first draft of a feature film script.
Husband and wife writing team Andrew Einspruch and Billie Dean, who live on a property near Braidwood where they harbour rescue animals, received $20,000 to develop their feature film script The Return of Arthur, about a single mother whose life is turned upside down when a birthday wish by her youngest daughter to meet King Arthur is granted.
They began it last year under a Screen ACT program for low-budget genre films but it became apparent it would be too expensive to produce in Canberra.
Dean said, "We did end up with interest from an executive producer and international sales agent based in Sydney."
With the grant money they will work on developing the script with British script developer Stephen Cleary, who lives in France.
The couple – he's American, she's Australian – met in Hawaii in 1986 and have been married for 26 years. They've worked as performers and writers as well as film-makers and moved to the Canberra region nearly 20 years ago for the land: they have an animal sanctuary where they keep rescued horses, sheep and other livestock.
They made their first film, Finding Joy, in 2001 that they still hear about from people and have a couple of other scripts in the works. Dean said, "We tend to do upbeat things but not yahoo ... we want to make people feel good."
The complete list of recipients:
- Ian Hart, My Brother Ben, $9095 for feature film script development.
- James Batchelor, Deepspace, $10,000 for development of a new film installation.
- Clare Conroy, Fyshwick, $3350 for feature film script development.
- John Concannon, $2194 to assist with attending the National Screenwriters' Conference 2016.
- Andrew Einspruch and Billie Dean, The Return of Arthur, $20,000 for feature film script development.
- Georgina Jenkins, $4400 for four-week producer attachment with award-winning producer Joanna Werner (Dance Academy).
- Vanessa Gazy, Erase Us, $17,000 for shorter film production and feature film script development.
- Lina Silver, $14,210 for producer attachment role with Matchbox Pictures (The Slap).
- Alice Taylor, The Krewd Party, $20,000 for web series production.