Pictured L-R: Matthew Barker – VIC, Lisa Hoppe – NSW, Jess Wheatley – NSW, Shayne Walsh-Smith – ACT, Rebecca Ingram – NSW, Alica Gwinner – VIC, Tracy Richardson – NSW, Cate McQuillen – NSW

Eight talented writers from regional Australia are one step closer to having their scripts optioned by an American producer after being selected for the Write From Home Screenwriting Workshop, an eight-week online international mentorship program. Designed to strengthen international opportunities for regional Australian screenwriters during COVID-19, the program is being delivered by the Australian International Screen Forum in New York in partnership with Screenworks.

A total of five writers from regional NSW have been selected – Cate McQuillen, Jess Wheatley, Rebecca Ingram and Tracey Richardson, all from the Northern Rivers region, will join Lisa Hoppe from the South Coast region of NSW. Two writers from regional Victoria have been selected – Alica Gwinner from Central Victoria and Matthew Barker from Northern Victoria, and one writer from the ACT was also selected – Shane Walsh Smith.

Under the guidance of highly acclaimed US-based writers, producers and industry executives, the eight selected participants will now undertake the eight-week workshop to develop their screenplays and then pitch their individual projects to garner interest and representation in the United States.

An esteemed panel of screen industry specialists were involved in the assessment of the applications and recommended the selected participants based on their demonstrated writing talent, the global appeal of each story and the potential to benefit from the development opportunities and United States connections that Write From Home offers.

We were delighted to hear that all of the assessors were impressed by the high calibre of the applications that we received for this program” explained Screenworks CEO, Ken Crouch. “Most of the selected participants have already achieved some success in Australia and will undoubtedly benefit from developing their projects in order to leverage opportunities in the United States.”

The Australian International Screen Forum looks forward to our new partnership with Screenworks in bringing this workshop series together to provide a connection between Australia and the New York market for these 8 exceptional Australian writers selected. The WFH workshop will provide resources in script development activities and international opportunities for mentorship at a time when Covid-19 has deeply impacted our industry,” said AISF’s Producer, Industry Programs Laura D’Augello.

All eight participants will commence the workshops in early June which will include character and dialogue development sessions, scene readings and peer reviews online with New York-based tutors. At the end of the program they will pitch to a panel of industry mentors and receive advice on representation in the US.

The selected participants and projects are:

Alica Gwinner, feature film Ms Greer: A wilful and passionate young woman from 1950s suburban Melbourne writes a feminist manifesto that redefines what it means to be a modern woman.

Cate McQuillen, TV series The Hitsquad: is a creative collective – hands-on, passionate and fifteen. It starts with a skipping rope and a cardboard box and ends in a number one hit.

Jess Wheatley, TV series Alternate: Upon her father’s death, the resentful daughter of a renowned fantasy author returns to her suffocating hometown only to discover the monsters from her father’s books are real and that she is the only line of defence for the small rural community she despises.

Lisa Hoppe, feature film Viva La Vida: Married for over thirty years, Kate and Ray Dempsey find themselves on the biggest adventure of their lives, struggling to renegotiate the terms of their love in Mexico; a strange and exotic land.

Matthew Barker, feature film They Will Come: When a young teacher retreats to an isolated mountain town to teach the only child living there, she finds herself in a fight for survival against deadly creatures invisible to everyone but her new student.

Rebecca Ingram, TV series Under Current: When a West Papuan activist’s body is found washed ashore on a remote Australian island, the investigation casts suspicion and fear within the quaint community, and beyond – and so, with the ebb of the tide… secrets slowly unravel…. to reveal everyone’s truth.

Shane Walsh-Smith, TV series Surface Tension: When the world ends in a nuclear explosion, eight members of the pampered and petty one-percenter Harcourt family, confined in their underground bunker, bicker and blunder their way through the apocalypse.

Tracey Richardson, feature film Lighting Up: A comedy about a pompous art critic and art school dropout, with a Scrooge-like contempt for Christmas, who must practice humility and lead a street to victory in a Christmas light competition to avoid becoming bankrupt.


The Australian International Screen Forum is co-founded by Chris Beale and Michael Kelleher, with partners including Screen Australia, Ausfilm, the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation, IFP, the Australian Consulate-General, HBO, NBC, Qantas and Arthur. J. Gallagher & Co.

The inaugural Australian International Screen Forum is a four-day event that includes screenings, industry-focused events, seminars, roundtables, keynote conversations, master classes and educational activities to showcase Australian film, television and digital content in the U.S. Event partners include Screen Australia, Ausfilm, the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation, IFP, The Australian Consulate-General, Qantas and Arthur. J. Gallagher & Co. For more information visit https://www.australianscreenforum.org/.


Screenworks is a registered charity that provides support, leadership and vision for the regional screen industries in Australia. It is a home-grown not-for-profit, membership-based association managed by a board of volunteer directors that provide industry, management and screen industry knowledge and experience.

The principal objective of Screenworks is to promote and advance the screen industry in regional, rural and remote Australia, with a focus on the industry cluster in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.


Alica Gwinner Alica Gwinner is a regionally-based film and television writer. After graduating from RMIT Screenwriting, she has written a feature film exploring Germaine Greer’s life in the years preceding The Female Eunuch, which received Screen Australia ‘Gender Matters’ funding and was shortlisted for several international Screenwriting awards (including the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards). In 2019, Alica was inducted into AWG Pathways Program. She then worked at Princess Pictures on the second season of Peter Helliar’s ‘How To Stay Married’ with the support of Film Vic. In late 2019, Alica moved up to Sydney for a two-month stint as a Script Assessor for StudioCanal (supported by Scripted Ink), providing detailed feature-film coverage for upcoming market acquisitions and in-house development projects. Alica has a passion for relationship dramas delving into the human condition. She currently has several projects in development, two with Mondo Studio Films, and is also working independently on an original new TV concept called Home Harvest.

Cate McQuillen From her home base in the Northern Rivers Region of NSW, Cate McQuillen and her partner Hewey Eustace are mememe productions, creating ‘out there’ content for the instalife generation. These changemakers, dreamed up and produced the visually distinctive animation series dirtgirlworld and the nature driven live action series Get Grubby TV for the ABC and 128 countries around the globe. Big believers in the power of a story, this hothouse of innovation has scooped up awards, including an Emmy, AFI, green Globe, ADG and SPAA digital producer and the prestigious NSW Service to the Community award in 2017. They have changed how families see the big world outside, creating a generation of kids across the globe who believe getting outside and getting grubby is only natural. They have infiltrated Australian homes with their Handle with Care projects, their web series- Compost Rocks and a fleet of branded rubbish trucks. In 2019 Cate travelled the top of Australia writing , directing and producing a 6 part documentary series about our Indigenous rangers Country – handle with care. This was followed by a digital power packed project including a YouTube and podcast series Mission Biosecurity, hosted by Costa Georgiadis. IRL she was commissioned to write and direct, Get Grubby -The Musical for a summer season at the Sydney Opera House and has produced a swag of festival and touring projects over the last 5 years. With millions of people hanging out with her and her BFF uber eco ego, dirtgirl, every week on Facebook and Instagram and an early childhood online subscription film led curriculum – the Get Grubby Program…it’s a wonder that she ever sleeps. Right now she’s busy reimaging her creative forces, breaking rules and exploring new ways to tell story in her post bushfire, mid pandemic landscape, as she hatches REgener8 and explores zoom theatre to reach both remote and urban audiences. Never daunted, for this well practiced disruptor, these are the times in which she thrives. With myriad of skills and interests, Cate’s greatest assets are her bold approach, positive attitude and ability to generate ideas, innovate, motivate, inspire and see the ‘big picture’.

Jess Wheatley Jess C Wheatley is a Screenwriter Director with a passion for world building and concept development. After growing up in the hinterland behind Byron Bay, Jess completed a Design Degree in Brisbane and a Motion Design Degree in Sydney — where she focused on Production and Pre Production. She has recently completed a Masters of Screenwriting at VCA.
With her background in graphic design, illustration, production design, art department, character and set design and a history of creative writing, she finds herself drawn to diverse stories and enjoys every moment of it. Jess freelances as a pitch document designer and storyboardist while continuing to hone her screenwriting projects.

Lisa Hoppe Lisa is the Writer and Producer of H is for Happiness– a family feature film that screened in competition at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival winning the Jury’s ‘Special Mention’ Award. It screened in competition at CinefestOz in September 2019 and won “Best Film”. The screenplay was shortlisted for the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Lisa has a Graduate Diploma in Screen Business and a MA in Producing from AFTRS. She has produced a number of short films that screened around the world including Godel, Incomplete (starring Elizabeth Debicki), and the AWGIE Award winning Heck, which she also co-wrote. From 2017 to 2018 Lisa worked as a Creative Producer with A Stark Production, producers of children’s film and television content including The Deep, the international hit screened in over 130 countries. Lisa’s extensive experience as writer, script editor and script producer has seen her work on Australian TV shows across a range of genres and formats including Heartbreak High, All Saints, White Collar Blue, Hi 5 and Guess How Much I Love You.

Matthew Barker Matthew Barker is an Australian screenwriter living in rural Victoria who has been writing for several years. Matthew won an Australian Writers’ Guild national screenwriting competition for unproduced screenplays and has had work win or place well in national and international competitions and programs, including being shortlisted in the Australians in Film Gateway LA Screenplay Program. He has had screenplays optioned in Australia and been hired by international producers to rewrite existing IP. While he enjoys writing in many genres, his favourite is horror, and hopes to develop quality horror features and television with strong, complex characters, especially with under-represented groups like people from LGBTIQA+ communities.

Rebecca Ingram Rebecca Ingram is an award winning Creative Producer and writer who resides in regional Northern NSW. Rebecca has worked in the Australian film and TV industry for over 18 years where her early career was mostly focused on creating commercial music videos and award winning social justice films in urban and remote communities. Several years ago, she made a shift into creating and developing female led thriller drama series set in unique worlds, and soon had several of her shows optioned by prominent Australian production companies. She has also recently attracted global market interest in her shows. In 2019 Rebecca received development funding from Screen Australia and Screen NSW for two of her TV dramas, working alongside some of Australia’s most exciting writers and producers. Her work has scored an ADG Fellowship to attend a US Story Lab, and a AWG Finalist (Prime Time TV Series Competition) where she was inducted into the AWG Pathways Program for her female juvenile justice series ‘Dog Box’. In 2018 Rebecca was selected to be part of SPA’s ‘Ones to Watch’ program, as well as Dame Changers ‘Mentor to Market’ program with her Hmong political supernatural series ‘Secret Threads’. Before motherhood, Rebecca worked in management roles for film organisations such as Screenworks and Metro Screen, and her recent TV production credits include shows such as Deadlock (ABC TV), and Seachange (Channel 9) for Every Cloud Productions. Rebecca is currently working as a Producer with Magpie Pictures developing a slate of projects.

Shane Walsh-Smith Shane Walsh-Smith is an award-winning Australian graphic novelist and screenwriter who works across a broad spectrum of genre fiction. His books have been shortlisted for awards a total of seven times, and won once. His scripts are starting to gather accolades, including two contest wins and a number of finalist and semi-finalist placements. Shane has a Bachelor degree in Creative Writing, and might be the only person in the world to get a comic published in a refereed academic journal. He lives in Canberra with his wife and four young children.

Tracey Richardson Tracy is an award winning comedy writer. She created and wrote an animated short that was optioned by Kristina Ceyton, Producer, The Babadook and her first feature screenplay was shortlisted for the AWG/Adelaide Film Festival INSITE Unproduced Screenplay Competition. Tracy is a member of the AWG Pathways Program.

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