From the open expansive horizons of Far North Queensland, across to the rolling wheat fields of Western Australia, down to the coastal fishing towns of Victoria, this year’s initiative has attracted a number of remarkable entries.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) in collaboration with Screenworks are thrilled to announce the five finalists selected for AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes, alongside the distinguished judging panel set to determine the recipient of development funding and ongoing support.

The feature film initiative is dedicated to discovering and celebrating the unique stories and storytelling talent from Australia’s regional areas. From an impressive pool of submissions, five outstanding finalists have emerged, representing the diverse and rich tapestry of stories across regional Australia.

The finalists for AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes are:

Girl On The Edge – Karen Jackson & Nicole Sullivan

A rad teenage girl with a big teased-up 80s hairdo to match her big ambitious dreams, is slayed by her family, her school and her Far North Queensland small town, whose only interest is to studiously toe the patriarchal line.

How To Bee – Lisa Hoppe & Abi Tabone

Set after ‘The Great Famine’ when the quickest, bravest kids do the job of bees, How to Bee is the triumphant story of two young girls with a fierce friendship and minds of their own.

Marry Me Annie – Jessi Le Brocq

After a heartbreak and a viral marriage mishap, disillusioned wedding celebrant Annie retreats to her rural hometown, Tamworth, only to find herself continually pulled back into the wedding world she`s sworn off! Navigating family feuds, matrimonial emergencies and unexpected romances, Annie tries to find space to rediscover who she is, when she’s not ‘Marry Me Annie’.

Over Her Dead Body – Jacqueline Chii Chien Lim, Tamara Whyte & Daniel Stevenson

When Marilyn Fong is tasked with bringing her mum’s body home to the outback for her funeral, two tagalongs – her hyper-critical aunt and irresponsible brother – derail all her plans and drag her on the worst road trip of her life.

OVER HER DEAD BODY is a road trip comedy about death and family.

Rising Tide – Francisca Braithwaite & Riccardo Pellizzeri

In a picturesque Australian fishing town, a daring young mother rallies a diverse group of women to restore an abandoned fishing trawler. Together, they challenge the local fishing community, including their own husbands and partners, overturning the town`s dated gender roles and pushing their own personal limits in a bid for independence and community respect.

Across multiple rounds of deliverables, the judges will assess each project and provide detailed guidance on how best to maximise the impact of their story and garner market place interest. This year’s judging panel includes AACTA award-winning screenwriter and director Belinda Chayko (Prosper, Fires, Stateless), commissioning editor and development executive Loani Arman (SBS, Showtime, Screen Queensland), AACTA nominated screenwriter Stuart Page (Total Control, The Doctor Blake Mysteries) and Head of Sales and Acquisitions at Umbrella Entertainment Nick Hayes.

The recipient will be announced at Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum in July and will be profiled at the 2025 AACTA Festival, with a live read featuring an all-star professional cast.

AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manager Ivan Vukusic said, “Female led teams have dominated this year, with an interesting mix of stories and settings. The ambition this year is to hone the recipient’s script so that it really piques the interest of the industry audience at AACTA Festival 2025, and give the project the best chance of market investment.”

Screenworks CEO, Lisa O’Meara said, “Screenworks love this partnership with AACTA. It always uncovers impressive talent and the screening of the pitches and the announcement of the winner at Screenworks Regional to Global Screen Forum is consistently an entertaining and popular session. I look forward to hearing feedback from the esteemed judges on the finalists’ scripts and seeing how these stories are developed to attract market interest. Thank you to everyone who applied, we were so impressed by the quality of applications and the final selection was not an easy choice.”

For more information about AACTA Pitch: Regional Landscapes, click here.


AACTA | Michelle Small | 0415 461 534| [email protected]

AACTA | Keely Wright | 03 9695 7253 | [email protected]

Screenworks | Emily Hutchinson | 0401 273 475 | [email protected]

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