AACTA Reveals Beneficiaries of Pitch Initiatives

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AACTA announced the recipient of AACTA Pitch: Mother, Rhona Rees receiving $10,000 in development funds and an exclusive distribution deal with Monster Pictures for her concept freya.

The story, which follows a young woman who must fight for her autonomy and her life after being tricked into becoming pregnant on a one-night stand in a future where abortion is allowed, was selected from a group of eight finalists by judges Robbie Miles, Kim Taylor, Rose Lourde, Chris Brown, and Monster Pictures CEO and director Grant Hardie.

Rees said she hoped the competition was “the first of many green lights” to make her film debut.

“Producing the project materials for each round helped me crystallize my ideas and get ready for the market,” she said.

“To be chosen from such a talented and dynamic group of finalists is a tremendous honor, and I hope to make AACTA and Monster Pictures proud of my film.”

Hardie said Rees “embraced the spirit of the initiative from the start” while keeping the project “front and center in Judge’s mind with strong field materials.”

The announcement comes after the winner of AACTA Pitch: Focus was unveiled earlier in the week, featuring RMIT student Sophie Kesoglidis and her team of director Eva Justine Torkkola, cinematographer Sarah Jo Fraser and production designer Fatima El-Hassan , received $15,000 in development funds and a state-of-the-art suite of loaned Sony equipment, worth more than $6,500, to produce their short film. The sight of sound

Set in regional Victoria, the story follows a diligent but ordinary 17-year-old viola student pursuing a coveted position at the conservatory, who must make an unorthodox decision in order to be truly heard.

It was one of five finalist concepts presented to the judges, Lyn Norfor, Chief Technology Officer at AFTRS and Producer/Co-Founder of Emerald Productions, Nicholas Colla, Imogen Thomas and Liam Heyen.

Kesoglidis said she saw AACTA Pitch Focus as an opportunity to partner with like-minded filmmakers who would connect to her story.

The sight of sound is based on a profound moment that happened to me years ago,” she said.

“It explores authenticity and our basic human need to be heard and recognized. It was the right project for this competition and an opportunity to write and produce original material, which is my ultimate goal. I love not only write the script, but also steer a project through the many unexpected twists and turns a project takes as it evolves – just like we experienced when making our proof of concept when the floods have become a huge obstacle, to say the least.

Ivan Vukusic, AACTA Awards and Industry Development Manager, paid tribute to Kesoglidis for creating a “personal and moving story of authenticity”.

“I and all of our enthusiastic judges, along with our supporting partners at Sony, look forward to helping them create the great short film that has been developed through the Focus process.”

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