Three finalists have been selected for a screenplay competition run by fledgling Sydney and LA-based production outfit Truant Pictures. The trio will be read and noted by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Collateral), Zak Hilditch (Rattlesnake) or Yolanda Ramke (Cargo).
Launched in 2018, Truant is a subsidiary of creative studio Animal Logic. It is overseen by Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian with VPs of Development and Production Toby Nalbandian and Greg Schmidt.
The selected writers all have scripts from the horror, sci-fi or thriller genres. The winner, who will be announced on November 25, will receive a $3,400 (AUD 5,000) cash prize, a hot desk for one week at Truant Pictures’ office in Sydney, and mentorship from Nalbandian and Schmidt.
The finalists are:
David Willing and Beth King – The Surrogate
When single mother Natalia gives birth despite not being pregnant, she discovers the ghost of a missing child is hell-bent on destroying her family.
Jonathon Green and Anthony O’Connor – Emma After
A ghost girl falls in love with the living boy she’s meant to haunt away.
D.J. McPherson (VIC) – His Name Is Jeremiah
A damaged teen girl from a remote Australian town struggles to adjust when her violent mother is released from jail. Feeling lost and alone, she develops a dangerous obsession with a missing boy.
“It’s an exciting time to be working in the genre space, there’s just such a hunger out there for bold new mythologies and world-building — both from an audience perspective and from a development standpoint,” said Yolanda Ramke. “What’s especially encouraging is that we’re seeing more and more Australian stories in the horror, thriller and sci-fi arena breaking through, both at home and in the global market.”