Pictured: Director Nash Edgerton directing lead actor Scott Ryan on Mr Inbetween.

Pictured: Director Nash Edgerton directing lead actor Scott Ryan on Mr Inbetween.

Acclaimed director Nash Edgerton is joining forces with Christiaan and Connor Van Vuuren as part of the creative team to deliver a 4.5 day Screenworks Development Lab for a new feature film Croak. The genre-twisting, science-fiction comedy feature sees a gang of teenagers discover that their biology teacher is harbouring a dark secret with dire consequences.

Screenworks is now calling for applications from early career, regionally-based director/writers who want to participate in the lab which will be held in Gladstone, Queensland from the 4th to 8th November.

The lab promises to provide insight into the filmmaking process. “Writing something that doesn’t suck isn’t as easy as it sounds” said Christiaan Van Vuuren, who is one half of the Van Vuuren Bros, “directing something that doesn’t suck isn’t as easy as it sounds either” quipped Connor Van Vuuren. “As well as being lots of laughs, Croak tackles important environmental questions through the eyes of teenagers in regional Australia,” says producer Chloe Rickard.

Screenworks has partnered with Jungle Entertainment and Midwinter Films for the Croak Feature Development Lab, which received funding through Screen Australia’s Enterprise Ideas program and investment support from Screen Queensland. A total of five regional early career writer/directors from across Australia will be selected to participate in the lab, including at least two from regional Queensland. Each selected participant will be paid a fee of $4,500 in addition to having travel to Gladstone and accommodation expenses covered.

Screenworks CEO Ken Crouch explained, “we all want more diverse, quality stories – but they can’t come from a vacuum. It’s critical that new career pathways are available to people living outside the main production hubs, as the peak industry body for the regional screen industry we’re excited to be creating these opportunities”

This development lab will be the second of three development labs being delivered by Screenworks as part of its Regional Script Lab X Initiative which is being supported by Screen Australia Enterprise Ideas funding. Screenworks wants to connect talented writers and directors living outside the major production cities in Australia and bring unique and authentic perspectives to the development of regionally-based projects.

Screen Queensland has invested in the development of the Croak feature film as well as the Development Lab which will take part in Gladstone, Queensland.

Tracey Vieira, CEO of Screen Queensland said that Screen Queensland (SQ) is delighted to partner with Screenworks to support this paid opportunity in Central Queensland.

 “In addition to SQ investing in the development of Croak set in regional Australia, this Screenworks lab highlights our commitment to investing in the skills of our regionally-based emerging writers and directors, by providing financial and geographic accessibility to renowned expertise.

“The participants will leave the workshop with experience in developing a feature film which will assist in building their careers, and greater industry insight to guide their creative practice overall.”  

Jungle Entertainment is well-known for producing premium comedy and drama for worldwide audiences and has a history of delivering successful and innovative productions. Jungle Entertainment produced the highly-acclaimed Logie winning Australian television drama Mr Inbetween commissioned by FX US, the first ever Australian SVOD commission No Activity, which went on to be remade by CBSAA in the US and is in its third season, the first scripted comedy commissioned by any Australian commercial network in 15 years and the highest rating new program in 2016 Here Come The Habibs and ABC2’s first ever comedy Review With Myles Barlow.

“We do everything we possibly can to support the creator's vision” said Jungle Entertainment Development Executive, Features, Bridget Callow-Wright, “the Croak Development Lab is all about making spaces for innovative creators to do what they do best – tell stories that matter, take risks, and push the industry in a new direction.”

To be considered for the Croak Development Lab, applicants must be able to demonstrate previous experience in screen directing and writing and be living in regional, rural or remote Australia. Applicants also need to be available to travel to Gladstone in November (travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by Screenworks). 

 Applications are now open and will close at 9am on the 26th August 2019.

Croak is an original concept written by Shane Brady and co-written by Priscilla Cameron for Jungle Entertainment and Midwinter Films with Christiaan Van Vuuren and Connor Van Vuuren as directors and developed with investment from Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.

Croak is a science fiction comedy with a big heart and green tinge. When coal-seam gas fracking forces Josh and Stacy’s family off their farm, their Mum takes a job in Galston, a booming coal and gas port. Josh, a sensitive nature boy, and Stacy, a knockabout country girl, are pitched into a new school in a new town amidst strange goings-on: pets vanishing and cars mysteriously crushed in the night.


To apply, visit www.screenworks.com.au

Screenworks, Jungle Entertainment and Midwinter Films’ Croak Feature Development Lab is supported by Screen Australia’s Enterprise Ideas funding program with investment from Screen Queensland

Sara Johnston