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Feature funding for WA Screen Academy graduates

Monday, 12 March 2012

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WA Screen Academy graduates Damien Spiccia and Ben Young have received $20,000 in development funding from the ScreenWest’s Feature Navigator Program.

Ben, Damien and four other teams took part in the Feature Navigator workshops in October last year, a program that aims to help projects move from story development to financing.

“It’s where they bring in film people from the east coast and often the USA to help us beat our stories into shape,” Damien said.

“Last year we had Ron Osborn, a writer from LA who wrote for The West Wing (but more importantly, he co-created Duckman!), Sue Murray, who produces Rolf de Heer's films, and WA's own Sue Taylor.”

Out of the six teams involved, Ben and Damien were the only two chosen to receive $20,000 each to further develop their ideas.

Damien won the funding for the same project that saw him win the Bill Warnock Award for Emerging Screen Writers in 2011, called Beyond the Pale.

“It’s about a young woman who discovers she's turning into a fox, and of the misfit teen witch who might be the only one who can help her,” Damien said.

Feature Navigator was great because it helped me untangle my prose and dump the sillier aspects of the story that might be forgivable on the page, but onscreen they're just naff,” he said.

Since graduating from the WA Screen Academy, Damien has won a WA Screen Award for screenwriting, directed episodes of children’s TV drama Castaway and created films with Link and Hyperlink funding from the Film and Television Institute.

Ben received his grant for The Unloved. Ben has worked as a writer and director on children’s series Trapped and Castaway and directed the EPK (Electronic Press Kit) documentaries for Last Train to Freo, The Circuit, Marx and Venus and Stone Bros. He has also had great success with his short films, commercials, music videos and now feature film development.

John Rapsey, Director of the WA Screen Academy applauds the achievements of Damien and Ben.

“With their various awards, production funding grants, professional credits and now these substantial development grants they are regarded by the industry as leading figures in the new generation of WA filmmakers.”

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