Emerging writers join powerhouse female directing team to spearhead anthology drama Here Out West

November 2, 2020

Principal Photography Commences in Sydney Today
HOW_Writers L-R_Matias, Vonne, Dee, Bina, Clare, Nisrine, Arka, Tien_Higher Res

Emerging writers join powerhouse female directing team to spearhead anthology drama Here Out West

Principal Photography Commences in Sydney Today

Principal photography is underway in Sydney on anthology feature drama Here Out West.

Helmed by an all-female directing team, Ana Kokkinos (The Hunting), Leah Purcell (Cleverman), Julie Kalceff (First Day), Fadia Abboud (Les Norton) and Lucy Gaffy (The Unlisted) and scribed by emerging writers Nisrine Amine, Bina Bhattacharya, Matias Bolla, Claire Cao, Arka Das, Dee Dogan, Vonne Patiag and Tien Tran, the film is the result of Co-Curious’ ‘Behind Closed Doors’ program, a two-year long development program connecting fresh new voices from Western Sydney with some of the industry’s most experienced creative talent. Annabel Davis from Co-Curious and Bree-Anne Sykes are producing, alongside Emerald Productions’ Sheila Jayadev (Ali’s Wedding, Stateless). Award-winning writer-producer Blake Ayshford (Mystery Road), Lyn Norfor (Undertow) and S. Shakthidharan (Counting and Cracking) are serving as executive producers. Newcomers Khoi Trinh, Jaime Ureta and De Lovan Zandy join Arka Das (Mulan), Geneviève Lemon (Ladies in Black), Rahel Romahn (Secret City) and Leah Vandenberg (The Hunting) to star in the anthology feature about the desperate kidnapping of a baby from hospital; an act that sets off a chain of events that bring together complete strangers over the course of one dramatic day.

Selected via a competitive application process, the eight writers worked with Ayshford to develop their screenplays over a series of intensive workshops alongside Emerald Productions and Co-Curious. The result is a compelling and highly original screen story, with great emotional scale. Producers, Annabel Davis, Bree-Anne Sykes and Sheila Jayadev said: “We have an exceptional team to help bring this ambitious project to the screen; a team that shares our vision to create a ground-breaking work that tells the story of modern Australia with authenticity and integrity. Featuring nine languages and set in the buzzing melting pot of Western Sydney, Here Out West will be a leading example of a new wave of Australian storytelling for the world stage.” Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan said: “Here Out West is set to be a touching drama, showcasing the voices of eight emerging writers and celebrating their communities in Western Sydney. It is also an excellent opportunity for the writers to continue to be involved throughout the production in credited Associate Producer roles. We are proud to have supported this distinctive project from development and I can’t wait to see it come to life.”

Head of Screen NSW Grainne Brunsdon said: “Screen NSW is proud to support new voices and contemporary, original work with Here Out West. Western Sydney is home to a high calibre of emerging talent with a number of first-time screenwriters bringing this story to life. We are committed to representing all areas, diverse backgrounds and people across the state on our screens so I am thrilled Here Out West will showcase the multi-faceted communities of Western Sydney when filming on location.”

ABC TV’s Head of Drama, Entertainment and Indigenous, Sally Riley said: “The ABC has enjoyed supporting Co-Curious over the last three years, as they worked with a talented group of diverse writers and producers to create Here Out West. This program exemplifies much of what the ABC stands for: distinctive Australian stories, authentic diverse voices and the development of new talent. We are delighted to be sharing this show with our audiences.”

Here Out West has received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW and finance support from the ABC and Spectrum Films. Mind Blowing World will handle distribution rights in Australia and New Zealand. Here Out West will be broadcast on ABC TV following its theatrical release in 2021. ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was funded with the support of Screen Australia’s Enterprise Ideas Program, with additional support from Screen NSW.

Photo: (l-r) Matias Bolla, Vonne Pattiag, Dee Dogan, Bina Bhattachayra, Claire Cao, Nisrine Amine, Arka Das, Tien Tran