Film Lab: New Voices is an initiative co-funded by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) and Screen Australia, which sees three South Australian filmmaking teams mentored through a 12-month skills development program to develop their first low-budget feature film script. At the completion of the lab, each team can apply for $600,000 in screen production grant funding. Lesbian Space Princess has been selected to move into production and will premiere at Adelaide Film Festival in 2024.

The two remaining Film Lab: New Voices teams have each been awarded a $20,000 grant to further develop their scripts ready for pitching to the market. The two projects are For the Record from writer/director Alies Sluiter and producer William Littleton; and The Forgotten from writer Travis Akbar, director Thibul Nettle and producer Joshua Trevorrow.

The Film Lab: New Voices initiative has already proven a successful career accelerator development program since it was launched in 2021. The first film greenlit for production, sci-fi Monolith, had its international premiere in official selection at the renowned SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival in Austin, Texas this year following its world premiere at Adelaide Film Festival in 2022, and has sold into the US via Well Go USA, internationally positioning writer Lucy Campbell, director Matt Vesely and producer Bettina Hamilton as exciting talent to watch. The film is represented by XYZ Films in the US, Blue Finch Film Releasing for International Sales and Bonsai Films in Australia and will be released in cinemas in Australia in late October 2023.

CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser said: “After the incredible international success of Monolith, we are delighted to see the bold and original animated comedy Lesbian Space Princess go into production as the second feature film out of the Film Lab: New Voices program. I congratulate South Australian writers and directors Emma Hough Hobbs and Leela Varghese and producer Tom Phillips on their truly clever and authentic concept, which we are thrilled to support for production.

“I also congratulate the talented Film Lab: New Voices teams of writer/director Alies Sluiter and producer William Littleton, and writer Travis Akbar, director Thibul Nettle and producer Joshua Trevorrow, for their exciting new projects, which we look forward to seeing developed further for the market.

“The Film Lab: New Voices program is just one of the ways in which the SAFC is working to grow the capability and diversity of the South Australian screen sector, through increasing the pool of credited key creatives in the state. In 2022 the SAFC facilitated a record 28 South Australian writers, directors and producers to gain their first above-the-line screen credit on a feature film or broadcast program, of which half came from a group under-represented in the industry. The filmmakers behind Monolith were an integral part of that record contingent, and we are delighted that Film Lab: New Voices is already demonstrating its strength as a career-launching program.”

CEO and Creative Director of the Adelaide Film Festival Mat Kesting said: “AFF takes immense pride in the elevation of new creative teams and new voices and is thrilled to see Lesbian Space Princess go into production. The film will premiere as part of AFF 2024. In 2022, seven of the 15 projects AFF invested in were first time feature directors including works that are or will be in release soon – Monolith, The Last Daughter and Talk to Me. AFF 2023 will see a new slate unveiled and we look forward to revealing these as we draw closer to this year’s festival which will take place 18-29 October.”

Screen Australia’s Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon said “It is great news for fans of adult comedy that Lesbian Space Princess has been selected for production through the Film Lab: New Voices initiative. Screen Australia is delighted to support the creative team with an unmatched opportunity to bring their first feature film to life. I’ve no doubt audiences will enjoy this playful and original film when it premieres at Adelaide Film Festival in 2024.”

Lesbian Space Princess writer/directors Emma Hough Hobbs and Leela Varghese and producer Tom Phillips said: “Film Lab: New Voices is a career changing moment for us. We are so grateful for the mentorship we received throughout development that inspired, guided and pushed us to deliver a script we are all very proud of. It’s amazing to be given this support for our film that will put queer and culturally diverse voices to the front both on and off screen. We can’t wait to share Lesbian Space Princess with audiences next October!”

Lesbian Space Princess Synopsis:

An anxious space princess is thrust out of her sheltered life and into a galactic quest to save her bounty hunter ex-girlfriend from the Straight White Maliens. Along the way, a problematic spaceship and a runaway gay-pop idol join her hazardous encounters with blade-wielding maniacs, dangerous dick turrets and the scariest thing of all: her own self-doubt.

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