Two music-themed films and a love story from The Rocket director Kim Mordaunt are among the 15 features to secure new development money from Screen Australia.

The Musician, produced by Brian Rosen and Su Armstrong, is about how Richard Goldner, a violinist who arrived in Australia from Vienna as a refugee, set up Musica Viva, one of the largest presenters of chamber music in the world.

Clara, which is being developed by producer Sue Maslin and writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse, tells of the deep bonds between Clara Schumann, one of the foremost classical pianists of the Romantic era, her husband, the composer Richard Schumann, and their protégé Johannes Brahams – and that included a love triangle.

“Jocelyn has wanted to tell this story for years,” Maslin told ScreenDaily, adding that the film is set in Austria and Germany.

“It is a very international film, with great music and a story that’s little known.”

Maslin and Moorhouse have been working closely on another film, The Dressmaker, which goes into production in October next year. It was delayed to accommodate Kate Winslet and also stars Judy Davies.

A third project supported by Screen Australia, set in the past in Europe and inspired by a true story, is The Fabulist, which is being produced by Ian Collie, the Australian producer behind the Walt Disney Pictures film Saving Mr Banks.

A new film from Kim Mordaunt, who has won awards at the Berlinale, Tribeca and AFI Fest with The Rocket, has simply been described as “a love story”. Pink Mist is an Australian-African love story that will be written by Mordaunt and produced by Sylvia Wilczynski.

Other films on the list with an international flavour include Cartagena, set in the slums of Columbia, and the comedy Jamaica, which is to be directed by Robert Connolly, who is currently in production on the family film Paper Planes starring Sam Worthington and Anthony LaPaglia. Jamaica is based on the book by Malcolm Knox.

Two other projects based on existing properties are The Secret Lives of Dresses, adapted from the US novel by Erin McKean, and Holding The Man, based on a memoir that became a highly successful gay-themed play.

Holding The Man is being developed at production company Goalpost Pictures and is to be directed by Neil Armfield, who helmed Candy but is best known as a theatre director.

The other Goalpost project on the list is the romantic comedy 40 30 30, from high profile television writer Geoffrey Atherden.

Projects with directors attached who have only one feature credit to their name – but a highly-regarded one – are Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) with Faith, Love Hope and Jonathan auf der Heide (Van Diemen’s Land) with Sons of Salt.

More details of the projects are as follows. Unless otherwise stipulated, the projects are dramas:

40 30 30
(Romantic comedy) Producer: Rosemary Blight. Writer: Geoffrey Atherden.

Synopsis :Raquel’s dream of a perfect marriage and future life hits a wall when her perfect man tells her she’s one of three candidates to be his wife, but the good news is, at the moment, she’s in front.

Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Naomi Wenck. Writer: Nam Le (based on his short story).

Synopsis: A teenage assassin living in the slums of Columbia finds himself ordered to do a hit on his best friend. Choosing between loyalty to his friend, and the loyalty required of him by a merciless drug lord, Juan Pablo is a normal boy caught up in a ruthless world.

Producer: Sue Maslin. Writer/director: Jocelyn Moorhouse.

Synopsis: The emotional, artistic and sensual bonds that existed between legendary 19th century musicians Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms created one of the most potent love triangles in music history.

(Thriller) Producers: David Curzon, Janelle Landers. Executive producer: Aidan O’Bryan. Writer: Simon Portus.

Synopsis: Sam Pearson’s ideals of family life in the country are torn apart by a series of wild dog attacks. When the local authorities prove ineffective, moral boundaries begin to blur and Sam takes the law into his own hands. As the situation spirals out of control, paranoia takes hold and Sam finds himself having to question everything he has previously taken for granted.

Producer: Ian Collie. Writer: Adam Gyngell.

Synopsis: A magazine editor in Victorian England, William Fitzgerald, has his life turned upside down by an enigmatic con artist. Inspired by a true story.

Producer: Angie Fielder. Writer/director: Brendan Fletcher.

Synopsis: A simple story of returning home becomes a layered exploration of family, love, trust, revenge, forgiveness, growth and transformation.

Producer: Kylie Du Fresne. Writer: Tommy Murphy. Director: Neil Armfield.

Synopsis: There was Romeo and Juliet. Then there was Tim and John. Based on the award-winning memoir Holding the Man.

(Comedy) Producer: Rachel Connors. Writer: Melissa Bubnic (from the novel by Malcolm Knox). Director: Robert Connolly.

Synopsis: A ruined businessman seeks a last chance at youthful hijinks with old friends in Jamaica, only to discover that the ties that bind them are fast unravelling as he’s dragged, kicking and screaming, into adulthood.

(Thriller) Producer: Samantha Jennings. Executive producer: Jonathan Page. Writer: Lynne Vincent McCarthy. Director: Natasha Pincus.

Synopsis: A lonely young woman consumed by grief kills a man and hides his body in her basement. When she discovers he is still alive, she decides to keep him. But this is no ordinary man – Ana believes her captive is a killer.

(Science Fiction) Producer: Stuart Parkyn. Writers: Adam Spellicy, Penelope Chai.

Synopsis: Years after a plague kills every woman on Earth, the world is repopulated with identical, submissive female clones. Now, one of them wants her independence.


Producers: Su Armstrong, Brian Rosen. Writer: Joan Sauers.

Synopsis The true story of mercurial classical violist Richard Goldner, who escaped Nazi-occupied Austria to settle in Australia, where he faces a different kind of tyranny before discovering his true calling and forming Musica Viva.

Producer: Sylvia Wilczynski. Writer/director: Kim Mordaunt.

Synopsis: A love story.

Producer: Leanne Tonkes. Writer/director Stephen Lance (based on the novel by Erin McKean).

Synopsis: Dora is engaged to the man of her dreams and is about to begin the job of a lifetime when her aunt Mimi suffers a stroke. She returns home and takes over Mimi’s vintage dress shop, but soon discovers that each dress has a secret story that will change her life forever.

(Crime) Producer: Rob Gibson. Executive producer: Adam Schroeder. Writer: David O’Donnell. Director: Jonathan auf der Heide.

Synopsis: An ex-con trying to go straight is forced to put his life on the line for his pro-surfer younger brother, whose own criminal habits are now spiralling out of control.

Producers: Christopher Sharp, Timothy White. Writer: Natasha Pincus