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Australians in Film Announce GatewayLA Script Submissions Open

Monday, September 26, 2016 1:30 PM | Carly Einfeld (Administrator)

Australians in Film Announce GatewayLA Script Submissions Open

Last year’s winning script CARGO has just begun production in South Australia, with Martin Freeman in the lead

Writer and director Yolanda Ramke on what the win meant for her

GatewayLA 2016 from Australians in Film on Vimeo.

Los Angeles - Submissions have opened for AiF’s GatewayLA, a program which gives screenwriters the chance to have their script not only seen by top industry professionals, but also awards them with a cash prize of $10,000 and a return Qantas flight to Los Angeles, plus other professional development prizes.

The judges this year are Bonni Lee, Senior Vice President of Production at Village Roadshow Pictures, Jairo Alvarado, Manager at Circle of Confusion, Aïda Mashaka Croal, current writer and Supervising Producer on Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Ben Lusthaus, a Creative Executive at Amy Pascal’s company Pascal Pictures, Paddy Murphy, Development Executive at Tobey Maguire’s Material, and Chris Dickie, the current Director of Development at Endemol Shine Studios.

A testament to the success of the incentive, last year’s winning script CARGO is already in production, only 18 months after receiving the award. Writer Yolanda Ramke is co-directing with Ben Howling with Emmy and BAFTA award winning actor Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Black Panther, Sherlock, Fargo) in the lead role. 

Yolanda has since reflected on the importance of GatewayLA in the success of project thus far:

"The GatewayLA script prize couldn't have come at a more crucial time for me. I had a first draft under my belt, but like most emerging writers, I was juggling day jobs with late night writing sessions and struggling to make further progress. Not only did winning this award provide a significant confidence boost, but on a financial level it allowed me to dedicate the time I needed to complete the second draft of CARGO. It also generated some wonderful buzz around the project both at home and abroad. I was also fortunate enough to secure my first paid writing commission off the back of this accolade, and as a result now have a second screenplay in development.

“GatewayLA is a groundbreaking initiative and an invaluable leg-up for up-and-coming screenwriters in Australia. I'm honoured to have been the inaugural recipient, and I'm genuinely excited for this year's winner and the opportunities this prize will afford them".

Finalists will receive two months of complimentary hosting on The Black List, free evaluation of the scripts, phone meetings with the program judges and a copy of the latest version of Final Draft, the industry standard in screenwriting software.  The winner receives all this as well as $10,000 in cash and one Qantas ticket to Los Angeles.

Submissions will close on 17th October at 5pm (PST),  please head to   for further details on how to enter.

The Judges

About Bonni Lee

Bonni Lee has served has as an executive at MGM/UA, Warner Bros., as President of Robert Redford’s company Wildwood Entertainment and Geffen Pictures. She has worked on numerous films, including Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Lethal Weapon, The Accidental Tourist, A River Runs Through It, Interview With the Vampire and Joe’s Apartment.  When David Geffen created Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lee's company, Mighty Hula Pictures, developed TV and feature films under a production deal at the studio. Lee moved to the east coast for a few years and is now happily ensconced at Village Roadshow Pictures as Senior Vice President of Production, the company's titles includes Mad Max: Fury Road, The Lego Movie and the upcoming Passengers.

About Aïda Mashaka Croal

Canadian-born playwright and screenwriter, Aïda Mashaka Croal, received her BA from Stanford University and her MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She won a Daytime Emmy while writing on her first TV show: ABC’s One Life to Live. She has since written for Syfy Sanctuary, Cartoon Network Star Wars: The Clone Wars, AMC Turn: Washington’s Spies, and Netflix Marvel’s Luke Cage.  She is currently a writer and Supervising Producer on Marvel’s Jessica Jones. 

About Jairo Alvarado

Jairo Alvarado started as a creative exec at Warner Bros. then went on to join 3 Arts Entertainment as a manager/producer. At Circle, he reps writer Brian Miller who sold pilots this season to Fox with Ryan Murphy; journalists/producers Joshua Bearman and Joshua Davis whose company EPIC has a first look deal with A&E Studios; American Dad and Community  writer Jordan Blum; NBC’s Taken writer Joy Loya; I Smile Back director Adam Salky,  and Tiller Russell writer on NBC’s Chicago PD. As a producer he now has projects set up at Netflix BBC America and Alcon Entertainment.   

About Ben Lusthaus

Ben Lusthaus is a Development Executive at Pascal Pictures, a film and TV production company run by producer Amy Pascal. Pascal Pictures is currently producing the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game. Ben previously worked at 20th Century Fox on movies such as Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and Gone Girl, and also worked in production on Black Swan in NYC. He is originally from Sydney, Australia. 

About Paddy Murphy

Paddy joined the development team at Tobey Maguire’s Material in early 2013 after meeting him on Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby where he worked for the director’s longtime producer and Music Supervisor, Anton Monsted. Before joining Bazmark, Paddy worked for another of the director’s longtime producers and collaborators, Paul Watters. Early on at Material he worked closely with Maguire’s producing partner Matthew Plouffe on Edward Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice starring Maguire as American chess icon Bobby Fischer. Paddy has continued to work closely with Plouffe on Material’s development slate including Z for Zachariah starring Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor and The 5th Wave starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber. The company is producing bestselling author Greg Iles’ trilogy Natchez Burning with Sony Pictures TV. Material is an independently financed company based in Los Angeles.

About Chris Dickie

Chris Dickie is currently the Director of Development, Endemol Shine Studios.  He joined Endemol in 2011 as Coordinator of Development and over the past five years has overseen the development and production of multiple series, including the long-running AMC drama Hell on Wheels, Kingdom (Audience Network), Low Winter Sun(AMC), Red Widow (ABC) and the upcoming I’m Dying Up Here (Showtime).  He previously worked in Drama Development at 20th Century Fox Television Studios and prior to that got his start at ICM in 2007. 


Australians in Film is a Los Angeles based film, television and digital content non-profit foundation with a mission to connect the Australian industry to the international market. Founded in May 2001, AiF serves as the industry guild for Australian entertainment professionals in Los Angeles, holding regular screenings, career development programs, seminars and labs, and currently has over 600 members. For more information on AiF, please visit 


Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, has published Final Draft® software – the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world – for 25 years. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards, allowing writers to focus on what they do best – writing scripts. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and Aaron Sorkin, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. Final Draft also offers the Reader® and Writer® apps for iPhone and iPad, making creativity truly portable. To learn more about Final Draft and its products and services, visit:

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