News / 01 September 2021

Entries Open For AACTA & Monster Pictures 2021 Film Development Initiative!

AACTA Pitch: BITE in Partnership with Monster Pictures, is Australia’s ultimate horror and genre film development initiative focusing on original horror or elevated genre feature film concepts. Last year’s theme drew on the topical subject of isolation. This year we are pushing the genre even further with the theme BITE. This can be literal; as in a creature feature, monsters, zombies, critters and cannibals or metaphorical, as in to “take the bait”. Just so long as the theme resonates strongly with the many ways the word “bite” can be interpreted and used creatively.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) in partnership with Monster Pictures invites writers, directors and writer/director teams to submit original feature film concepts that incorporate the theme of BITE. Keeping in line with the overall spirit of the initiative, the project ideas must work effectively with minimal locations, small casts and lower budgets.

Monster Pictures company director Grant Hardie expresses that “after such a successful competition last year, Monster Pictures is really looking forward to sinking our teeth into this year’s initiative. We’re really proud of the of the success of 2020 and hope that 2021 is serves us up some bigger and tastier projects!

Last year’s initiative focused on developing original horror and elevated genre feature film concepts and saw a staggering amount of entries with close to 200 submissions received in the opening round. Ultimately eight projects were selected to compete against one another in a live-streamed pitching final at AACTA ScreenFest 2020. In fact, Grant Hardie was so impressed with some of these concepts that, following the 2020 competition, Monster Pictures in partnership with Chris Brown’s production company PICTURES IN PARADISE, optioned five of the other first round finalists’ projects. They are now working with the teams to develop their projects and take them to market.

One of the projects, Aaron McCann’s JONESY, was selected as one of the 20 finalists to participate in the Frontières International Co-Production Market. Aaron pitched the project to producers, sales agents, distributors and financiers from around the globe at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal in August generating strong interest in the market.

With a new theme and new slate of judges, this year is shaping up to be even bigger.


August 31 – Call for Entries Opens (Round 1)

Entrants are asked to submit a Title, Logline, 3 min video pitch, 500 word synopsis, and entrant’s resume/s.

October 4 – Entries Close

Entries are due by 11.59pm AEDT, Monday October 4, 2021.

October 13 – Top 20 notified & start of Round 2

The Top 20 submissions will be required to provide a Pitch Deck, Audience engagement and Marketing Plan, Sizzle Reel, and concept art.

November 16 – Round 2 Closes

November 26 – Top 8 finalists confirmed 

Early December (TBC) – Final Pitch



Grant Hardie, an RMIT film graduate, has worked within the Australian film industry for over twenty years in roles ranging from production through to distribution. In 2010 he co-founded MONSTER PICTURES, the leading independent distribution company working in the horror and genre space in Australia today. In 2011 he also co-founded  MONSTER FEST, the highest profile horror and genre Film Festival in Australia. Grant now manages six ‘MONSTER FEST’ film festival events annually in partnership with EVENT CINEMAS (Australia’s largest theatrical exhibitior) and CINEMA NOVA. Since Monster’s inception in 2010, Grant has worked in various capacities within the company and is now the Company Owner and Head of Distribution and Development and is now overseeing their newly formed production company in partnership with Chris Brown, MONSTER’S IN PARADISE.


Kathy Charles is a Melbourne-born screenwriter based in Los Angeles working within the horror genre. She is the writer of the remake of Stuart Gordon’s iconic monster movie CASTLE FREAK produced by Fangoria, and co-writer of vampire thriller JAKOB’S WIFE starring Barbara Crampton and directed by Travis Stevens. Kathy writes for both the studio and independent sector, and has worked for such companies as Paramount, the Safran Company, Eat the Cat, Baha Productions, AMP Films, and Bad Robot. Her screenplays have appeared on the Black List, the Hit List, and the Blood List. She is also the author of the novel JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD published by MTV Books.


Chris has been an Independent Producer since 1983 beginning his career in the UK working with legendary filmmaker Neil Jordan on THE COMPANY OF WOLVES and MONA LISA. In 1986 Chris produced ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS directed by Julien Temple and starring David Bowie. Now an Australian national, Brown moved to Queensland in 2000 at the request of the Queensland Government to help invigorate the local screen industry and formed PICTURES IN PARADISE. In recent years he has produced THE PROPOSITION, DAYBREAKERS, BAIT 3D and THE RAILWAY MAN and now has several television projects and feature documentaries in development. In 2004 Chris won Independent Producer of the year from the Australian Screen Producers Association for his contribution to the Australian Film industry and in 2013 won both the Screen Producers award for Best Film and The Australian Exhibitors Award for highest grossing Australian film for that year.

Take part in the AACTA Pitch: BITE in Partnership with Monster Pictures, entry details and requirements can be found here.