After more than a decade as one of Australia’s musical theatre stars, WAAPA alumni Lucy Durack (Wicked, Legally Blonde, Sisters) is set to make her writing debut with Lift, a 7-part rom-com web series set entirely in an elevator. The series, which has just kicked off filming at Johnny Ma Studios in Perth today, will be an intimate look at the literal and metaphorical ups and downs of jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, Olivia and strait-laced Simon as they travel the floors of their corporate office building, Urban Water Utilities.

What if soul mates met in a scenario where they could only connect for four minutes at a time? Olivia is on her way to a job interview and Simon, a total stranger, is about to propose to his girlfriend. But as soon as they meet, they sense a connection. They work in different offices, and come from different worlds – yet the more rides Olivia and Simon share, the more undeniable their camaraderie becomes.

Lift is created & written by Lucy Durack, Jess Murray and Leon Murray of writing collective Platinum Lining, directed by Western Australian director-on-the-rise, Zoe Pepper, produced by Lauren Elliott of Mad Kids and Executive Produced by Chloe Rickard of Jungle Entertainment.

ABOVE: Lucy Durack, Duncan Ragg, Mark Coles Smith and Vivienne Garrett.

After securing Elevate Short Form Development and Production funding from Screenwest in September 2017, Mad Kids has assembled an impressive ensemble cast consisting of Duncan Ragg (acclaimed theatre performer and NIDA-graduate) as Simon, Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin, Pawno) as love rival Guy and Vivienne Garrett (The Norman Gunston Show) as Head of HR Lynne - the eyes and ears of Urban Water Utilities. Lucy will also star in the series as Olivia.

“I am so excited to be making my writing debut in my hometown of Perth, alongside Lauren, Zoe and Chloe. I am thrilled to be working with such a brilliant team of female filmmakers. Rehearsals with Duncan, Mark and Vivienne went really well over the weekend and I can’t wait to start shooting today!” said Lucy.

“Programs like Screenwest’s Elevate Initiative are crucial in developing emerging Western Australian talent and growing our film & TV industry. Mad Kids first received Elevate funding in 2013 for our web series, The Legend of Gavin Tanner, which led to us having a half hour pilot commissioned by the ABC, securing representation with CAA in Los Angeles and building an ongoing relationship with broadcasters in both Australia and the US. We have an incredible team of up-and-coming Western Australian crew and volunteers who are working tirelessly to bring Lift to life, as well as Sage Hotel West Perth who are hosting our lovely actors and Liftronic who have donated materials for our elevator set!” said Producer, Lauren Elliott.

Director Zoe Pepper is a recent recipient of Screenwest’s Feature Navigator program – a comprehensive, year-long filmmaker and project development initiative for Western Australian directors working toward a debut feature film. Following ten years as one of Western Australia’s top theatre directors, Lift will be one of Zoe’s first projects as a director for screen.

Lift will be available online globally in mid-2018!

Perth-raised, WAAPA alumni Lucy Durack is a writer, actor and singer, best known for playing Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical, for which she won both a Helpmann Award and Sydney Theatre Award. Together with Jess and Leon, Lucy has been honing her writing skills under the mentorship of some of Australia's leading production companies including Matchbox Pictures, Gristmill and Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder over the last six years. She has now written and developed five comedy projects and is set to produce her first web series in 2018. She has recently appeared on television in The Letdown, The Moodys, Upper Middle Bogan, Here Come The Habibs and Doctor Doctor as well as in the films Goddess and Now Add Honey starring opposite Portia de Rossi and Hamish Blake. In addition to all of her Platinum Lining projects, Lucy has written countless hours of material for her nationally broadcast ABC radio show My Soundtrack. In 2017, Lucy was seen on screen in Season 2 of Doctor Doctor on Channel Nine, The Letdown on ABC, starred as Roxy Karibas in Channel Ten’s Sisters and also reprised her role as Glinda in The Wizard of Oz.

One of Australia’s most exciting and talented young actors and directors, Duncan Ragg graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and L’École Philippe Gaulier. His acting theatre credits include There Will Be A Climax (Red Line Productions), The Kitchen Sink (Ensemble Theatre), Cock (Auckland Live/Silo Theatre), Writing for Performance (Michael Gow, NIDA) and Kandahar Gate (Stephen Sewell, NIDA). In 2016/17, he wrote and directed This, This Is Mine for The Corinthian Food Store, as well as assisting Judy Davis in directing Brian Friel's award-winning Faith Healer (Belvoir). In 2017, he appeared in Australian feature film 2:22 and in 2018 he will star in British feature Night of the Lotus, shot in Tanzania last year. 

Hailing from Broome, Mark Coles Smith has worked across several performing arts' genres, first and foremost as an actor but also as a writer, producer and sound designer. He is best known for his roles in Pawno and Last Cab to Darwin, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the AACTAs and a Best Supporting Actor win at the Film Critics' Circle of Australia Awards. In 2017, he won a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play for his work on Leah Purcell's acclaimed adaption of The Drover's Wife. This year, Mark will appear in Foxtel's upcoming Picnic at Hanging Rock, while other TV credits include Doctor DoctorShaun Micallef's Mad as HellThe Gods of Wheat StreetOld School and Canadian series Hard Rock Medical. Mark is a WAAPA graduate with a degree in Aboriginal Theatre.

Vivienne Garrett is an award winning theatre, radio, screen actor and voice-over artist. She has worked with major theatre companies in Australia, with such luminaries as Mel Gibson, Geoffrey Rush and Jacki Weaver. Vivienne began her career as a teenager in TV shows like Number 96, Homicide, the Norman Gunston Show, Mother & Son and Bodyline. She has performed with the Sydney Theatre Company, MTC, South Australian and West Australian Theatre Companies, Black Swan, Playbox, Brainbox, Deckchair, Nimrod and the QTC. She has starred in many productions, most notably The TempestAs You Like itMeasure for MeasureWaiting for Godot and The Clean House. Vivienne has directed 26 Short Stories for ABC radio national, Ursula's EcstasyThe Spook, and Breastroke a play she devised and directed for stage and adapted for radio. Her WA TV appearances include Barron Films series, Hay DazeShip to ShoreSweatStreetsmartz, the ABC/Scottish TV series Minty and Shark Net. She won the WA Swan Gold Award for most outstanding female actor for her portrayal of Eleanor in Dead Funny and has been nominated for Live Acts on StageEquus and The Clean House, winning in 2014 for OTHER DESERT CITIES. Once wrapping on LIFT, Vivienne will appear in Black Swan’s 2018 production of Summer of The Seventeenth Doll.


After five years specialising in original scripted comedy, in 2018 we're launching Ad Kids, a brand new commercial division dedicated to producing content exclusively for brands. 


We've hand-picked an elite team of directors and producers who have a proven track record in producing high quality, high impact and highly acclaimed content from digital shorts, web series, documentaries, viral videos and commercials through to theatre productions, television series and feature films. Right here in Perth.


Ad Kids will be a one-stop-shop when it comes to concept development, director's treatments, script writing, production design, cinematography and production management right through to editing, visual effects, sound design, music and delivery. Their directors and producers work with a fantastic team of writers, performers, cinematographers, production & costume designers, makeup artists, composers and post-production specialists. 


We're shooting our first branded campaign in Perth this Friday, which will be released online in the coming weeks.

Check out our Ad Kids showreel - launched today!


Aussie Rangers is a brand new workplace comedy web series which marks the first collaboration between Mad Kids and SPA Breakthrough Business of the Year 2017, Factor 30 Films. Produced by Melissa Kelly (Hounds of Love, Blame), the series was written by Joel Gray and Matt Lovkis together with emerging indigenous filmmakers, Shakara Walley and Perun Bonser. This series marks Joel's second writing credit in one year! Congratulations to Joel and the entire Aussie Rangers team!

Set amongst the vast, rich woodlands of modern day Western Australia, Aussie Rangers follows Wally, Regina and Francis, a group of mismatched national park rangers as they rally to prevent their beloved Black Stump National Park from being merged with their rival park, Utopia.

Starring Jon Bell, Shareena Clanton, Calen Tassone, Lisa Flanagan and Igor Sas.
Directed by Kelli Cross. Cinematography & Editing by Antony Webb.

All five episodes are now streaming on ABC iview!












Australians in Film have announced ‘A Celebration of WA in LA’, an exclusive Western Australian screening event and celebration at the historic Raleigh Studios in Hollywood on Thursday 26 October 2017.

‘A Celebration of WA in LA’ will feature a screening, drinks, canapés, music, networking with VIP industry guests and an exciting Q & A with WA filmmakers writer/director Ben Young and DOP Michael McDermott from Hounds of Love and Lauren Elliott, Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis from Mad Kids who will be talking about their recent successes and opportunities in the US, stemming from their home-grown projects. 

Special guests on the night will also include writer/director Zak Hilditch (These Final Hours, 1922), writer Shaun Grant (Snowtown, Berlin Syndrome), director Alethea Jones (Barbie, Fun Mom Dinner) and comedian/journalist extraordinaire, Dan Ilic who will act as MC for the night.

Following critical acclaim and multiple awards across the international festival circuit, the success of Hounds of Love has resulted in writer/director Ben Young being handpicked to direct the Universal blockbuster, Extinction starring Michael Pena and Lizzie Caplan. Ben is currently based in LA working on post-production for the film, following an intensive shoot in Serbia. Following her award-winning performance in Hounds of Love, Emma Booth has been cast as ‘The Witch’ in ABC fairytale drama series Once Upon A Time, currently filming in Vancouver. She can also be seen starring in Australian supernatural series, Glitch on Netflix and ABC as well as in Extinction, set for release on 26 January 2018.

Small Town Hackers, created by Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis and produced by Lauren Elliott is the first Australian series to be commissioned by Above Average, the digital studio founded by legendary comedy producer Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Portlandia). The commission has resulted in the team, who are represented by CAA, jetting into LA this month for a number of pitch meetings with US networks. The 6-part comedy series will be released globally on Above Average on 30 October 2017 and the first official teaser can be seen at

Hounds of Love, produced by Melissa Kelly of WA production company, Factor 30 Films, tells the story of Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) who after being randomly abducted from a suburban street, quickly realises she must outsmart her captors (Stephen Curry and Emma Booth) if she is to survive. Following an international theatrical release, Hounds of Love is now available on iTunes, Hulu and Amazon in the US and on DVD and Bluray in Australia. It will also be released on iTunes, Oz Flix and BeamAfilm in Australia and on DVD in the US on 1 November 2017. The trailer can be seen at

‘A Celebration of WA in LA’ will also feature an exclusive sneak peek at You Have Blue Eyes, the debut short film from WA writer/director Alison James, ahead of its world premiere in 2018. Hounds of Love, Small Town Hackers and You Have Blue Eyes were shot, produced and post-produced entirely in Western Australia and the celebration is a testament to the number of WA talent currently making waves in Los Angeles.

Founded in 2001, Australians in Film is a Los Angeles based non-profit film, television and digital content foundation that supports and promotes Australian screen talent and culture in the United States. AiF hosts regular screenings and special events to celebrate the work of Australian content creators and talent. 

“The Australians in Film team are thrilled to celebrate the ever-growing presence of Western Australian talent in Los Angeles and we could not be more honoured to be a part of this special event.”
said Peter Ritchie, Executive Director at Australians in Film.

Invitations to ‘A Celebration of WA in LA’ will be available to Australians in Film members and US industry representatives. Why not join today? Memberships are available at




Western Australian producers Lauren Elliott and Brooke Tia Silcox recently spent time in California as part of Screenwest’s $100,000 Emerging Producer Initiative, which they won in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The Screenwest Emerging Producer Initiative is aimed at early-career producers with a strong demonstrated commitment to producing screen content and a marketable, diverse slate of projects in development. The $100,000 program is designed to assist early-career Western Australian producers to build a competitive project slate and further their professional experience.

Lauren Elliott and Brooke Tia Silcox - Photo by Peter Ritchie.jpg

PHOTO: Lauren and Brooke at the Australians in Film offices at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Photo by Peter Ritchie.

Since winning the inaugural Emerging Producer Initiative in 2015, Lauren Elliott, co-founder of WA production company Mad Kids, has invested her $100,000 into an abundance of rewarding project and professional development opportunities, which have resulted in a number of tangible and impressive outcomes.

In 2016, she travelled to the National Screenwriter’s Conference on Phillip Island, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Ausfilm’s annual ‘Partner with Australia’ Week in LA, the annual SPA Screen Forever Conference in Melbourne and the set of Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs in Sydney where she shadowed her SPA ‘Ones to Watch’ mentor, Chloe Rickard from Jungle. Lauren also invested in a pitching trip to Los Angeles, where she pitched a half hour US format to a number of US networks including HBO, Comedy Central, TBS, MTV, Starz, Adult Swim, IFC and Amazon.

This investment has resulted in Lauren and her fellow Mad Kids, Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis securing representation at CAA, a producing partnership with Sacha Baron Cohen’s production company, Four By Two, a producing partnership with US producer Debbie Liebling, three commissions from the ABC in Australia (The Shapes, The Legend of Gavin Tanner, and DAFUQ?) and their first ever US commission by Broadway Video’s digital studio, Above Average. Lauren’s new web series, Small Town Hackers, co-funded by Screen Australia and Screenwest, is set to premiere online later this year.

“Screenwest’s Emerging Producer Initiative has allowed Lauren the security and ability to develop her slate of existing and future projects, and I couldn’t commend the initiative enough, based on the fantastic opportunities it’s afforded not only Lauren, but – thanks to her and ScreenWest – us at ABC in turn”. said ABC’s Head of Comedy, Rick Kalowski.

Lauren is currently based in LA. Most recently she has been assisting the Australians in Film team with a number of upcoming events including the Freshflix Emerging Filmmakers Conference, the LA premiere of Jungle directed by Greg McLean and the annual Australians in Film Awards which will be hosted by Patrick Brammall at Neuehouse in Hollywood on 18 October.

Since winning the Emerging Producer Initiative in 2016, Brooke Tia Silcoxhas founded No Thing Productions, premiered her debut feature documentary, Meal Tickets, produced a six-part documentary series, Home with iconic Western Australian artist, Ian Strange and completed a seven-month internship at Felix Media in Sydney, as Associate Producer on the feature film Jirga, directed by Benjamin Gilmour.

Brooke was accepted into the Realities Summit held by Digital Raign at the renowned Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California with collaborator and key creative Andrew Suttar. The Summit focused attention on what the future may look like for content production and financing. Brooke and Andrew are developing film, television, online and virtual reality projects that are aimed at the kids’ market and supported by augmented reality and mobile games.

“Andrew and I were able to make a meaningful impact at the conference, we have garnered significant international interest in the projects we are developing and now have tangible support from new collaborators which we will see unfold over the next year. I was introduced to blockchain and cryptocurrency and how initial coin offerings are starting to be used for film financing which puts me in unique position as a producer to think innovatively about financing certain future projects. For all of this to be happening at the birthplace of the human potential movement where some of the greats such as Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley and Abraham Maslow have studied or taught was incredible”. said Brooke.

Since returning home to Perth from Los Angeles, Brooke has secured completion funding for the feature documentary, Rockabul ,directed by Travis Beard, thanks to Screen Australia’s Producer Equity Program.

Lauren and Brooke were also recently announced as successful recipients of Screenwest’s annual Elevate program, securing $70,000 production funding for their respective projects. Brooke’s project is a short film, Judas Collar, written & directed by Alison James and Executive Produced by WBMC and Lauren’s project is a comedy web series, Lift, written by Lucy Durack, Jess Murray and Leon Murray, directed by Zoe Pepper and Executive Produced by Chloe Rickard of Jungle. Judas Collar is set to go into production in 2017 and Lift is set to go into production in March 2018.

Check out the article on FILMINK!



We are thrilled to announce we have secured $70,000 production funding for Lucy Durack’s debut web series, Lift, thanks to Screenwest’s annual Elevate program! 

Lift is a 10-part comedy web series created & written by Lucy Durack, Jess Murray and Leon Murray of Platinum Lining, a brand new digital, film & TV writing collective. The web series, set entirely in an elevator, will be an intimate look at the literal and metaphorical ups and downs of artist Olivia (Lucy Durack) and uptight Simon (Charlie Garber) as they travel the floors of their corporate office building.

Lift will be produced by our resident producer, Lauren Elliott, directed by Western Australian Director Zoe Pepper and Executive Produced by Chloe Rickard of Jungle. 

The web series is 1 of 6 projects selected by an expert industry panel to receive Elevate funding from 14 writer/producer/director teams who were shortlisted from 57 applications.

“Over the last six years, Jess, Leon and I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by some of the top producers and screenwriters in the Australian film & TV industry. We are so excited to finally have the opportunity to produce our debut Platinum Lining project! We feel very privileged to be working with Lauren, Zoe and Chloe and we will be forever grateful to Screenwest for making it happen!” said Lucy.

“After producing nine projects with boys, I’m thrilled to be working with my first female writer/director team. Having the opportunity to collaborate with Zoe, Lucy and Platinum Lining is a real coup for Mad Kids as it will allow us to support emerging Western Australian talent and grow the WA talent pool of writers and directors, as well as diversify the Mad Kids slate.” said Lauren.

“Lift is a fun pacey romantic comedy, I’m so glad that Screenwest have got behind the project so that we have the means to bring it to life. The creative team are incredibly talented and I can’t wait to make this work fly when all the collaborators come together. It’s a great opportunity for me to continue to develop as a director for TV and film after directing theatre for the majority of my career.” said Zoe.

“Elevate is one of Screenwest’s prime initiatives to develop the creative and technical filmmaking skills of early to mid-career Western Australian filmmakers. It provides the teams with the opportunity to hone their skills on a scripted short film or web series, that results in a calling card to further their career. Not surprisingly, it was a very competitive round with nearly 60 applications received across the two strands of the initiative.” said Rikki Lea Bestall, Screenwest Head of Development and Production.

With early rumblings and collaborations since 2011, Platinum Lining, founded by Lucy Durack, Jess Murray and Leon Murray, is a brand new writing collective to be reckoned with. The trio have a slate of comedy projects in the works and are looking to produce a number of digital and TV projects over the next 12 months, starting with Lift.

Zoe Pepper is a writer and director for film, theatre, television and participatory gaming. She is a recipient of Screenwest’s 2017 Feature Navigator program – a development track that is allowing her to write her debut feature script, following ten years as one of Western Australia’s top theatre directors.  

We're set to go into production on Lift in Perth in March 2018 and the series will debut online later in the year!

Check out Platinum Lining’s brand new website at



Above Average and Screen Australia, in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest, are proud to announce Small Town Hackers, a three-part online series commissioned exclusively by Above Average, the digital studio founded by legendary comedy producer Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video (Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Portlandia).

Created by Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis, and produced by Lauren Elliott of Mad Kids, Small Town Hackers is the first Australian series to be commissioned by Above Average.

Small Town Hackers is Mad Kids’ first narrative series and features their trademark comedic tone with a dash of action and mystery. It tells the story of Alex Gout who, when he returns to his backwater hometown of Durran, is shocked to discover the police lied about the death of his high school sweetheart Lucy Boddington. Alex must enlist the help of his idiot younger brother Devon and his ragtag gang of wannabe hackers to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Small Town Hackers is set to star award-winning Sydney comedian Sam Campbell, theatre performers and devisers Tim Watts and Adriane Daff from The Last Great Hunt and Trystan Go, star of The Family Law on SBS. 

“We’re so thrilled to be producing our first ever project for an American digital platform and working with Above Average has been such a great experience,” said producer Lauren Elliott. “We’ve taken inspiration from our own consuming habits and have created a series-long story and complex world of characters living in the fictional, small town of Durran. This web series is kind of the origin story of our hackers and we hope the mystery leaves audiences wanting more.”

“Above Average was founded five years ago to discover and develop the next generation of comedic talent, and we feel incredibly lucky to be partnering with Mad Kids, said Josh Poole, Vice President of Development and Executive Producer for Above Average. “It’s our first Australian collaboration and we could not be more excited about Small Town Hackers.”

Mad Kids are a Perth-based production company who have produced a slate of original digital and television comedy projects including DAFUQ?, The Legend of Gavin Tanner (for ABC Comedy Showroom), The Shapes, The Write Stuff with Noel and Carl Pennyman (for Fresh Blood), Henry & Aaron’s 7 Steps to Superstardom, ABC2 documentary DIGILANTE (for Opening Shot) and viral sensations It’s A Snap! and Set Yourself Free.

“We have been charting the rise of WA production house Mad Kids for some time, including their successful commissions for the Fresh Blood and Comedy Showroom initiatives,” said Mike Cowap, Investment Manager of Online Production at Screen Australia. “With their unique style of quintessentially Australian comedy, they have created a truly memorable assortment of characters, carving out a niche for themselves online. Securing this partnership with Above Average is an incredible coup for Lauren, Matt and Henry who will be given the opportunity to take their comedy Stateside and beyond. We can’t wait to see what comes next.”

“With numerous digital shorts and web series under their belt, the Mad Kids team have proven that they can write and produce comedy for Australian audiences,” said Rikki-Lea Bestall, Screenwest Head of Development and Production. “They are well poised for this next challenge of connecting with US and international audiences on the innovative platform, Above Average.”

The 3 x 6 minute series will premiere online at later in 2017 and will be available globally. Audiences will be given a sneak peek at VIDCON Australia in Melbourne this Sunday 10 September, where Matt Lovkis will appear on the panel Innovation Showcase: Guilty, Ludo, Mad Kids and The Woolshed Company. 

Read the Screen Australia announcement here.