2023 Monte Miller Award winners announced: $10k in script development funding for Australia's top unproduced screenplays

11 October, 2023

Screenwriters Jane Jago and Kayti Murphy have been announced as the winners of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s Monte Miller Awards, the premier awards for unproduced scripts in Australia.  

Returning to Melbourne for the first time in three years, the Awards were announced to a packed room of buzzing industry decision-makers, producers and Guild members, who spent the evening mixing with the talented cohort of winning and shortlisted writers. 

Jago, whose gripping feature script The Wrong Hand follows two juveniles convicted of a notorious crime who are released under new identities and given a second chance at life, took home the award in the Long Form categorywhile Murphy received the Short Form award for her pilot Vera vs Vern, a hilarious tale of two pensioners, Vera and Vern, who discover that Centrelink pays more money to single pensioners than married couples and decide to get a ‘fake’ divorce.

The two winners will now share in $10,000 in script development funding, with the prize invested by Scripted Ink. as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the development of great writers and commercially viable projects.

Commenting on Jago’s The Wrong Hand, the long form judging panel said,‘This script is clearly the work of a brave writer with a strong voice and a real understanding of story and craft. It is an engrossing read and easy to imagine as a gripping, confronting, piece of cinema. A dark and complex narrative, this script has the potential to engage audiences through its well-rounded characters and morally charged storyline. It offers a fresh perspective on crime dramas, incorporating elements of psychological thriller and intense human drama.’

The short form panel praised Murphy’s Vera vs Vern as a polished and accomplished pilot, with a concept that feels ready to be produced. ‘It is funny, well thought through, and with a great eye for detail and structure. There are characters who leap off the page and a clear series arc. It is a worthy winner of the Monte Miller Short Form category,’ they said.

In the short form category, Jayden James' poignant animated drama was commended as runner-up, with the judges describing it as an ‘incredibly beautiful and moving piece of writing, that charts the impact of time and modernity on a remote family, from birth through to death.’

The Monte Miller Awards are an Australian Writers’ Guild tradition going back to the 1970s. Each year they recognise excellence in screenwriting and playwriting among the Guild’s Associate and Student members, celebrating the exciting future of Australian storytelling.

The winning and shortlisted projects are now available to view on AWG's prestigious Pathways Showcase, joining an outstanding collection of projects available for development. 

The next round of the Monte Miller Awards will open for entries in 2024.


Long Form category 


The Wrong Hand by Jane Jago [Feature – Drama]
Two juveniles convicted of a notorious crime are released under new identities and given a second chance at life. With a ruthless media and a grieving father determined to hunt them down, just how long can their secret remain hidden?


Do Good by Rebecca Parker [Television – Drama]
A liberal prison psychologist finds herself pitted against her racist police officer husband over a case that involves an Indigenous teenage boy, a brutal youth justice system and a whole lot of good intentions. 

Kalgoorlie by Scout Cripps [Television – Drama]
In the seedy underbelly of a lucrative Australian desert mining town, still as savage and brutal as the wild west, a teacher and a small-town cop are forced to bypass the corrupt all-male local police force and team up to investigate the murders of four teenagers. 

Meetings with Marty by Gregor Nicholas [Feature – Drama]
Forced to choose between the career he craves and the father who abandoned him as a child, a writer/director wreaks havoc on his personal and professional life as he pursues a project with a Hollywood legend. 

The Mothers Group Murders by Natalie Williams and Krista Heath Gassman [Television – Comedy]
After stumbling across a dead body at their Parents' Group meeting, five unlikely friends and their eccentric group nurse band together to solve a murder. 

Red Road by Jourdan Prince [Feature – Thriller]
In the harsh Australian backcountry, a solitary huntress becomes the unwitting protector of a pregnant woman fleeing an off-grid cult. 

See Saw by Lâle Teoman [Television – Other]
Somewhere along the bends between Blue Mountains and Sydney, Shirin Mardin is the only witness to an uncanny manslaughter involving her mysterious neighbour Micky Bowden. The moral dilemma and downward spiral that follows cause a rift between her and her best friend since birth, Willurai Sykes.  

Short Form category 


Vera vs Vern by  Kayti Murphy [Television – Comedy]
When Vera and Vern discover that Centrelink pays more money to single pensioners than married couples, they decide to get a ‘fake’ divorce. But working through the details of their sham split leads to a very real War of the Roses that divides the entire retirement village. 


 by Jayden James [Animation – Drama] 
Culture and family collide in a generational exploration of heritage and the significance it holds in a fast-paced modern society. 

Highly Commended

Attached by Jasmin Forbes-Watson [Television – Drama]
A 51-year-old mother, daughter, student and lover is having a crisis about who she wants to be when she grows up. 

Bad Egg by Stephanie Jaclyn [Television – Comedy]
A self-serving 30-year-old learns there are no shortcuts in life when she donates her eggs in a misguided attempt at attracting the romantic interest of a fertility doctor. 

Buried by Miriam Glaser and Charlotte George [Web Series – Comedy]
When a single mum accidentally kills a stranger on the morning school run, she must navigate a suspicious rival parent, avoid the police and dispose of a body, all before pick up at 3:30pm. 

Post Mortem by Millie Holten [Television – Comedy]
When Janet, a fiercely dedicated postie, receives a terminal diagnosis she embarks on an epic and treacherous quest to deliver one last parcel where no postie has gone before. 

Running Circles by Maya Luong [Television – Drama]
After a violent assault has police looking for him, an aimless Vietnamese immigrant needs money to escape to Sydney. He assumes a false identity to join a money-lending circle but finds a renewed sense of purpose and community in the lie he created. 

You're On Mute by Joshua Heaton [Short Film – Horror] 
An ambitious young professional fights for her career and sanity over a work video conference call. 


Congratulations to our longlisted writers in both categories, selected from over 400 entries. 

Long Form

Adam Daniel 

Omega MMA 

Amelia Pitcher 


Andrew Brown 

The Butterfly House 

Angharad Thompson Rees 

The Unchosen 

Astrid Scholte 

Four Dead Queens 

Becca Hurd 

The Other Side of 25 

Belinda Pratten 

Broken Glass 

Ben Pfeiffer 

The Returned 

Catherine Gillard  

Motel Stakeout 

Cheryl Calvert 

A Youthful Offender 

Dana Miltins 


Dani Pearce 


Elise Lamb 

Rocking Out 

Emily O’Brien 

Generation Zero 

Erica Brennan 


Felicity Bolitho 

Hello Cello 

Finn Hartnett 

Blood Fest 

Fleur Murphy 

The Fence 

Grace Uther 

The Sundowner 

Hassan Elachi 

Boys of the West 

Isabel Dilena 

Twenty Dumb Thing 

James Fallon 

No Country No Sanctuary 

James Mayson 

Neo Farsi 

Jane Wilding 

Reggie Rainbow Hair 

Jesse Emery 


Jesse Laurie 

Deep Down 

Kate Gaul 

Girl Running, Boy Falling 

Kate Williams 


Melanie Munt 


Peter Francis 

Tinderbox Republic 

Renee Crea 

Bright Lies 

Sam Parisi 


Stuart Mannion 

Control Delete 

Suzanne Kent 

Uncivilised Things 

Will Goodfellow 

The Unlovables 

Short Form 

Brendan Godfrey 

The Good, The Drag and The Ugly 

Cameron Williams 

Full Mendo 

Chloe Angel 

Further Education 

Claire Alcock 

Infinite Break Up 

Gina Cameron 

My Family and Other International Catastrophes 

Jon Rex Williams 


Matt Porter 

Lay Long and They'll Carry You Away 

Melanie Munt 


Melissa Jacob 

The Saxophonist 

Miriam Dynevor 


Natalie Emma Williams 

Drop Dead 

Nicola Watson 

Welcome To The Bunker Baby 

Rob Draper 

Famous Last Words 

Sunanda Sachatrakul 

After Her 

Susan Earl 


Vee Shi 


Will Goodfellow 

Null and Void