Film maker is weaving the threads of a hit TV series
SECRET Threads is a six-part television series set in Melbourne's tight-knit Hmong-Laos community.
The series follows Parita Waters who, after her nephew dies suspiciously, is driven to uncover the truth of a government conspiracy.
The series was created by Northern Rivers resident Rebecca Ingram and written by Mike Jones, Kris Wyld (Pulse) and award-winning playwright Michele Lee (Hungry Ghosts) who will draw on her own Hmong-Laos heritage.
Ingram, who has lived in the Byron Shire for the last 20 years, confirmed the project just received development funding from Screen Australia.
Ingram said she created Secret Threads seven years ago.
"First it was a feature film and more political, but when I pitched it, no one was interested," she said.
"I pulled it out again a year ago, I made it supernatural, into a TV series and much more current, and it grabbed quite a bit of attention," she said.
The film maker said Parita Waters is a character she created from her family's connection to the Hmong-Laos community in Vietnam.
"My brother, who works in production design for Hollywood films, had a connection to the Hmong community in Vietnam quite some years ago," she said.
"He told me about them and I started researching, and I was blown away by this deeply spiritual community of people that have been victimised over centuries.
"This character just grew on me of a girl that feels like an outsider in both the Hmong community and the broader Australian community, and I feel that this is a big theme for many second generation Australians," she said.
Ingram said she then asked Michele Lee to join the project.
"We had a writers room recently, and she put her voice and her experiences on it to make it more authentic as well," she said.
The filmmaker said the funding from Screen Australia will be used to write the third draft of the pilot episode and to run another writers room, given that broadcasters have already shown interest.
"Netflix has requested the script, and that's really exciting, so we are getting that ready to send to them to see what happens next, but I am not holding my breath," she said.
"We are taking (the script) to market by October, or the end of the year; I'll be taking it to Content London to meet with broadcasters.
"Also (Northern Rivers production company) EveryCloud Productions (Seachange, Ms Fisher's Murder Mysteries) have come on board as the production company, and they have been mentoring me for a couple of years," she said.
Ingram thanked Ballina-based organisation Screenworks for their support with this project.
"They took me as part of their producers Elevator platform to Canberra two years ago to Screen Australia and that's who I the opportunity to present this project to them and get that initial interest."