Matt Ford (Love Child, House Husbands, Satisfaction) has been named as the winner of the inaugural Hothouse Drama Program established to cultivate original projects, generated by writers, for Australian television.

Finalists Jacklyn Bassanelli (creator of Evergreen and script intern on Wentworth S7), Jessica Brookman (Nowhere Boys, The Secret Daughter, Neighbours) and Matt Ford each developed two story ideas under the auspice of not-for-profit, screen development company Scripted Ink., production house Screentime (a Banijay Group company) and media company Nine. At the end of the brainstorm process the writers pitched their drama concepts - with Matt Ford’s story idea Alice Black being chosen to go into the next stage of development with Screentime.

Screentime’s Executive Chairman Bob Campbell said: “This initiative has generated many great new drama ideas from three very talented writers. We are looking forward to working with Matt as his concept titled Alice Black goes into the next phase of early development.”

Scripted Ink.’s Jacqueline Elaine said they were thrilled by the results of the Drama Hothouse, in particular the time and money put in by Screentime for the six-week development process: “This kind of investment in screenwriters is what fuels the creation of high-quality Australian drama and we’re delighted that six new projects have had this opportunity through the Hothouse Initiative. It’s been exciting to have Nine involved in this process, including selecting the final winner, and to see how Scripted Ink can work in collaboration with the industry to create real opportunities for writers.”

“I'm excited - this has been a fabulous opportunity and I want to thank everyone -- Screentime, Nine, and especially Jessica and Jacklyn. I've loved working with them and I really hope we can work together again very soon,” said Matt Ford.

The Hothouse Writers Program was open to selected members of the Australian Writers’ Guild Pathways Program, with other experienced writers of one-hour dramas and narrative comedies also invited to apply. 

The successful candidates were paid industry rates to convene in a writers’ room for three days per week over six weeks, with executives from all three partner organisations providing guidance and feedback throughout the process.