Future in Retrograde: Storytelling and Inclusion on Screen

The six-part ABC TV series Retrograde – about a group of thirty-something Australians who regularly meet, drink and commiserate online during the Covid pandemic – has been one of the big Australian TV hits of 2020. 

Retrograde was shot remotely in June via a series of Zoom calls between the producers, crew, and actors and has been celebrated as an example of ingenuity in screen production during this period of workplace restrictions. But the show has not just been praised for its clever format, resourceful production and snappy dialogue. It’s also been embraced for its authentic representation of disability and chronic illness on screen. Perhaps that's not surprising; the show's lead writer and co-producer, Anna Barnes, lives with chronic illness, too.

In this panel discussion, presented in partnership with The Other Film Festival, Retrograde’s creators will discuss what they loved, and what they learned, while making this groundbreaking show. They'll talk, too, about how screen professionals living with disability – who are often more practised and adept at navigating restrictions on social and workplace activity – can lead the way when it comes to innovative production during Covid-19.

This event will be Auslan interpreted and live-captioned.

Presented in partnership with The Other Film Festival and Arts Access Victoria with the support of City of Melbourne and Screen Australia.

A full transcript of this event is available here.

Future in Retrograde: Storytelling and Inclusion on Screen


Portrait of Adolfo Aranjuez

Adolfo Aranjuez

Adolfo Aranjuez is an editor, writer, speaker and dancer. He is currently the Melbourne International Film Festival’s publications and content manager as well as Liminal magazine’s publication editor; previously, he edited the magazines Metro and Archer. Adolfo’s essays, criticism and poetry have appeared in Meanjin, Right Now, Screen Education, The Manila Review, Cordite and elsewhere, and he has worked with numerous organisations including the Melbourne Writers Festival, Midsumma, ABC TV and Arts Access Victoria.

Portrait of Meg O’Connell

Meg O’Connell

Meg O’Connell is an International Emmy award-winning and nominated producer. She's the company director at Unless Pictures where she co-created, wrote and produced Retrograde for ABC TV, co-produced with Orange Entertainment Co. Meg is part of Screen Australia’s Talent USA delegation for 2020. She is currently developing a series for Snapchat and Screen Australia, co-created with Anna Barnes and co-produced with Orange. 

Portrait of Anna Barnes

Anna Barnes

Anna Barnes is an award-winning playwright and author. Her book Girl! The Ultimate Guide To Being You (Penguin, 2012) was named one of the 2013 Eva Pownall Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. She regularly speaks to girls at schools about various topics, from how to make your own media to self esteem. She was host to Tavi Gevinson (USA) for the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival's Rookie Day.

In 2013, she was awarded Sydney Theatre Company’s Patrick White Playwrighting Award. Her plays and monologues have been performed around Australia. In 2015, her play MinusOneSister opened at Griffin Theatre, produced by Stories Like These.


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