Deanne Weir and Olivia Humphrey launch Storyd: film investment for female creatives


First investments include Seriously Red, the debut feature from Dollhouse Pictures, directed by Gracie Otto

Deanne Weir, Australian screen industry and technology sector entrepreneur, and Olivia Humphrey, founder of streaming platform Kanopy, have announced the launch of Storyd Group.

Storyd invests in internationally targeted feature films from Australian female creatives and content-related technology start-ups.

Deanne Weir commented: “Olivia and I have known each other since our Austar days nearly 20 years ago.  It was a joy to watch her create Kanopy from nothing, taking the risk to move her family to San Francisco and build the company into an international success. Since Olivia’s exit from Kanopy we have been talking about the intersection of storytelling and technology, and the entrepreneurial mindset needed for Australian screen creatives to succeed in an ever-changing global market. It felt like an obvious decision to bring together our love of film, our business experience and our investment funds, and to overlay that with a very clear gender lens.  We are both passionate advocates for gender equality, and we want to see more screen stories about women, told by women.”

Olivia Humphrey added: “Deanne has been an inspiration to me throughout my media career, so bumping into her and reconnecting at Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 felt like fate. Given our background and experience we believe we can help filmmakers find new forms of finance, explore better paths to market and attract larger global audiences. Female-driven projects find it more difficult to access funding, distribution and exhibition opportunities, so Storyd intends to play a role in bringing a more balanced view of the world to our screens. Our investments in film-related start-ups will complement our vision for a globally competitive and robust Australian independent film sector.”

Weir and Humphrey have invested in the upcoming feature film How to Please a Woman from writer/director Renée Webster and producers Tania Chambers and Judi Levine.

Sarah Snook

Sarah Snook

Storyd: First film investments

• Seriously Red, the debut feature from Dollhouse Pictures, directed by Gracie Otto, written by and starring Krew Boylan, produced by Jessica Carrera and featuring Rose Byrne

• Run Rabbit Run from Carver Films, directed by Daina Reid, written by Hannah Kent and starring Sarah Snook. Run Rabbit Run commences production this week.

The first book to be optioned by the Storyd team for a screen adaption is The Silent Listener, the debut novel by Lyn Yeowart. A psychological thriller set in regional Australia, The Silent Listener has been shortlisted in the Debut Fiction category of the 2022 Indie Book Awards.

Storyd has also made investments in two content-related technology start-ups:

• Viewie is the destination app for tv and movie fandom, where anyone can publish and watch videos about their favourite tv shows and movies.

• Omelia is a storytelling technology and new writing tool for the next generation of creatives.  It helps writers and game designers develop, plan, structure and manage stories in real-time.

Weir and Humphrey explained: “Storyd is filmmaker, founder and investor friendly. There is an increasing amount of capital available for investment in projects that not only have the potential for financial return, but also to entertain us and help us to understand ourselves and our place in the world. We want to help connect that capital to Australian creatives who intend to serve growing audiences around the world for stories that better represent the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of women.”

About Storyd Group

Founded in 2021 by Olivia Humphrey and Deanne Weir.

With decades of combined experience in technology companies, content production and distribution, Storyd brings together Deanne and Olivia’s business insights, capital and entrepreneurial flair to drive and support the telling of female driven stories for the international market, while also investing in content related start-ups that will enhance the storytelling experience.

Through Storyd Group, Deanne and Olivia work with filmmakers, founders and investors to find new audiences and support innovation in storytelling, technology and finance models to help build a robust Australian independent film sector.

Deanne Weir

About Deanne Weir

Deanne Weir is a former media lawyer and executive turned producer, investor and company director.  She is passionate about storytelling, change-making and gender equality.  Deanne is Chair of Ai-Media, an ASX listed global provider of technology-driven captioning, transcription and translation services, and Seer Data & Analytics, a technology start-up driving better decision-making using data and insights. Deanne has held board and advisory roles within investee companies across the screen, music, publishing and technology industries, including the award-winning production company Hoodlum.

A board member of Screen Australia for eight years until 2016, Deanne was instrumental in the development of its Gender Matters program and remains a member of its Gender Matters Taskforce. Deanne is also Chair of the Sydney Film Festival and For Film’s Sake, a screen related advocacy organisation that runs the Attagirl global film lab.

Deanne’s previous film investments include I Used to Be Normal, BabyTeeth, Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears, I Am Woman and Blaze, the upcoming feature debut of writer/director Del Katherine Barton from Causeway Films.

Weir was a member of the inaugural Mediaweek 100 published in 2021.

About Olivia Humphrey

Olivia Humphrey spent 20 years in media distribution, working for Roadshow Entertainment, BBC Worldwide and Austar before founding Kanopy, a global indie film streaming platform for academic and public libraries. Kanopy was sold to the US private equity firm KKR in 2021, securing the platform as one of Australia’s great tech success stories. Olivia was awarded the 2020 Advance Award for Education, which recognises the work of remarkable Australians making an extraordinary impact on the global stage.

An active supporter of the Australian start-up ecosystem, Olivia is also an Adjunct Professor for Entrepreneurship at Curtin University.

Olivia is an investor in the film fund managed by San Francisco based Feracious Entertainment, a producer of independent films.

In 2022 Olivia was appointed to the board of the Documentary Australia Foundation

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