Olga Markovic's web series receives development funding

Olga Markovic. Picture: Chris Lane
Olga Markovic. Picture: Chris Lane

For Olga Markovic, she increasingly found there was nothing for her to watch and say: "Ah yes that is me, you get me". So the former Abbotsbury resident decided to create something herself.

The lawyer-cum-writer-cum-actor-cum-producer has received Screen Australia development funding for a web series titled All for Eve.

The six-episode series will be set and filmed in western Sydney with the lead character a first generation Australian with Egyptian background - like Olga. The show is about Grace, a 39-year-old aspiring artist, who must enter the corporate workforce after her husband is killed in an accident, leaving her to raise their toddler alone.

"The idea came about after I became a working mum. I hadn't really seen any shows that reflect the reality of being a working mum - especially one from western Sydney - and I wanted to share this story to hopefully give other working mums something to relate to," she said.

"Going back to work after five months was the hardest thing for me, and I had the help of my husband and mum. I just couldn't image how single mothers did this alone. They are the real heroes of the world in my eyes. I also wanted to tell a story about an 'older' first time mum, which is becoming more common these days.

"I have always wanted to create a show. Different ideas floated around in my mind, but I never found a story that kept my interest for long enough. Then when this story idea came, I just couldn't stop thinking about it and it kept growing. I knew it was one that needed to be told. I also wanted to create a role for me to play as the lead character and hopefully my daughter Ava can play the role of Eve. I think that would be such a special experience for us to go through together."

"It was the most amazing feeling to be chosen by Screen Australia."

"It was the most amazing feeling to be chosen by Screen Australia."

The show is currently in the development stage with Olga working with script editor Holly Lyons (Home and Away) to finalise the script.

The Ermington resident said it was the "most amazing feeling" to be chosen by Screen Australia for funding in what is a very competitive industry. She labelled it a highlight in her career which has seen have acting roles in various television shows and films including a new film Ellie and Abbie with Marta Dussledorp. She has also just filmed a role on a Netflix series called The Unlisted and she will also be in a film called 2770 which follows the lives of three young males living in Mount Druitt. This is her first project where she will be writing, producing and acting.

"It has allowed me to collaborate with some talented people who I am sure I would not have had access to had I not received the funding. I was working on the story for a few months before applying," she said.

"I was part of a group called the Parramatta Writer's Group and we would meet each week to sit down and write. If it wasn't for this group I would not have made the time to write because my life was so busy, but I just knew I had a story to tell and this was the only way I could do it. So, to then get the validation from Screen Australia made me feel like the hard work and sacrifices were worthwhile."

I also wanted to create a role for me to play as the lead character and hopefully my daughter Ava can play the role of Eve.

OLGA MARKOVIC

The former Freeman Catholic College student juggles a life in the entertainment industry and having a lawyer's practice in Parramatta.

While studying law and commerce at university, she signed with an extras agency and got some roles as a background extra. When she was working as a lawyer, she did acting classes after work as a creative outlet. No one in her family was in the industry or had a job in the arts, so naturally, she didn't think an actual career in acting was possible. But her passion grew - and so did her talent. It has led to more acting and producing roles in films and television.

"It's really tough trying to juggle everything, but I wouldn't have it any other way," she said.

"I have always been interested in acting. Drama class in high school was where I was introduced to acting. I will never forget my drama teacher Ms Moser and the impact she had on me. I looked forward to drama class every week."

Back then, she quickly discovered there weren't many people like her on television who were first generation Australians from western Sydney.

She just assumed that all of Australia was just as multicultural as her and her friends at school who had parents that spoke a different language. But that wasn't reflected on TV. While her parents would watch their Egyptian shows which they could relate to, she couldn't identify with it at all because she was born here. It didn't help when shows like Neighbours or Home and Away didn't have anyone like her or her family on there either. She said it is great that this is "slowly changing", but there is much more to go.

It's why she has made it her mission to raise awareness about bringing diverse stories to the screen.

She thinks it's important for first/second generation Australians to be shown as a "normal" Australian person and be included as part of the Australian narrative.

"I guess this comes from my experience auditioning as an actor. I would say 80 per cent of the roles I audition for involve me being a translator to the 'normal' Australian lead character or where I have to speak with some sort of middle eastern accent...usually a stereotypical role" she said.

"I never felt I was not a normal Australian until I finished school and ventured out of western Sydney and then even more so when I started auditioning. Being an Australian means many things and it would be great to be part of the change that includes all types of Australians into our stories on the screen.

"I would love to encourage other creatives from Western Sydney to tell their stories. We have such rich cultures and interesting stories to share."

Mrs Markovic has created a production company called Ava Studios after her daughter to continue to make film or TV/web series.

When asked what is the toughest job: mum, lawyer, actor, writer or producer, she said: "No second thought required - definitely being a mum."