TikTok horror series Greystanes to spotlight Maltese-Australian folklore

Greystanes creators Ryan Cauchi and Matt Ferro
Greystanes creators Ryan Cauchi and Matt Ferro

AACTA-nominated writer/director Ryan Cauchi and Matt Ferro (The Matrix, Happy Feet) have joined forces to create scripted Maltese-Australian horror drama series Greystanes, with 15 x 1-minute episodes to be released exclusively on TikTok. A recipient of Screen Australia, NZ On Air and TikTok’s Every Voice initiative, the series is in production, to be release in October.

What is the synopsis of Greystanes?

Set in Western Sydney in 1995, Greystanes tells the story of 11-year-old Samantha and her older brother Marius. While visiting their Maltese grandmother during school holidays, the siblings discover a dark secret and encounter Il-Haddiela, a creature from Maltese folklore.

With their Nanna leading the way, the family must come together to fight the sinister creature – and its curse. Under the scares and thrills, the horror drama series explores generational relationships, Maltese-Australian culture and the migrant Australian experience.

Filming this month in Greystanes, NSW – a stronghold for the Maltese community – the horror drama series stars AACTA-nominated Maltese-Australian actress Frances Duca (Ali’s Wedding) as Nanna, young theatre star Chloe Delle-Vedove (Disney Theatrical Productions Mary Poppins and Frozen) as 11-year-old Samantha, and newcomer Tigran Tovmasian as her 17-year old brother Marius, alongside a largely Western Sydney-based cast and crew.

Series creator Cauchi, said, “Greystanes is big on mystery, thrills and chills, while also giving voice to the Maltese-Australian community, which has gone largely unrepresented in Aussie scripted content. It will celebrate the Maltese immigration experience as part of the story of Australia the history of Maltese culture and folklore and its untapped horror film potential.”

Who are the brains behind Greystanes?

Cauchi is the recipient of the Michael Ajakwe Award for Innovation at Sydney Web Fest 2022, a 2022 Screen Producers Australia (SPA)/TikTok ‘Got a Minute’ finalist and a 2022 AACTA nominee for Best Digital Short Video. Loosely based on his own childhood – which happens to include a real-life curse in his mother’s family! – Cauchi is a proud resident of Western Sydney and excited to be filming in Greystanes, where his own Maltese immigrant father grew up.

Writing and producing with Cauchi is Matt Ferro, the producer of the visual effects of The Matrix, associate producer of the animated film Happy Feet, a producer of the Frank Lowy documentary feature What Will Become of Us, and an executive producer of NBC Universal’s series Fashion Bloggers and follow-up, Style Squad. As a writer/director, his The Story of Three Sisters opened the 2022 Jewish International Film Festival’s Short Film Program.

The series is co-produced by Maltese-Australian actor, director and producer Julian Ramundi (Wellmainia, Back to the Rafters) and line-produced by AACTA-nominated producer Tsu Shan Chambers (Unsound). Practical and creature effects are provided by eight-time Archibald finalist and filmmaker Nick Stathopoulos and Lewis P. Morley, one of the special effects geniuses behind the infamous animatronic giant boar in the 1984 cult classic Razorback.

Greystanes will release three weekly episodes over five weeks, starting on Halloween, 31 October 2023, exclusively on TikTok. The film will enter into festivals globally through 2024.