Screen Australia

Discussion of Screen Australia projects and funding, especially not yet associated with a broadcaster.

2022 Year in Review

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SCREEN AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES $1.2 MILLION OF DEVELOPMENT FUNDING

Screen Australia has announced 19 feature films, 10 television dramas and three online projects that will share in over $1.2 million of Story Development funding. The projects include Moja Vesna writer/director Sara Kern’s new feature film A Way Away, children’s sci-fi animated series Combatoms and Just Chidi Things from writer/producer/lead actor Chika Ikogwe, producer Ana Tiwary and executive producer Rose Byrne.

This slate includes 19 projects supported through the Generate Fund and 13 through the Premium Fund.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Louise Gough said, “We are excited about this distinctive mix of projects and the range of audiences and markets they intend to serve. We are proud to support creatives as they expand their body of work across a range of platforms and formats. This includes debut feature films from Jack Dowdell, a 2019 Developing the Developer recipient, and writer/director Bradley Slabe who created the award-winning short film Lost & Found.”

Screen Australia’s Head of Online Lee Naimo said, “We love seeing Online creators taking advantage of the opportunities we provide to incorporate development into their project plans. It’s great that the creative team behind the hugely-popular TikTok and YouTube series The Formal will no doubt be growing their already enthusiastic following with new series Kick It, as well as Nicholas Colla and Nicolette Minster from Deadbeat Ends Meet teaming up with emerging creators*.* We encourage more online creators to talk to us early about Screen Australia’s development support.”

Joining Screen Australia’s Development Unit is Development Executive Tanya Mukerjee who started last month. Tanya has previously worked in the corporate sector as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead, at BBC Television in London as a Diversity & Inclusion Specialist, Executive Manager at Creative Diversity Network, which saw her work across the UK television broadcaster and production sectors, and at ITV as Diversity Partnerships Manager. Tanya also previously worked as a Script Editor on programs such as Fireflies and in script roles on Water Rats and McLeod’s Daughters and brings a wealth of story and sector knowledge to the role.

The projects funded for development include:

  • A Way Away: A feature-length drama about 11-year-old Rana who is determined to do the ‘grownup thing’ and help provide for her family after her mum becomes injured and is unable to work. In an effort to keep her abusive uncle and current provider for the family away from her mum and sister, Rana’s story is one of a brave young girl and a family standing united to end the cycle of abuse. A Way Away is writer/director Sara Kern’s second film, after the critical success of her debut feature Moja Vesna, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2022 and had its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Gal Greenspan, who also produced Moja Vesna, is attached as producer. Also attached is Marie-Hélène Dozo (Two Days, One Night) as script editor.

  • Combatoms: A 13-part sci-fi action/adventure series, which follows a group of kids who discover super powered creatures that have escaped from a secret lab in their small town. When they learn a mysterious corporation plans to unlock their ability to control the very fabric of reality for sinister means, the kids must race to protect the Combatoms and harness their amazing powers to save the world instead. Combatoms is created by Charlotte Rose Hamlyn (Space Nova), directed by David Peers (Happy Feet, Ron’s Gone Wrong) and produced by Katrina Peers (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole) who together form production company Big Serious Studios. It is written by Hamlyn and AWGIE award-winning writer John Armstrong (Motown Magic) .

  • Just Chidi Things: An eight-part comedy series following Chidi, a bubbly, irrepressible 23-year-old Nigerian medical student who carries the weight of her family’s expectations on her shoulders. After being suspended from med school, Chidi does whatever it takes to avoid disappointing her parents – going on a series of misadventures to maintain the lie and keep her parents happy. Writer/producer and lead actor Chika Ikogwe (Heartbreak High) is joined by producer Ana Tiwary (One of the Good Ones, Rhapsody of Love) and executive producer, Rose Byrne (Seriously Red). Also attached is Alexandra Cullen as script editor.

  • Take My Hand: A feature length sitcom/drama about Noah, a newly married young professional with Cerebral Palsy now building a life with his wife, Libby. Noah works in advertising and is offered a dream promotion, the only catch is the requirement to play the ‘disability card’ and take advantage of the disabled community he’s always kept himself apart from. This forces him to reconnect with his old university roommate and disabled community activist Toby and his outspoken social media influencer girlfriend, Sonja. As a result, Noah has to reconcile his own feelings and prejudices to other disabled people and face up to himself in a Faustian dramedy of social mores. This is the first feature co-written by 2019 Developing the Developer recipient and writer/director Jack Dowdell and writer/performer Dean Nash. Both are advocates for representation and authentic casting of disabled people in screen media. Michael Wrenn (6 Festivals, Three Summers) is producing.

  • Owner’s Manual: Operation & Maintenance of the Human Body: This feature-length comedic family adventure is about Gabby, a grade one girl with anxiety who thinks she’s broken every time she sweats or jitters. But when she is sucked into her own body and discovers that her organs are a series of mismanaged, mid-construction Power Plants which generate each of her symptoms, Gabby teams up with the lazy site-manager Wozza and uptight safety-supervisor Janet, to quick-fix her Power Plants so she can finally be complete and ‘normal’, but learns to accept that every body is a work-in-progress. This is the first feature film by writer/director Bradley Slabe, whose AACTA and AWGIE award-winning short film Lost & Found has over seven million views online.

  • Kick It: A six-part online series about Cameron, whose attempt to nab the local women’s AFL championship is threatened when new recruit Angie takes the team by storm. When Angie and Cameron’s sweaty tension continues off the field, Cameron must decide if she wants to play with her head or her heart, and learns that sometimes, found family is just as important as the one you’re born into. From the creative team behind hit TikTok series The Formal – which has chalked up over eight million views online - is writer/director/producer Monique Terry, writer/producer Hannah-Rae Meegan and writer/director Abby Gallaway. Linus Gibson (Sequin in a Blue Room) is also producing, with Dana Bradshaw co-producing.

  • Deadbeat Ends Meet: An animated online comedy that follows housemates Milo (a frill neck lizard) and Indy (a dingo) who throw themselves into thankless jobs in search of a quick buck to keep their lives afloat. The series follows the pair as they navigate their mid-twenties and the baggage that comes with trying to prop yourself up whilst working out exactly who you want to be and what you want to do with the rest of your life. Deadbeat Ends Meet is created by Evie Hilliar and written by Hilliar, Mike Greaney (YouTube series The Future of Everything), Nicolette Minster (Girl at the Window) and Holly Tosi (Neighbours). The series is produced by Nicholas Colla ( The Future of Everything, Rebooted).

  • The Ghan: A comedy drama feature film from acclaimed stage and screen writer Joanna Murray-Smith (Palm Beach) about a group of travellers on the trip of a lifetime aboard the iconic train, The Ghan. A transcontinental odyssey across Australia becomes a journey of personal transformation for the passengers as they let go of their old identities and, through conflict and laughter, discover brave new versions of themselves more suited for the journey that lies ahead. Alongside Murray-Smith is writer Emma Jensen (I Am Woman), with Kristian Moliere (The Babadook) and Julie Byrne (The Survival of Kindness) producing. Jeremy Sims, writer/director/producer of Last Cab to Darwin, is attached as director.

  • Gorgeous: Set in Tasmania in 2017, this episodic drama/thriller centres around journalist Charlotte Barber who returns home to Launceston to make a podcast - juxtaposing the 2017 Marriage Equality vote with the unsolved murder of her girlfriend’s mother 20 years earlier, when homosexuality was still criminalised. As she conducts her investigations, Charlotte’s personal connection to the story becomes intertwined with her own need to confront the shame she’s held around her sexuality. This series is written and produced by Alexandra Keddie and Gemma Bird Matheson, whose credits include The Housemate and Me & Her(pes). Attached as script consultant is Jane Allen whose credits include 100% Wolf: Legend of the Moonstone and Troppo, and the writers’ room is rounded out by Jada Alberts as Story Consultant (Cleverman) and Kartanya Maynard.

  • One Hundred Days: This psychological drama/thriller is based on the critically acclaimed novel by Alice Pung and centres around Chinese migrant, Ma. When her teenage daughter Alina falls pregnant, Ma imposes the Eastern practice of postpartum confinement to physically detain Alina - desperate to protect Alina and her grandchild. This story is about motherhood, autonomy, and the frightening singlemindedness of those desperate to protect their loved ones… at any cost. Adapting into a feature film is writer Michelle Law and director Corrie Chen (New Gold Mountain) – the creative team behind the first web series commissioned by SBS, Homecoming Queens.

  • Summer of Evil: From writer/producer Michael Hudson (Ties That Bind), this six-part action-adventure horror series sets the scene in the vast Australian bushland, where a creature has awoken from its centuries-old slumber and is hellbent on revenge. Discovering that the spooky Dreamtime stories they were told as kids aren’t just stories, an unlikely gang of youths venture on a terrifying quest deep in the bush to save the adults of their small community from this supernatural threat that has enslaved them. Also attached as producers are Stephanie Westwood (Shiny One, Finding Jedda) and Diya Eid (All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane).

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FUNDING APPROVALS 2022-2023 TELEVISION DEVELOPMENT

PREMIUM

END OF.
Werner Film Productions
Genre
Drama, Comedy
Director Alethea Jones
Writer Ash Flanders
Producer Joanna Werner
Script Editor Cléa Frost
Synopsis After taking a job as a legal transcriptionist, a failing performer fights a losing battle with the transcript of his own life.

THE CAILLEACH
Babadook Pty Ltd
Genre
Horror
Director Jennifer Kent
Writers Jennifer Kent, Lynne Vincent McCarthy
Synopsis In 1740’s rural Ireland, the already hard lives of an elder healer and her daughter are irrevocably changed when a terrifying host of creatures begin to feed on the broken souls of their poor and remote farming community.

COMBATOMS
Big Serious Studios Pty Ltd
Genre
Family, Sci-fi, Action adventure
Creator Charlotte Rose Hamlyn
Director David Peers
Writers Charlotte Rose Hamlyn, John Armstrong
Producer Katrina Peers
Synopsis When a group of kids discover super powered creatures (Combatoms) in their small town, they must race to harness their amazing abilities before a ruthless corporation can exploit them to reshape the world.

THE SUBJUGATE
Aquarius Films
Genre
Thriller, Science fiction
Writer Becca Johnstone
Producers Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Synopsis A near-future, dystopian, sci-fi crime thriller, where two homicide detectives hunt a serial killer in a small-town religious community that has been rehabilitating surgically reformed murderers.

HAVE I SAID TOO MUCH?
Hardy White Pictures Pty Ltd
Genre
Drama
Creator Amy Molloy
Director Erin White
Writers Erin White, Michelle Hardy, Amy Molloy
Producer Michelle Hardy
Executive Producers Ian Collie, Rob Gibson
Synopsis A window into life after oversharing, Have I Said Too Much? is a half-hour drama series that follows UK journalist, Amy Murphy (25) as she rebuilds her life in Australia after her controversial memoir about being widowed at a young age makes headlines around the world for the unconventional way she tried to move on. Inspired by a true story, and the memoir Wife, Interrupted by Amy Molloy.

GENERATE

SUMMER OF EVIL
Orange Entertainment Co
Genre
Horror, Fantasy
Writer Michael Hudson
Producers Michael Hudson, Stephanie Westwood, Diya Eid
Synopsis An unlikely gang of youths venture on a terrifying quest deep in the bush to save the adults of their small community from a supernatural threat that has enslaved them. On their journey they’ll also discover that the spooky Dreamtime stories they were told as kids aren’t just stories.

GORGEOUS
Chips & Gravy Films
Genre
Drama, Thriller
Writers Alexandra Keddie, Gemma Bird Matheson
Producers Alexandra Keddie, Gemma Bird Matheson
Script Consultant Jane Allen
Story Consultant Jada Alberts
Synopsis Off the back of a career defining story, Journalist Charlotte Barber returns home to Launceston, Tasmania to make a podcast; a ‘then and now’ piece juxtaposing the current 2017 Marriage Equality vote with the unsolved murder of her girlfriend’s mother 20 years earlier when homosexuality was still criminalised. As she conducts her investigations, Charlotte’s personal connection to the story becomes intertwined with her own need to confront the shame she’s held around her sexuality.

JUST CHIDI THINGS
Chika Ikogwe
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Writer Chika Ikogwe
Producers Chika Ikogwe, Ana Tiwary
Executive Producer Rose Byrne
Script Editor Alexandra Cullen
Synopsis After people pleasing Chidi is suspended from med school, she does whatever it takes to avoid disappointing her Nigerian parents. She thinks everything’s under control, but nosy Aunty Janice has other plans!

BHANG BHANG
Every Cloud Productions 2 Pty Ltd
Genre
Mystery, Dark Comedy, Crime, Magical Realism
Creator Meleesha Bardolia
Writers Meleesha Bardolia, Marieke Hardy, Hannah Samuel
Executive Producers Mike Jones, Drew Grove
Synopsis When an Indian-Australian detective, Celeste Pritchard, investigates a high-stakes Bollywood film crime plot at a luxurious Melbourne hotel, she is forced to confront a case she herself may have caused and is thrown into a colourful, dangerous and morally ambiguous new world.

PLACED
Ambience Entertainment PTY Limited
Genre
Drama
Director Partho Sen-Gupta
Writers Partho Sen-Gupta, Cathy Strickland
Producers Monica O’Brien, Megan Hutt, Faith Martin
Synopsis What happens when bureaucracy grates up against the complex realities of people’s lives. Through the eyes of a Case Worker, the series lifts the lid on the high stakes and emotionally charged world of foster care where the devastation of separation and the hope of reconciliation swing on a pendulum of entangled emotions.

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Screen Australia announces over $7.4 million of production funding for 9 projects

Screen Australia has announced five feature films, two television dramas and two children’s projects that will share in more than $7.4 million of production funding. The projects include dramedy Audrey, the debut feature from director Natalie Bailey, featuring actor and disability activist Hannah Diviney (Latecomers) which started production last week; plus family feature films Drone Racers and Whale Shark Jack.

Also receiving funding is One Night, a thriller for Paramount+; season 2 of Channel Seven’s RFDS and new ABC children’s series Galaxy Girl.

Screen Australia’s Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon said, “It’s fantastic to kick the year off with such a strong pipeline and wide mix of projects coming through. These distinct local stories, whether it’s uniquely Australian comedy, suspenseful thrillers or exciting family adventures, highlight how much high quality drama is being created in our sector at the moment.”

“We’re committed to supporting children’s content to ensure Australian kids are able to see themselves reflected onscreen, and we’re pleased to announce two television shows and two family films that are set to engage young audiences. There is a strong appetite for Australian children’s content around the world which was evident at MIPCOM last year, so we’re thrilled to see more exciting projects coming through in this space.”

The funded feature films are:

Audrey: A dramedy following self-appointed Mother of the Year, Ronnie Lipsick, who is living a life she never wanted, with a derailed career, a husband whose love for life has gone limp and two daughters who she struggles to connect with. When an accident lands her eldest daughter Audrey in a coma, Ronnie gets a second chance at life by taking on her daughter’s identity – only she’s not the only one in the family who sees Audrey’s comatose state as an opportunity. Directed by Natalie Bailey (Bay of Fires) and written by Lou Sanz (The PM’s Daughter), the film features actor, writer and disability activist Hannah Diviney, whose drama Latecomers has been selected for Seriesmania 2023. Audrey is produced by Michael Wrenn (6 Festivals), Dan Lake (Early Winter), Shannon Wilson-McClinton (Hearts & Bones) and Diya Eid with Executive Producers Kurt Royan (Retrograde) and Roxana McMallan (How to Please a Woman). It is financed in association with Screen Queensland with support from the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund. International sales will be managed by Bankside Films with Rialto distributing in Australia and New Zealand.

Drone Racers: This family feature is about unruly tween Esme who discovers a talent for the fun, futuristic sport of drone racing. Working with her tech-nerd cousin, she takes her new skills from the beaches, bush and burbs of their outback town, all the way to the world championships. Alison James (director of award-winning short film Judas Collar), is directing from a screenplay by Jules Duncan (Rams). The film is produced by Janelle Landers (Rams), Aidan O’Bryan (Girl Like You), James Grandison (Blueback) and Jessica Mitchell (Yardbird). Drone Racers is financed with support from Screenwest, Lotterywest and the Western Australian Regional Screen Fund. The film is being released internationally by Universal.

Fear Below: From director Matthew Holmes (The Legend of Ben Hall) and writer Gregory Moss (The Cost), this 1940s-set thriller is about a team of professional divers whom when hired to locate a sunken car from a river are thwarted by a deadly bull shark. When they discover they are working for ruthless criminals trying to recover their stolen gold bullion, their situation becomes even more dangerous. Fear Below is produced by Blake Northfield (Wyrmwood: Apocalypse) and Michael Favelle (Combat Wombat), with Sandra Tahmasby and Clement Dunn (Sissy) executive producing. It is financed in association with Screen NSW and Odin’s Eye Entertainment who are also managing international sales. Studio Canal is distributing the film in Australia.

Whale Shark Jack: This family feature, set at the breathtaking Ningaloo Reef, centres around 11-year-old Sarah, whose parents research whale sharks. Sarah’s best friend is a whale shark named Jack, who she rescued as a pup. Following a tragic accident, Sarah and her dad move to the coastal town of Exmouth. Sarah wants to return to her old life at sea and pegs all her hopes on Jack’s anticipated annual migration. But when Jack fails to return, Sarah embarks on a risky mission to find him. Written by Kathryn Lefroy (Library of Love), Whale Shark Jack will be directed by Miranda Edmonds and Khrob Edmonds, whose credits include Tango Underpants. Edmonds is producing alongside Timothy White (I Am Mother). Also producing are Kelvin Munro and Philip Wade. The film is financed in association with Screenwest, Lotterywest and the Western Australian Regional Screen Fund, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and Filmology Finance, with support from Wade Brothers Films, Minderoo Pictures and Ulladulla Films.

The Rooster: A mysterious drama that follows a sole police officer in a small town, Dan, who feels responsible for the death of his childhood friend. Grieving, Dan camps out in the bush at the site of his friend’s death where he meets an older hermit who may have been the last person to see his friend alive. As Dan uncovers the truth about how he died, he faces some difficult truths about himself as an unlikely friendship develops with the old man and he realises that all is not as it seems. A debut feature written and directed by Mark Leonard Winter (The Greatest Love of All) and produced by MahVeen Shahraki (Ellie & Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt)) and Geraldine Hakewill (Young Labor), The Rooster is funded by Mind The Gap in association with the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund and distributed in Australia by Bonsai Films. It received funding through Screen Australia’s Enhancement Fund.

The funded television dramas are:

One Night: A six-part drama for Paramount+ about three women whose bond was all but destroyed by the traumatic events of one night 20 years ago. Now 20 years later, one of the friends Simone has written a book - the one story she could never get out of her mind, and her debut manuscript has become an unexpected overnight success. But it soon becomes apparent that the devastating story the book tells doesn’t exclusively belong to her. One Night is produced by Easy Tiger’s Ian Collie, Rob Gibson and Ally Henville (Colin From Accounts, The Twelve) with Motive Pictures’ Simon Maxwell (The Woman in the Wall, Get Millie Black) as executive producer and Harriet Creelman, co-executive producer. Created and written by award-winning Emily Ballou (The Slap, Taboo), who also serves as executive producer. The series is directed by Catherine Millar (The Twelve, The Secrets She Keeps) and Lisa Matthews (Doctor Doctor, The PM’s Daughter). It is financed in association with Paramount+ and Fifth Season is managing international sales.

RFDS Season 2: Following on from the success of season 1, RFDS returns to the Seven Network with another eight-part season. This gripping medical drama based in Broken Hill follows the modern-day heroes of the Royal Flying Doctor Service as they navigate private lives as turbulent and profound as the heart stopping emergencies they attend. Directing season 2 are Jeremy Sims (Last Cab To Darwin), Adrian Russell Wills (The Warriors), and Rachel Ward (Rake) and the writers are Ian Meadows (Upright), Claire Phillips (Offspring), Adrian Russell Wills, Kodie Bedford (Mystery Road) and Magda Wozniak (Bad Behaviour). The series is produced by Ross Allsop (The Artful Dodger), co-produced by Ian Meadows and executive produced by Sara Richardson and Imogen Banks (Kindling Pictures). The series is financed in association with Seven Network with support from Screen NSW and EndemolShine Australia. International sales are managed by Banijay Rights International.

The funded children’s projects are:

Space Nova Season 2: A 15-episode second series for the ABC following the space faring Aussie Nova family who, on the brink of their greatest mission ever - travelling to the homeworld of the elusive Stardustians - almost destroy their starship, throwing them off course and stranding their new Stardustian friend Ziggy in parts unknown. Now, to find Ziggy and unravel an ‘imbalance in the universe’, the Novas will have to challenge everything they thought they knew about space: see the unseeable, know the unknow-able, and find the unfindable. The creative team sees the return of series director Pablo de la Torre and head writer Thomas Duncan-Watt, producers Suzanne Ryan, Yasmin Jones and executive producer Suzanne Ryan. Joining for season 2 is writer/episode director Chantelle Murray (Shed). The series is financed in association with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and is co-produced by Giggle Garage, Malaysia. International sales are managed worldwide by ZDF Studios, excluding Australia and New Zealand, which is being handled by ACTF.

Galaxy Girl: This 10-part series for the ABC is a coming-of-age sci-fi comedy about an extraterrestrial and all-round extra sparky human being called Lulin, whose Astoradian powers suddenly kick in, complicating her world and making her the target of hostile intergalactic invaders! Lulin must learn to control her powers before they lead to serious Year 6 uncoolness. Galaxy Girl is written by Melanie Sano (Neighbours), Jessica Paine (Neighbours), Michael Drake (The Wonder Gang), Megan Palinkas (Heartbreak High) and Vidya Rajan (How to Stay Married), teaming up with producer Pennie Brown (How to Stay Married) and executive producers Emma Fitzsimons (Koala Man) and Gillian Carr (KuuKuu Harajuku). Produced by Princess Pictures and Moody Street Kids with finance from the ABC in association with VicScreen, ABC Commercial is managing international sales.

SCREEN AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES $4.6 MILLION FOR 21 DOCUMENTARIES

Screen Australia has announced two documentaries through the First Nations Department, 12 documentaries through the Producer Program and seven projects through the Commissioned Program that will share in $4.6 million of production funding.

This includes feature documentary Rose Gold following the star-studded Australian “Boomers” basketball team, Breakaway Femmes about the women’s Tour de France, Devil’s Last Stand on the realities faced by Tasmanian Devils, plus a second season of NITV’s Our Law narrated by Deborah Mailman.

Screen Australia’s Head of Documentary Alex West said, “We’re pleased to announce this latest mix of documentaries which explore various chapters of Australia’s history, highlight where we may be headed in the future and shine a light on Australians making a difference. In doing so, I hope this extensive offering will also provide viewers with insights on topics including art, health and science, our environment, gender and multiculturalism – which can help add to important contemporary conversations.”

Angela Bates, Head of First Nations at Screen Australia said, “We are proud to support two experienced teams in their mission to deliver compelling documentaries, Rebel with a Cause and Our Law season 2. Our Law will continue to provide an honest insight into the challenges First Nations police officers face as they aim to change the system from within, while Rebel with a Cause celebrates four outstanding trailblazers in Queensland, who have each left lasting legacies in their respective fields.”

THE PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH THE FIRST NATIONS DEPARTMENT:

  • Rebel with a Cause: A 4 x 51-minute documentary series for NITV that celebrates the personal journey of four outstanding First Nations trailblazers from Queensland – poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, teacher and barrister Pat O’Shane, radio presenter Tiga Bayles and Senator Neville Bonner – who against the odds created amazing pathways for future generations. Douglas Watkin (Ella), Jill Robinson (Sistas in Mining) and Sio F. Tusa and EJ Garrett of Elements are directing, with Dena Curtis (Grace Beside Me) and Citt Williams (Yellow Fella) producing. From Inkey Media, Rebel with a Cause is financed with support from Screen Queensland.
  • Our Law Season 2: An 8 x 30-min series for NITV which provides intimate and candid access to First Nations police officers, recruits, and cadets as they attempt to break the cycle of Indigenous incarceration and repair deeply troubled Aboriginal-police relationships, while giving a rightful voice to the First Nations communities being policed. Following on from the success of season 1, Our Law’s second season expands nationwide with unparalleled access to the Western Australian Police and now new access to other Australian police jurisdictions. From the creative team behind season 1, including director Perun Bonser and producers Taryne Laffar and Sam Field, this series is a Pink Pepper Pty Ltd and Periscope Pictures Pty Ltd production and is financed in association with NITV with support from Screenwest and Lotterywest.

THE PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH THE COMMISSIONED PROGRAM ARE:

  • A Forgotten Cure (working title): A 54-minute documentary for SBS which follows teams of scientists in Melbourne and Sydney as they test a largely forgotten and experimental therapy on three critically ill superbug-infected patients – a therapy that involves injecting them with trillions of viruses. For the first time, filmmakers follow the patients, doctors, and scientists in nail-biting real time, revealing the extraordinary science and history of ‘phage therapy’; a 100-year old treatment that promises to not only save these patients’ lives but also give hope to the world. Writing/directing is Emma Watts (Invisible Wars), with Anna Mantzoros attached as producer and Sonya Pemberton (Carbon: An Unauthorised Biography) as producer and executive producer. It is financed by SBS in association with VicScreen.
  • Designing a Legacy Season 2: Comedian and architecture enthusiast Tim Ross travels the country in this two-part documentary from SAM Content and Modernister for the ABC – visiting structures that reveal surprising ways to read Australian history and explore our sense of identity in the architecture around us. He explores how buildings can leave a legacy of respect, create community, forge common identity and offer visions for our future. Ross, whose credits include Streets of your Town, is executive producing alongside Sally Aitken (The Pacific in The Wake of Cook with Sam Neill), with Aline Jacques (Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian) producing and Chris Eley (The Accused: Guilty or Innocent) directing. This project is financed in association with the ABC.
  • Devil’s Last Stand: A 55-minute documentary for the ABC from the director of Quoll Farm, Simon Plowright. Returning to the spectacular landscape of far north-west Tasmania, this film follows Plowright as he immerses himself in the daily life of another remarkable animal, the often-misunderstood Tasmanian Devil. For a year he will live with devils, revealing the epic struggle this unique marsupial is facing against both a fatal disease and the impacts of human encroachment. Devil’s Last Stand is directed by Plowright, produced by Simon Nasht (The Kingdom: How Fungi made The World) and is financed in association Screen Tasmania.
  • Dolphins: Is Our Love Too Deep?: This ground-breaking, investigative hour-long film for the ABC explores the impact humans are having on wild dolphins through hand feeding tourism programs in Australia. The documentary will uncover the tenuous balance between our all-consuming desire to get back to nature and the stark reality that our love for dolphins could be too deep. Dolphins: Is Our Love Too Deep? is from director/producer Leighton De Barros and producer/executive producer Jodie De Barros whose credits include Rottnest Island Kingdom of the Quokka and Jaimen Hudson: From Sky to Sea. It is financed in association with the ABC with support from Screenwest and Lotterywest.
  • Lessons from the Unknown: This feature-length documentary for SBS follows principal investigator Dr Paul Liknaitzky as he stages world first trials at Australia’s first clinical psychedelic laboratory at Monash University – asking the question on whether psychedelic drugs hold the answer to the mental illness epidemic. Exclusive access tracks the progress of the trials and the participants who hope that psychedelic therapy is finally the answer to their anguish. Lessons from the Unknown is from writer/director Chris Phillips (Lost Rambos), and co-writer/producer Jacob Hickey and producer Darren Dale of Blackfella Films (Deep Water: The Real Story and Step into Paradise). It is also executive produced by Jennifer Peedom (River) and financed in association with SBS and VicScreen.
  • The Nameless ‘Nazi’ (working title): This 60-minute documentary for SBS traces the story of Melbourne’s Alex Kurzem, a Jew who cheated death in the Holocaust by joining a Latvian battalion before emigrating to Australia in 1949 – hiding his secret for 50 years. With four false names, two mistaken family reunions and years of his life searching for his true identity, thanks to DNA he is now on the cusp of getting some questions answered on his deathbed. The Nameless ‘Nazi’ (working title) is written, directed and produced by Dan Goldberg and executive produced by Adam Kay, whose credits include The Bowraville Murders, Finding the Archibald and Great Southern Landscapes. It is financed in association with SBS.
  • War on Waste Season 3: This three-part series for the ABC will put the critical issue of waste back on the agenda and highlight the connection between waste and climate change. With passionate planet advocate and prankster Craig Reucassel at the helm, War on Waste will champion waste heroes and build on its previous success holding villains to account, set new challenges for corporations, councils and communities and conscript entire communities as part of a national plastic audit – to vividly highlight the problems lurking in our very own homes. Director Jodi Boylan, producer Craig Reucassel and executive producers David Galloway and Leonie Lowe are attached, whose credits include Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge, with Mariel Thomas (Judged) also producing. The series is financed by the ABC.

THE PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH THE PRODUCER PROGRAM ARE:

  • After School (working title): This documentary for the ABC is a humorous and heart-warming coming of age story that unfolds when a cast of neurodiverse teenagers confront their own challenges, dreams and desires as they prepare for their first high school musical. With unique and unprecedented access to Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School, this film is a poignant insight into the emotional worlds of these students. After School (working title) is directed by Thomas Hyland (How to See Through Fog), with Catherine Bradbury attached as producer alongside producers and executive producers Jim Wright (Goodnight Sweetheart) and Head of Unscripted at Fremantle Media Australia, Josie Mason Campbell. It is financed in association with the ABC, VicScreen and the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund.
  • Breakaway Femmes: This feature-length documentary is about how, for six glorious years during the 1980s, the Tour de France held a women’s race alongside the men’s race – smashing societal expectations, battling discrimination, injuries, financial hardship while also finding an inner strength and a bond of sisterhood. Their race should have heralded a brave new age of equality in sports, but instead the women’s Tour disappeared for more than three decades and the women never stopped fighting. Breakaway Femmes is the story of the rise and fall and rise of the women’s Tour de France. This project is written and directed by Eleanor Sharpe and produced by Nickolas Bird, whose credits include Remembering the Man and Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling. It is financed in association with VicScreen and will air on SBS.
  • The Carnival: This documentary for SBS captures the intimate moments of the six-generation carnival family, the Bells. The documentary will follow the Bells as they haul their convoy of 30 trucks and rides across the country with their workers, where they’ll face the elements, shutdowns and bushfires - battling to keep their family business running and on the road. Writing, directing and co-producing is Isabel Darling (Corey the Warrior), with Tom Zubrycki (Ablaze) producing. With a feature-length and hour-long version, this documentary is financed in association with the Shark Island Foundation, with support from JOTZ Productions and Documentary Australia.
  • Dead by June: This feature documentary tells the story of the meteoric rise, heartbreaking fall and the unfathomable comeback of motorcycle racing’s five-time World Champion, Mick Doohan, who the press nicknamed “Dead by June Doohan”. On the eve of what was to be his first World Championship victory, Mick came dangerously close to fulfilling the media’s prophecy of being willing to die to win – suffering a high speed crash that shattered Mick’s world as he knew it. This is a story of second chances, finding strength in suffering and the remarkable resilience of the human spirit. Dead by June is written, directed and produced by Robert Coe and Madeleine Ross who previously collaborated on Blind Ambition, with Paul Wiegard (River, Gold), Josh Pomeranz (Seriously Red, Hearts and Bones) and television presenter and journalist Karl Stefanovic executive producing. It is financed in association with Spectrum Entertainment.
  • KillJoy: A feature documentary that begins with the unravelling of a middle-class family 38 years ago, which ends in a family homicide. It is told from the unique point of view of the child, Kathryn Joy, who grew up with their father – the man who killed their mother. This film grapples with pressing dilemmas; how does a child reconcile the love they have for their only living parent, who is capable of both genuine kindness and killing and a legal system that decided it was in their best interests to be raised by that same person. KillJoy is from writer/director Vincent Lamberti (Intervention: Stories from the Inside), producer Lisa Albert (Rapping it Up), project adviser Ivan O’Mahoney (Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra) and associate producer Jess Hill (See What You Made Me Do). It is financed in association with Fringe Dweller Films and the Shark Island Foundation, with support from The Post Lounge.
  • The Love of My Life: A 28-minute documentary centred on a transgender love story which will premiere on 2 April on ABC TV and ABC iview as part of ABC’s Compass series. It follows Gail and Lisette who waited 60 years to live their lives and love freely. Finally, after four marriages and three children, they were able to marry for the first time as their true selves – two women in love. In the director’s chairs are Francesca Rizzoli (Italian Dressmaker in Melbourne) and Trevor J Graham (Chef Antonio’s Recipes for Revolution). Graham is also producing with Catherine Barret attached as executive producer. It is funded in association with the ABC, as part of their World Pride programming.
  • Rose Gold: 90-minute feature documentary which follows the story of the star-studded Australian “Boomers” basketball team as they try to bring home an international medal after decades of coming agonisingly close. Featuring insider interviews with high-profile Australian and NBA players (including Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Andrew Gaze, and Andrew Bogut), coaches, and commentators, the film tracks the evolution of basketball culture in Australia, its successes, near misses, and how a team comes together to make history. Attached is writer/director Matthew Adekponya (Building Titans), creative consultant Kriv Stenders (Bump) and co-writer Allan Clarke (The Bowraville Murders). The film is produced and executive produced by Wooden Horse’s Richard Finlayson and executive produced by Jude Troy, co-producers of Stuff the British Stole. It has been commissioned by the ABC and is financed with support from Screen NSW. Theatrical distribution by Madman Entertainment, with Escapade Media managing international sales.
  • Songs Inside: This feature-length documentary follows singer-songwriter Nancy Bates on her journey to teach women in prison how to write songs, sing and play the ukulele – helping to prepare these women to get out of prison, and stay out. An ensemble of 10 prisoners will work intensively with Nancy for six months and then stage a first-of-a-kind performance in the Prison alongside the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. As well as following these women’s musical journeys, Songs Inside will shed light on their personal stories around incarceration and reveal how music can be a powerful tool for change and healing. From writer/director/producer Shalom Almond (Prisoners and Pups), the film is produced by Katrina Lucas (The Art of the Game), Lauren Drewery (Pop-Ability) and is co-produced by Nancy Bates.
  • Turning the Tide: A 27-minute documentary for the ABC’s Compass series which follows Captain Sarah Parry who takes a group of teenagers from refugee and Aussie backgrounds on a remarkable, life-changing voyage aboard Windeward Bound, the tall-ship she built in Tasmania. Taken out of their comfort zone (without a smartphone in sight), challenged daily, discovering qualities they didn’t know they had, all the kids find themselves becoming part of a new interdependent community where everyone plays a vital role to sail the ship. This project is directed by Franck Dubuc and written by Francesca Partridge, whose credits include Shariat al-Dhaid. Partridge is also attached as producer alongside Steve Thomas (Death or Liberty) and it is financed in association with Screen Tasmania.
  • Watandar, My Countryman: This 67-minute documentary is told through the eyes of Muzafar Ali, a former Afghan Refugee, new Australian and photographer. Discovering that Afghans have been an integral part of Australia for over 160 years, he searches to define his own Afghan-Australian identity and begins to photograph Afghan Cameleer descendants living in Australia. Jolyon Hoff and Muzafar Ali whose credits include The Staging Post are attached as writer/director/producer and writer/producer respectively, alongside producer Hamish Gibbs Ludbrook (No Distinguishing Features). This project is financed in association with LSAF Investment, with support from Elements Post Production and the Adelaide Film Festival Fund.
  • The Weeping Tree: A 60-minute documentary that explores the collision of art, science, palawa connection to country, and intimate storytelling to shine a light on an iconic Tasmanian tree critically threatened by the effects of climate change, the Cider Gum (Eucalyptus gunnii). It will explore arts’ place in our relationship with the natural world which is currently undergoing great change – helping audiences to reconnect and re-adjust. Attached as director is Matthew Newton (Convoy), producer Catherine Pettman (There Is No ‘I’ in Island) and executive producer Andry Sculthorpe (Returning patrula/Fire). The Weeping Tree is financed in association with the Purves Environmental Fund and Purryburry Fund. It has received previous development support via Screen Tasmania’s Proof of Concept initiative.
  • Woven Threads: Stories from Country: This 8 x 5-min animated documentary series for NITV is dedicated to telling stories of shared humanity – looking at the effect of colonisation past and present on Indigenous Australian communities, exploring themes of identity, youth justice, mental health, disability, employment, LGBTQI related issues and out of home care. Woven Threads gives the people involved the opportunity to share their stories and experiences with a public audience – aiming to increase awareness around these challenges, as well as engender hope and courage in those who are struggling. The series is directed by Tony Briggs (Elders) and produced by Michi Marosszeky, who was also behind Woven Threads: Stories from Afar and Woven Threads: Stories from Within. It is financed in association with NITV with support from Lifeline.

Screen Australia announces $700,000 of story development funding for 20 projects

Screen Australia has announced 17 feature films, two television dramas and one online feature that will share in $700,000 of Story Development funding. The projects include Eggshell Skull from writer/director Mia Wasikowska based on the book of the same name by Bri Lee; animated family adventure film Laser Beak Man; TikTok mockumentary series CEEBS from two of the writers of ABC ME’s Turn Up the Volume; and television dramedy Debatable, executive produced by AACTA award-winning producer Meg O’Connell.

This slate includes 11 projects supported through the Generate Fund and nine through the Premium Fund.

Also announced today are the three successful teams to receive additional development funding through SBS, NITV and Screen Australia’s Digital Originals initiative.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Bobby Romia said, “It’s fantastic to support this exciting mix of projects including four stories for children and families, with Laser Beak Man being adapted from stage to screen, and the re-invigoration of the much-adored ‘Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular’ animatronics in The Great Dinosaur Rescue. These heart-warming stories will explore themes including the importance of chasing your dreams, taking care of the planet and the power of teamwork and community.”

“Providing career development and talent escalation opportunities for local screen practitioners is at the core of what we do and I’m delighted to support alumni from Screen Australia’s Talent USA program including Rachele Wiggins with Method to Madness and Vonne Patiag with Tomgirl.”

The projects funded for development include:

  • Anna Robi & the House of Dogs: Adapted from the stage play, this feature-length dramedy is about luminescent optimist Anna Robi, sole carer for her overbearing mother and their once-pedigree dogs, who dreams of romance and independence. But when Anna gets her first startling taste of life and love outside the home, she must choose between the familiar comfort of the whelping box or finally taking off the leash. Stef Smith, whose credits include It’s Fine, I’m Fine and Joy Boy is writing and directing, with multiple AWGIE award-winning playwright Maxine Mellor also attached as writer.
  • CEEBS: A 15-part TikTok mockumentary about recent high-school graduates, Zion and Ruby, who join forces to run for Youth President at their local youth centre. As the PR stunts and presidential pressure intensifies, so do the flaws and insecurities within their friendship – begging the question whether their bond will survive fulfilling their ‘duties’ as potential mouthpieces for their peers or if sociopolitical collapse is inevitable. The creative team features writers Betiel Beyin and Leigh Lule whose credits include Turn Up the Volume, and producers Nikki Tran (Fresh!) and Amie Batalibasi (Thalu).
  • Debatable: This eight-part dramedy series follows 15-year-old Hannah, a recently disgraced high-school debater who moves to a small coastal town with her Mum to recover from unspeakable humiliation. As rumours quickly follow, she must think, talk and act fast – even if that means joining the new school’s motley debating team and learning to speak truth to power. The writers are Jessica Tuckwell (Bump), Enoch Mailangi (Crazy Fun Park), Maddie Nixon and one of the stars of Netflix’s Heartbreak High, Thomas Weatherall. Sanja Simić and Diya Eid are attached as development producers, with AACTA award-winning producer Meg O’Connell (Retrograde), Kurt Royan (Retrograde, Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story) and Dan Lake executive producing.
  • Eggshell Skull: This drama feature film from writer/director Mia Wasikowska (Blueback, Tim Winton’s The Turning) is a coming of rage story based on the acclaimed book of the same name by Bri Lee. The film will chart 23-year-old Bri’s journey through the Australian legal system as a judge’s associate and complainant - seeking justice for a crime that has haunted her since childhood. The story follows Bri as she witnesses confronting cases in the courtroom and tries to manage her own trauma that rises to the surface along the way. Eggshell Skull will be produced by Justin Kurzel (True History of the Kelly Gang), Shaun Grant (Penguin Bloom) and Nicole O’Donohue (The Daughter).
  • Flip: An action-adventure feature film that follows gutsy Aussie teen skateboarder Danni who joins the world’s top female skaters in the inaugural Women’s World Cup tour. Having never skated in a professional competition before, along the way Danni must fight against ingrained prejudice in her quest to become the first Women’s Number One. Directing and producing is Cancelled creator Luke Eve, with Adam Alcabes (Relativity Avengerables) also producing. Attached as writers are Alli Parker (Secret Bridesmaids’ Business) and Warwick Holt (Bruce).
  • The Great Dinosaur Rescue: For 12 years, Creature Technology’s pack of animatronic dinosaurs toured the world with ‘Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular’ - bringing joy to millions of people while celebrating their ancestors. Now retired and gathering dust, waiting to be destroyed, this family feature film will follow brave 10-year-old Spike, who is determined to save the dinosaurs from destruction and find them a new home. Reviving the actual animatronic dinosaurs from the worldwide arena phenomenon, The Great Dinosaur Rescue will be written and produced by Belinda Bradley and Franz Docherty, whose credits include Savage River.
  • Laser Beak Man: A feature-length family animation that follows superhero and champion of Power City, Laser Beak Man who has the responsibility of bringing colour to his world. But when the mischievous Peter Bartman steals his magical colour crystals, causing Power City to start losing its colour, Laser Beak Man has to team up with an odd cast of characters to win the crystals back and return Power City to a world of colour. Laser Beak Man expands the world of the popular super hero created by executive producer and artist Tim Sharp, who over the years has shared his story of living with autism and appealed to a global fanbase through his unique sense of humour and amazing art. Fin Edquist (100% Wolf) is attached as writer, with producers Su Armstrong (Good Will Hunting) and Brian Rosen (James & The Giant Peach) for Studio B Animation and Barbara Stephen (100% Wolf) for Flying Bark Productions.
  • Method to Madness: A feature-length psychological thriller about starlet Anna, who wins the acting role of a lifetime before realising that the director’s intentions may not be entirely artistic. Undergoing a week of rehearsals locked in the director’s house, Anna must face some eery and monstrous circumstances, including confronting the ghost of her late mother, while trying not to lose her mind. Rachele Wiggins (Beast No More, Scare Package II) is attached as writer/director/producer, alongside writer Jennifer Van Gessel (Beast No More) and producer Sandy Stevens (Dirt Music). Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and Kristian Moliere (The Babadook) are executive producing.
  • The Star of the Sea: This feature-length mystery/drama follows Jan, a Dutch fisherman with a solitary disposition and a dark temper who struggles to support his wife and two beloved daughters in the tiny fishing village of Port Stanley, Tasmania. But Jan’s bleak world-view is changed by a series of events that follow an apparent visitation by the Virgin Mary – delivering the chance at redemption that he, his family and the community around them have been praying for. The Star of the Sea is from writer/director/producer Jeremy Sims (Rams, Last Cab to Darwin), with Greg Duffy (Last Cab to Darwin) and Daniel Ostroff (Dogtown and Z-Boys, The Missing) also attached as producers. It is based on the original screenplay by Everett DeRoche titled ‘Locusts and Wild Honey’.
  • Tomgirl: This feature-length drama follows the story of Justin, a shy nine-year-old who is bullied at school, much to the shock of his overbearing Filipino mother. When his queer cross-dressing uncle moves in, Justin begins dressing as a girl, receiving an enchanting crash course in his homeland culture - finding the unexpected superpower in being himself. Writer/director Vonne Patiag (Significant Others, Here Out West), is adapting Tomgirl from his acclaimed short film of the same name, with In-Between Pictures business partner and producer Maren Smith (One Less God, Alphabet Street).

For the complete list of development funding approvals refer to television, online and feature film breakdowns.

DIGITAL ORIGINALS PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT

Screen Australia, SBS and NITV have announced three projects from this year’s Digital Originals initiative to receive further development funding. These projects were selected from the seven teams who received initial development funding in 2022. From here, up to three projects will move into production for SBS platforms and NITV.

The successful projects are:

  • Moonbird (TAS): An estranged father and son reconnect when they go muttonbirding together for the first time on a remote Bass Strait island, only to find there are no birds. Team: Nathan Maynard, Adam Thompson, Catherine Pettman, Matthew Newton.
  • Moni (NSW): In a desperate attempt to appease his sister, Moni, a closeted 39-year-old Samoan man awkwardly sets out to find a female date for her wedding; however, when his dead mother has other plans, his seemingly simple mission becomes a whole lot more complicated. Team: Taofia Pelesasa, Eliorah Malifa, Alana Hicks, Erin Foy, Nicole Coventry, Jessica Tuckwell, Tommy Misa.
  • Warm Props (working title) (WA): 8hr call, 40-degree heat, culturally clueless crews and locals who haven’t spoken to each other in decades. What could possibly go wrong with this casting call? Team: Jub Clerc, Jodie Bell.

The Digital Originals initiative aims to develop exciting and innovative short-form drama projects to premiere as a single episode program on SBS On Demand and NITV, from screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector. This includes people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, First Nations Australians, people with disability, female and gender diverse, LGBTIQ+ and those who are located in regional and remote areas.

Across an impressive slate of projects, including The Tailings, Iggy & Ace, Homecoming Queens, and Robbie Hood, Digital Originals continues to be a proven career pathway for creatives. Alumni includes Dylan River (Mystery Road: Origin), Corrie Chen (New Gold Mountain), and Stevie Cruz-Martin who comes off the back of directing The Tailings for SBS On Demand, to direct SBS and Screen Australia’s new drama series, Safe Home. The latest Digital Original project to air on SBS On Demand was Latecomers, which has been celebrated for its ground-breaking story and for giving voices to under-represented communities.

SEEING OURSELVES ON-SCREEN

SCREEN AUSTRALIA REPORT REVEALS PROGRESS FOR DIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIAN TV DRAMA

Screen Australia has released new research into diversity on Australian screens, titled Seeing Ourselves 2: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Australian TV Drama. A follow up to the landmark 2016 study, Seeing Ourselves 2 examines the diversity of main characters in 361 scripted Australian TV and online dramas broadcast between 2016 and 2021, how this compares to the Australian population, and what has changed since the previous Seeing Ourselves report.

The report shows that there have been increases in the levels of diversity since 2016 including higher representation for First Nations people (7.2% from 4.8%), disabled people (6.6% from 3.6%), LGBTIQ+ people (7.4% from 4.5%), and non-European people (16% from 6.9%). However, a number of Australia’s communities remain under-represented on-screen compared to population benchmarks and in particular disability representation remains critically low.

MATILDAS’ FIGHT FOR EQUAL PAY, AMONG EIGHT DOCUMENTARIES RECEIVING SCREEN AUSTRALIA PRODUCTION FUNDING

Screen Australia has announced two documentaries funded through the Commissioned Program and six projects through the Producer Program that will share in over $2 million of production funding.

The projects include This Is Us, about the gender equality success story of the Matildas football team, ABC’s The Way We Wore, exploring the history of the Australian fashion industry, Ellis Park about Australian musician Warren Ellis and his wildlife sanctuary in Sumatra directed by Justin Kurzel and Rewards for the Tribe which follows the collaboration between two acclaimed Australian contemporary dance companies.

Screen Australia’s Head of Documentary Alex West said, “This new mix of projects will provide insights into aspects of Australia’s past as well as contemporary issues, highlighting relevant topics such as wildlife conservation, gender equality in sport and the public healthcare system. We are proud to support these documentaries and I’m confident they will strike a chord with local audiences and beyond.”

THE PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH THE COMMISSIONED PROGRAM ARE:

  • Life on the Hospital Frontline (working title): A 3 x 52-minute documentary series for SBS that explores the challenges faced by the Australian public health system by going behind the scenes at one of Australia’s busiest public hospitals – St Vincent’s in Sydney. Life on the Hospital Frontline (working title) is series produced by Jo Siddiqui, written/directed by Anthony Barwell and executive produced by Dan Brown whose credits include What Does Australia Really Think About? and Claremont: A Killer Among Us. The series is financed in association with SBS with support from Screenwest and Lotterywest.

  • The Way We Wore: From Stranger Than Fiction and Wheels Rolling, this 3 x 60-minute series for the ABC is a definitive history of the Australian fashion industry. The series will unpack the cultural and historical significance of the Australian fashion industry and explore how the clothes we wear provide an unexpectedly intimate insight into the evolution of our country. Filled with archival material, gorgeous animation and interviews from the most highly regarded fashion faces in the country, The Way We Wore will ask why fashion matters and what it says about who we are and where we are going. Writing, directing and producing is Nel Minchin whose credits include Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra and Folau, with Mel Hayward (Hotel Coolgardie) also writing. Also producing is Jo-Anne McGowan (Mountain) and Sarah Noonan, with Jennifer Peedom (Mountain) attached as executive producer. ABC Commissioning Editor Kalita Corrigan. It is financed in association with the ABC with support from Screenwest and Lotterywest and Screen NSW.

THE PROJECTS FUNDED THROUGH THE PRODUCER PROGRAM ARE:

  • Aquarius: Coined the anti-Woodstock, the Nimbin Aquarius Festival in 1973 was a radical 10-day social experiment where idealists faced down police interference, internal chaos, drugs and personal dramas, highlighted in this 75-minute documentary. Through extensive collaboration and with hours of precious newly-uncovered footage, Aquarius explores the Festival, its inception and its aftermath and examines the power one event has in continuing to shape history. It is written and directed by Wendy Champagne (Taxi) and directed by Oren Siedler (Bruce and Me). Sam Griffin (Going Country) is producing, with Chris Hilton (The GoBetweens: Right Here), Rhoda Roberts AO (In the Gutter? No Way), Tom Zubrycki (Ablaze) and Paul Wiegard (River) attached as executive producers. It is financed with support from philanthropy via Documentary Australia and is distributed by Madman Entertainment. Developed with assistance of Screen NSW.
  • Ellis Park: This feature documentary follows Australian musician Warren Ellis, member of rock groups Dirty Three and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In the dark times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ellis found his way to make a difference by helping create a wildlife sanctuary in Sumatra – giving life and dignity to animals rescued from human captivity. Ellis Park is a documentary about hope, redemption and how even little efforts can make a big difference. Attached is writer/director Justin Kurzel (Nitram) and producers Nick Batzias (The Australian Dream) and Charlotte Wheaton (Clean). Ellis Park is financed in association with McCorkell Brown, with support from the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund. It is developed and produced in association with VicScreen.
  • Never Get Busted!: This 4-part series tells the story of Barry Cooper, who was once a highly decorated narcotics officer in Texas. That is until he turned against the police force to expose crooked cops and corruption – becoming the law-evasion guru and drug reform activist he is known as today. This is the story of one man’s fight to turn the tide on the international War on Drugs, if he doesn’t get busted in the process. From Projector Films, Never Get Busted! is created by David Ngo and Erin Williams-Weir, written by David Ngo and directed by Stephen McCallum (Outlaws). It is produced by Daniel Joyce (Martha: A Picture Story), Erin Williams-Weir and David Ngo. Chris Smith (Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness) and John Battsek (Academy Award-winning One Day in September) are attached as executive producers. It is financed with support from Library Films, Ventureland, Pinnacle Films, Sons Of Rigor, Mind The Gap and the South Australian Film Corporation.
  • Rewards for the Tribe: A feature-length documentary following the collaboration between two acclaimed Australian contemporary dance companies, Chunky Move and Restless Dance Theatre. Using intimate personal reflections on dance and on the body, alongside choreographed dance sequences, Rewards for the Tribe is an emotive, timely insight into the transcendence of dance, connection and collaboration. It is written and directed by Rhys Graham (Murundak: Songs of Freedom) with script collaborator and director mentee Jana Castillo. Attached as producers are Philippa Campey (Anonymous Club) and Molly O’Connor (Running 62), with associate producers Bus Stop Films. It is financed in association with the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund, with support from Chunky Move. Developed in association with VicScreen.
  • This Is Us: This 30-minute documentary is the story of Australian Women’s Football’s transformational journey from striking for equal pay to co-hosting the biggest women’s football tournament on the planet. With a focus on Australia, co-hosts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, this documentary takes a deep-dive into how societal shifts have supported the long-overdue visibility and success of the team and the wave of change in women’s football currently sweeping the planet. Writing, directing and producing are Maggie Miles (Dare to be Different) and Maggie Eudes, with Lucy Maclaren (Carbon: The Unauthorised Biography) also producing. This is Us is financed in association with MECCA M-POWER and developed and produced in association with VicScreen. It is set to stream on FIFA+ and FIFA’s YouTube Channel.
  • Welcome to Babel: A feature-length documentary about the life and work of Chinese-Australian artist Jiawei Shen and his new work – a parable of the history of the Communist movement in which famous characters, artworks, love stories and battles jostle for space in a painting the height of a three-story building. Jiawei and his artist wife Lan tell their life stories with passion and humour, from the tumult of Mao’s China, through their unlikely love story, to their new lives in Australia. Directing/producing is James Bradley (Ochre and Ink), with Graeme Isaac (Bran Nue Dae) and Carl-Ludwig Rettinger also producing and Andrew Myer (The Dry) attached as executive producer. Welcome to Babel is financed in association with ZDF-Arte and Lichtblick Film, with support from Nirvana Films, Mayfan Films and philanthropy via Documentary Australia.
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