Press release from Screen Queensland

Three screen projects have been recognised in an initiative designed to encourage more literary adaptations developed for the screen, with the $40,000 Chauvel Award going to a project based on Australian author John Birmingham’s bestselling novel The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco.

The Queensland creative team at Wickham Park Productions behind the adaptation of The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco are the recipients of the $40,000 Chauvel Award.

Screen Queensland congratulates producer Bec Dakin, scriptwriter Karl Mather and director Zenon Kohler, who are involved in the film adaptation of John Birmingham’s riotous comic novel about a house of misfits and a catastrophic week of adventure.

The 2011 Chauvel Award was announced as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival’s (BIFF) 20th anniversary celebration, following an enormously successful year for BIFF that saw more films, bigger audiences, and prominent prizes.

The Chauvel Award will help to encourage the work of producers and writers at an early stage in a project’s life, providing provide much-needed funds towards the development of a production that could stand alongside other great adaptations by Australian filmmakers.

This $40,000 support will allow the team to option John Birmingham’s novel, and work closely with Screen Queensland through various drafts of the script, as Wickham Park Productions move through the project’s development towards a production outcome.

Two Chauvel Award Special Mentions totalling $35,000 have also been announced for projects that showed great promise in their journey from bestseller to the box office.

Painted Love Letters, based on a young adult novel book by Catherine Bateson published by University of Queensland Press, will receive $25,000 development support for Brisbane scriptwriter Vicki Englund.

Queensland producers Stephen Lance, Mairi Cameron and Leanne Tonkes of Head Pictures will receive $10,000 development support to option and adapt a romantic comedy script for The Secret Lives of Dresses, based on the international bestseller by Erin McKean.

By taking this award, which is part of BIFF’s history, and attaching it to a program designed to see more Queensland films developed, Screen Queensland is recognising the importance of literary source material for film.

Screen Queensland CEO Maureen Barron said the adaptation of literary works was integral to sharing Australian stories through film.

“Australia adapts fewer works than any of the other leading film industries including the United Kingdom or the United States.

“We are thrilled that this initiative has attracted some new talent to Screen Queensland’s network of leading writers and filmmakers in the state, and new people for us to work with.”

The three projects were selected based on the quality, originality and audience appeal of the material and the ability of the creative team to carry out development on the adapted work. The award was launched during a discussion panel between producers and publishers hosted by Screen Queensland at the 2011 Brisbane Writers Festival.

Named after trailblazing filmmaker Charles Chauvel, the Chauvel Award pays tribute to the legacy of one of Queensland’s earliest filmmakers by offering a development package for the best screen adaptation of a novel.

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