A picture of 'The Tailings' lead cast members, Mabel LI and Tegan Stimson.
Mabel Li and Tegan Stimson.

Emerging stars Mabel Li and Tegan Stimson will lead the cast of SBS’s short-form drama The Tailings, which started shooting on the West Coast of Tasmania this week.

Joining them are Kris McQuade, Victoria Haralabidou, Nic English, Shaun Martindale, Harry Prior, Tai Nguyen, Michael Earnshaw, Jane Hamilton Foster and Sarah Cooper.

Set in the West Coast Wilderness, the 6 x 10-minute mystery drama follows teenager Jas (Stimson), as she investigates the cause of her father’s death.

His funeral coincides with the arrival of a newly-graduated schoolteacher, Ruby (Li) who must also deal with her own unresolved issues. As the mystery unfolds, secrets are exposed and the two are challenged to confront the strange and paradoxical layers of grief. 

A Good Lark production, in association with 2Jons and Roar Film, The Tailings is written by Tasmanian Caitlin Richardson, directed by Stevie Cruz-Martin and produced by Liz Doran with Richard Kelly and Steve Thomas. Amanda Duthie is the EP for SBS.

Screen Australia, Screen Tasmania and First Look Media’s US streaming service Topic, to whom the producers have secured a has secured a US/Canada pre-sale, have provided finance.

Stimson said: “I am excited to have the opportunity to be involved in The Tailings and to collaborate with such a talented and experienced cast to bring this amazing story to life. The series tells such a powerful and relevant story, entailing many strong female roles, who have such depth and complexity. 

Growing up in Tasmania, there is always a sense of strong community and you are never far from nature. As a young Tasmanian, I identify with this story and wish to help portray an entertaining show that can resonate with audiences.”

Li said: “I am so thrilled to be filming in the beautiful lutruwita and to be working alongside some stellar female creatives, and I feel incredibly proud to be representing a modern young Chinese Australian woman in this story. 

The West Coast’s moody mountainous backdrop has been the perfect setting to this dark, mysterious yet incredibly quirky story. Being isolated all in one place far from home has added an extra layer of intimacy to this production and I’m so excited for the world to see it.”

SBS director of television and online content Marshall Heald said: “SBS is thrilled to commence production in Tasmania this week and to be creating exciting opportunities for local and emerging talent. The Tailings portrays a community living on the margins, both socially and geographically, providing a rare insight into remote Tasmania, a community seldom represented on-screen. The Tailings responds to the growing audience appetite for short-form digital content, joining AACTA-Award winning series Robbie Hood in SBS’s premium offering of bite-sized dramas.”

The Tailings will premiere on SBS On Demand in 2021.

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