‘The Rainbow Passage’.
Network 10 and Screen Australia have chosen three documentary projects to receive funding as part of initiative Out Here, focused on the LGBTQI+ experience in rural and regional communities.
The successful projects are:
• Alone Out Here: An observational documentary set in regional NSW that follows gay, fourth-generation farmer Jon Wright. His 22-year commitment to transform his cattle farm into an environmental blueprint for the future demands that he overcome loneliness and a life without children. The project from Biscuit Tin Productions and Philip Busfield will be shot and directed by Luke Cornish (Beyond the Mirror Ball), and produced by Mick Elliott. Dylan Blowen whose credits include Vice Australiana documentary Shooting Cats is executive producer.
• Belonging: A documentary from Toyshop Entertainment that follows 18-year-old LGBTQI+ activist Sam Watson as he takes a road trip from Hobart to north-west Tasmania to examine the impact and influence of gay rights activist Rodney Croome’s public fight for gay law reform, which began in the 1980s and continues today. Watson explores what life is like for young LGBTQI+ people in regional Tasmania in 2019. The documentary will be written and directed by Matt Scholten with producer Ruby Schmidt and Dena Curtis (Shadow Trackers) working as story producer. Noni Hazlehurst AM and Veronica Fury (Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks) are executive producers.
• The Rainbow Passage: A story of transformation, love and community from Lasting Kind that follows three transgender women living in regional NSW as they navigate the challenges of emerging womanhood. The title of the project is inspired by the poem of the same name which is a phonetic text recited by people undergoing voice therapy. Many trans people use it to compare their “old” voices to their “new”. The documentary will be written and directed by Cadance Bell. Kelli Jean Drinkwater will co-direct and post-produce, and Jain Moralee – who worked with Drinkwater on documentaries Nothing to Lose and Monsta Gras – will produce. The documentary will follow Cadance and her partner Amanda who independently began their gender transitions before they met and fell in love. Now engaged, not only are they planning a wedding, but an entirely new life as the women they always longed to be.
Screen Australia head of documentary at Screen Australia Bernadine Lim said: “We were absolutely blown away with the quality and volume of applications we received for this targeted initiative. We were looking for powerful, character-driven projects that could shine a light on regional and rural LGBTQI+ experiences which we have not seen on our screens before. The three selected documentaries have inclusion at their core and will offer an important insight into both individuals and communities in regional Australia that will now be accessible to audiences through 10 Play.”
Network 10’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said: “Congratulations to the teams behind the selected documentaries. It was terrific to see the response from budding film makers. It’s very promising for the future of the production community. We’re looking forward to sharing your stories about LGBTIQ+ inclusion and diversity with the rest of Australia on 10 Play.”
Grant recipients will need to complete their documentaries by January 2020. The documentaries will then appear on 10 Play later in the year.