The life of Australian artist Brett Whiteley will be brought to the screen with assistance from Screen Australia’s new Documentary Producer program.

Titled Whiteley, the film is a one-off documentary from Northern Pictures , aiming to provide audiences with a unique insight into the incredible life and legacy of the iconic Australian artist. The project will be produced by Sue Clothier and directed by James Bogle, who also co-wrote the script with Victor Gentile.

It is one of eight projects that have been selected to receive funding support in the first round of the program, with Screen Australia estimating the combined production expenditure will generate close to $9.3million.

Land Artists (working title) will delve into one of Australia’s leading (and controversial) architecture firms, Denton Corker Marshall, on their mission to create the Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. Renegade Films will make the documentary with producers Lucy Maclaren, Joe Connor and Ken Connor.

Black As is a short documentary web series that will follow a group of young Indigenous men through Arnhem Land. Rebel Films will make the film with writer/director/producer David Batty.

Cast from the Storm will broach difficult subject matter as it examines a group of teenage refugees brought together by a theatre program run by a Sydney high school. Under the guidance of their teachers, each will share their ‘Storm Stories’ – the situations that made them refugees – in front of Australian audiences. The project will be directed by David Mason and produced by James Cogswell. 

In a statement released to the media, Liz Stevens, Senior Manager, Documentary, said, “It’s been reassuring to see the strength of projects coming through the first round of the Producer program. The program has accomplished what it set out to achieve – offering trigger funding across a range of content, styles and platforms to both experienced and emerging filmmakers. We’re incredibly buoyed up by the quality of the content, the enthusiasm of producers to try something different and the ambitions of the projects in general.”

The purpose of the Producer program is to provide filmmakers with a solid foundation to attract and finalise additional finance for their projects. The new system gives filmmakers up to four months to secure the remaining finance and the stability to progress their projects.

The program provides filmmakers with creative and commercial flexibility on their projects, as well as the autonomy to broaden the pathways to audience. Projects in this round will reach local and international audiences through theatrical, broadcast, digital and festival release.

Screen Australia is pleased to announce the Documentary Producer program will accept online applications for the next round through the new Application Portal, with a deadline of 19 June 2015.

Below is a complete list of projects funded through Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program.


20 x 4 mins
Rebel Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Director/Producer David Batty
Executive Producer David Noakes
Synopsis Going bush with the Black As crew, a celebration of bush culture, ingenuity and what it is to be a young fella in the bush today.

70 mins
Missing Archive Productions
Producer James Cogswell
Executive Producer Susan MacKinnon
Director David Mason
Synopsis After desperately fleeing war and persecution, an extraordinary bunch of teenagers are brought together through a life-changing theatre program. At a Sydney high school, under the guidance of three passionate teachers, they share their ‘Storm Stories’ – the stories that made them refugees – in front of Australian audiences.

98 mins
iKandy Films
Producer Katey Grusovin
Director Janine Hosking
Synopsis The Eulogy tells the powerful story of little known concert virtuoso, Geoffrey Tozer, and poses the question – did Australia fail its greatest ever pianist?

57 mins
Renegade Films Pty Ltd
Producers Lucy Maclaren, Joe Connor, Ken Connor
Director Paul Goldman
Synopsis The story of the art and philosophy behind one of Australia’s most outstanding (and controversial) architecture firms, Denton Corker Marshall, and their rise to international recognition.

90 mins
Essential Media and Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Alan Erson, Christine Le Goff
Executive Producers Chris Hilton, Marcus Gillezeau
Director Richard Smith
Synopsis The next great voyage of human exploration has already begun: the search for life on planets orbiting distant stars. With extraordinary CGI, the world’s most inspiring scientists, via extreme environments on Earth and around the solar system, the film takes viewers aboard the next generation of space ships, across the cosmos and beneath the clouds of the exo-planets to discover The Living Universe.

85 mins
Pericles Film Productions Pty Ltd
Producer/Director Andrew Wiseman
Synopsis Filmed over three decades, this documentary charts the life story of Richard, a young man with severe intellectual disability since birth, and his parents’ quest to carve out a quality life for their son and a fulfilling life for themselves.

2 x 52 mins
Electric Pictures Pty Ltd
Producer Andrew Ogilvie
Director Steve Westh
Synopsis Spectacular reconstructions of life in the Stone Age draw audiences into the exciting story of how surprising fossil discoveries across Asia are now challenging our understanding of human evolution.

90 mins
Northern Pictures
Producer Sue Clothier
Director James Bogle
Writers Victor Gentile, James Bogle
Synopsis Whiteley is a portrait that looks intimately at the artist Brett Whiteley’s incredible life and legacy.