for HASS

Peter Greste.

The arrest and conviction on spying charges and eventual acquittal of Australian-born foreign correspondent Peter Greste in Cairo in 2013 will be adapted into a feature film by Peter Duncan.

Pop Family Entertainment’s Carmel Travers will produce The First Casualty, based on Greste’s book published in 2017.

Now a professor at the University of Queensland, Greste spent more than 400 days in jail before being released after international condemnation and quickly became a champion of press freedom.

“It has long been our intention to develop projects across the breadth of film and television production and we are very pleased to bring The First Casualty to the screen,” said Travers, who launched her production company in 2017.

“It is a joy and privilege to be working with two great storytellers – Peter Greste, whose passion for truth-telling knows no bounds, and Peter Duncan, who writes with flair, imagination and wit.”

Duncan said: “The events he writes about as an innocent prisoner of the Egyptian judicial system are intense in their personal drama, their cinematic potential and their political consequences.

“The myriad threats to journalists and journalism around the world have clearly hit a crisis point and stories such as Peter’s are needed to buttress in the public’s mind the essential role journalists play in the promotion and maintenance of freedom. Truth and liberty are meant to be indivisible.”

An admirer of Duncan’s work on such shows as Operation Buffalo and Rake, Greste said: “He knows how to bring human drama and contemporary issues together in a way that is perfect for this project. I’m also delighted – and relieved – that the issue of media freedom is making it to the screen.

“When I wrote my book about how journalism had become a casualty in the war on terror, I was worried that it would get out of date fairly quickly. The book was about how journalists were being criminalized, imprisoned and murdered at shocking rates, simply for witnessing the truth.

“But it turns out that politics has a way of keeping those problems both current and urgent. I’m excited to see Peter work his magic on the universal issues of truth, politics and power, that I both covered and experienced as a reporter.”

Pop Family Entertainment’s remit is to finance and produce an array of projects spanning factual, scripted, animation and VFX. Its first production was animated family series Alien TV, a Canadian co-production commissioned by the Nine Network, which Netflix acquired globally.

The development slate includes Weirdo, a children’s animated series based on the novels by Anh Do about 11-year-old Weir Do, who moves into a new neighbourhood with his lovable but ‘different’ family.

Animated feature Being Betty Flood is based on Colin Thompson’s series of children’s books The Floods, centring on a 13-year-old refugee and her family from the magical Kingdom of Nowhere.

The Timeshifters is a 26 x 30′ dramedy/mystery set in one of the world’s most remote primordial forests, where six teenagers are sent to a remote research station.

In development with the Emmy Award winning Eric Rollman of Rollman Entertainment, World Record Science is a live-action family series where each episode will showcase the concept, design, staging and production of a big deal science event, aiming to set a world record.

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