Press release from The Lantern Group
Screen Australia today announced funding approval for 11 new projects including two feature films and a children’s television series.
Among the projects to receive funding approval is Snowtown, a true-crime story about a teenager who finds his world threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of, his newfound friend, John Bunting, Australia's most notorious serial killer. Snowtown marks the feature film directorial debut of Justin Kurzel, whose short film Blue Tongue screened at the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival. The film is written by Shaun Grant and will be produced by Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw. It is the first feature financed by Warp Films Australia, the local offshoot of UK production companies Warp Film and Warp X.
“Snowtown is a sophisticated character drama with an engaging yet horrific twist. In this chilling and compelling true story, we go behind the headlines and experience one of the darkest chapters in Australia’s modern history, a gruesome series of murders known as ‘the bodies in the barrels’. Australian filmmakers have a rich history of creating socially relevant cinema based on true-life crimes, as in The Boys, or larger-than-life criminals, as in Chopper, and Snowtown continues in this vein,” said Ruth Harley, Chief Executive of Screen Australia.
Screen Australia also announced funding for My Place Series 1, Part 2 which continues the story of 26 children who live in the one location in Australia over 260 years. In this instalment the audience meets the characters from 1878 to Beforetime (before white settlement). The series is produced by Penny Chapman and based on the award-winning book for children by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. Series writers include Alice Addison, Leah Purcell and Wayne Blair. Among those to direct are Jessica Hobbs, Catriona McKenzie and Sam Lang. The series will screen on ABC TV and be complemented with an immersive and fun website for children and their families.
Dr Mary Goes Bush and Paul Cox are among the eight documentaries to receive Screen Australia support.
Dr Mary Goes Bush follows the outspoken Dr Mary Fortune as she leaves Scotland to take up the challenge of working in one of the most remote medical posts on the planet. Through her fresh eyes, the audience discovers the realities of Australian health delivery in a new light. The documentary will be directed by Stuart Grieg and produced by Brian Beaton, with Brian Beaton and Celia Tait as executive producers.
In Paul Cox, unorthodox filmmaker Paul Cox contemplates his own mortality and his life’s work following a life-saving liver transplant. Jeni McMahon is producing with David Bradbury co-producing, writing and directing.
Screen Australia committed more than $5 million to the production of these 11 projects triggering close to $18m worth of production.
For production details see below.
Warp Films Australia
Producers Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw
Writer Shaun Grant
Director Justin Kurzel
Sales & Distribution Protagonist (ROW), Madman (Aust)
Synopsis When 15-year-old Jamie Vlassakis meets a man who pledges to protect him, a friendship begins. As the relationship grows so do Jamie's suspicions, until he finds his world threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of, his newfound father figure, John Bunting, Australia's most notorious serial killer.
Executive Producer Peter Castaldi
Producer Lizzette Atkins
Co-producer/Director/Writer Jon Hewitt
Writer Belinda McClory
Synopsis A jaded callgirl and a fledgling streetwalker are thrown together on the night from hell.
Children's TV series
MY PLACE SERIES 1, PART 2
Producer Penny Chapman
Co-producer Helen Panckhurst
Writers Alice Addison, Blake Ayshford, Leah Purcell, John Alsop, Wayne Blair, Nicholas Parsons, Gina Roncoli, Greg Waters, Dallas Winmar
Directors Jessica Hobbs, Catriona McKenzie, Sam Lang, Michael James Rowland, Shawn Seet
Sales & Distribution ABC, ABC Commercial & ACTF
Synopsis Continues the story of 26 children who live in the one spot in Australia over 260 years. Part 2 tells their tales from 1878 to Beforetime (before white settlement). Based on the award-winning book for children by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins.
Documentary – Domestic one-offs
DRIVING TO D-DAY
Intomedia Pty Ltd
Producer/Writer/Director Stuart Scowcroft
Broadcaster The History Channel
Sales & Distribution Intomedia
Synopsis Across a continent to the invasion beaches of Normandy, 30 eccentric Australians drive through history in antique military vehicles to commemorate the landings that liberated Europe.
A co-production between Frontline Films and Rebel Films
Producer Jeni McMahon
Co-producer/Writer/Director/DOP David Bradbury
Synopsis After a life-saving liver transplant unorthodox filmmaker Paul Cox contemplates his own mortality and his life’s work.
RECIPE FOR MURDER
Stray Dog Pictures for Jumping Dog Productions
Producer Susan Lambert
Co-producer Frank Haines
Writer/Director Sonia Bible
Broadcaster ABC TV
Sales & Distribution ABC Commercial
Synopsis Sydney, 1953… Women went on a killing spree. Their weapon… one lethal ingredient in a Recipe for Murder.
Producer Pat Fiske
Director/Co-producer Catherine Scott
Synopsis Scarlet Road follows the extraordinary work of Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton. Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression, she specialises in a new and emerging clientele – people with disability.
Documentary – Domestic series
Shine Australia Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Mark Fennessy and Carl Fennessy
Sales & Distribution SBS Content Sales, Shine International
Synopsis An eight-part documentary series that lifts the lid on family dynamics to build an intimate portrait of family life in Australia today, The Family follows the highs and lows of every aspect of one Australian family.
Documentary – International one-off
360 Degree Films
Writer/Producer Sally Ingleton
Director Simon Target
Sales & Distribution NGTI
Broadcaster ABC, RTBF Belgium, YLE and SVT
Synopsis An intimate look at the kangaroos taking over the suburbs of Canberra and the team of ecologists following their every move.
Documentary – International series
DR MARY GOES BUSH
Artemis International Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Brian Beaton, Celia Tait
Producer Brian Beaton
Director Stuart Grieg
Sales & Distribution SBS Content Sales
Broadcaster SBS, BBC Scotland
Synopsis Outspoken and zealous, Dr Mary Fortune leaves Scotland to take up the challenge of working in one of the most remote medical posts on the planet. With her fresh eyes we discover the realities of Australian health delivery in a new light.
Documentary – Special Documentary Fund
LIFE IN MOVEMENT: TANJA LIEDTKE’S STORY
Closer Productions (production company)
Producers Sophie Hyde and Bryan Mason
Directors Bryan Mason and Sophie Hyde
Sales & Distribution TBC
Synopsis At 29, Tanja Liedtke was appointed as the director of Sydney Dance Company; she never started the job. Her sudden death brings life into sharp focus.