By Brendan Swift
Screen Australia will invest $13 million across 22 new productions, including its first 3D feature film, Bait.
The investment in four feature films, four television dramas and 14 documentaries is expected to trigger production valued at over $65 million.
Screen Australia chief executive Ruth Harley said 2009 has been a strong year for the Australian industry.
"A record number of films have achieved theatrical release, the Australian share of the box office looks set to exceed the five-year average, and television drama and documentary continue to draw strong audiences,” she said in a statement.
Total Australian box office revenue currently stands at about $995 million for the year, up 12 per cent on a strong 2008, with demand for 3D films bolstering attendances.
Three of the top seven feature films at the local box office over the year to date were 3D animations: Ice Age 3 ($30 million), UP ($28 million) and Monsters vs. Aliens ($21 million).
Bait 3D, written and directed by Russell Mulcahy (Razorback, Highlander), received strong support at the recent American Film Market.
It tells the story of a Gold Coast town hit by a tsunami, trapping dozens of local shoppers and tourists in a flooded underground supermarket and car park, where they are pursued by tiger sharks.
Screen Australia will also invest in writer-director Jonathan Teplitzky’s drama Burning Man. It tells the story of a father and son’s struggle to deal with the unimaginable. Teplitzky has been directing television and commercials since his last feature Gettin’ Square in 2003.
The other two feature films are Blame, by writer-director Michael Henry, and Red Hill, by writer-director-producer Patrick Hughes.
Among television drama, Screen Australia will invest in a third season of the SBS crime series East West 101 and new mini-series Like a Virgin, about a woman whose sexual history catches up with her.
Arclight Films, Pictures in Paradise & Story Bridge Films in association with Black Magic Design Films
Executive Producers Chris Brown, Mike Gabrawy
Producers Todd Fellman, Gary Hamilton and Ian Maycock
Writer/Director Russell Mulcahy
Sales and Distribution Paramount, Arclight
Synopsis When a massive tsunami hits the Australian coastline, a pack of tiger sharks threaten survivors trapped inside a flooded supermarket.
Factor 30 Films Pty Ltd and 3 Monkey Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producer David Lightfoot
Producers Ryan Hodgson, Melissa Kelly and Michael Robinson
Writer/Director Michael Henry
Sales and Distribution The Pack, Highpoint
Synopsis A group of young vigilantes seeking revenge for a sexual betrayal fall far from grace. When the truth is out they find themselves on the dark side of justice.
Meercat Films Pty Ltd
Producers Andy Paterson, Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer/Director Jonathan Teplitzky
Sales and Distribution Transmission, Filmbox
Synopsis The reckless, romantic, irreverent and ultimately tear-jerkingly beautiful story of a father and son’s struggle to deal with the unimaginable.
Red Hill Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Greg Mclean, Rob Galluzzo, Craig McMahon
Producer Al Clark
Writer/Director/Producer Patrick Hughes
Sales and Distribution Transmission, Arclight
Synopsis A young Melbourne police officer relocates to the small high-country town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife. When news of a prison break in Melbourne sends the local law enforcement officers into a panic, his first day on duty turns nightmarish. A modern take on the ‘revenge-Western’.
EAST WEST 101 – SERIES 3
East West 101 Season 3 Pty Ltd
Producers Steve Knapman, Kris Wyld
Director Peter Andrikidis
Sales and Distribution SBS Content, Target
Synopsis The new season explores the ramifications of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan through crimes committed in Australia. What happened during the war in the opium fields of the Chora Valley in Afghanistan, and the collateral damage to civilians in Tikrit in northern Iraq, comes home to the main streets and malls of Lakemba.
LIKE A VIRGIN (mini-series)
Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
Producer Liz Watts
Created and Written by Marieke Hardy, Kirsty Fisher
Sales and Distribution ABC Commercial, Portmans
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis A series about a woman whose sexual history catches up with her in the most unusual of ways.
Essential Media & Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Ian Collie, Peter Duncan and Richard Roxburgh
Writer/Director Peter Duncan
Writer Andrew Knight
Sales and Distribution ABC Content, DCD Rights
Synopsis Criminal barrister, Cleaver Greene, is reckless, brilliant, self destructive, funny and bloody minded – and that’s just his private life. Professionally he is driven to win the unwinnable and defend the indefensible.
RESCUE SPECIAL OPS – SERIES 2
Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Sarah Smith, Julie McGauran
Writers Michaeley O’Brien, John Ridley, Sarah Smith, Dave Warner, Tim Lee and Sam Meikle
Directors Peter Andrikidis, Arnie Custo, Shawn Seet and Garth Maxwell
Sales and Distribution Southern Star International
Synopsis Continuing on nine months after the climactic events that closed Series 1, this one-hour action drama series is based around the lives and loves of the elite Rescue Special Operations Unit – ordinary heroes bonded through an extraordinary job, saving lives every day.
National Documentary Program (NDP) Including History
Executive Producer Peter Butt
Producers Peter Butt, Anna Grieve
Writer/Director Peter Butt
Synopsis The rise and fall of Australia’s master spy, a complex Machiavellian character, who attempts to counter the Communist threat, but finds himself in a ‘wilderness of mirrors’ where nobody is who or what they seem.
MAKING AUSTRALIA HAPPY
Executive Producer Daryl Karp
Producer Jennifer Cummins
Writer Will Parry
Director Kalita Corrigan
Synopsis Taking the science of positive psychology to Australia’s most miserable city.
Executive Producer Mark Hamlyn
Producer Mike Bluett
Writers Mike Bluett, Marc Radomsky
Director Marc Radomsky
Synopsis Following the work of the Brahminy Group in the Northern Territory which helps troubled youth and street kids reclaim their lives.
Domestic Documentaries – One Offs
DANCING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER
Producer Anne Delaney
Director Lara Cole
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis This is the story of the first ever national Aboriginal Debutante Ball. The women who, in white, nylon, tulip-skirted dresses and beehive hairdos, ‘came out’ to Australian Prime Minister John Gorton in 1968.
FROMELLES’ LOST SOLDIERS
Executive Producer Daryl Karp
Producer Sally Regan
Director Wain Fimeri
Broadcaster Channel 7
Synopsis The Battle at Fromelles has been described as the worst 24 hours in Australian military history. But with the discovery of six unmarked mass-graves in Northern France it is now possible to unpack in forensic detail the terrible events of 1916 and put names to the bodies of some of those buried. And as the first new Commonwealth war cemetery nears completion, we track down living descendants, people who 90 years later, are still trying to find resolution to a loss that only a marked grave can bring.
A VERY SHORT WAR
Conti Bros Films
Producer Karl Conti
Writer Susan Young
Directors Bill Young, Myles Conti
Broadcaster History Channel
Synopsis A heartening story of great loss and the ripple effect it creates, as it follows the quest by the nephew Cliff never knew, to unravel the truth behind the ultimate sacrifice made in a lonely place far from home.
Domestic Door – Documentary Series
Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Executive Producers Michael Cordell, Nick Murray
Producer Rick McPhee
Director Jen Peedom
Synopsis Death is often hidden away in modern society. This series takes audiences inside Sydney’s Sacred Heart Hospice where staff care for patients in their final days.
THE REAL FIGHT CLUB
Executive Producer/Writer/Director Paul Scott
Producer Isabel Perez
Synopsis Before television, tent boxing was a major form of entertainment in Australia, North America and the UK, with boxing troupes touring small towns so volunteers could fight for cash. Over the last four decades, tent boxing has been banned nearly everywhere for safety reasons. Queensland is now the only state where tent boxing is both legal and viable. Fred Brophy runs the last surviving tent boxing troupe in the world and in 2010 he will embark on his final boxing tour. Infamous for taking in drifters, ex-jailbirds and addicts and helping them get their lives back on track, we follow Fred and get inside this unique subculture to discover what drives rural Australian men and women to fight.
BOXING FOR PALM ISLAND
Executive Producers Marian Macgowan, Miranda Culley
Producer/Writer Michaela Perske
Writer/Director Adrian Wills
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis There is a new generation of warriors coming out of Palm Island, a place with a dark history and a less than stellar reputation. A new era of hope, strength and courage is about to show the world that the kids from Palm Island are fighting back and have the makings of champions, but within this gilded cage come stories of generational poverty, stories of disadvantage, stories of the vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma. This group of boxers are defying stereotypes and taking the future into their own hands with the help and support of Uncle Ray – the man who has brought boxing back to Palm Island.
NGANAMPA ANWERNEKENHE – SERIES 22
Executive Producers Ray Lillis, Robyn Nardoo (Ep 4)
Series Producer Tanya Fraser
Directors Mitch Torres, David Tranter, Robyn Nardoo and Steven McGregor
Synopsis A series of half-hour documentaries on aspects of Australian Indigenous culture, both ancient and modern, and featuring Australia’s foremost Aboriginal filmmakers.
Producers Ed Punchard, Julia Redwood
Writer John McCourt
Broadcaster ABC, BBC Scotland
Synopsis Combining stunning CGI with major high-tech adventure, Dino Stampede reveals how scientists are using battlefield forensics and the latest CGI technology to study the footprints of dinosaurs and unearth incredible details about the predation and social behaviour of these once enigmatic creatures.
MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED!
Fury Productions/Bionic Boy Productions (SPV)
Producer Veronica Fury
Writer/Director Mark Hartley
Sales and Distribution ABC Content Sales
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis A fast-moving odyssey into the subterranean world of Filipino genre filmmaking. Populated by miniature James Bonds and karate kickin’ soul sisters, this is the ultimate insider’s account of a country fighting back to reclaim its very own special national identity – while at the same time creating films that were so commercial they went beyond mainstream.
FIRING THE MAGIC BULLET
Rymer Childs Films
Producer Bevan Childs
Producer/Writer/Director Judy Rymer
Sales and Distribution Off The Fence
Synopsis In the coming months, two Australian scientists at the cutting edge of cancer research take their successful trials from the animal kingdom to humans. Ten years of scientific and business struggle is on the line. As they juggle the science, big pharmas, clinicians and investors, we reveal how hard it is to get science to market, even though this discovery could revolutionise cancer treatment.
DIVORCE SHARIA WAY
Jennifer Crone Productions
Producer/Writer/Director Jennifer Crone
Sales and Distribution SBS Content Sales
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis Investigates the reality of Sharia marriages and divorce in Australia by following couples as they attempt to obtain a divorce, and the Imams, as they mediate and make judgments on divorce cases.