Press release from Lantern Group

Screen Australia has confirmed it will provide production finance for the feature The Cup, the true story of the 2002 Melbourne Cup and young jockey Damien Oliver’s emotion-charged win. It has also announced support for four documentaries under the National Documentary Program, and five contemporary projects from young documentary makers under the Triple J TV Docs initiative with the ABC. Budgets for all these projects total $20.4 million.

The Cup will be directed by Simon Wincer, who is also producing the film with Jan Bladier and David Lee, and shares the writing credit with Eric O’Keefe.  Greg Sitch and Lance Hool are executive producers. While Screen Australia initially approved the project in August 2008, it was required to return to be assessed under the new guidelines after a change of financing structure.

“We congratulate the producers on their perseverance in putting together the final deal for The Cup,” said Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley. “We’re really pleased we can help bring this quintessentially Australian story to the screen. We believe it has great potential to touch people’s hearts and find a broad audience.”

Two of the documentaries deal with the February 2009 bushfires. After the Fires from producers Tony Wright and Stephen Amezdroz and director Dione Gilmour will track the flora and fauna of the Great Dividing Range as they recover from the effects of the fire. Inside the Firestorm, from producer Lucy Maclaren and director Jacob Hickey, tells the story of what happened on ‘Black Saturday’, when 173 lives were lost. Both are financed under Screen Australia’s National Documentary Program, in conjunction with the ABC.

In A Thousand Different Angles, also with the ABC, writer/director/producer Amanda King profiles sculptor Inge King, who at 90 years old, still continues to produce bold public art. The fourth National Documentary Program project is a 4 x 60-minute series in conjunction with the National Geographic Channel: Warship, from producers Ed Punchard and Julia Redwood, will take us inside the running of a warship at the frontline of Australia’s national defence.

Triple J TV Docs initiative is a joint initiative with the ABC for emerging filmmakers aged 35 years or under. The five projects funded this year were approved in August and are currently in production. They are: Rudely Interrupted from producer/directors Susie Jones and Benjamin Jones, Ngapartji Ngapartji (working title) from producer Alex Kelly and writer Scott Rankin, Orchids from producer/director Phoebe Hart; Drive Online from producer Bronwyn Purvis and director Telen Rodwell, and Barefoot in the Afar, from producer Jenni Lee and director Sieh Mchawala.

A full list of approvals and upcoming deadlines, including for Screen Australia’s development and marketing programs, is available at

The Screen Australia Board also congratulated the record contingent of 17 Australian films which screened at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, in particular Mao’s Last Dancer (d: Bruce Beresford, w: Jan Sardi, p: Jane Scott), which was first runner-up in the Cadillac People’s Choice Award, and the films screening in the Midnight Madness section: The Loved Ones (w/d: Sean Byrne, p: Mark Lazarus, Michael Boughen), which won the People’s Choice Award in this section, and Daybreakers (w/d: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, p: Chris Brown, Sean Furst, Bryan Furst), which was first runner-up.

The Cup Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Greg Sitch, Lance Hool
Producers Simon Wincer, Jan Bladier and David Lee
Writers Eric O’Keefe and Simon Wincer
Director Simon Wincer
Sales and Distribution Roadshow, Myriad
Synopsis Probably no race had a more extraordinary effect on a nation than the running of Australia’s 2002 Melbourne Cup. At the heart of this true story is a young jockey who loses his only brother in a tragic racing accident just days before the race, suffers through a series of discouraging defeats only to triumph in one of the most thrilling finales in all sport.

National Documentary Program

December Films
Producers Tony Wright, Stephen Amezdroz
Director Dione Gilmour
Sales and Distribution ABC TV
Synopsis After the Fires is a 12-month observational study of the flora and fauna of the Great Dividing Range as they recover from the effects of the February 2009 bushfires.

Producer Alex West, Lucy Maclaren
Director Jacob Hickey
Sales and Distribution ABC TV, and TVF
Synopsis On 7 February 2009 Australia suffered its worst peacetime disaster. ‘Black Saturday’ claimed 173 lives, left almost 8,000 homeless and destroyed close to half a million hectares of Victorian bushland. Inside the Firestorm tells the story of what happened.

Producer, Director, Writer Amanda King
Sales and Distribution ABC TV
Synopsis While many of Inge King’s sculptures are installed in Australian public spaces, few people would be aware that they are the work of a tiny 90-year-old who continues to produce large-scale boldly imaginative pieces.

Prospero Productions
Producers Ed Punchard, Julia Redwood
Sales and Distribution National Geographic Channel
With unparalleled access to the Royal Australian Navy, Warship offers rare insight into the running of a warship operating at the frontline of Australia’s national defence.

Producer/directors Susie Jones and Benjamin Jones
A one hour documentary following the incredible journey of a very different band.  Five of the six members of this indy-rock outfit are intellectually and physically impaired, but they won’t let this stand in their way as they embark on their first world tour. The first stop is New York City where they play at the UN, and then on to Canada and the UK where their infectious sound wins fans the world over. A rock-documentary with a difference.

Producer Alex Kelly
Writer Scott Rankin
Acclaimed Pitjantjatjara actor Trevor Jamieson sets out on a daunting personal journey to bring his hit stage show Ngapartji Ngapartji home to country…but can he bridge these two worlds, two languages and two cultures?
Producer/Director Phoebe Hart
Orchids is an intimate autobiographical film by Gen X emerging filmmaker Phoebe Hart, which explores the contemporary issues faced by people and families living with intersex  conditions.

Online and broadcast documentary
Co-producer/directors Bronwyn Purvis, Telen Rodwell
Tasmania, the southern most isolated state of Australia lays claim to the nation’s highest rate of road fatality. Young men are dying in high speed, single vehicle crashes, crumpled in metal coffins, on lonely rural roads. Why do they die? Why do they live?

Producer Jenni Lee
Director Sieh Mchawala
Kyra Glasby is young, idealistic and fearless.  She has a dream to save the world, get married, have some kids and live in a hut in India! But it might take more than just holding hands and singing Kumbayaa… Over 5 years Kyra tackles the challenges of finding her life’s work in the hottest, driest inhabited place on earth, whilst facing up to big life lessons – birth, death and marriage. A contemporary take on following your heart and challenging convention.

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