Screen Aus invests $15m in new production

09 July, 2010 by IF

By Staff Reporter

Screen Australia will invest almost $15 million across 13 new productions including Fred Schepisi’s The Eye of the Storm.


The national screen agency also backed two other feature films and three TV drama series at its July board meeting which will, in total, trigger $72 million in production.

Screen Australia also announced development approval for nine feature films including new projects to be directed by legendary filmmakers Bruce Beresford and Phillip Noyce.

The full list of projects are:


Paper Bark Films EOS Pty Ltd
Executive Producers: Jonathan Shteinman, Edward Simpson, Bob Marcs, James Vernon
Producers: Antony Waddington, Gregory Read, Fred Schepisi
Co-producer: Sally Ayre-Smith
Writer: Judy Morris (adaptation from novel)
Director: Fred Schepisi
Sales & Distribution: The Little Film Company, Transmission
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Nobel Prize–winning author, Patrick White, The Eye of the Storm is a savage exploration of family relationships – and the sharp undercurrents of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, which define them.

Porchlight Films
Producers: Liz Watts, Karsten Stöter, Benny Drechsel, Paul Welsh, Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Writers: Cate Shortland, Robin Mukherjee
Director: Cate Shortland
Sales & Distribution: Memento Films International (Sales), Haut et Court (France), Transmission (ANZ)
Synopsis: In spring 1945, the German army collapses. As the Allied forces sweep across the Motherland, five children embark on a journey, which will challenge every notion we have of family, love and friendship.

Aquarius Films in association with Blue Tongue Films
Producer: Angie Fielder
Writers: Kieran Darcy-Smith, Felicity Price
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Sales & Distribution: LevelK, Hopscotch
Synopsis: Four friends lose themselves in a carefree South-East Asian holiday. Only three come back. Dave and Alice return home to their young family desperate for answers about Jeremy’s mysterious disappearance. When Alice’s sister Steph returns not long after, a nasty secret is revealed about the night her boyfriend went missing. But it is only the first of many. Who amongst them knows what happened on that fateful night when they were dancing under a full moon in Cambodia?

TV Drama

Playmaker Media Pty Ltd
Producers: David Taylor, David Maher
Writer: John Misto
Sales & Broadcaster: ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Nine Network
Synopsis: A dramatic account of the Gilham family murders which occurred in Sydney in 1993.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers: John Edwards, Imogen Banks
Writer: Christopher Lee
Director: Emma Freeman
Sales & Broadcaster: Endemol Worldwide Distribution, ABC TV
Synopsis: The Whitlam era as seen through the eyes of Cleo magazine and its young editor, Ita Buttrose.

Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd
Executive Producer: Penny Chapman
Associate Producer: Christos Tsiolkas
Producers: Helen Bowden, Michael McMahon and Tony Ayres
Writers: Alice Bell, Kris Mrksa, Emily Ballou, Brendan Cowell, Cate Shortland (adaptation from novel)
Directors: Jessica Hobbs, Robert Connolly, Cate Shortland, Tony Ayres
Sales & Broadcaster: DCD Rights, Hopscotch, ABC TV
Synopsis: The Slap is a bold, provocative television drama series that forensically examines the mores and morality of contemporary middle-class life. Based on Christos Tsiolkas’ best-selling novel, The Slap traces the shattering repercussions of a single event upon a group of family and friends.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers: John Edwards, Jacquelin Perske and Claudia Karvan
Writer: Jacquelin Perske
Director: Jessica Hobbs
Sales & Broadcaster: Endemol Worldwide Distribution, Foxtel Australia
Synopsis: Spirited 2 is the second series about a fantastical, eternal love story between a rock star ghost and a dentist who will fight the living, the dead and anything in between to stay together.

Children’s TV series

Werner Film Productions
Producer: Joanna Werner
Executive Producers: Bernadette O’Mahony, Joanna Werner
Writers: include Samantha Strauss, Liz Doran, Greg Waters
Sales & Broadcaster: ZDFE, ZDF, ACTF, ABC TV
Synopsis: Tara returns to the National Academy of Dance with the goal of representing Australia in the world’s most prestigious ballet competition. But perhaps she should be more focused on just surviving Second Year, where having climbed to the top in her first year at the Academy – in dance, in life, in love – she now has a very long way to fall.

Jonathan M Shiff Productions Pty Ltd
Executive Producers: Jonathan M Shiff, Julia Adams
Producer: Jonathan M Shiff
Co-producer: Stuart Wood
Story Producer/Script Editor: Chris Roache
Associate Story Producer: David Hannam
Writers: Simon Butters, Sam Carroll, Carine Chai, Max Dann, David Hannam, Anthony Morris, Chris Roache
Directors include Director Block 1 Colin Budds, Director Block 2 TBA
Sales & Broadcasters: ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, Network Ten, Nickelodeon Australia
Synopsis: Zoey and Kiki are two irrepressible girls from another galaxy who become castaways in a small Australian surf town. But even with the help of local girl Amber, how long can these alien surf girls keep their identity secret?

National Documentary Program

Big Stories
Producers: Anna Grieve, Martin Potter
Interactive Producer: Nick Crowther
Filmmakers: Jeni Lee and Sieh Mchawala
Synopsis: A collaborative, multi-platform documentary project that gathers local stories for a global audience. Featuring in Big Stories 2, Murray Bridge and Raukkan in South Australia and Ban Lung in Cambodia.

Chocolate Liberation Front
Producers: Dan Fill and Frank Verheggen
Lead Developers: Charlie MacKenzie and Sam Howie
Synopsis: The Multicultural History Interactive Documentary is a series of innovative interactive components including an interactive documentary, digital editing tool, resource hub and asylum seeker simulation (serious game) that celebrates the diverse history of immigration to Australia.

Fair Trade Films Pty Ltd
Producer: Stella Zammataro
Director: Luigi Acquisto
Synopsis: The inspiring, courageous story of a young woman’s quest to bring the man who enslaved her in a Sydney brothel to justice.

Documentary – International Door

Essential Media
Executive Producer: Chris Hilton
Producer: Andrea Gorddard
Director: Richard Smith
Synopsis: Takes us from the birth of the Solar System to the modern world, an amalgam of natural history, science and adventure, revealing the diversity of the Australian continent, meeting not only the creatures in question, but also the people unravelling their secrets.


Single Project Development: Feature Development

Executive Producer: Leah Churchill-Brown
Producer: Leanne Tonkes
Writer: Emily Ballou
Director: Emma Freeman
Synopsis: The Circus is a haunting story of a family’s struggle to triumph over adversity and rediscover the magic, hope and love that has escaped them. To the father and two children of his grieving family, the circus seems a world of magic and escape, but to a beautiful woman who has spent her entire life travelling in a dusty caravan, a family seems a world of stability and love. Set against the contrasting worlds of the harsh Australian outback and the fantasy magic of the circus, this powerful and unexpected love story will change both circus and family forever.

Producer: Paul Sullivan
Writer/Director: Denie Pentecost
Synopsis: When her best friend commits suicide, a 20-year-old girl, Nic, who can only feel emotion through others, realises that the secret to feeling is remembering a forgotten pain that they both shared as children.

NO. 3
Hibiscus Films
Producer: Bridget Ikin
Writer/Director: Sarah Watt
Synopsis: No. 3 is a portrait of three generations of women in their evolving roles as daughters, mothers and grandmothers, set over various time periods from the 1970s to the present day.

Executive Producer: Jonathan Shteinman
Producer: Peter Clifton
Writer: Michael Thomas
Director: Phillip Noyce
Synopsis: The true 1941 story of the Rats of Tobruk during an eight-month siege when an Australian force took on and deferred the might of Rommel’s Afrika Corps told through Australian General Mushead.

Southern Light Films
Producer: Timothy White
Writer/Director: Julius Avery
Synopsis: A young man is sent to prison where he becomes the apprentice to public enemy number one.

Producer: Don Linke
Writers: James Melchior, Susan Yardley
Synopsis: Nicola, desperate to be loved for who she is, suddenly finds herself engaged to two men called Felix, which makes falling in love with Patrick more confusing.

Producers: Drew Thompson, Antonia Barnard
Writer: Michael Bond
Director: Bruce Hunt
Synopsis: Mulyan, NSW 1959. Anwell, a naive loner, meets Finnigan, the wild boy from the woods. The 12-year-olds form a unique friendship and make a pact, sealed in blood – Anwell will only do good, Finnigan promises to act out his bad. Finnigan’s actions take the pact far beyond Anwell’s intentions, soon the angel-child is dragged into a succession of acts of arson he has no control over. His only way out – beat his adversary at his own game. The conflict between the boys leads to a terrifying and violent conclusion.

Porchlight Films
Producer: Vincent Sheehan
Writer: Liz Doran
Director: Andrew Lancaster
Synopsis: A young man discovers he has an exceptional gift – the ability to hear infrasonic sound ¬– and must risk everything when he accidentally hears something he shouldn’t and uncovers a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear.

Executive Producer: Richard Stewart
Producers: Peter Glover, Sue Milliken
Writer/Director: Bruce Beresford
Synopsis: After living and working in Paris in the 1930s, Nancy Wake married a wealthy Frenchman and settled in Marseilles. Her idyllic new life was ended by World War II and her work with an escape-route network for Allied soldiers. Eventually Nancy had to escape from France herself to avoid capture by the Gestapo.

Innovation Program

Producers: Kelly Chapman, Della Churchill
Writer: Helen Wentland is a unique and comprehensive online community designed specifically for people faced with wrapping up someone’s life – now or in the future; or for planning their own estate. It will have global reach and be launched initially in Australia and soon after in the US. Dramatised re-enactments of real experiences of ‘wrapping up’ will inspire users to contribute their own stories, pictures and audio; and to offer support to others. Talking head mini-docs will provide expert advice by credible professionals. As well as offering valuable information, is a virtual social community for the recently bereaved and estate planners: those who have already gone through the experience, those facing it, and those who are interested in what’s involved.