Joel Edgerton will produce and star in Thomas M Wright’s ‘The Unknown Man’.

Amid turbulent times for the sector, Screen Australia has some positive news, announcing production funding for three feature films, four television series, a children’s series and two online projects.

Overall, the projects, including Thomas M Wright’s The Unknown Man, produced by See-Saw Films and Anonymous Content, and starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris, will share in $8.5 million of production funding.

Other projects include family drama The Midwife from Playmaker Media for Nine; a comedy created by Kitty Flanagan called Entitled for the ABC, and the debut feature film from artist Del Kathryn Barton, Puff, produced by Causeway Films.

“We’re blown away by the projects in this slate and it’s great to see such a wide range of genres. I am particularly delighted to support Puff, the directorial debut of renowned artist Del Kathryn Barton, who has co-written with Huna Amweero one of the most distinctive, moving scripts I have read for a long while. We’re also thrilled to support so many high quality television productions coming through,”  said head of content Sally Caplan.

“Screen Australia is very much open for business and will continue to fund great ideas. This challenging time for the sector will pass, and when it does we can’t wait to see these projects come to fruition.”

The features funded:

Puff: The first feature film from award-winning visual artist and writer/director Del Kathryn Barton (The Nightingale and the Rose). This drama centres on a young girl who, after witnessing a violent sexual assault, is left catatonic with shock and struggles to make sense of what she saw. She retreats into her imagination where Puff, the shimmering magic dragon who has been her childhood companion, allows her to express her rage and ultimately find renewal. The creative team also features writer Huna Amweero, as well as producer Samantha Jennings (Buoyancy) and executive producer Kristina Ceyton (The Nightingale) of Causeway Films.

The Unknown Man: A crime thriller from See-Saw Films and Anonymous Content inspired by the true events. It follows two strangers Henry and Mark, who meet and strike up a friendship. But what Henry doesn’t know is that Mark is a seasoned undercover officer working to convict Henry for an unsolved murder committed years earlier. Written and directed by Thomas M Wright (Acute Misfortune), the film stars Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris. It will be produced by Edgerton along with Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Rachel Gardner of See-Saw Films (Lion, Top Of The Lake), and Kerry Roberts and Kim Hodgert. This project is financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation. Experienced SA crew are encouraged to submit to expressions of interest and their CV to the production for consideration.

Completion funding was also provided to Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt). Written and directed by Monica Zanetti and produced by MahVeen Shahraki and Patrick James, the film stars Sophie Hawkshaw, Zoe Terakes, Marta Dusseldorp, Rachel House and Julia Billington.

Television projects funded:

Entitled: A six-part series for the ABC written, directed by and starring comedian Kitty Flanagan. This comedy is set in a shabby, suburban law firm that specialises in wills and probate – a messy world of inheritance and entitlement. Entitled is co-created by Flanagan and Vincent Sheehan of Porchlight Films (The Kettering Incident). It is produced by Sheehan, co-written by Penny Flanagan and co-directed by Tom Peterson (The Weekly with Charlie Pickering). Executive producers Greg Sitch (The Letdown) and Porchlight Films’ Liz Watts (True History of the Kelly Gang), Anita Sheehan (Jasper Jones) are also attached. Entitled is financed with support from Film Victoria.

The Midwife (working title): A family drama about the dedicated staff in the maternity ward of a major city hospital, produced by Playmaker Media for Nine. The creative team features writers Jonathan Gavin (Offspring), Ainslie Clouston (Playing For Keeps), writer and executive producer Sarah Smith (Love Child) and executive producers David Maher and David Taylor.

The Newsreader: A six-part drama for the ABC from Werner Film Productions, which follows the unlikely bond between a young TV reporter and a ‘difficult’ female newsreader. This series is created by Michael Lucas (Five Bedrooms) and Emma Freeman (Stateless) will direct. It is produced by Lucas and Joanna Werner (Riot), and executive produced by Werner and Stuart Menzies (The Cry). This project is financed with support from Film Victoria and the ABC.

The Unusual Suspects: This four-part crime caper for SBS is a whodunnit and deep dive into the inner workings of the vibrant Filipino domestic worker community and Sydney’s scandalous, cosseted Eastern Suburbs. Produced by Aquarius Films’ Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford (The Other Guy, The Unlisted), and written by Jessica Redenbach (Rush), Roger Monk (Nowhere Boys) and Vonne Patiag (Halal Gurls). Financed with support from SBS, Screen NSW and Cutting Edge. About Premium Content is managing international distribution.

Children’s project funded:

The Strange Chores season 2: A 26-part season for the ABC from the multi-Emmy Award winning production company Ludo Studio (Bluey, Robbie Hood) and Media World Pictures. Season 2 follows two wannabe heroes Charlie and Pierce and teenage ghost Que, who continue their apprenticeship with ageing monster hunter Helsing. Determined to learn all they can and master new skills, they take on more of Helsing’s strange and supernatural chores. The returning creative team features director Scott Vanden Bosch, writers John McGeachin and Luke Tierney, showrunner Daley Pearson, and producers Colin South and Charlie Aspinwall. Joining the team is writer Anna Barnes (Content). This project is financed with support from the ABC, Film Victoria and Screen Queensland.

Online projects:

Meta Runner Season 2: The second season of Glitch Productions’ hit animated series that was watched almost 10 million times on YouTube last year. The series is set in a cyberpunk future where video games are everything and technologically-enhanced e-sports competitors known as Meta Runners reign supreme. Season 2 picks up six months on, and follows meta runner Tari as she fights to bring down the sinister company TAS-Corp once and for all. This project is directed by Luke Lerdwichagul, produced by Kevin Lerdwichagul and written by Jeffrey Yang.

The Power of the Dream: A six-part mockumentary comedy for Instagram, Facebook and YouTube about two cousin-best friends, Amy and Brooke, who have always wanted to go to the Olympics despite their complete lack of sporting prowess. With the next games approaching, they are determined to achieve Olympic glory no matter how uncoordinated they might be. A celebration of friendship, passion and women in sport, The Power of the Dream is a Chips & Gravy Films series created by Alexandra Keddie (The Housemate) and Bobbie-Jean Henning. It is directed by Megan Ham, produced by Cate Hartmann and executive produced by Keddie and Henning along with Gemma Bird Matheson (The Housemate).