Screen Australia approves new projects

06 May, 2009 by IF

Press release from AAP

Screen Australia has announced it will provide production finance for two features, a children’s television series and two documentaries following yesterday’s Board meeting. Budgets for these projects total $17 million.


The team behind Black Water, writer/director Andrew Traucki and producer Michael Robertson, received finance for the feature The Reef, a thriller set on the Great Barrier Reef, where four friends are stalked by a Great White Shark.

Craig Lahiff and Helen Leake (Black and White, Heaven’s Burning) will team up with Kent Smith to produce Swerve, a fast-paced film noir set in the South Australian outback, from a script by Lahiff.

Margot McDonald, one of Australia’s most experienced producers of children’s television, will produce Dead Gorgeous, a 13-part children’s TV series based on the comic adventures of three strong-willed and sassy teenage sisters who just happen to be ghosts. Dead Gorgeous is a co-production with the UK, with Ewan Burnett and Julian Scott as executive producers. Stephen Johnson (Yolngu Boy) will direct.

The two documentaries are both financed by Screen Australia under the National Interest Program, in conjunction with the ABC. Produced by Laurie Critchley, Family Confidential is a six-part series taking a behind-the-headlines look at six notable families. Leaky Boat, from producer Penny Chapman and writer/director Victoria Pitt, documents one of the defining events of Australian history: the trilogy of the Tampa, the SIEV X and the Children Overboard affair.

The Board also congratulated the winners of the recent TV Week Logie Awards, noting that Screen Australia–financed programs – Underbelly, First Australians and H2O: Just Add Water – had taken out the awards for Most Outstanding Series, Most Outstanding Documentary and Most Outstanding Children’s Program.

“It’s been a great year for Australian television, and we’re very pleased to have played a role in bringing these programs to the screen,” said Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley. “Their success is our success: evidence that good stories, well told, will find audiences who want to watch.”

Underbelly series 1 was produced by Greg Haddrick and Brenda Pam, with Des Monaghan and Bob Campbell as executive producers. The series also earned Most Outstanding Actor and Actress awards for Gyton Grantley and Kat Stewart. Set on the Gold Coast, the successful children’s series H2O: Just Add Water was produced by Jonathan M Shiff. The landmark documentary series First Australians was produced by Rachel Perkins and Darren Dale.

The next deadline for production investment applications is 12 June for TV drama, children’s television, domestic and international documentaries, and low-budget features. Applications for Offset-eligible features and National Documentary Program projects can be submitted at any time.