Season one of ‘War on Waste’. 

New seasons of the ABC’s War on Waste and SBS’s Go Back to Where You Came From are among the seven latest documentary projects to receive production investment from Screen Australia.

The agency today announced that its latest funding round for the Documentary Producer and Documentary Commissioned streams totalled just under $2 million, with $1.5 million allocated via the Commissioned program and $462,000 via the Producer program.

“We’re constantly on the lookout for thought provoking documentaries that tackle powerful subject matter, engaging with audiences on all platforms,” said Screen Australia documentary senior manager Liz Stevens.

“We’re thrilled to see innovative projects such as Vanessa Hill’s new series Attention Wars in the Producer program as our focus on online and interactive content builds. These new formats are an important complement to the marquee documentary series commissioned by our broadcasting partners, which have proven to be tremendous vehicles for meaningful, national conversation.”

The three funded Documentary Commissioned projects are:

  • A fourth season of CJZ’s Go Back to Where You Came From refashioned in a live format for SBS. To be stripped over three consecutive nights, it will dig into the asylum seeker and refugee debate with a heightened sense of urgency, presenting frontline stories in real time. It will produced by Toni Malone and EP’d by Michael Cordell and Rick McPhee
  • Fredbird Entertainment’s two-part television event The Royals Down Under for the ABC, charting the history of Australia’s relationship with the British Monarchy at a time when the republican debate has been reignited. EP’d by Craig Graham and written and directed by Bernice Toni.
  • The second season of ABC’s War on Waste, to be produced by Lune Media Series two will consist of three episodes, and will be written by David Galloway, directed by Jodi Boylan and Sandra Welkerling, with Leonie Lowe joining as executive producer alongside Galloway and Boylan. It has also attracted funding from Create NSW.

The four funded Documentary Producer projects are:

  • Serendipity Productions’ Attention Wars, presented by Youtuber and scientist Vanessa Hill and co-written by producer Margie Bryant and director Kirk Marcolina. A one- hour documentary intended for SVOD distribution will examine the claim that the big tech companies are making billions by enabling the largest, most standardised and most centralised form of attention control in human history.
  • Ratner&Co’s Little Joe, a 12 x 8 minute online series, will present the gritty true stories of a Western Sydney debt collector. From emerging producer/writer/director David Ratner, who has teamed up with EPs Janine Hosking and Paul Watters.
  • White Spark Pictures’ The Antarctica Experience, an online VR expedition that will give viewers unprecedented access to the most remote and coldest place on earth. Based on an original concept created by Briege Whitehead, who will be mentored by executive producer Ray Predetti, Whitehead will also produce and co-direct with renowned VR creator Phil Harper. Designed for museum then online release, the 25min VR project has also secured support from the Australian Antarctic Division, the West Australian Museum and Screenwest.
  • Completion funding for The Coming Back Out Ball – The Movie, a feature documentary exploring the heartbreaking and heart-warming stories of a group of elder LGBTQI+ people as they prepare to attend a ball celebrating their gender and sexual identity. Produced, written and directed by Sue Thomson alongside producer Adam Farrington-Williams; co-producers Roger Monk and Tristan Meecham; and executive producers Michael McMahon, Shaun Miller and Tony Nagle. This project has also secured Film Victoria, Melbourne International Film Festival and Documentary Australia Foundation funding, as well as a philanthropic donation from Fade to Black.

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