Screen Australia funds See-Saw Films, Goalpost Pictures features

28 March, 2014 by Don Groves

See-Saw Films’ A Long Way Home and Goalpost Pictures’ Holding the Man were the only features that received production investment from Screen Australia at the March 26 board meeting.

The agency also committed post production funds to director/producer/writer Shane Abbess’s futuristic sci-fier Infini and two feature documentaries, Damon Gameau’s That Sugar Film and Gracie Otto’s The Last Impresario.


In this funding round, the second last of the current financial year, a total of $4.3 million was invested.

Top of the Lake co-director Garth Davis will direct A Long Way Home, based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born Australian who found his birth mother 25 years after they were separated.

It will be produced by See-Saw and Sunstar Entertainment, which optioned the rights to Brierley’s autobiography last year. He was five when he fell asleep on a train bound for Calcutta. Scared and alone, he was forced to live on the streets. He was adopted by an Australian couple and brought up in Tasmania wondering if he would ever see his Indian family again.

Helped by his adopted parents and using Google Earth, he tracked down his mother and her family.  The screenplay is by Luke Davies and the producers are Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder.

Holding The Man is based on Timothy Conigrave’s memoir and stage play, the true story of the love between playwright Conigrave and AFL footballer John Caleo, who met when they attended a Catholic boys’ school in the 1970s. Their relationship ended with both men's deaths from AIDS-related complications.

Sydney playwright Tommy Murphy wrote the screenplay and Neil Armfield will direct. The producer is Goalpost’s Kylie du Fresne. Melbourne filmmaker Tony Ayres, a close friend of Conigrave's, tried to make the film more than a decade ago. Goalpost Film UK is the international sales rep. Transmission Films will distribute both films in Australian.

Produced by Mat Graham, Brett Thornquest and Sidonie Abbene, Infini follows a rescue team trying to save the lone survivor of a freak accident on a mining station in a race against the threat of a lethal biological weapon. The agency is providing finishing funds.  Entertainment One is the local distributor and Kathy Morgan International will handle international sales.

That Sugar Film, from first-time director Gameau and producers Nick Batzias and Rory Williamson, will explore the effect of sugar on bodies and minds. Madman Entertainment is the Oz distributor.

Produced by Nicole O’Donohue, The Last Impresario profiles Michael White, the octogenarian London theatre and film impresario whose credits include The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Umbrella Entertainment will release the docu which features interviews with friends including Yoko Ono, John Cleese, Kate Moss, Naomi Watts, Anna Wintour, Barry Humphries, Greta Scacchi, Brian Thompson and Jim Sharman.

In the past 12 months Screen Australia has funded the features Oddball, Sucker, The Dressmaker,  Backtrack, Rest Home, Life, Ruin, Partisan and Paper Planes and theatrical documentaries Sherpa: in the Shadow of the Mountain and Only the Dead.

TV projects include the dramas Love Child, The Kettering Incident, Hiding, Gina, The Secret River, ANZAC Girls, Catching Milat and Deadline Gallipoli; children’s content The New Adventures of Figaro Pho, In Your Dreams Series 2, Mako Island of Secrets Series 2 and Little Lunch; and comedies Danger 5 and Party Tricks.