Screen Australia injects $15 million into film and TV production
Screen Australia has unveiled the recipients of its last production investment funding round of 2016. $15 million is shared between seven films and eight television projects, including anticipated titles such as Fred Schepisi’s Andorra and the Shawn Seet remake of Storm Boy.
“We are delighted to be supporting TV projects from so many of the major players all in one round including Foxtel, Channel Seven, Network Ten, the ABC and SBS," CEO Graeme Mason said. "And in film we look forward to seeing the latest from acclaimed talents Fred Schepisi, Jonathan Teplitzky and John Maynard."
The successful feature film projects are:
• A contemporary re-imagining of 1976 classic Storm Boy from writer Justin Monjo (The Secret Daughter, Spear), director Shawn Seet (Deep Water, The Code) and Ambience Entertainment producers Michael Boughen and Matthew Street (Tomorrow When the War Began). This time around we meet Mike ‘Storm Boy’ Kingley as a grandfather who recounts his childhood adventures to his conflicted teenage granddaughter, and how his life changed forever when he formed a special bond with orphaned pelican Mr Percival.
• Jirga, the second feature from writer/director Benjamin Gilmour following his 2007 debut Son of a Lion. Produced by John Maynard (Sherpa, Balibo), Jirga follows an Australian soldier who returns to Afghanistan to make amends for the death of an unarmed civilian he accidentally killed in combat.
• Fred Schepisi’s (Empire Falls, The Devil’s Playground) romantic thriller Andorra, with Guy Pearce, Toni Collette, Gillian Anderson, Clive Owen and Joanna Lumley. Pearce will play Alexander Fox, a bookseller who leaves the US to begin a new life abroad but quickly becomes embroiled in a mysterious local murder.
• Action-packed crime caper Mr Cranky will reunite director Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man, Indian Summers) with producer Chris Brown (The Railway Man, Daybreakers) and writer Chris Nyst (Gettin’ Square). Set on the Gold Coast, it centres on underworld debt collector Kevin Darcy who finds himself unexpectedly saddled with his ex-girlfriend’s precocious seven-year-old daughter, setting him off on a path to enlightenment – albeit one littered with hit men and Hells Angels. With Screen Queensland.
A further three feature film projects have received conditional funding and will be announced at a later stage.
The successful television drama projects are:
• The Bureau of Magical Things, a children’s series for Network Ten from Jonathan M. Shiff (Mako: Island of Secrets, Lightning Point, H20: Just Add Water) and Stuart Wood (H20: Just Add Water). The story, about a teenage girl named Kyra who uncovers a magical world will be directed by Evan Clarry (Mako: Island of Secrets, Sam Fox: Extreme Adventures) and written by Mark Shirrefs (The New Adventures of Figaro Pho).
• Season 2 of Seven’s The Secret Daughter starring Jessica Mauboy. The new season from producers Kerrie Mainwaring (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door, Catching Milat) and Lauren Edwards (Cleverman, The Sapphires) will see Billie come to terms with the revelation about her parentage after she discovered wealthy hotelier Jack Norton was in fact her father.
• Fighting Season from Goalpost Pictures for Foxtel; producer Kylie du Fresne (Cleverman, Holding The Man, The Sapphires) and writer Blake Ayshford (Barracuda, Devil’s Playground, The Code). The six-part drama series centres on a platoon who return to Australia from Afghanistan after a controversial combat mission goes wrong. With Screen NSW.
• Two-part ABC biopic miniseries Friday On My Mind by Playmaker Media’s David Taylor and David Maher (The Wrong Girl, The Code, Love Child, House Husbands). It tells the story of 1960s legendary Sydney rock-and-roll band The Easybeats, formed by five disparate immigrant boys who came together to create the nation’s first truly international band. With Screen NSW.
• SBS drama Sunshine from Essential Media and Entertainment. Set in a working class suburb of Melbourne, talented basketball player Jacob Chagai lives within the South Sudanese community and dreams of playing for the NBA. Written by Matt Cameron (Secret City, Jack Irish) and Elise McCredie (Stateless, Nowhere Boys), and produced by Doctor Doctor’s Ian Collie and Carver Films’ duo Sarah Shaw and Anna McLeish (Snowtown), this four-part series follows a criminal investigation, a high stakes sports game, and the simmering tensions of an ethnically diverse community.
• Matchbox Pictures' psychological thriller Safe Harbour for SBS, produced by Stephen Corvini (Hyde & Seek, Better Man) and written by Belinda Chayko (Barracuda, Secret City), Phil Enchelmaier (Mako: Island of Secrets) and Matt Cameron (Secret City, Molly). The story follows a group of Australian friends who come face-to-face with a boat of desperate asylum seekers while on a yachting holiday from Darwin to Indonesia, leading to a tragic series of events that returns to haunt them five years later. With Screen Queensland.
A further two television projects were also approved and will be announced in the coming months.