Screen Australia invests $2.7 million in six documentaries
The first documentary round of the Screen Australia's Broadcast program sees six projects receive over $2.7 million in grants and investment generating production close to $7.3 million.
Senior Manager, Documentary Liz Stevens said, “The Broadcast program was developed after a significant change to the funding guidelines last year. Working in collaboration with producers and broadcasters we are attempting to support a slate of strong stories with relevance to Australian audiences. We are pleased that the programs funded in the inaugural round meet the expectations of the fund. They are great stories that will open up new worlds for audiences to explore.”
Beast of the Abyss will reveal the marine mysteries and secrets behind shark migration. Broadcaster Discovery Channel will screen the deep sea investigation made by Ocean’s Super Predator Films. The one-off documentary will be directed by Michael Lynch and produced by Scott De Graw, Leighton De Barros and David Riggs.
Following an incredible audience reaction to the first series, support will be given to Northern Pictures to make the second series of Changing Minds. The three-part series will return to the ABC to inform audiences about mental illness through the lives of patients living with mental health problems. Director Cian O’Clery and producers Alison Black and Jenni Wilks will team up again to challenge the social stigma attached to mental illness.
Pursekey Productions will make Destination Arnold for the ABC. The story follows two Indigenous women who share a dream to be invited to the Arnolds – a bodybuilding competition being held in Australia for the first time. Producer Michaela Perske will team up with directors Natasha Lawrence and Sascha Ettinger-Epstein to make the one-off documentary.
Howard on Menzies offers audiences a powerful insight into politics, values and society during the era of Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Robert Menzies. The two-part series will be narrated by former Prime Minister John Howard and will screen on the ABC. The documentary will be made by Smith & Nasht. Simon Nasht is set to write, direct and produce with Ruth Cross also producing.
Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven sees Shaun on a journey to discover the meaning of life, as he immerses himself in the lives of people whose strong beliefs lead them to take extreme measures. From Artemis International, Russell Vines will direct the three-part series that will screen on SBS.
Comedian/broadcaster Tim Ross shares his enthusiasm of architecture and design in the two-part series Streets of Your Town. Penned by Tim, the series takes audiences on an intimate personal journey into the Australian suburbs. Mint Pictures will make the series, examining the changes of building style over time and what that says about Australians. Sally Aitken will direct and Dan Goldberg will produce the documentary for the ABC.
The Broadcast program was established as part of last year’s documentary guidelines review allocating notional funding for domestic broadcasters to support projects that offer compelling vision with cultural resonance beyond broadcast. From 1 July 2015, funding applications for the Broadcast program will be accepted at any time throughout the year.
Screen Australia is pleased to announce the Documentary Development program will accept online applications for the next round through the new Application Portal, with a deadline of 10 April.
BEAST OF THE ABYSS
Ocean’s Super Predator Films Pty Ltd
Producers Scott De Graw, Leighton De Barros, David Riggs
Executive Producers Jodie De Barros, Michael Lynch
Director Michael Lynch
Broadcaster Discovery Channel Australia
Synopsis With new evidence of gigantic shark predation off the Western Australian coast, in Beast of the Abyss ocean explorer Dave Riggs will return to the sea launching a high-tech, deep-sea investigation to discover the secrets of a mysterious oceanic zone and the large predators that converge there once a year.
CHANGING MINDS SERIES 2
3 x 55 mins
Producers Alison Black, Jenni Wilks
Executive Producer Karina Holden
Director Cian O’Clery
Synopsis Changing Minds series 2 will continue to challenge the stigmas, taboos and myths around mental illness as it meets the patients living with mental health problems and follows the staff who are helping them get back to their everyday lives.
Pursekey Productions Pty Ltd
Producer Michaela Perske
Directors Natasha Lawrence, Sascha Ettinger-Epstein
Synopsis Destination Arnold tells the story of two Indigenous women who share a big dream – to make it to the Arnolds – an invitation-only bodybuilding competition being held in Australia for the first time.
HOWARD ON MENZIES
2 x 57 mins
Smith & Nasht Pty Ltd
Producers Simon Nasht, Ruth Cross
Executive Producer Stuart Menzies
Writer/Director Simon Nasht
Synopsis An intensely personal reflection on politics, values and the transformation of Australian society during the era of the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister.
SHAUN MICALLEF’S STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
3 x 52 mins
Artemis International Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Celia Tait, Brian Beaton
Director Russell Vines
Synopsis Shaun Micallef is on a quest for the meaning of life, as he immerses himself in the lives of people whose strong beliefs lead them to take extreme measures.
STREETS OF YOUR TOWN
2 x 57 mins
Mint Pictures Pty Ltd
Series Producer Dan Goldberg
Executive Producer Adam Kay
Director Sally Aitken
Writer Tim Ross
Synopsis From Modernism to McMansionism, Tim Ross – comedian, broadcaster and aficionado of architecture and design – takes us on an intimately personal journey into our Australian suburbs, then and now, in a bid to understand how they’ve changed and what that says about who we are.