Screen Australia invests $500,000 to develop 18 feature film projects
Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman, Red Dog director Kriv Stenders and Wolf Creek’s Greg McLean are among the filmmakers who have received another batch of development money from Screen Australia.
Announced today, the $500,00 injection will go towards the development of 18 feature films and two "professional" internships for local producers Adam Dolman and Bec Cubitt.
Dolman, best known for writing duties on Seven's Home and Away, will work for three months in Los Angeles with high-end production company Red Wagon Entertainment. The production company, also known as Red Wagon Productions, is currently doing Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Previous films include Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, Bewitched and Stuart Little 2.
Joining Dolman in receiving an internship is Cubitt (Accidents Happen), who will work with Sydney-based production company, Galvanized Film Group, for five months. The company, headed by Heather Ogilvie, is currently working on getting up Remarkable Creatures, penned by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jan Sardi (Shine).
Among the feature film projects receiving development money is two films by Sherman (The King's Speech) entitled: The Docks and Tracks. The Docks is a crime film directed by Clayton Jacobson (Kenny) and will be written by Jamie Browne and Kris Mrksa, while Tracks is a drama based on the true story of Robyn Davidson's epic survival journey through the Australian desert.
Stenders, who last month won a shiny IF Award trophy at the Jameson IF Awards Sydney, is working with writer Andy Cox (Lucky Country) on comic romance film F*****! A Romance. The Screen-Australia-supported film tells the story of two teenagers who decide to elope and set up a normal life away from their freakish families. They never expect to find that love is just as freakish as everything else in life.
McLean, who is expected to shoot Wolf Creek 2 in February next year, will head in a completely different direction with family film Piccolo – The Dolphin Prince. Also penned by McLean (who is undertaking producing duties with Alan Lindsay), the film is about the smallest dolphin of his tribe who is given the daunting task of leading a disparate group of friends across the ocean to find a legendary place where dolphin and man live in harmony.
Also announced today was the national agency’s support behind the production of Wayne Hope/Robyn Butler comedy feature: Now Add Honey. Best known for ABC series The Librarians, the husband/wife team are working on a new film about a suburban family whose life implodes after a pop star cousin comes to stay.
A film based on Paul Cox's harrowing and poetic memoir, Tales From The Cancer Ward, has also been supported by Screen Australia. Force of Destiny, written and directed by Cox, is the journey of love, hope and despair.
Gillian Armstrong's The Great, Su Armstrong's Make-Up Girl, Rob Nunn's Santa: Lost Down Under and Blame producers' Tide of Souls are some of the others receiving funding. For a full list see below.
SINGLE-PROJECT DEVELOPMENT: FEATURE DEVELOPMENT
THE BUNYIP OF BERKELEY’S CREEK
Producer Melanie Coombs
Writer/Director Sofya Gollan
Indigenous Consultant Walter Saunders
Script Editor Stephen Cleary
Synopsis Bunyip emerges from a waterhole not knowing who he is, what he is or how he came to be. “Who am I?” he asks the Platypus, Kangaroo and Emu. Only little Spinifex Hopping Mouse Poppy is brave enough to journey with him to find out. Based on the classic children’s book.
Producer Emile Sherman
Writers Jamie Browne, Kris Mrksa
Director Clayton Jacobson
Genre Black Comedy
Producer Sue Maslin
Writer/Director Jocelyn Moorhouse
Script Editor PJ Hogan
Synopsis A bittersweet tragic-comedy about a glamorous young woman who returns, after many years in Europe, to her small home town in rural Australia in order to right some wrongs from the past. When Tilly comes home she not only heals her ailing mother, but with her sewing machine, and haute couture style, transforms the women of the town in such a way that she gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. She also falls unexpectedly in love, which leads to her greatest loss and her most destructive deed.
F*****! A ROMANCE
Genre Comic Romance
Writer Andy Cox
Director Kriv Stenders
Synopsis When two teenagers decide to elope and set up a normal life away from their freakish families they never expect to find that love is just as freakish as everything else in life.
FORCE OF DESTINY
Producers Paul Cox, Maggie Miles
Executive Producer Shaun Miller
Writer/Director Paul Cox
Synopsis Established artist Robert is told he has cancer of the liver and limited time to live. This unexpected message leaves him feeling utterly alone and with no alternative but to confront his own mortality. In this process of physical decline and mental confusion he falls in love with Maya, a visiting Chinese marine biologist. Force of Destiny is their journey of love, hope and despair and Robert’s miraculous salvation through a life-saving liver transplant. Based on Paul Cox’s harrowing and poetic memoir Tales from the Cancer Ward.
Producer Philippa Campey
Executive Producers Victoria Treole, Sue Murray
Writer/Director Rhys Graham
Synopsis Billie and Laura, two reckless teenage best friends, share everything, except for Billie’s biggest secret: she’s crazy in love with Laura’s boyfriend.
Genre Drama Comedy
Producer Marian Macgowan
Writer Tony McNamara
Director Gillian Armstrong
Synopsis Catherine is idealistic, naive and an utter romantic. When she is chosen to be married to Peter, Emperor of Russia, she is thrilled and dreams of a great love and a beautiful life. But instead she must choose between her own personal happiness and the future of Russia. In doing so she brings the Enlightenment to her people. A historical fantasy based on Tony McNamara’s own standout play.
THE HOUSEHOLD GUIDE TO DYING
Genre Drama Comedy
Producers Leesa Kahn, Catriona Hughes
Writer/Director Emma-Kate Croghan
Synopsis Delia, mother, acerbic household advice columnist and author of wildly popular household guides, is dying of cancer and decides to write one last work for her fans… They won’t be disappointed. Based on the acclaimed novel by Debra Adelaide.
Writer Sarah Walker
Synopsis When an investigative journalist is assigned against his wishes to interview an Australian Hollywood star for a magazine cover story, his dismissal of the subject turns serious after his probing uncovers an old crime and he becomes obsessed with getting the story told.
Genre Romantic Comedy
Producer Su Armstrong
Writer Eleanor Smagarinsky
Synopsis Faith is a single make-up girl and beauty blogger whose wonderful fake boyfriend keeps her mum off her back. When her perfect sister returns home to get married, Faith has to find a real version of Mr Right, fast. Based on the novel by Andrea Semple.
NOW ADD HONEY
Producer Louisa Kors
Writer Robyn Butler
Director Wayne Hope
Script Editor Sarina Rowell
Synopsis Normal life implodes for a suburban family when their pop star cousin comes to stay, until everyone realises that before she came life wasn’t normal anyway.
PICCOLO – THE DOLPHIN PRINCE
Producers Greg McLean, Alan Lindsay
Writer/Director Greg McLean
Script Editor Regina Lee
Synopsis Piccolo, the smallest dolphin of his tribe, is given the daunting task of leading a disparate group of friends across the ocean to find a legendary place where dolphin and man live in harmony.
SANTA: LOST DOWN UNDER
Producers Ben Cunningham, Diana Giorgiutti
Executive Producer Bryce Menzies
Writer Gregory Johnson
Director Rob Nunn
Synopsis Four days before Christmas, Santa and Rudy are stranded in the outback, exiled by a scheming elf intent on taking over the North Pole. Santa’s only hope of saving the family business and rescuing his teenage rock-star daughter is in the hands of a pint-sized bush hero named Billy.
SCRATCH THE SURFACE
Producer Jannine Barnes
Writer/Director Grant Scicluna
Script Editor Jonathan Rawlinson
Synopsis A story of a teenage murderer searching for a body and the truth.
Producer Tom M Jeffrey
Writer Lachlan Philpott
Synopsis Teens Tamara and Squid are in love, but their fragile relationship is broken by a devastating betrayal of trust that puts their futures at risk.
Producer Naomi Wenck
Writer Fiona Seres
Director Kim Farrant
Synopsis An unnerving mystery drama about a couple whose lives unravel when their two teenagers go missing in the harsh Australian desert.
TIDE OF SOULS
Producers Ryan Hodgson, Melissa Kelly, Robyn Kershaw, Amy Hobby
Writer Wain Fimeri
Script Editor Louise Gough
Producer Emile Sherman
Writer Marion Nelson
Director John Curran
Synopsis Based on the true story of Robyn Davidson’s epic journey through the Australian desert. A quintessentially Australian film telling a universal story of discovery and survival.
ADAM DOLMAN INTERNSHIP
Producer Adam Dolman will work for three months in development at Red Wagon Entertainment, a high-end production company based in Los Angeles with 20 Oscar® nominations to their credit.
BEC CUBITT INTERNSHIP
Producer Bec Cubitt will work for 20 weeks with Sydney-based production company Galvanized Film Group, under the mentorship of Heather Ogilvie, on two feature film projects and on the development of a number of television projects.