Screen NSW invests $4.2m

05 August, 2010 by IF

By Brendan Swift

The New South Wales government has unveiled plans to invest more than $4.2 million across 23 screen projects, including five Australian feature films.


The investment is expected to trigger $62 million in local production (slightly higher than the agency's overall leverage ratio target of 14 times) although overall production levels in NSW remains subdued.

It follows the government's announcement just over two months ago that it would invest an additional $20 million in screen incentives to attract large-scale productions to NSW.

However, the extra cash has failed to reignite offshore interest in filming locally as the Australian dollar has steadily climbed back above US90c in recent weeks.

A decision on whether Steven Spielberg's sci-fi TV series Terra Nova will be filmed in Australia has been delayed with the premiere date pushed back to May 2011. Production of the fourth Mad Max installment, Fury Road, has also been delayed until early next year.

The NSW-funded projects announced today include five Australian feature films, four television series, one telemovie, one cross-platform project and 12 documentaries.

Among the locally-shot features is Mei Mei, a story about Chinese orphan Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) who arrives in Sydney to find her Australian sponsor Dean Randall (Guy Pearce) behind bars for manslaughter.

It is the second official Australian-China co-production after the $16 million The Dragon Pearl was filmed in China last year. 

The shoot finishes this week after filming in Sydney locations such as Long Bay Correctional facility, Yasmah Juvenile Detention Centre, Gladesville Hospital, Warriewood, North Head Artillery Base, Ryde Hospital, South Sydney Hospital and the Conservatorium of Music.

The full list of productions which have received NSW funding are:

Production Company: Portal Pictures
Finance: $200,000
Writers: Martin Edmond, Pauline Chan, Philip Dalkin.
Producers: Penny Carl-Nelson, Pauline Chan, Lesley Stevens, Zhijiang Lui
Director: Pauline Chan
Synopsis: "Sometimes the past comes back to thank you". Chinese orphan Mei Mei (16) arrives in Sydney to find her Australian sponsor Dean Randall (40) behind bars for manslaughter. Mismatched and disconnected, the unlikely duo help each other to grasp their chance at life over a roller-coaster ride of 3 weeks.

Production Company: Porchlight Films
Finance: $400,000
Writer: Alice Addison
Producer: Vincent Sheehan
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Synopsis: One man's search for the last Tasmanian Tiger becomes a deeper journey into the core of his own existence. Starring high-profile international actor, Willem Dafoe. Based on the acclaimed novel, The Hunter, by Julia Leigh.

Production Company: Vivid Films
Finance: $310,000
Writers: Kieran Darcy-Smith, Felicity Price
Producer: Angie Fielder
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Synopsis: Four friends lose themselves in a carefree South East Asian holiday. Only three come back. Who amongst them knows what happened on that fateful night when they were dancing under a full moon in Cambodia?

Production Company: Porchlight Films
Finance: $275,000
Writers: Cate Shortland, Robin Mukherjees
Producers: Liz Watts, Paul Walsh, Karsten Stoter, Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Director: Cate Shortland
Synopsis: Spring 1945 and the German resistance collapses. As the Allied forces sweep across the Motherland, five children embark on a journey which will challenge every notion we have of family, love and friendship.

TV – Series
Production Company: Pixa House
Finance: $200,000
Writers: Nick Parsons, Blake Ayshford, Jamie Browne, Louis Nowra
Producers: Helen Panckhurst, Penny Chapman
Director: Peter Andrikidis
Synopsis: The Straits is an exotic, darkly humorous crime drama. It follows the fortunes of a family who happen to be on the wrong side of the law. Their turf is Far North Queensland and the complex network of islands that form Australia's Northern frontier: the Torres Straits.

Adult TV Drama
Production Company:
Finance: $300,000
Writer: Christopher Lee
Producers: John Edwards, Imogen Banks
Director: Emma Freeman
Broadcaster: ABC
Synopsis: The Whitlams era as seen through the eyes of Cleo magazine and its young Editor, Ita Buttrose.

Production Company: Playmaker Media
Finance: $250,000
Writer: John Misto
Producers: David Taylor, David Maher
Broadcaster: Channel 9
Synopsis: Jeffrey Gilham had a perfect life. He lived on a river in the heart of Sydney's affluent Shire district. He was handsome, educated, a champion athlete, and a model son from a perfect family. So why, on a freezing morning in 1993 did this model son butcher his parents and brother? Or did he?

Childrens TV Series
Production Company: Werner Film Productions
Finance: $500,000
Writers: Samantha Strauss, Liz Doran, Greg Waters and Sam Carrol confirmed
Producer: Joanna Werner
Line Producer: Ally Henville
Directors: Cherie Nowlan confirmed
Broadcaster: ABC
Synopsis: Tara returns to the Academy with her sights set firmly on representing the country at the world's most prestigious ballet competition. But she should be more focused on just surviving second year where, having climbed to the top over the last twelve months – in dance, life and love – she now has a very long way to fall.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Blackfella Films
Finance: $80,000
Writer: Tony Krawitz
Producer: Darren Dale
Executive Producer: Rachel Perkins
Director: Tony Krawitz
Synopsis: On 19 Nov 2004 an Aboriginal man swore at a policeman and 45 minutes later lay dead in a cell. This is the story of that event and its aftermath.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Population Productions
Finance: $60,000
Writer: Simon Nasht
Producers: Anna Cater, Simon Nasht
Director: Simon Nasht
Synopsis: The film follows Dick Smith's six-month campaign against rapid population growth. The unashamedly polemical film tests the propositions, one by one, put forward in favour of a Big Australia. Can this popular entrepreneur persuade the nation to change its mind?

Factual – Single
Production Company: Frontline Films
Finance: $40,000
Writer: David Bradbury
Producer: David Bradbury
Executive Producer: Jeni McMahon
Director: David Bradbury
Synopsis: Auteur filmmaker Paul Cox contemplates his own mortality and his life's work as he waits for a life saving liver transplant.

Factual – Single
Production Company: North One TV Australia
Finance: $20,000
Writers: Dan Goldberg, George Negus
Producer: Dan Goldberg
Director: Adam Kay
Synopsis: War and political turmoil tore the lives of eight refugee kids apart, causing them to flee to Australia. Football United is giving them the chance to dream of a better life. This is the powerful story of renewed hope, as the kids compete for Australia at the Football for Hope Festival in South Africa.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Intomedia
Finance: $30,000
Writers: Stuart Scowcroft, Lez Wilson
Producers: Stuart Scowcroft, Seona Robertson
Director: Les Wilson
Synopsis: The story of Lachlan Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth who arrived in Sydney when it was goal and left it ten years later, a colony on the way to becoming a nation. He was called the Father of Australia.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Firelight Production
Finance: $50,000
Writer: Simon Nasht
Producers: Marcus Gillezeau, Ellenor Cox
Director: Gregory Read
Synopsis: Tenacious Aussie jet pilot David Mayman grasps for his childhood dream to build and fly his own rocket belt.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Essential Media and Entertainment
Finance: $55,000
Producer: Chris Hilton
Executive Producer: Chris Hilton
Directors: Randall Wood, Chris Thorburn
Synopsis: Amongst perhaps the only truly happy people on earth, maverick linguist Daniel Everett sets out to discover if the language we speak defines the way we think.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Evershine
Finance: $60,000
Writer: Hugh Piper
Producer: Helen Barrow
Director: Hugh Piper
Synopsis: An observational documentary about print journalism, freedom of speech and publishing in SE Asia.

Factual – Single
Production Company: Angels Television
Finance: $25,000
Writer: Gregory Miller, Liz Courtney
Producer: Gregory Miller, Liz Courtney
Director: Gregory Miller, Liz Courtney
Synopsis: The coolest school on the Planet is about to open in Antarctica. Cool School is an event based feature documentary filmed in Antarctica. It is a chance to explore sustainable development and climate change within a travel/adventure format in one of the places most affected by climate change.

Factual – Series
Production Company: Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Finance: $110,000
Producers: Steve Bibb, Nick Murray
Synopsis: Hardliners follows a remarkable group of Australian long-line fishermen chasing the lucrative Southern Blue Fin Tuna in the treacherous waters off the Australian east coast. Dodging storms, sharks, and container ships, these men provide a fascinating insight into human endurance and bravery. But what price do they pay?

Factual – Series
Production Company: Bombora Film and Music Co.
Finance: $101,539
Writers: Paul Clarke, Nick Carrol with Graeme Davison
Producer: Paul Clarke
Executive Producer: Penny Robins
Director: Paul Clarke
Synopsis: An Australian social history of the Twentieth Century- viewed through the windscreen of the cars that we so cherished.

Factual – Series
Production Company: Matchbox Pictures
Finance: $135,000
Writer: Mark O'Toole
Producer: Michaela Perske
Executive Producer: Penny Chapman
Broadcaster: SBS
Synopsis: Fifty years since the pill went on sale in Australia, Julia Zemiro presents a series that takes an enlightening and humorous look at sex in the modern age.

Cross Platform
Production Company: Hopscotch Productions
Finance: $35,000
Writer: Emma Magenta
Producer: Rachel Okine
Director: Emma Magenta
Synopsis: The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch is a cross-platform 2D animated project incorporating interactive web components, which brings acclaimed Australian artist Emma Magenta's newest character, Phillipa Finch to life.