Former Create NSW director of screen investment, engagement and attraction Sophia Zachariou will join Bunya Productions as CEO, a newly-created role, in January.
“Sophia will bring a great energy to Bunya and help us grow. Her ethos very much aligns with what we do,” says Greer Simpkin, who is partnered in the production company with David Jowsey and Ivan Sen.
“She will help us develop projects and with overall strategy and relationships,” added Simpkin, who worked with Sophia for many years at the ABC when the latter was deputy head of entertainment.
Signalling Bunya’s plans to expand its slate of features, TV series and documentaries, Jowsey said: “It is a great coup for the Bunya Group to attract a talented and admired executive such as Sophia, who has deep experience and wide respect within the industry.”
At the ABC Zachariou also served as network executive producer on the Gruen series, Kitchen Cabinet with Annabel Crabb, Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey, The Chaser’s Media Circus and The Chaser’s War on Everything, Saturday Night Crack Up, Agony, The Checkout and At the Movies.
She also developed digital formats for ABC’s iview platform including the comedy Fresh Blood and Canberra Al Desko with Annabel Crabb.
Zachariou said: “I am very excited to be returning to independent production and a hands-on role. It is a truly great time to be involved in Australian production with the international opportunities now available. Bunya Productions is lauded for its films and programs such as Mystery Road and Sweet Country which have outstanding production values and I see great opportunities to grow the group internationally.”
Bunya Productions received six nominations at the 18th annual Screen Producers Australia Awards which were announced tonight in Melbourne.
Its 2019 slate includes the second series of Mystery Road, Leah Purcell’s movie The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson (a co-production with Purcell and Bain Stewart’s Oombarra Productions and Monumental Pictures’ Alison Owen) and Ivan Sen’s futuristic suspense/romance Loveland.
The company will also arrange a theatrical release for Kaye Harrison’s feature documentary Sanctuary, the story of Khaled, an Iraqi-born, Dutch-raised refugee whose personal traumas are exacerbated by a punitive immigration detention regime in Australia. Simpkin produced the doc which was co-funded by Screen Australia and Create NSW.