Screen Australia today announced its support of 11 television and film projects. Funding of close to $10.7 million will be allocated to a range of screen stories that will trigger production to the value of nearly $59 million.
Sally Caplan, Screen Australia’s Head of Production, said, “We are thrilled to support such a great range of film businesses and filmmakers making a sensational mix of stories. In this round we will back the story of an iconic Australian entertainer in Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door from the award-winning team behind this year’s highest-rating TV drama, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart. An award was made to creator Shelley Birse and the highly admired team behind the popular political drama series The Code for its follow-up series. We are delighted to have multi-award winner of over 56 industry awards, Andrew Knight, on two projects. Andrew will work on one of these projects with The Sapphires Director Wayne Blair, who will return to Australia from an international project to take the helm on a charming rom com with the Australian Muslim community at its heart.
“Audiences will be spoilt for choice with a great range of stories – from a string of projects based on true events like the hilarious black comedy based on the antics of Chinese-Australian Benjamin Law to favourite crime mysteries Jasper Jones and the new Jack Irish TV series starring Guy Pearce, to an edge-of-your-seat Amazon adventure starring Kevin Bacon. We expect the combination of favourite characters in local stories along with some fresh new faces will appeal to all walks of life.”
Support will be given to four adult TV dramas and one children’s TV drama.
The second series of The Code from Playmaker Media will receive support. The acclaimed first series won the major AWGIE Award and drew national and international praise. Set to be broadcast on the ABC, Series 2 brings together writers Shelley Birse (The Code, Satisfaction) and Sean Cook. The political thriller will reunite director Shawn Seet(Hiding, Love Child) with producers Shelley Birse, Di Haddon (Hiding), David Maher (Love Child) and David Taylor (Love Child). Series 2 opens with Ned and Jesse Banks facing possible extradition charges to the US, fortunately Australian National Security need Jesse to figure out a dilemma they can’t solve.
The Family Law, written by Benjamin Law and Marieke Hardy (Laid, Wonderland), will be produced by Matchbox Pictures’ Julie Eckersley (Nowhere Boys) and Sophie Miller (Nowhere Boys) for SBS. The unique story, based on Chinese-Australian Law’s memoir, is a black comedy set on the Sunshine Coast over a summer where we meet 14-year-old Law determined to be a TV star while simultaneously trying to prevent his parents from splitting up.
Favourite telemovie Jack Irish will be made into a gripping new TV series, starring Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3, The King’s Speech) and Marta Dusseldorp (A Place to Call Home). The series is written by Matt Cameron (Old School, Molly), Andrew Knight (The Water Diviner, Siam Sunset, Rake, Jack Irish) and Andrew Anastasios (The Water Diviner). It will be produced by Essential Media and Entertainment’s Ian Collie (Saving Mr Banks) and Andrew Knight with Jeffrey Walker, Daniel Nettheim and Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man) set to direct. ABC will broadcast the crime story which follows Jack Irish’s life of secrets, scams, romance and mystery.
From the maker of the high-rating INXS biopic, Shine Australia’s Kerrie Mainwaring (Paper Giants, Puberty Blues), comes the remarkable story of Australian icon Peter Allen, the boy from the bush whose talent, determination and drive propelled him to become Hollywood royalty – the only Australian to win an Oscar®, a Grammy and a Golden Globe®. Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door will reacquaint audiences with some much-loved tunes from the past. The mini-series was written by Justin Monjo (The Turning) and Michael Miller with Shawn Seet set to direct for the Seven Network.
Children’s favourite underwater fantasy Mako: Islands of Secrets returns with a third series. The usual characters return to defeat a fearsome magical creature threatening the Mako pod. From Jonathan M Shiff Productions and the team behind the popular Mako story-world comes the latest series from writers Mark Shirrefs (story producer), Sam Carroll, Anthony Morris, Phil Enchelmaier and Max Dann. It will be directed by Evan Clarry (Mako Mermaids) and John Hartley (The Doctor Blake Mysteries) for local broadcast on Network Ten and Disney Channel Australia.
Production investment support will be given to six feature films.
A bold new comedy to be directed by award-winning Wayne Blair (The Sapphires,Septembers of Shiraz), Ali’s Wedding is based on true events and written by Andrew Knight and Osamah Sami (The Cup). The story follows the son of a Muslim cleric who, caught between his sense of duty and love, tells a lie that unfolds a catastrophic chain of events. Matchbox Productions’ Sheila Jayadev and Helen Panckhurst (Rabbit-Proof Fence) will produce the film.
Based on the best-selling novel and successful play by Craig Silvey, Jasper Jones is a coming-of-age murder mystery adapted for the screen by the writer of The Snowtown Murders, Shaun Grant. Porchlight Films’ Vincent Sheehan (Animal Kingdom, The Hunter) and Bunya Productions’ David Jowsey (Mystery Road) will produce and Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Dae) will direct.
Fandango Australia will make the chilling true story Joe Cinque’s Consolation, a tale that sees the psychological collapse of a law student, who shifts from suicidal tendencies to trying to kill her boyfriend, Joe, who happens to be trying to save her from her mental frailty. The film will be directed by recent winner of Toronto International Film Festival Best Short Film, Sotiris Dounoukos (A Single Body), who co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Rubinstein. Sue Murray (Charlie’s Country, Red Dog) and Donna Hensler will produce.
Following the completion of his US feature debut, director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) returns to make Jungle. Based on the true story of best-selling author Yossi Ghinsberg (to be played by Kevin Bacon), who, after losing his friends in the Amazon, is stranded in the jungle with no tools or skills to survive. It will be produced by Arclight Films’ Dana Lustig,Gary Hamilton (Wolf Creek, Mystery Road), Mike Gabrawy (Resident Evil, Reclaim) and Mark Lazarus (Australian Rules), and written by Justin Monjo (The Turning).
Cameron and Colin Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres) have written and will direct Scare Campaign, a story about a popular prank TV show that decides to up the ante on their shenanigans after a new web series arises which makes their usual tricks look bland – the team goes overboard and pranks the wrong guy. Cyan Films’ Julie Ryan (Tracks, Red Dog) will produce the film.
Taboo is a love story that will give audiences a rare glimpse into the culture of one of the last tribal societies on earth – Tanna Island. John Collee (Master and Commander, Happy Feet) has written the script with Martin Butler (Devil’s Playground) and Bentley Dean (Contact, First Footprints), who will both also produce and direct. Contact Films’ Carolyn Johnson (Son of a Lion) is also set to produce the film.