Media Release – Tuesday 22 December 2015
A diverse array of 11 documentaries tackling everything from the challenges of Year 12, to the murder case of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsay are set to receive funding as part of Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer Program.
This round includes six feature film documentaries, two iview premieres, and three television docos, proving the innovative and wide array of ways Australian producers are connecting these unique stories to audiences.
“Not only are we supporting a record number of documentaries for the Producer Program with this round, but we are hitting every platform, from online to television to features,” Screen Australia Chief Operating Officer Fiona Cameron says.
“These documentaries present a fascinating array of stories, told from established as well as emerging filmmakers.”
Casting JonBenet, about the unsolved death of the six-year-old beauty queen, is the second feature film from emerging director Kitty Green. Green’s first feature premiered at Venice Film Festival and her most recent work won Best Documentary Short at Sundance Film Festival. Green is producing, along with Scott Macaulay.
Another true-crime flavoured doc is the feature length Ghosthunter. From first-time director Ben Lawrence, producer Rebecca Bennett and executive producer Margie Bryant, it follows the story of a man whose life-long search for an absent father leads to an horrific revelation.
Equally terrifying, but in an entirely different way, is what the final year of high-school presents for young Australians. Produced by Karla Burt and executive produced by Laura Waters, Year 12 Diaries tells the true story of that intense journey, through the kids living it.
Meanwhile Spookers isn’t as scary as it sounds. Australian production company Madman (That Sugar Film) have teamed up with New Zealand filmmaker Florian Habicht for this tale about a close-knit farming family who open the most successful scare park in the Southern Hemisphere.
Making its premiere online is 10-part documentary web series No Strings Attached, where producers Lisa Kovacevic and Emma Watts tackle the topic of trying to connect in the 21 st century through a cast of puppets, who re-enact stories of dating app users.
Moving from social phenomena to social impact, Blue tells the story of our changing oceans and the crisis looming beneath the waves from director Karina Holden and producer Electra Manikakis of Northern Pictures.
The arts also feature heavily, from Ella’s Journey, which follows Ella Havelka, the first Indigenous dancer accepted into the Australia ballet, to multiplatform project Slam TV – a series about slam poetry, which is set to premiere on iview.
Meanwhile An Australian Nightmare presents a kind of Shakespearean film-within-a-film as producer/writer/director Gary Doust follows the journey of actor/filmmaker Craig Anderson making his first really low budget horror film with his own life savings.
And arts-inspired docos with a biographical edge include Gurrumul- Elcho Dreaming, about the celebrated Indigenous musician, and a television documentary about visionary architect Harry Seidler titledSeidler – Brutal or Beautiful.
“This round of documentaries delivers a bit of everything, from chilling true crime, to spooky fun, to important issues impacting Australians now and in the future,” Ms Cameron said.
The Producer Program was established to act as a foundation by which innovative documentaries with a strong vision would be able to secure further deals, as the distribution landscape continues to evolve and financing becomes increasingly fragmented.
Screen Australia’s Documentary Production team will accept online applications for the next round of Producer Program funding through the new Application Portal, with a deadline of 22 January, 2016:
Documentary Production – Producer Program
AN AUSTRALIAN NIGHTMARE
Producer / Director / Writer Gary Doust
Executive Producer Megan McMurchy
Synopsis Follow comedic Actor / Filmmaker Craig Anderson on his riotous roller-
coaster journey as he puts his life savings on the line to make his first really, really
low budget horror film ‘Red Christmas’.
Producer Electra Manikakis
Impact Producer Sarah Beard
Executive Producer Sue Clothier
Director / Writer Karina Holden
Synopsis Blue tells the story of ocean change and explores the hidden crisis in our
Matricide Pictures Pty Ltd
Producers Kitty Green, Scott Macaulay
Director Kitty Green
Synopsis A sly and stylised exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder
case, the unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
WildBear Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Veronica Fury, Dena Curtis, Lawrence Johnson, Murray Power
Director Douglas Watkin
Synopsis Ella’s Journey follows the first Indigenous Dancer to be accepted into The
Producer Rebecca Bennett
Executive Producer Margie Bryant
Director / Writer Ben Lawrence
Synopsis Jason – father, brother, husband, son, Ghosthunter. A life-long search for
an absent father uncovers an horrific revelation and ignites a police manhunt –
awakening a real-life monster.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED
10 x 5mins
Green Bean Pictures Pty Ltd
Producers Lisa Kovacevic, Emma Watts
Director Emma Watts
Synopsis No Strings Attached features a cast of puppets that lip sync and re-enact
storiesof dating app users from around Australia. This 10 part documentary web
series peers beneath the covers of this social phenomenon and tells the true stories of
Australians trying to connect in the 21st Century.
SEIDLER – BRUTAL OR BEAUTIFUL
Film Art Doco Pty Ltd
Producers Charlotte Seymour, Sue Maslin
Director Daryl Dellora
Synopsis Brutal or beautiful, from the moment he arrive in Sydney, Harry Seidler’s
private homes were in demand and his uniquely stylised and innovatively engineered
tower blocks came to dominate city skylines all over the country. His vision and his
personality cannot be ignored.
GURRUMUL – ELCHO DREAMING
6 Seasons Productions Pty Ltd
Producer Shannon Swan
Co Producers Mark Grose, Michael Hohnen & Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Director Paul Williams
Writers Paul Williams, Shannon Swan
Music Composed by Michael Hohnen & Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
Synopsis Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is a blind aboriginal man with the voice of
an angel who became famous, but couldn’t forget where he came from.
6 x 5 mins & 1x 30 mins
Undergrowth Pty Ltd
Producer Adam Farrington-Williams, Shannon Swan, Timothy Parish
Director Timothy Parish, Darius Devas
Writer Timothy Parish
Synopsis SLAM TV is a cutting edge multi-platform documentary series showcasing
powerful, challenging and inspiring spoken-word ‘slam poetry’.
Madman Production Company International Pty Ltd
Producers Nick Batzias, Suzanne Walker, Lani-rain Feltham, Virginia Whitwell
Executive Producer Paul Wiegard
Director Florian Habicht
Writers Veronica Gleeson, Peter O’Donoghue, Florian Habicht
Synopsis A close-knit farming family open the most successful scare park in the
Southern Hemisphere; facing their fears so others can face theirs, and in doing so
creating a home away from home for hundreds of performers.
YEAR 12 DIARIES
26 x 26 mins
Princess Pictures Holdings Pty Ltd
Producer Karla Burt
Executive Producer Laura Waters
Synopsis Year 12 Diaries is the real story of Year 12 told by the kids as they go
Documentary Production – Broadcast Program
6 x 30 mins
Metamorflix Pty Ltd
Producer Gillian Moody
Executive Producers Renee Kennedy, Karla Hart
Director Karla Hart
Writer Dena Curtis
Synopsis A documentary series tackling the stereotypes of Indigenous Australia
through the prism of one unique urban Aboriginal family – in their household family
ROD TAYLOR: PULLING NO PUNCHES
Lowlands Media Pty Ltd
Producers Robert de Young, Stephan Wellink
Executive Producer Alan Finney
Director Robert de Young
Writer Dena Curtis
Broadcaster Foxtel HD Arts
Synopsis Australian actor Rod Taylor was a versatile and popular leading man,
equally adept at romantic comedy, adventure and dramatic roles, and his rugged on-
screen and off-screen persona created a brand of Australian masculinity now evident
in the work of actors such as Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe and Sam Worthington.
STOP LAUGHING. THIS IS SERIOUS (SERIES 2)
3 x 56 mins
Screentime Pty Ltd
Producers Craig Anderson, Ruth Cullen
Executive Producer Jennifer Collins
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis Stop Laughing…This Is Serious (Series 2) is a three part documentary
series that continues the story of Australian comedy, delving into the defining
moments that have helped to shape our comedic voice of today.