Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer Program Supports 11 Diverse Projects

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


57 mins

Fridgejam Productions

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’.


90 mins

Northern Pictures

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



85 mins

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.


75 mins

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

Australian Ballet.


90 mins

Exit Films

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.


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.


55 mins

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.


90 mins

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’.


90 mins

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.


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

through it.

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

Broadcaster NITV

Synopsis A documentary series tackling the stereotypes of Indigenous Australia

through the prism of one unique urban Aboriginal family – in their household family



75 mins

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.


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.

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