Film Finance Corporation of Australia
Funding Approvals - July 2002
This is archived information from the website of the former Film Finance Corporation (FFC), now part of Screen Australia.

10 July, 2002

FFC greenlights two new Australian mini-series

Ian David, acclaimed writer of the police corruption drama Blue Murder, will thrill audiences once again with his unique brand of factual storytelling in a new mini-series, The Shark Net.

Based on the memoir of writer Robert Drewe, The Shark Net is a gripping account of serial murder and adolescent angst, set in Perth in the '50s and '60s. It will be produced by Sue Taylor and directed by Graeme Burfoot, and will screen on the ABC.

The other new mini-series announced today by the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC), the Government-backed body financing the productions, is an adaptation of Bryce Courtenay's award-winning novel Jessica.

This tale of love, deceit and sacrifice is set in early 20th century rural New South Wales. Executive producers are Screentime's Bob Campbell and Des Monaghan, and it will be produced by Anthony Buckley and directed by Peter Andrikidis, the team who made the high-rating drama Heroes Mountain - The Thredbo Story, and will screen on the Ten Network.

Also in the FFC's slate are two children's TV drama series: Noah and Saskia, from the Australian Children's Television Foundation, about two teenagers who meet over the internet and project their ideal, but exaggerated, selves to each other; and Wicked Science, from Jonathan M Shiff Productions, about two teenagers zapped by a mysterious ray and turned into wizards of science.

The FFC's documentary slate includes a look at the dark side of the creator of the magical character Mary Poppins - Australian writer Pamela Travers. The Shadow Of Mary Poppins will take the audience on a journey in which the complex and troubled life of Travers is paralleled with that of her fictional character. Producer is Ian Collie, writer/director Lisa Matthews, executive producer Chris Hilton.

The slate also includes features a major new three-hour documentary, Stories From The Stone Age, which looks at the dramatic changes leading humans to abandon their nomadic existence and create the world's first civilisations. The creative team is director Roger Scholes, writer Kathryn Scholes, producer Claire Jager and executive producer Stephen Amezdroz.

Other documentaries in the new slate are Down the Line (series producer Will Davies, producer Michael Neil-Smith, director/writer Rodney Long), following the successful first series, Railway Adventures Across Australia, The Dream and the Dreaming (producer/directors John Matthews and Pru Colville, writer Pru Colville), Outback Opera (producer

Veronica Sive, director Jennifer Crone), The Wiggles Take on the World

(producer/director Michael Rivette, writer/producer Tracey Curro) and The Worm Farm (producers Craig Dow Sainter, Kathryn Simmons, Gordon Davie, and director Stephen Thomas, writer Gordon Davie).

Details of all the FFC's new projects are attached.

For more information, contact:

Fiona Nix
Nix Co
Ph: 02 9380 4933

Adult Television Drama

JESSICA (2 x 90 minute mini series)
Screentime Pty Ltd
Executive Producers: Bob Campbell, Des Monaghan, Nick Witkowski (UK)
Producer: Anthony Buckley
Director: Peter Andrikidis
Writer: Peter Yeldham
Distribution/presales: Ten Network, The Movie Network, Power/Hightime
Synopsis: Based on the novel Jessica by Bryce Courtenay, this is the dramatisation of an extraordinary life. It is a sweeping saga of love, deceit and sacrifice set during the early years of the twentieth century in the farmlands around Narrandera - then a small frontier town in rural New South Wales.

THE SHARK NET (3 x 1 hour mini series)
Taylor Media Pty Ltd
Producer: Sue Taylor
Director: Graeme Burfoot
Writer: Ian David
Distribution/presales: ABC, Optus, BBC Worldwide
Synopsis: Adapted from Robert Drewe's award winning memoir, The Shark Net is a gripping account of murder and adolescent angst in the middle class suburbs of a city cut off from the rest of the world.

Children's Television Drama

NOAH & SASKIA (13 x 30 minute Children's Drama)
ACTF Productions
Executive Producer/producer: Patricia Edgar
Director: Pino Amenta
Writer: Chris Anastassiades
Distribution/presales: ABC TV, BBC, ACTF
Synopsis: Noah and Saskia is about the power of someone's essence. It's about two teenagers who, by projecting their ideal selves to each other in a virtual world, get a little closer to reaching their ideals in the real one. It's about how someone can touch you from 10,000 miles away, and change your whole life.

WICKED SCIENCE (26 x 30 minute Children's Drama)
Jonathan M Shiff Productions
Executive Producers: Jonathan M Shiff, Kay Ben M'Rad
Producer: Daniel Scharf, Jonathan M Shiff
Directors: Grant Brown, Richard Jasek
Writers: Annie Fox, David Phillips, Kris Mrksa, Peter Kinloch, Greg Millin, Susan Macgillicuddy, Helen McWhirter
Distribution/presales: Network, Disney Channel, ZDF
Synopsis: Two teenagers are zapped by a mysterious ray which turns them into wizards of science. She wants power - he wants to stop her. And as a cloned T-Rex looms over Rose Park High their struggle for supremacy begins.


DOWN THE LINE (6 x 1 hour documentary series)
Down the Line Television
Series Producer: Will Davies
Producer: Michael Neil-Smith
Director/writer: Rodney Long
Presenter/writer: Scott McGregor
Distribution/presales: RDF International, Magna Pacific, Network Seven
Synopsis: Down the Line takes Scott and the Railway Adventures concept on a new track, leaving the well-trodden paths of the transcontinental journey, setting off on a loop of the South Pacific.

As well as trains, Scott will make use of a vast array of transport modes: Camel, car, self-powered trikes and planes, but he never ventures too far from the line. Scott will help, renovate, learn, meet, drive, visit, dig, fix and drop in on the all fascinating, bizarre and truly authentic places and people he can find.

THE DREAM AND THE DREAMING (55 minute Accord documentary)
CoJo Productions
Producer/directors: Jon Matthews, Pru Colville
Writer: Pru Colville
Distribution/presales: ABC TV
Synopsis: The history of Australia will be determined by the relationship that continues to develop between European and indigenous Australians. At the basis of such an understanding lies the ability of each to be able to adapt and to view the world from each other's point of view. This is the story of the Hermannsburg Mission and one hundred years of continuous black and white contact - and the changes that took place over that time.

OUTBACK OPERA (52 minute Accord Documentary)
Gap Media Pty Ltd
Producers: Veronica Sive
Director: Jennifer Crone
Distribution/presales: ABC TV
Synopsis: Outback Opera takes a journey with a travelling opera company, Oz Opera, through rural and outback Australia. The film aims to bring together a diversity of characters, crossing boundaries between city and bush folk, their class, race and financial status.

THE SHADOW OF MARY POPPINS (55 minute documentary)
Hilton Cordell and Associates
Executive Producer: Chris Hilton
Producer: Ian Collie
Writer/director: Lisa Matthews
Distribution/presales: ABC TV, RTE, CBC, Artsworld, AVRO
Synopsis: The Shadow of Mary Poppins explores the complex and troubled life the creator of Mary Poppins, Pamela Travers. The audience will be taken on a journey tracing the parallel lives of Travers and Mary Poppins from their origins through to their transformation from servant to seer. The enigma of Travers is finally revealed in this biography of the creator of one of the most popular characters in children's fiction and film.

STORIES FROM THE STONE AGE (3 x 1 hour documentary)
Beyond Productions Pty Ltd
Executive Producer: Stephen Amezdroz
Producer: Claire Jager
Director: Roger Scholes
Writer: Katherine Scholes
Distribution/presales: ABC TV, S4C, S4C International
Synopsis: This documentary will explore the revolutionary period of pre-history that began when humans abandoned the nomadic hunting and gathering existence they had known for millennia to take up a completely new way of life - the decisive move to farming and herding, the creation of permanent settlements and the discovery of metals. The dramatic changes that led to the world's first civilisations.

THE WIGGLES TAKE ON THE WORLD (46 minute Accord documentary)
Talking Heads Productions
Producer/director: Michael Rivette
Writer/producer: Tracey Curro
Distribution/presales: Network 7
Synopsis: In the eleven years since recording their first album, The Wiggles have become superstars. Now, they're taking their successful formula to the children of Asia, the USA and Europe, in a concerted and aggressive marketing push that has financial analysts buzzing with forecasts of a billion-dollar enterprise.

THE WORM FARM (55 minute Accord Documentary)
Roar Film
Producers: Craig Dow Sainter, Kathryn Symmons, Gordon Davie
Director: Stephen Thomas
Writer: Gordon Davie
Distribution/presales: ABC TV
Synopsis: The Worm Farm is a one hour documentary about the life and times of a convicted murderer seen through the eyes of an ex-policeman. The spine of the film will be a series of conversations between the two men at 'The Worm Farm' - a large iron shed on a lonely hilltop above the prison compound.