Media Releases 2011:
Screen Australia announces investment in nine documentaries


Tuesday 12 April 2011

Screen Australia today announced investment of $2 million in nine documentaries. The investment will trigger production worth over $12 million.

Two domestic documentaries were announced, including Anatomy Series 3, which will explore art, sex and the body over three episodes. The series will be executive produced by Tony Ayres, produced by Michael McMahon and Polly Staniford and written and directed by Paola Morabito, Alethea Jones and Kim Munro

The observational documentary Running to America will also receive investment through the Domestic Documentary Program. From executive producer Michael Cordell, producer Juliet Bishop and writer/director Matt Long, it follows four Indigenous Australians competing in the famous New York Marathon.

Seven international documentaries were announced, including Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect, investigating how modern science might finally hold the key to cracking the case of the most infamous serial killer case in history. The film will be executive produced and produced by Julia Redwood and Ed Punchard, and directed by Franco di Chiera

“I’m thrilled to announce such a diverse slate of quality domestic and international documentaries,” said Screen Australia Chief Executive Ruth Harley

“Among the domestic projects, the critically acclaimed Anatomy series will continue to deliver visually inventive arts documentaries, while Running to America promises a feel-good story from the Top End. The seven international projects will further extend our uniquely Australian stories and voices on the world stage,” said Dr Harley.

Shark City, which explores the rise of bull sharks in the suburbs of the Gold Coast (ep: Kip Spidell, p/d: Jason Markland, w: Kip Spidell, Jason Markland) and Koalas: The Secret Society Exposed,which follows a year in the lives of eight koalas (ep: Hugh Marks, p: Bettina Dalton, w/d: Paul Scott), are among the other projects to receive support through the International Documentary Program.

Executive producer Hugh Marks, producer Veronica Fury, and writer/director Susan Lambert were also funded to produce Dancing Down Under, which follows the colourful and competitive world of Irish dancing in Australia. Other International Documentary Program projects to receive support include Aussiewood (ep: Tony Ayres, p: Michael McMahon, Cecilia Ritchie, d: Gary Doust), Devil Island (ep/p: Sally Ingleton, d: Andrew Sully) and Wild Australia (ep: Hugh Marks, p: Bettina Dalton, d: Rory McGuinness).


Matchbox Pictures
Executive Producer
Tony Ayres
Producers Michael McMahon, Polly Staniford           
Writers/Directors   Paola Morabito, Alethea Jones, Kim Munro
Broadcaster ABC TV
Sales None as yet

Synopsis After the success of the first and second series of Anatomy, Matchbox Pictures are currently developing a third series, which, following the form of the previous series, will consist of three documentaries that explore art, sex and the body.  The three films – Hair, Nerve and Tissue – will all touch upon a wide range of human experience and emotion well beyond the boundaries of traditional arts documentaries.  They will be unique with each story being realised in distinctive director driven visions.

RUNNING TO AMERICA - post production
Executive Producer
Michael Cordell
Producer Juliet Bishop           
Writer/Director Matt Long
Broadcaster ABC TV
Sales Off The Fence

Synopsis This observational documentary follows four young Indigenous men from Outback Australia as they take on an opportunity to be the first Indigenous Australians to run in the worlds most famous race, the New York Marathon.



AUSSIEWOOD (working title)
Matchbox Pictures
Executive Producer
Tony Ayres
Producers Michael McMahon, Cecilia Ritchie
Writer TBC
Director Gary Doust
Broadcaster ABC TV
Sales ABC Commercial

Synopsis Every year another Aussie actor makes it big on American screens. Who will be the next of our homegrown actors to become a Hollywood star?

Wild Fury
Executive Producers Hugh Marks
Producer Veronica Fury
Writer/Director Susan Lambert
Broadcaster ABC 3, TG4
Sales ACTF

Synopsis This series is a journey through the colourful and competitive world of Irish dancing Down Under. It is the untold story of passion, music and rich Irish culture thriving in mainstream Australia. From the harsh outback to glitzy inner city dance schools, we follow the highs and lows of an amazing bunch of Aussie kids as they prepare to compete in the Australian ‘Nationals’ for a chance to represent their country in the World Irish dancing championships in Dublin.

360 Degree Films
Executive Producer
/Producer Sally Ingleton        
Director Andrew Sully
Broadcaster ABC TV, ITV UK, France TV
Sales ABC Commercial, NGTI

Synopsis In a real life ‘Madagascar,’ 50 mollycoddled Tasmanian Devils are hauled from the 5-star luxury of Australian zoos and released into the wilds of a remote island to fend for themselves and, with a little luck, to save their species from extinction.

Mindful Media & Wild Fury
Executive Producer
Hugh Marks
Producer Bettina Dalton           
Writer/Director Paul Scott
Broadcaster ABC TV, Thirteen/WNET
Sales NGTI

Synopsis A year in the personal lives of eight koalas, featuring previously unknown science, some surprising and fascinating natural behavior, and a dedicated scientist who wants to decipher the ‘koala code’.

Prospero Productions
Executive Producers
/Producers Julia Redwood, Ed Punchard
Writer TBC
Director Franco di Chiera
Broadcaster Network Seven, UK TV, Discovery Canada
Sales BBC Distribution, Oberon

Synopsis The story of Jack The Ripper is one of the most gruesome and infamous crimes in history. A horrific killing spree, which exposed the darkest recesses of Victorian London, leaving a city gripped in terror. Today more than 120 years later, modern science may just hold the key to cracking the case.  There has been a major new development in the Ripper story.  In a laboratory on the other side of the world, lies what is believed to be the skull of Fredrick Bailey Deeming, infamous as Australia’s first serial killer. At the time of his execution in 1892, Deeming was a suspect in the Jack the Ripper case.  In a recent experiment in an Australian laboratory, DNA was extracted from the skull.  Now if DNA can be discovered that can be linked to the crimes, Deeming could finally be proved to be the world’s most notorious killer or once and for all eliminated from the enquiries. The hunt is now on.

Markland Communications
Executive Producer
Kip Spidell
Producer/ Director Jason Markland                       
Writers Kip Spidell, Jason Markland
Broadcaster National Geographic Wild Australia, National Geographic Wild International
Sales NGTI

Synopsis The idyllic Australian resort city just south of Brisbane known as The Gold Coast has the usual blend of urban challenges faced by any fast-growing metropolis. But the town council has an issue that few other cities have to contend with – sharks in the suburbs. The region is seeing an alarming rise in Bull Shark incidents in canals, rivers and the popular beaches. But can anything be done to protect local residents? And perhaps more importantly, can anything be done to protect this species of shark from wholesale slaughter in the face of increasing demands for public safety?  Local scientist Jonathan Werry believes the answer to both questions begins with a better understanding of the shark itself – and especially its attraction to these urban canals.  


Wild Fury with Moers Media and NDR Naturfilm
Executive Producer
Hugh Marks
Producer Bettina Dalton
Writer TBC
Director Rory McGuinness
Broadcaster National Geographic Aus, NDR Naturfilm, ZDF/Arte, NDR LMA

Synopsis Sumptuously shot in full HD over multiple episodes Wild Australia will showcase some of our most iconic and significant national parks and what makes each ecologically unique. Featuring ‘blue chip’ animal behaviour footage, the series will take Australians beyond National Parks as tourist attractions and into the heart of each of these living icons, revealing their history, character, biological significance, and what shapes and potentially threatens them in the current state of our planet. These are the jewels in the crown in our national heritage, islands of wilderness in a sea of environmental change, reminding us of our natural legacy past and future.

Teri Calder T: 02 8113 5833; M: 0408 440 995