Media Releases 2011:
Screen Australia investment triggers $97 million in production

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Monday 5 December 2011

Screen Australia has announced almost $17 million investment in a diverse slate of feature films, adult television drama projects and children’s television series. The investment in 14 projects will trigger over $97 million in production.

Features approved for investment include, The Grandmothers, an erotic tale of misguided love based on a Doris Lessing novel, adapted for the screen by Oscar® winner Christopher Hampton. The film features a powerhouse cast including Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville. The Grandmothers will be produced by Andrew Mason and Philippe Carcassonne and will be directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Avant Chanel).

Other feature projects include 2:22, a high-concept psychological thriller set in New York (p: Jackie O’Sullivan, Paul Currie, w: Paul Currie, Todd Stein, d: Paul Currie) and Patrick (p: Antony I Ginnane, w: Justin King, d: Mark Hartley), a gothic horror re-working of the 1978 classic of the same name.

The Mule, a black comedy co-written and co-produced by one of Australia’s most successful international screenwriter/actor/producers Leigh Whannell (Saw franchise), was also approved for investment. Whannell will star in the film with co-writer and co-producer Angus Sampson. The film will be directed by Tony Mahony and be produced by Paul Clarke.

The science fiction thriller These Final Hours (p: Liz Kearney, ep: Robert Connolly, w/d: Zak Hilditch) and the feature documentary The Pappas Brothers, produced and directed by rising talent Eddie Martin, will also receive investment from Screen Australia. The Pappas Brothers follows the story of Tas and Ben Pappas who rose to become the number one and two skateboarders in the world and will also be produced by George Pank and James Gay Rees and executive produced by Jude Troy, Rachel Okine and Paul McGowan.

Screen Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Fiona Cameron said, “Screen Australia is pleased to announce a strong and diverse slate of feature films today. The Grandmothers is a sophisticated Australian story with significant creative potential and a hugely talented cast. The high-concept thriller 2:22 is a type of film that rarely gets presented to Screen Australia and will be an international career launcher for Australian director Paul Currie.

“It’s great to support one of our most successful international filmmakers Leigh Whannell with his first Australian feature The Mule. The Pappas Brothers promises to be an intense and compelling theatrical documentary and These Final Hours will see an emerging creative team explore the end of the world,” said Ms Cameron.

Adult Television Drama investments include the Network Ten biographical telemovie Underground which follows the early life of Julian Assange. Underground will be directed and written by award-winning filmmaker Robert Connolly. Helen Bowden will produce and Tony Ayres will executive produce the telemovie.

Devil’s Dust (p: Jason Stephens, Antonia Barnard, Stephen Corvini, w: Kris Mrksa, d: Jessica Hobbs) is a two-part ABC series telling the tragic story of Bernie Banton and his fight for justice against James Hardie Industries. World Series Cricket (p: John Edwards, Mimi Butler, w: Christopher Lee, d: Daina Reid) is a miniseries for Network Nine exploring Kerry Packer’s creation of World Series Cricket in the 1970s. Puberty Blues (p: John Edwards, Imogen Banks, w: Alice Bell, Tony McNamara, Fiona Seres, d: Emma Freeman, Glendyn Ivin) for the Ten Network is a series revisiting Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette’s book and feature film of the same name and The Doctor Blake Mysteries (p: Tony Wright, George Adams, w: John Alsop) is a period mystery drama series for the ABC set in country Victoria.

“Adult television drama continues to move from strength to strength. This compelling mix of quality series and telemovies will continue to provide audiences with engaging and iconic Australian stories,” said Ms Cameron.

Children’s television investments include the popular series Dance Academy(ep: Bernadette O’Mahony, Joanna Werner, p: Joanna Werner, w: Samantha Strauss) which will return for a third season. Producer Noel Price will bring the live action children’s series In Your Dreams (w: John Armstrong, Tim Gooding, Kym Goldsworthy, Julie Miller, d: Ralph Strasser), which will be set in both Germany and Australia, to the Seven Network. The comic animation series The Flamin’ Thongs (p: Colin South, w: Bruce Griffiths, Simon Dodd, d: Kelly Lynagh) for the ABC was also approved for investment.

FEATURES

2:22
Lightstream Pictures Pty Ltd
Producer Jackie O’Sullivan
Executive Producers Garrett Kelleher, Bruce Davey, Paul Brooks, Lawrence Inglee
Co-writer/Director/Co-producer Paul Currie
Co-writer Todd Stein
International Sales Gold Circle Films, Lionsgate International
Australian Distributor Icon Productions
Synopsis Dylan Boyd’s life as an air traffic controller is permanently derailed when an ominous pattern of events begins to permeate his life, funnelling him into Grand Central Station every day at 2.22pm. When he falls for a beautiful woman, it seems their lives were meant to intertwine long ago. With a grim fate looming, Dylan must solve the riddle of 2.22 to preserve a love that’s second chance has finally come.

THE GRANDMOTHERS
Hopscotch Features, Ciné-@, Mon Voisin Productions, Gaumont, France 2 Cinéma
Producers Andrew Mason, Philippe Carcassonne, Michel Feller, Dominique Besnehard, Francis Boespflug
Writer Christopher Hampton
Director Anne Fontaine
International Sales Gaumont
Australian Distributor Hopscotch/eOne
Synopsis Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing’s beautiful and heart-wrenching story of two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s teenage sons. The Grandmothers is an erotic tale of misguided love and a celebration of the enduring nature of female friendship.

THE MULE
The Mule Development Co.
Producer Paul Clarke
Writer/Co-producers Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
Executive Producer Bruce Kane
Director Tony Mahony
International Sales eOne
Australian Distributor Hopscotch
Synopsis Ray Jenkins, an unlikely drug mule from Sunshine, Victoria, takes on all the authority figures in his life using the only option within his control – holding on!

THE PAPPAS BROTHERS
Pank & Martin
Producers George Pank, Eddie Martin, James Gay-Rees
Executive Producers Jude Troy, Rachel Okine, Paul McGowan
Director Eddie Martin
Editor Chris King
International Sales eOne, Cinetic
Australian Distributor Hopscotch/eOne
Synopsis Blood may be thicker than water but in the case of Tas and Ben Pappas who rose from the western suburbs of Melbourne to become the #1 and #2 skateboarders in the world, it was not sufficient to prevent both brothers from falling into a drug-fuelled spiral to hell from which only one returns.

PATRICK
FG Film Productions (Australia) Pty Ltd in association with Rising Sun Pictures
Producer Antony I Ginnane
Writer Justin King
Director Mark Hartley
International Sales Bankside Films
Australian Distributor Umbrella Entertainment
Synopsis For three years Patrick has been lying mute and immobile, a patient in Dr Roget’s clinic for the comatose. Dr Roget has been discharging increasingly large doses of electricity into Patrick’s brain, hoping for a sign of brain function. When young nurse Kathy starts working at the clinic, Patrick figures out how to utilise all that pent up power with deadly effect. A reimagining of Richard Franklin’s 1970s chiller.

THESE FINAL HOURS
8th In Line Pty Ltd
Producer Liz Kearney
Executive Producer Robert Connolly
Writer/Director Zak Hilditch
International Sales Maze Film Sales, Celluloid Nightmares, XYZ
Australian Distributor Footprint Films
Synopsis A self-obsessed young man makes his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth, but ends up saving the life of a little girl searching for her father. Their relationship ultimately leads him on the path to redemption.

ADULT TV DRAMA

DEVIL’S DUST
Fremantle Media Australia Pty Ltd and Bravado Productions
Producers Jason Stephens, Antonia Barnard, Stephen Corvini
Writer Kris Mrksa
Director Jessica Hobbs
International Sales DCD Rights
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Devil’s Dust is a thriller of David and Goliath proportions ripping the cloak of secrecy from a huge corporate scandal that exposes how asbestos multi-national company, James Hardie, oversaw a strategy that, by ignoring the dangers of asbestos for decades, was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.

THE DOCTOR BLAKE MYSTERIES
December Films
Producers Tony Wright, George Adams
Lead Writer John Alsop
Director TBC
International Sales ITV Global
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Dr Lucien Blake, a keeper of secrets, a solver of mysteries, returns home to 1959 Ballarat to take over his deceased father’s general medical practice after an absence of 30 years.

PUBERTY BLUES
Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers John Edwards, Imogen Banks
Writers Alice Bell, Tony McNamara, Fiona Seres
Directors Emma Freeman, Glendyn Ivin
International Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Australian Broadcaster Network Ten
Synopsis The classic story of the seventies retold. Sex, surf and suburbia rediscovered.

UNDERGROUND
Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd
Producer Helen Bowden
Executive Producer Tony Ayres
Writer/Director Robert Connolly 
International Sales NBC Universal
Australian Broadcaster Network Ten
Synopsis Set in suburban Melbourne in the late 1980s, Underground follows a teenage Julian Assange and his gang of friends – the International Subversives – as they try to break into the computer systems of the world’s most powerful organisations. Hoping to uncover the inner workings of these groups, the boys wage battle from their bedrooms with the technologies, with each other and with the Senior AFP Detective who is intent on shutting down their group.

WORLD SERIES CRICKET (AKA PYJAMA GAME)
Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers John Edwards, Mimi Butler
Writer Christopher Lee
Director Daina Reid
International Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Australian Broadcaster Nine Network
Synopsis World Series Cricket is the story of how in 1976 businessman Kerry Packer caused a cricket war by signing up 50 of the world’s best cricketers and establishing World Series Cricket, a highly successful rebel group which challenged the establishment and thrust the game into a new era of professionalism.

CHILDREN’S TV DRAMA

DANCE ACADEMY SERIES 3
Werner Film Productions
Executive Producers Bernadette O’Mahony, Joanna Werner
Producer Joanna Werner
Head Writer Samantha Strauss
Directors TBC
International Sales ZDFE
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Tara and her friends are now seniors at the Academy and no one can forget for a second that the Company is watching. It will be a nail-biting chase to the finish line to see who will be offered a contract and finally achieve what they have been working towards for so long… and who will have to find a new dream...

THE FLAMIN’ THONGS
Media World Holdings Pty Ltd
Producer Colin South
Writers Bruce Griffiths, Simon Dodd
Director Kelly Lynagh
International Sales Daro
Australian Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Whale Bay is home to Australia’s least visited tourist attraction, the Giant Thong. But that may be about to change, for all the wrong reasons.

IN YOUR DREAMS
Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producer Noel Price
Writers John Armstrong, Tim Gooding, Kym Goldsworthy, Julie Miller
Director Ralph Strasser
International Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Australian Broadcaster Network Seven
Synopsis Australian teenage twins Samantha and Ben Haselton discover what ‘culture shock’ is all about when they spend the summer with some eccentric, aristocratic and accident-prone relatives who live in a remote German castle.


Media Enquiries
Teri Calder T: 02 8113 5833; M: 0408 440 995
teri.calder@screenaustralia.gov.au

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