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Media Centre

06 05 2009 - Media release

Latest production approvals from Screen Australia

Screen Australia has announced it will provide production finance for two features, a children’s television series and two documentaries following yesterday’s Board meeting. Budgets for these projects total $17 million.

The team behind Black Water, writer/director Andrew Traucki and producer Michael Robertson, received finance for the feature The Reef, a thriller set on the Great Barrier Reef, where four friends are stalked by a Great White Shark.

Craig Lahiff and Helen Leake (Black and White, Heaven’s Burning) will team up with Kent Smith to produce Swerve, a fast-paced film noir set in the South Australian outback, from a script by Lahiff.

Margot McDonald, one of Australia’s most experienced producers of children’s television, will produce Dead Gorgeous, a 13-part children’s TV series based on the comic adventures of three strong-willed and sassy teenage sisters who just happen to be ghosts. Dead Gorgeous is a co-production with the UK, with Ewan Burnett and Julian Scott as executive producers. Stephen Johnson (Yolngu Boy) will direct.

The two documentaries are both financed by Screen Australia under the National Documentary Program, in conjunction with the ABC. Produced by Laurie Critchley and Lesley Holden, Family Confidential is a six-part series taking a behind-the-headlines look at six notable families. Leaky Boat, from producer Penny Chapman and writer/director Victoria Pitt, documents one of the defining events of Australian history: the trilogy of the Tampa, the SIEV X and the Children Overboard affair.

The Board also congratulated the winners of the recent TV Week Logie Awards, noting that Screen Australia–financed programs – Underbelly, First Australians and H2O: Just Add Water – had taken out the awards for Most Outstanding Series, Most Outstanding Documentary and Most Outstanding Children’s Program.

“It’s been a great year for Australian television, and we’re very pleased to have played a role in bringing these programs to the screen,” said Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley. “Their success is our success: evidence that good stories, well told, will find audiences who want to watch.”

Underbelly series 1 was produced by Greg Haddrick and Brenda Pam, with Des Monaghan and Bob Campbell as executive producers. The series also earned Most Outstanding Actor and Actress awards for Gyton Grantley and Kat Stewart. Set on the Gold Coast, the successful children’s series H2O: Just Add Water was produced by Jonathan M Shiff. The landmark documentary series First Australians was produced by Rachel Perkins and Darren Dale.

The next deadline for production investment applications is 12 June for TV drama, children’s television, domestic and international documentaries, and low-budget features. Applications for Offset-eligible features and National Documentary Program projects can be submitted at any time.


Prodigy Movies
Producer Michael Robertson
Writer/Director Andrew Traucki
Australia and NZ Distribution Polyphony Entertainment
International Sales Lightning Entertainment
Synopsis When their boat capsizes on the Great Barrier Reef, four friends swim for land, stalked by a Great White Shark.

Duo Art Productions 
Producers Helen Leake, Kent Smith, Craig Lahiff
Writer/Director Craig Lahiff
Distributor Kojo Pictures
Sales Agent Moviehouse Entertainment
Synopsis A fast-paced film noir set in the South Australian outback, in the hands of an experienced feature team. 

Children’s Television

Burberry Productions; a co-production with Coolabi (UK)
Producer Margot McDonald
Executive Producers Ewan Burnett, Julian Scott
Writers Barbara Slade, Sam Carroll, Richard Preddy, Neil Mossey, Clive Endersby
Director Stephen Johnson
Sales and Distribution ABC TV, BBC, Nickelodeon / MTV Networks Germany, Cake Entertainment
Synopsis This 13-part children’s series features the comic adventures of three strong-willed and sassy teenage sisters who just happen to be ghosts.

National Documentary Program

Australian Documentaries
Producers Laurie Critchley, Lesley Holden
Sales and Distribution ABC TV
Synopsis In this six-part series, six notable families take us on an intimate journey as they reveal for the first time the personal details of their history and the reality of lives that have made headlines. 

Indian Pacific Picture Company
Producer Penny Chapman
Writer/Director Victoria Pitt
Sales and Distribution ABC TV
Synopsis The extraordinary trilogy of the Tampa, the SIEV X and the Children Overboard affair formed one of the defining events of Australian history.

Producer Offset Update

As of 30 April 2009, 230 projects have been issued with provisional certificates: 90 features, 96 non-feature documentaries and 44 other projects (eg TV series, telemovies, direct-DVD/online, short-form animation).

Final certificate figures are updated quarterly. Next update will be end of June 2009.

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