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16 12 2009 - Media release

Screen Australia wraps up 2009 with investment in 22 projects

Screen Australia today announced approval of 22 projects including four feature films, four television dramas and 14 documentaries.

The organisation committed more than $13 million to these projects, triggering production valued at over $65 million.

“2009 has been a strong year for the Australian screen industry. A record number of films have achieved theatrical release, the Australian share of the box office looks set to exceed the five-year average, and television drama and documentary continue to draw strong audiences,” said Ruth Harley, Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Officer. “The 22 projects announced today reflect the diversity of Australian storytelling and build on the success enjoyed by Australia’s talented practitioners this year.”
Amongst the feature projects to be approved is Bait 3D, the first Screen Australia–funded 3D dramatic feature, and Burning Man, a new feature by critically acclaimed writer/director Jonathan Teplitzky.

Bait 3D is Australia’s first high-octane 3D action film. When a freak tsunami hits a sleepy seaside town on the Gold Coast dozens of local shoppers and tourists find themselves trapped in a flooded underground supermarket and car park. Trapped, with the water rising, they find they’re not alone; the tsunami has brought some unwelcome visitors from the Deep … a pack of hungry tiger sharks! They must now band together with all of their resources before they get eaten and entombed in a watery grave! The film was written and will be directed by Russell Mulcahy (Razorback, Highlander) and produced by Gary Hamilton, Todd Fellman and Ian Maycock with Chris Brown and Mike Gabrawy serving as executive producers.

Burning Man is a reckless, romantic, irreverent and ultimately tear-jerkingly beautiful story of a father and son’s struggle to deal with the unimaginable. The film marks writer/director Jonathan Teplitzky’s (Better than Sex, Gettin’ Square) return to the big screen following a period directing television and commercials. Teplitzky will co-produce along with Andy Paterson.

Television drama to be approved includes a third season of the award-winning SBS series East West 101 (p: Steve Knapman, Kris Wyld, d: Peter Andrikidis) and Like a Virgin (p: Liz Watts, w: Marieke Hardy, Kirsty Fisher), a mini-series about a woman whose sexual history catches up with her in the most unusual of ways.

Documentaries to receive Screen Australia support include Fromelles’ Lost Soldiers, the story of the worst 24 hours in Australian military history, to be screened on Channel 7, and Machete Maidens Unleashed!, a fast-moving odyssey into the subterranean world of the rarely explored province of Filipino genre filmmaking populated by miniature James Bonds, karate kickin’ soul sisters and anorexic Rambos.

The Board also congratulated the winners of the Australian Film Institute awards, noting that Screen Australia–funded films and programs had taken out 29 awards including Best Film, Best Television Drama Series, Best Documentary Series, Best Telefeature, Mini-series or Short-run Series, Best Childrens’ Television Drama and Best Short Fiction Film. “We are very pleased to have played a role in bringing these productions to audiences,” Dr Harley said.

See below for film details.


Arclight Films, Pictures in Paradise & Story Bridge Films in association with Black Magic Design Films
Executive Producers Chris Brown, Mike Gabrawy
Producers Todd Fellman, Gary Hamilton and Ian Maycock
Writer/Director Russell Mulcahy
Sales and Distribution Paramount, Arclight
Synopsis When a massive tsunami hits the Australian coastline, a pack of tiger sharks threaten survivors trapped inside a flooded supermarket.

Factor 30 Films Pty Ltd and 3 Monkey Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producer David Lightfoot
Producers Ryan Hodgson, Melissa Kelly and Michael Robinson
Writer/Director Michael Henry
Sales and Distribution The Pack, Highpoint
Synopsis A group of young vigilantes seeking revenge for a sexual betrayal fall far from grace. When the truth is out they find themselves on the dark side of justice.

Meercat Films Pty Ltd
Producers Andy Paterson, Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer/Director Jonathan Teplitzky
Sales and Distribution Transmission, Filmbox
Synopsis The reckless, romantic, irreverent and ultimately tear-jerkingly beautiful story of a father and son’s struggle to deal with the unimaginable.

Red Hill Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Greg Mclean, Rob Galluzzo, Craig McMahon
Producer Al Clark
Writer/Director/Producer Patrick Hughes
Sales and Distribution Transmission, Arclight
Synopsis A young Melbourne police officer relocates to the small high-country town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife. When news of a prison break in Melbourne sends the local law enforcement officers into a panic, his first day on duty turns nightmarish. A modern take on the ‘revenge-Western’.

Television Drama

East West 101 Season 3 Pty Ltd
Producers Steve Knapman, Kris Wyld
Director Peter Andrikidis
Sales and Distribution SBS Content, Target
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis The new season explores the ramifications of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan through crimes committed in Australia. What happened during the war in the opium fields of the Chora Valley in Afghanistan, and the collateral damage to civilians in Tikrit in northern Iraq, comes home to the main streets and malls of Lakemba.

LIKE A VIRGIN (mini-series)
Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
Producer Liz Watts
Created and Written by Marieke Hardy, Kirsty Fisher
Sales and Distribution ABC Commercial, Portmans
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis A series about a woman whose sexual history catches up with her in the most unusual of ways.

Essential Media & Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Ian Collie, Peter Duncan and Richard Roxburgh
Writer/Director Peter Duncan
Writer Andrew Knight
Sales and Distribution ABC Content, DCD Rights
Synopsis Criminal barrister, Cleaver Greene, is reckless, brilliant, self destructive, funny and bloody minded – and that’s just his private life. Professionally he is driven to win the unwinnable and defend the indefensible.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Sarah Smith, Julie McGauran
Writers Michaeley O’Brien, John Ridley, Sarah Smith, Dave Warner, Tim Lee and Sam Meikle
Directors Peter Andrikidis, Arnie Custo, Shawn Seet and Garth Maxwell
Sales and Distribution Southern Star International
Synopsis Continuing on nine months after the climactic events that closed Series 1, this one-hour action drama series is based around the lives and loves of the elite Rescue Special Operations Unit – ordinary heroes bonded through an extraordinary job, saving lives every day.

National Documentary Program (NDP) Including History

Blackwattle Films
Executive Producer Peter Butt
Producers Peter Butt, Anna Grieve
Writer/Director Peter Butt
Broadcaster ABC                                                     
Synopsis The rise and fall of Australia’s master spy, a complex Machiavellian character, who attempts to counter the Communist threat, but finds himself in a ‘wilderness of mirrors’ where nobody is who or what they seem.

Heiress Company
Executive Producer Daryl Karp
Producer Jennifer Cummins
Writer Will Parry
Director Kalita Corrigan        
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Taking the science of positive psychology to Australia’s most miserable city.

Executive Producer Mark Hamlyn
Producer Mike Bluett
Writers Mike Bluett, Marc Radomsky
Director Marc Radomsky     
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Following the work of the Brahminy Group in the Northern Territory which helps troubled youth and street kids reclaim their lives.

Domestic Documentaries – One Offs

November Films
Producer Anne Delaney
Director Lara Cole
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis This is the story of the first ever national Aboriginal Debutante Ball. The women who, in white, nylon, tulip-skirted dresses and beehive hairdos, ‘came out’ to Australian Prime Minister John Gorton in 1968.

Tattooed Media
Executive Producer Daryl Karp
Producer Sally Regan
Director Wain Fimeri
Broadcaster Channel 7                                                                    
Synopsis The Battle at Fromelles has been described as the worst 24 hours in Australian military history. But with the discovery of six unmarked mass-graves in Northern France it is now possible to unpack in forensic detail the terrible events of 1916 and put names to the bodies of some of those buried.  And as the first new Commonwealth war cemetery nears completion, we track down living descendants, people who 90 years later, are still trying to find resolution to a loss that only a marked grave can bring.

Conti Bros Films
Producer Karl Conti
Writer Susan Young
Directors Bill Young, Myles Conti
Broadcaster History Channel                                                                      
Synopsis A heartening story of great loss and the ripple effect it creates, as it follows the quest by the nephew Cliff never knew, to unravel the truth behind the ultimate sacrifice made in a lonely place far from home.

Domestic Door – Documentary Series

Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Executive Producers Michael Cordell, Nick Murray
Producer Rick McPhee
Director Jen Peedom
Broadcaster SBS                                                                              
Synopsis Death is often hidden away in modern society. This series takes audiences inside Sydney’s Sacred Heart Hospice where staff care for patients in their final days.

Mindful Media
Executive Producer/Writer/Director Paul Scott
Producer Isabel Perez
Broadcaster SBS                                                                              
Synopsis Before television, tent boxing was a major form of entertainment in Australia, North America and the UK, with boxing troupes touring small towns so volunteers could fight for cash. Over the last four decades, tent boxing has been banned nearly everywhere for safety reasons. Queensland is now the only state where tent boxing is both legal and viable. Fred Brophyruns the last surviving tent boxing troupe in the world and in 2010 he will embark on his final boxing tour. Infamous for taking in drifters, ex-jailbirds and addicts and helping them get their lives back on track, we follow Fred and get inside this unique subculture to discover what drives rural Australian men and women to fight.

Pursekey Productions
Executive Producers Marian Macgowan, Miranda Culley
Producer/Writer Michaela Perske
Writer/Director Adrian Wills
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis There is a new generation of warriors coming out of Palm Island, a place with a dark history and a less than stellar reputation. A new era of hope, strength and courage is about to show the world that the kids from Palm Island are fighting back and have the makings of champions, but within this gilded cage come stories of generational poverty, stories of disadvantage, stories of the vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma. This group of boxers are defying stereotypes and taking the future into their own hands with the help and support of Uncle Ray – the man who has brought boxing back to Palm Island.

Caama Productions
Executive Producers Ray Lillis, Robyn Nardoo (Ep 4)
Series Producer Tanya Fraser 
Directors Mitch Torres, David Tranter, Robyn Nardoo and Steven McGregor
Broadcaster Imparja                                                                        
Synopsis A series of half-hour documentaries on aspects of Australian Indigenous culture, both ancient and modern, and featuring Australia’s foremost Aboriginal filmmakers.

International Documentary

Prospero Productions
Producers Ed Punchard, Julia Redwood
Writer John McCourt
Distribution NGTI
Broadcaster ABC, BBC Scotland
Synopsis Combining stunning CGI with major high-tech adventure, Dino Stampede reveals how scientists are using battlefield forensics and the latest CGI technology to study the footprints of dinosaurs and unearth incredible details about the predation and social behaviour of these once enigmatic creatures.
Fury Productions/Bionic Boy Productions (SPV)
Producer Veronica Fury
Writer/Director Mark Hartley
Sales and Distribution ABC Content Sales
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis A fast-moving odyssey into the subterranean world of Filipino genre filmmaking. Populated by miniature James Bonds and karate kickin’ soul sisters, this is the ultimate insider’s account of a country fighting back to reclaim its very own special national identity – while at the same time creating films that were so commercial they went beyond mainstream.

Rymer Childs Films
Producer Bevan Childs
Producer/Writer/Director Judy Rymer
Sales and Distribution Off The Fence       
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis In the coming months, two Australian scientists at the cutting edge of cancer research take their successful trials from the animal kingdom to humans. Ten years of scientific and business struggle is on the line. As they juggle the science, big pharmas, clinicians and investors, we reveal how hard it is to get science to market, even though this discovery could revolutionise cancer treatment.
Jennifer Crone Productions
Producer/Writer/Director Jennifer Crone
Sales and Distribution SBS Content Sales
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis Investigates the reality of Sharia marriages and divorce in Australia by following couples as they attempt to obtain a divorce, and the Imams, as they mediate and make judgements on divorce cases.


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