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Media Centre

17 08 2012 - Media release

Screen Australia investment triggers $8.5 million in the production of five documentaries

Screen Australia today announced almost $2 million investment in five documentary projects triggering around $8.5 million in production.

Among the projects to be announced include a two-part documentary funded through the National Documentary Program for the ABC on the life of Gough Whitlam from writer/director Paul Clarke. Whitlam will be produced by Penny Robins and executive produced by both Penny Robins and Mark Hamlyn.

Through the International Documentary Program comes Breaker Morant the Retrial from directors Gregory Miller and Nick Bleszynkski. The two-part documentary will capture a rare moment of living history, presenting a retrial 110 years after Harry ‘The Breaker’ Morant was executed by the British during the Boer War. The film will be produced by Georgia Wallace-Crabbe and Gregory Miller for the History Channel.

Screen Australia’s Documentary Manager, Liz Stevens, said, “Backed by high-calibre and experienced filmmaking, these documentaries will shine a light on a broad slice of Australian life. The result will be compelling and entertaining stories.”

Also through the International Documentary Program is an ABC one-off documentary The Search for the Ocean’s Super Predator. Written and directed by Michael Lynch, the film will investigate a super predator’s attack on a great white shark. The documentary is executive produced by Leighton De Barros, David Riggs and Michael Lynch.

From the General Documentary Program comes director/writer Hugh Piper’s four-part observational series for FOXTEL, Outback Coroner, which explores accidental and mysterious deaths in the most remote regions of Australia. The series is produced by Helen Barrow with executive producers Bob Campbell and Simon Steel.

Screen Australia will also invest in two episodes from the sixth series of SBS’s highly successful program Who Do You Think You Are?, produced by Brian Beaton, Margie Bryant and Celia Tait.

National Documentary Program (NDP)

Beyond Screen Production Pty Ltd & Bombora Film and Music Co.
2 x 55 minutes
Executive Producer Mark Hamlyn, Beyond Screen Production Pty Ltd
Executive Producer, Producer Penny Robins, Bombora Film and Music Co.
Writer, Director  Paul Clarke, Bombora Film and Music Co.
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Whitlam examines an era and the man when as a country we were at our most confident and flamboyant, when we took risks and went to the margins. It was a time of power, of passion… and which divided us as a nation in a way that hadn't happened before – nor since.

International Documentary Program

Film Projects Pty Ltd
2 x 60 mins
Producers Georgia Wallace-Crabbe, Gregory Miller
Directors Gregory Miller, Nick Bleszynski
Broadcaster History Channel
Sales Sabido
Synopsis Harry ‘The Breaker’ Morant is about to be re-tried – 110 years after he was executed by the British during the Boer War. Breaker Morant the Retrial will capture a rare moment of living history through the cross examination of historians and legal experts, and the presentation of new evidence that reveals the betrayal and subterfuge at the centre of the trial.

Ocean's Super Predator Films Pty Ltd
1 x 60 mins
Executive Producers Leighton De Barros, David Riggs, Michael Lynch
Writer, Director Michael Lynch
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial / Al Rayyan Media & Marketing
Synopsis In the hidden depths of Australia’s wild Southern Ocean a great white shark is savagely attacked by a far larger and faster mystery predator. An electronic tracking device attached to the great white records a high-speed underwater chase six hundred meters deep before the shark and its tag are savagely devoured. Two weeks later, after being carried in the belly of the unknown killer, the still functioning tag is excreted and washed ashore, withholding clues that could reveal the identity of the shark’s super predator. This is the story of a super predator’s epic underwater attack that leads investigators to a mysterious and powerful natural phenomenon that, for a few short weeks each year, attracts the oceans most fearsome predators.

General Documentary Program

Screentime Pty Ltd
4 x 60 minutes (series 1)
Producer Helen Barrow
Executive Producers for Screentime Bob Campbell, Simon Steel
Director, Writer Hugh Piper
Broadcaster FOXTEL
Sales Cineflix UK
Synopsis Outback Coroner is an observational documentary series that explores accidental and mysterious deaths in the most remote regions of Australia. When the circumstances of a death are unknown the Coroner is called. The mix of cultures, social history and remote geography present unique challenges to these dedicated people and their teams, who seek answers essential for all of us. While Coroner’s outback inquests ultimately conclude in a court this series is not a courtroom drama. We will take the viewers inside the mind set and the challenges confronting the Coroner and his team who investigate the forensic evidence, conduct autopsies and counsel the bereaved, while seeking answers to the unexplained death.

Artemis International Pty Ltd & Serendipity Productions Pty Ltd
6 x 52 mins [Screen Australia funding 2 of the 6 episodes]
Producers Brian Beaton, Margie Bryant, Celia Tait
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS Sales
Synopsis Well known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets and surprises from the past.

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