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Media Centre

12 12 2012 - Media release

Screen Australia invests $5 million in 13 documentaries

Screen Australia today announced $5 million investment in 13 documentary projects triggering nearly $15 million in production.

Three series and a one-off documentary have been greenlit from the National Documentary Program (NDP) including Once Upon a Time in Carlton, which follows SBS’s hugely successful Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta and subsequently Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl which is currently in production. The latest series, to be produced by Sue Clothier, looks at the 70-year history of the Italian migrant community in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton.

The second series of art + soul will build on its success, offering new insights into contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, art and culture, produced for the ABC by Bridget Ikin and Jo-anne McGowan with writer Hetti Perkins and director Steven McGregor.

Screen Australia’s Documentary Manager Liz Stevens said, “This is a great end to the year for documentary. The diverse slate announced today features documentary projects with significant cultural value, strong relevant subject matter, great characters and personal stories. It’s also encouraging to see strong international investment in a number of these projects.”

Also from the NDP comes Building Australia, a new six-part series from director Serge Ou and writer Michael Cove that will explore the history and meanings of the Australian home, produced for FOXTEL by Michael Tear and Harriet Pike. Writer/director Victoria Pitt and director/camera operator Tim Wise’s Welcome to Puntland is a contemporary social issues documentary produced for SBS by Andrew Ogilvie and Claire Jager which follows a group of Somali Australians who return to their country to piece together their broken state and set it on a path to becoming a modern African nation.

From the International Documentary Program come three series and a one-off documentary. Projects approved include Art of Australia, a three-part series for ABC1 directed by Alex West and veteran filmmaker Bruce Beresford which will cover 30,000 years of Australian history told through art. The series is produced by Alex West with executive producer Margie Bryant.

Life on Us is a two-part science series for SBS and ARTE France about the bugs that live on us and inside us from director Annamaria Talas and producer Simon Nasht. The second series of Outback Coroner made for FOXTEL from writer/director Hugh Piper once again explores the unexplained deaths in outback Australia through the eyes of the coroner. The series will be produced by series producer Helen Barrow and producers Bob Campbell, Helen Barrow and Simon Steel.

Red Deer Cave is an investigative science documentary from writer/director Franco di Chiera who will explore the mysterious ancient remains of what may be a new human species recently uncovered by Australian and Chinese scientists. The documentary is produced for ABC1 by Andrew Ogilvie and Claire Jager.

From the General Documentary Program come three new one-off documentaries and two series including Australia: Mediocre and Proud, a six-part series following Daily Telegraph journalist and blogger Joe Hildebrand as he travels Australia exploring the cultural makeup of society. The series will be directed by Ivan O’Mahoney and produced for ABC2 by Michael Cordell and Toni Malone. Also produced by Michael Cordell and Toni Malone for the ABC, the three-part series Two Men in China directed by Damian Davis will see Tim Flannery and John Doyle follow the journey of Australian iron ore from the Pilbara to China.

Our Notebook is a personal and insightful portrait of Australian director Jane Campion and her collaborators at work produced for BBC Worldwide Australia from director/producer Clare Young and producer Sasha Burrows.

Anna Choy explores the new and increasingly controversial phenomenon of ethnic plastic surgery and its effect on multicultural Australia in Race for Beauty produced for SBS by producers Ed Punchard and Julia Redwood.

In My Big Fat Bar Mitzvah director Susan Lambert will look at contemporary Jewish life in Australia by stepping inside the world of some of Australia’s biggest Bar Mitzvah parties. The documentary is produced for the ABC by Veronica Fury.

GENERAL DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM

AUSTRALIA: MEDIOCRE AND PROUD
6 x 30 mins
Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Producers Michael Cordell, Toni Malone
Director Ivan O’Mahoney
Broadcaster ABC2
Sales Cordell Jigsaw Distribution
Synopsis In this six-part series Joe Hildebrand – The Daily Telegraph’s rebel-rousing columnist – travels the lucky country, shattering our myths, bursting our bubbles and slaughtering some sacred Australian cows.

MY BIG FAT BAR MITZVAH
26 mins
Wild Fury Productions
Producer Veronica Fury
Director Susan Lambert
Broadcaster ABC
Sales TBC
Synopsis My Big Fat Bar Mitzvah looks at contemporary Jewish life in Australia through the eyes of the most important event in their lives – their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. We step inside the wild world of some of Australia’s biggest Bar Mitzvah parties.

OUR NOTEBOOK
52 mins
Clare Young Films
Producers Clare Young, Sasha Burrows
Director Clare Young    
Broadcaster BBC Worldwide Australia
Sales Cross City Sales
Synopsis A portrait of Jane Campion and her collaborators at work: a personal and insightful exploration of how, often against all odds, the creative spirit can sing.

RACE FOR BEAUTY
52 mins
Prospero Productions
Producers Ed Punchard, Julia Redwood
Director TBC
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS Distribution
Synopsis Anna Choy explores the new and increasingly controversial phenomenon of ethnic plastic surgery and its effect on multicultural Australia.

TWO MEN IN CHINA
3 x 60 mins
Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Producers Michael Cordell, Toni Malone
Director Damian Davis
Broadcaster ABC
Sales Cordell Jigsaw Distribution
Synopsis Australia is inextricably connected to China – but how much do we really know about it? It’s time for the Two Men to explore our powerful partner. Tim Flannery and John Doyle follow the journey of Australian iron ore from the Pilbara to the heart of China.

INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM

ART OF AUSTRALIA
3 x 55 mins
Serendipity Productions in association with Wall to Wall Television UK
Producer Alex West
Executive Producer Margie Bryant
Directors Alex West, Bruce Beresford
Writer Edmund Capon
Broadcaster ABC1
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Thirty thousand years of Australian history told through art.

LIFE ON US
2 x 52 mins
Smith&Nasht
Producer Simon Nasht
Director Annamaria Talas
Broadcasters SBS, ARTE France
Sales SBS International, Zodiak Rights
Synopsis We are all rented, shared, shaped and kept alive by the bugs that live on us and inside us.

OUTBACK CORONER (TWO)
4 x 47 mins
Screentime Pty Ltd in association with Evershine
Producers Bob Campbell, Helen Barrow, Simon Steel
Series Producer Helen Barrow
Series Director/Writer Hugh Piper
Broadcaster FOXTEL
Sales Cineflix Rights
Synopsis A documentary series that explores unexplained deaths in outback Australia through the eyes of the coroner.

RED DEER CAVE
57 mins
Electric Pictures Pty Ltd
Producers Andrew Ogilvie, Claire Jager
Writer/Director Franco di Chiera
Broadcaster ABC1
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Australian and Chinese scientists have uncovered mysterious ancient remains of what may be a new human species, a discovery which challenges our understanding of the human journey – with profound implications for the origins of us.

NATIONAL DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM

ART + SOUL 2
3 x 57 mins
Hibiscus Films Pty Ltd
Producers Bridget Ikin, Jo-anne McGowan
Director Steven McGregor
Writer Hetti Perkins                                                                              
Broadcaster ABC
Sales TBC       
Synopsis Building on the success of art + soul, this second series will offer new insights into contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, art and culture.

BUILDING AUSTRALIA
6 x 25 mins
Bearcage Television
Producers Michael Tear, Harriet Pike
Director Serge Ou
Writer Michael Cove
Broadcaster FOXTEL
Sales TBC
Synopsis An exploration into the history and meaning of that most cherished of buildings, the Australian home.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN CARLTON
3 x 52 mins
Northern Pictures
Producer Sue Clothier
Director TBC
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS
Synopsis Once Upon a Time in Carlton looks at the 70-year history of the Italian migrant community in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton.

WELCOME TO PUNTLAND
52 mins
Electric Pictures Pty Ltd
Producers Andrew Ogilvie, Claire Jager
Writer/Director Victoria Pitt
Director/Camera Operator Tim Wise
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS International
Synopsis Somali Australians have returned to their Puntland homeland with a mission: to piece together their broken state and set it on a path to becoming a modern African nation.

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