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Media Centre

07 09 2016 - Media release

Here Come The Habibs… and Helen Mirren!


The Spierig brothers.

The latest in Screen Australia funding will see Oscar-winner Helen Mirren returning to film in Australia for the first time since 1969’s The Age of Consent with supernatural thriller Winchester from the Spierig brothers.

Also on the horizon: classic Australian stories are lighting up the screen with Picnic At Hanging Rock and Wake In Fright newly adapted for TV, and Tim Winton’s Dirt Music adapted for film; a new feature in development for BAFTA-nominated documentarian Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa); and another season of Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs.

A total of five features and five television projects were approved for Production Investment at the Screen Australia board meeting on Monday September 5. They are in addition to a number of development projects that secured funding in recent months.

Amongst the successful feature projects in this round of Production Investment funding were:

  • Winchester, the latest feature from Peter and Michael Spierig (Predestination), with Helen Mirren starring in the role of Sarah Winchester, the millionairess who built the haunted Winchester Mystery House. From producers Tim McGahan and Brett Tomberlin, with Film Victoria and Screen Queensland support. 
  • A feature adaptation of Tim Winton’s Booker prize-shortlisted novel Dirt Music from Aquarius Films and producers Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey (Brooklyn) and Angie Fielder (Lion).

Click here to see further information about this round of Production Investment feature projects.

Amongst the successful television projects in this round of Production Investment funding were:

  • Based on the 1961 classic novel, newly formed Lingo Pictures’ are bringing Wake In Fright to Network Ten as a miniseries written by Stephen Irwin (Secrets & Lies), directed by Kriv Stenders (Red Dog), with Helen Bowden (The Slap) and Kristian Moliere (The Babadook) producing. 
  • The Foxtel-commissioned reimagining of  Joan Lindsay’s classic novel Picnic At Hanging Rock from FremantleMedia Australia executive producers Jo Porter (Wentworth) and Anthony Ellis (Packed To The Rafters) along with producer Antonia Barnard (A Few Best Men), which was announced yesterday at the ASTRA conference. 
  • A new ABC medical drama Pulse from producers Kristine Wyld (East West 101) and Anthony I Ginnane (Patrick), which takes a closer look at the life and death world of the cardio-thoracic ward in a major teaching hospital.
  • And season two of the Channel Nine hit comedy Here Come The Habibs, about the antics of a Lebanese family who move into Australia’s poshest suburb.

Click here to see further information about this round of Production Investment TV projects.

Meanwhile, the Family Films Initiative – announced in October 2015 to develop a new wave of Australian family films – has concluded following a two-stage selection process. From 93 applications, three projects will be funded to develop a polished draft script with the guidance of industry mentors. The projects are:

  • Dingo from writer Keith Thompson (The Sapphires), director Rachel Landers, producer Dylan Blowen and Indigenous collaborator Jodie Bell, which follows a boy and a dog who must work together to survive in a new land.  
  • Kelly’s Gold from writer/directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres) with executive producer and mentor Joan Sauers, about a teenage girl and her grandfather who join forces to find Ned Kelly’s hidden gold.
  • The Summer We Ruled the World from writer Samantha Strauss, producers Joanna Werner and Louise Smith (Dance Academy), and mentor Joseph Kwong (Nim’s Island), about one Augie Butterball who has just written the song that will change the world.

Click here to see further information about the Family Film projects.

The most recent, March to June 2016, Story Development round saw 18 projects share in over $500,000 worth of funding. Funded projects include Tenzing, the latest from Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa) and writer Luke Davies (Lion), based on the inspiring true story of the Tibetan yak herder who was the first person to climb Mount Everest; tense psychological thriller The Lost Swimmer from producer Sue Maslin (The Dressmaker) and author Ann Turner; and Zero Night from writer Yolanda Ramke (Cargo) and producers Simonne Overend and Ian Collie (Saving Mr Banks), an action-adventure drama about British and American soldiers who stage an escape from a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII.

Click here to see further information about this round of Story Development projects.

Media enquiries

Lidia Williams | Senior Publicist

+ 61 2 8113 1091  | + 61 468 784 170 | [email protected]

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