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05 09 2017 - Media release

Bruna Papandrea and Naomi Watts developing Australian projects


Penguin Bloom / Photo credit Cameron Bloom

Today Screen Australia has announced Story Development funding for 14 features and three online series, as well as one industry placement, totalling $500,000. Included among the slate are two features produced by Bruna Papandrea through Made Up Stories; a feature directorial debut project from Bondi Hipsters writer/directors Connor and Christiaan Van Vuuren; and the latest from Ben Howling whose upcoming feature directorial debut (with co-director Yolanda Ramke) Cargo was picked up by Netflix.

“It is impossible to overstate the value of having someone with the clout and experience of producer Bruna Papandrea return home to develop distinctly Australian stories with home-grown talent,” said Nerida Moore, Senior Manager of Development at Screen Australia. “We are thrilled to see her partner with Harry Cripps who has carved out an impressive career overseas, award-winning director Robert Connolly and in-demand screenwriter Shaun Grant.”

The slate also includes three projects that came through the Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories initiative. “We’re delighted to be able to continue supporting the female-led teams behind All Our Eggs, Runaway and Bondi Beach Breakfast Club,” continued Moore. “Our intention with Gender Matters was always to flood the pipeline with projects and it is incredibly gratifying to see quite a number of these stories gain momentum as they move through the development phase towards production.”

Among the projects funded for development are:

  • Penguin Bloom, the heart-warming true story of a family’s extraordinary friendship with a unique little bird, produced by Bruna Papandrea, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Cooper and Naomi Watts, who is also attached to star. It is being adapted by Shaun Grant from the book of the same name written by Bradley Trevor Greive, with photographs by Cameron Bloom.

  • A feature adaptation of Jane Harper’s novel The Dry penned by Harry Cripps, with Robert Connolly attached to direct and Bruna Papandrea and Reese Witherspoon producing. The atmospheric thriller centres on Aaron Falk who returns to his Victorian hometown for his best mate’s funeral and is drawn into a web of lies and murder, forcing him to confront the guilty secrets of his own past.

  • Feature film Croak produced by Bridget Callow-Wright for Midwinter Films and Chloe Rickard for Jungle, with viral YouTube comedy sensations Connor and Christiaan Van Vuuren attached to direct. The exaggerated comedy-horror co-written by Shane Brady and Priscilla Cameron chronicles the adventures of a misfit gang of teenagers who must band together to defeat a giant mutant cane toad plaguing their town, and the corrupt mining company that created it.

  • Sci-fi thriller Changed World, an online series produced by Ben Howling for Established Media & Novel Pictures, directed by Dan Cooper and co-written by both Howling and Cooper. Set in a dystopian world suffering the consequences of global disasters, it comprises a series of vignettes about the human spirit fighting to survive in this bleak landscape.

  • Psychological thriller Runaway from producer Alex White for Whitefalk Films, writer/director Mirrah Foulkes, with Jan Chapman and Jane Campion on board as executive producers. Based on Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro’s short story of the same name, the feature adaptation tells the story of Carla, a young woman who tries to save her marriage by leading her husband into a complex and dangerous world of sexual fantasy. Previously funded through Brilliant Stories.

  • Online series All Our Eggs – a dramedy starring Adrienne Pickering and Matt Zeremes as Charlie and Jack, a 30-something couple who discover making a baby might not be as easy as they think. Co-written by Vanessa Bates and Martha Goddard, with Goddard also directing, the series is produced by Dan Prichard for On the Deck Productions. Previously funded through Brilliant Stories. 

For more info and the full list of projects funded, please visit the following links:

Adrienne Pickering in All Our Eggs – On The Deck Productions / Photo credit Ben Dilger

Adrienne Pickering in All Our Eggs – On The Deck Productions / Photo credit Ben Dilger

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Media enquiries

Maddie Walsh | Publicist

+ 61 2 8113 5915  | [email protected]

Ted Rose | Senior Publicist

+ 61 2 8113 1091  | + 61 456 558 679 | ted.rose@screenaustralia.gov.au

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