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29 09 2017 - Media release

Making Child Prodigies to shine a light on the phenomenon of child geniuses


Young artist Aelita – Making Child Prodigies

Screen Australia, ABC Arts and Create NSW have announced production investment funding for a new Screentime documentary series Making Child Prodigies that will follow a group of extraordinarily gifted children from around Australia and pose the question – what does it take to become a child prodigy?

From an eight-year-old pianist enrolled at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York, to a 10-year-old abstract expressionist painter who exhibits her work internationally, this series will explore what family conditions lend themselves to achieving a child’s maximum potential, and whether their talent is innate or learned.

Filming in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Rockhampton, Port Macquarie and New York, this six-part observational documentary series will provide an intimate and candid look at the day-to-day lives of six children and their families, lifting the lid on the elite worlds of dance, sport, music, academia and fine art.

Series producer Jeff Siberry (Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line, Body Hack, Redesign My Brain) will take the lead creative role, with Helen Barrow as field director and Niamh Linnie as producer. Screentime Head of Non-Fiction Jennifer Collins will serve as executive producer, and the series will be written by Jeff Siberry and Anita Brown.

“While prodigies are rare, every parent can relate to wanting an environment within which their child can excel – but for parents of prodigies, there are a unique set of challenges,” said Jennifer Collins, Head of Non-Fiction, Screentime. “Introducing six extraordinary children, the series will shed a light on what it really takes to help a talented child fulfill their potential.”

“We were attracted to this project for not only providing fascinating insights into that timeless curiosity – the wunderkind – but also because it asks important questions about the pressure on children to be exceptional,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “We are confident this experienced team will deliver an entertaining and thought-provoking series for ABC Arts.”

Linda Brusasco, Acting Head of Arts at ABC TV, said: “By exploring how exceptional creative talent is identified and nurtured in gifted children, Making Child Prodigies gives ABC TV a unique opportunity to broaden our arts offering in prime-time.  At a time when society seems increasingly interested in measuring talent, we are pleased to contribute to an important national conversation for families across Australia.”

The series has recently commenced filming, and will air on ABC in 2018.

Production Credits: Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and Create NSW. Produced by Jeff Siberry and Niamh Linnie. Executive Produced by Jennifer Collins. Directed by Jeff Siberry and Helen Barrow. Written by Anita Brown and Jeff Siberry. Jo Chichester is Commissioning Editor for ABC.

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