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03 06 2021 - Media release

NITV and Screen Australia announce children’s series Barrumbi Kids

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Barrumbi Kids directors Grant Brown, Deb Brown and Ismail Khan

National Indigenous Television (NITV) has announced the commissioning of Barrumbi Kids, with major production investment from Screen Australia.

Barrumbi Kids tells the story of best friends Tomias and Dahlia - two best friends growing up in a remote Northern Territory community. Through fishing, hunting and schooling, the children learn about themselves, each other and living in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures.

The series, produced by Danielle MacLean (Mystery Road, Grace Beside Me, Little J & Big Cuz, Redfern Now) of Tamarind Tree Pictures and Monica O’Brien (Drop Dead Weird, For REAL) of Ambience Entertainment and Julia Morris (Finding Maawirrangga, Kundirri The Life) is based on the popular book series by Territory author Leonie Norrington.

The 10 by 30-minute children’s television series will be filmed in Beswick (Wugularr), Northern Territory, and is expected to air on NITV in 2022.

Barrumbi Kids is a Tamarind Tree Pictures and Ambience Entertainment production for NITV. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen Territory. Financed with support from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) who will manage international sales.

Esther Bullumbarra, Beswick (Wugularr) T.O. Jawoyn Country said, “It is really good having Barrumbi Kids in our community of Beswick. I'm really excited to see our kids making this series, changing it from a book into a television series. The books were published a long time ago now and we will be the first community to make a television series here. People, especially the kids, will be able to see our culture.”

Danielle MacLean, Monica O’Brien and Julia Morris, co-producers of Barrumbi Kids, said, “Barrumbi Kids is one of those projects that you fight to get made because it’s so good, so important and such an incredible experience for all involved. After years of collaborative development with the Beswick Community. We’re so thrilled to have the support of NITV, Screen Australia, ACTF and Screen Territory to create this incredible series for Australian children to be inspired by.”

Kyas Hepworth, NITV’s Head of Commissioning and Programming said, “NITV is committed to producing and showcasing quality content that is relevant to young Indigenous audiences. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids should see themselves reflected on screen – as well as the celebration of Indigenous culture and language. Through Barrumbi Kids, we’re able to do just that, all while sharing the beauty of Wugularr with Australia. We can’t wait to showcase Jawoyn Country and to bring this Children’s series to screens for all children across Australia to enjoy.”

Sally Caplan, Screen Australia’s Head of Content said, “We’re proud to support this quality children’s series from a talented creative team including director Grant Brown and emerging Indigenous directors Deb Brown and Ismail Khan. It’s special for a television series to not only reflect back to children and their families living in remote communities their own stories, but also share their unique cultural experiences on screens around the country and the world. I am looking forward to seeing Barrumbi Kids bring the beautiful remote Northern Territory to our screens.”

Jenny Buckland, CEO of the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) said, “The ACTF’s investment in Barrumbi Kids is the first major investment made possible by the additional funding we’ve received from the Commonwealth to invest in children’s content over the next two years. We’re excited to support NITV’s aspirations to deliver ambitious projects for its children’s audience and to be bringing this content to the world. It’s another authentic series set in the Northern Territory, and today’s announcement is a huge testament to how hard Danielle Maclean, Monica O’Brien, Julia Morris and the Beswick Community have worked to get to this point.”

Jennie Hughes, Director of Screen Territory, said, “This is an amazing outcome and it’s wonderful to see the intended results of Screen Territory’s Business Enterprise funding coming to fruition for Tamarind Tree Pictures as they produce this high-end children’s series in partnership with family entertainment specialist Ambience Entertainment. This will be the first major NT children’s series to be produced in the Top End and within the Indigenous community of Beswick. It is a project of ambition and scale, which will employ Territorians and bring economic benefit and opportunities to not only the Big Rivers region but also to the wider Top End.

Barrumbi Kids is a uniquely Territorian project, and we are delighted that we will be working once again with major investor Screen Australia and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation in bringing the much-loved Territorian book series by author Leonie Norrington to the screen. Screen Territory is proud to have a long association with SBS and NITV and so moving into high-end scripted Indigenous children’s content marks an exciting new step in our creative partnership, and I can’t think of a more apt project to announce during Reconciliation Week.”

Barrumbi Kids premieres on NITV in 2022.

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Hannah Pemberton

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