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09 11 2023 - Media release

Screen Australia and ABC announce TV adaptation of Shaun Tan’s Tales From Outer Suburbia


Tales From Outer Suburbia

Adapted from the bestselling illustrated book of the same name, ABC, Screen Australia and Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) are delighted to announce Tales From Outer Suburbia, a 10 x 22-minute animated series is heading into production with leading Australian animation studio Flying Bark Productions in collaboration with Highly Spirited.

Director Noel Cleary will lead a stunning recreation of the world established in the internationally acclaimed novel, with a cutting-edge CGI animation and handcrafted stop-motion look and feel. Shaun Tan will oversee the series as Creative Director, with Sophie Byrne (Highly Spirited) and Alexia Gates-Foale (Flying Bark) as Producers.

The series begins when ‘almost thirteen-year-old’ Klara and her six-year-old brother Pim move to Outer Suburbia with their newly single mother Lucy. The siblings' summer holiday turns into a series of unexpected and surreal adventures. The family goes on a roller-coaster ride of emotion, encountering weird and miraculous phenomena as they adapt to their new reality.

On the direction of the series, Shaun Tan says, Sometimes it takes a truly strange event to reveal how we feel about our place in the world, and what things we care about most deeply. With Tales From Outer Suburbia, we hope to awaken that fantastic realisation that fiction and reality are never very far from one another, that there is really no such thing as ‘normal life’.”

The series was developed by the ACTF during COVID and is commencing production at Flying Bark in New South Wales and at Siamese in Western Australia.

Grainne Brunsdon, Screen Australia Head of Content said, "The rich and surreal world of Tales From Outer Suburbia, based on the hugely popular book by Shaun Tan, with scripts from Lally Katz and Sam Carroll, and hyper-real animation created by Flying Bark, is sure to delight viewers of all ages. Entertaining and thought-provoking, this series will remind us that fiction and reality are closer than we think.”

Libbie Doherty, Head of ABC Children & Family said, “The minute Tales From Outer Suburbia was presented to us we knew we had to get on board with Shaun and this excellent team. Shaun’s unique take on Australian life strikes a chord in all of us with evocative imagery and powerful storytelling. This adaptation will be iconic. A landmark TV series that will create long lasting memories for young audiences and their families. We are so thankful to all our partners – the ACTF, Screen Australia and Screenwest who continue to get behind Australian Children’s Content.”

Bernadette O’Mahony, ACTF Head of Content said, “We are excited to have Tales From Outer Suburbia go into production after extensive development. It takes a lot of committed, like-minded partners to turn such a visually stunning book into something just as special on screen. We can’t wait for the world to see Shaun Tan’s vision come to life with this talented team.”

Alexia Gates-Foale (Flying Bark) and Sophie Byrne (Highly Spirited) said, “Shaun Tan’s anthology stories have a unique way of portraying modern suburban existence in an enchanting and sophisticated way, and it will be a joy to reimagine them for a broader audience. From an enormous water buffalo in an empty lot, to humans with cat-like features, the true story of each episode is how ordinary people react to these extraordinary incidents. We are thrilled to see these stories realised on the ABC.”

Production credit: Tales From Outer Suburbia is a Highly Spirited and Flying Bark Productions production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation in association with the ABC. Produced in New South Wales and Western Australia with Siamese and financed with support from Screenwest. International sales by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Adapted from Shaun Tan's multi-award-winning book Tales From Outer Suburbia. Directed by Noel Cleary. Creative Director: Shaun Tan. Writers: Sam Carroll and Lally Katz. Producers: Sophie Byrne and Alexia Gates -Foale. Executive Producers: Barbara Stephen, Bernadette O'Mahony, Julia Adams, Francesca Hope and ABC Executive Producers: Libbie Doherty, Jo Boag.


Tarnay Sass, ABC Children’s Publicist

0418 444 506 | [email protected]

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