Screen Australia announces new documentary funding round

A four-part SBS series leads a new round of Screen Australia funding for documentaries.

The announcement of funding is worth $1.8m across six one off documentaries and one series, and is expected to trigger $4.8m worth of production.

Following on from SBS’s four part series Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta, which aired earlier this year and took 0.850m viewers across SBS1 in English, and SBS 2 in Vietnamese will be Once Upon A Time in Punchbowl.

The series will examine the Lebanese migrant settlement in Western Sydney and produced by Tim Toni and executive produced by Sue Clothier.

Liz Stevens, Screen Australia’s documentary manager said: “I’m thrilled to announce investment in the SBS series Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl. This important series will again strongly resonate with the local community.”

Also receiving funding are one-off documentaries about the lead singer of punk band The Sunnyboys, a floating hospital that visits poor nations, ten years on from four teen mums who stayed in school, the relationship between Judith Wright and HC ‘Nugget’ Coombs, Licence to Kill about the events that take place after police use their firearms in the line of duty  and Grey Man about Australian-led raids on the Thai sex trade both received Film Victoria funding yesterday.

57 mins
FairTrade Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Director/Producer Luigi Acquisto
Producer Stella Zammataro
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis This powerful, suspenseful documentary embeds itself with a daring group of serving or former Australian soldiers and police as they rescue children from the sex trade in Thailand, often from the reach of Australian paedophiles.

4 x 52 mins
Northern Pictures
Executive Producer Sue Clothier
Series Producer Tim Toni
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl is a landmark television series about Lebanese migrant settlement in Western Sydney.

57 mins
DD & B Productions Pty Ltd
Producer/Director Terry Carlyon
Producer Robyn Miller
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Licence to Kill seeks answers to the tragic chain of events that is set in motion when police use firearms in the course of duty – tragedy for both the shooting victims and the police who pull the trigger.

27 mins
Early Works
Writer/Director/Producer John Hughes
Producer Philippa Campey
Writer Penelope Chai
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis On 1 January 2009, the National Library of Australia lifted an embargo on the private correspondence between Judith Wright and HC ‘Nugget’ Coombs, making public their clandestine relationship of 25 years, one of the best-kept secrets in Australian literary and political public life.

57 mins
Australian Documentaries Pty Ltd
Producer Laurie Critchley
Writer/Director Aviva Ziegler
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Four teenage mums revisit the success of a radical experiment to keep them at school.

56 mins
Jotz Productions
Producer Tom Zubrycki
Writer/Director Kaye Harrison
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis A film about schizophrenia told through the story of the lauded singer/songwriter of the 80s band ‘The Sunnyboys’ who are about to make a comeback.

52 mins
Media Stockade
Producer/Director Madeleine Hetherton
Producer Rebecca Barry
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis A team of Australian doctors and nurses on board a unique ship, crammed with medical supplies, is sailing to one of the poorest nations on earth to provide life-saving medical services – they have just one year.


  1. Kaye Harrison
    18 May 12
    8:37 pm

  2. I am the filmmaker of the above mentioned documentary The Sunnyboy. The blurb above is inaccurate and misleading and I would like it amended as soon as possible. Could you please replace it with the following description;

    Commissioned by the ABC, The Sunnyboy is a documentary by director/DOP Kaye Harrison and producer Tom Zubrycki about Jeremy Oxley, front man of the 80’s band the Sunnyboys , his 30 year battle with schizophrenia, his struggle for recovery and his triumphant return to the stage.

    Could you please confirm that this has been altered.

    Kaye Harrison