$4.5m for 20 docos

Screen Australia has invested $4.5m in 20 documentaries, with a production volume worth $15m.

The agency said the demands on this month’s round of the domestic documentary program were high, with ABC, SBS and pay TV “using close to their full allocation for the financial year”. Therefore, Screen Australia will pool its funds across the domestic and international programs for a total alloction of $7.5m.

The next two rounds in the 2010/11 year will be worth $1.8m each.

The approved projects are:


  • Bombora Films and Music
  • Producer/Director Paul Clarke
  • Broadcaster ABC TV
  • Sales & Distribution ABC Commercial, Roadshow
  • Synopsis An Australian social history of the 20th century – viewed through the windscreen of the cars that we so cherished.


  • Paalma Pty Ltd
  • Producer/Writer Marian Bartsch
  • Director Britt Arthur
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Sales & Distribution ABC Content Sales
  • Synopsis ArtHouse looks at the changing face of architecture, innovation and design in Australia through the eyes of Melbourne-based husband and wife team, architect Robert McBride and interior designer Debbie Ryan. Their outstanding architecture, which is changing the skyline of Melbourne, has achieved the highest accolade winning the recent 2009 World Architecture Festival Awards for best residential house in the world for The Klein Bottle House. A first for any Australian architectural team. This documentary follows a day-in-the-life of this stellar design team over a period of eight months, and the inspiration behind their iconic works. This documentary will also aim to explore the need for innovation in the Australian way of living as Robert and Debbie-Lyn build their own family home for their growing family.


  • No Roles For Sam Pty Ltd
  • Producer Emma Smith
  • Writers/Directors Daniel Mansour, Tim Ryan
  • Broadcaster MTV
  • Synopsis Follows the adventures of a band from Adelaide trying to get their big break. The band’s sights are firmly set on building legions of fans both in Australia and the USA, as well as scoring a record deal in the US: a dream virtually every young Aussie has had.


  • Angels Television Pty Ltd
  • Producers/Writers/Directors Gregory Miller and Liz Courtney
  • Broadcaster Nickelodeon, Australian Television, NHK
  • Sales & Distribution Off The Fence
  • Synopsis Filmed almost entirely in Antarctica. It is a chance to explore sustainable development and climate change in one of the places being most affected, and it shows the transformative effect on a number of young people as they travel to the world’s largest and most isolated wilderness.


  • Mitra Films Pty Ltd
  • Producer Anna Cater
  • Producer/Director Simon Nasht
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Sales & Distribution Ovation
  • Synopsis The film follows Dick Smith’s public campaign against rapid population growth. The polemical film tests the propositions put forward in favour of a Big Australia. Can this popular entrepreneur persuade the nation to change its mind?


  • North One TV Australia
  • Producer Dan Goldberg
  • Executive Producer/Director Adam Kay
  • Broadcaster Bio Channel
  • Sales & Distribution Fox, North One
  • Synopsis Follows the inspirational story of one woman’s dream to use the world game to help refugee children who’ve recently arrived in Australia integrate into their new society.


  • Cordell Jigsaw
  • Executive Producers Nick Murray and Michael Cordell
  • Producer Steve Bibb
  • Broadcaster Fox 8
  • Sales & Distribution DCD Rights, Cordell Jigsaw
  • Synopsis Larger-than-life Australian long-line tuna fishermen risking it all on a daily basis are at the heart of the new documentary series, Hardliners.


  • iKandy Films
  • Producer/Writer/Director Janine Hosking
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Synopsis The ‘unplugged’ chronicle of 76-year-old country music legend Chad Morgan. “I’ll die on the stage or on the nest,” vows the controversial Chad as he packs his guitar, walking stick and his wife’s Zimmer frame in the back of the car for his latest tour. This observational documentary is an intimate portrait of a ‘one of a kind’ musician, playing out the final phase of his career. At the heart of the narrative is an enduring love story ­– littered with dirty lyrics!


  • Wonderland Film & Theatre Production Pty Ltd
  • Producer Kingston Anderson
  • Director Claire Haywood
  • Broadcaster NITV
  • Sales & Distribution Wonderland Productions
  • Synopsis About the life and times of Dr Gordon Briscoe (AO). It is a celebration of his outstanding contribution as a campaigner for basic human rights for Indigenous Australians, an activist, a motivator, a thinker, a researcher, author, teacher and mentor. Narrated by Gordon’s son, Aaron Briscoe, it is the inspirational story of an institutionalised Aborigine, interned in an ‘alien’ camp during World War II with very little education, who struggled against the odds to achieve dignity and respect for himself and his people. The story of his life reflects the struggles still facing many Indigenous communities today.


  • Waterbyrd Filmz
  • Producer/Co-director Nickolas Bird
  • Co-director Eleanor Sharpe
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Sales & Distribution Galloping Films
  • Synopsis Anny Salerni, the charismatic owner of Melbourne’s only gay and lesbian ballroom dancing studio, has devoted the last 14 years of her life to creating her own fabulous world of same-sex dancesports. Her students are not the most talented of dancers but they are passionate about their sport and are driven by a dream of competing at the Gay Games in Germany. As they prepare for the biggest event of their lives, Anny and her students must battle injury, personal dramas and entrenched homophobia from the mainstream ballroom dancing community and the world in general.


  • Matchbox Pictures Pty Ltd
  • Executive Producer Tony Ayres
  • Producers Polly Staniford and Michael McMahon
  • Director Shannon Owen
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Synopsis A joyful and exuberant half-hour documentary following the precarious and erratic journey to pull together the premiere event for Australia’s Sudanese community – the ‘Miss South Sudan Australia’ beauty pageant – and the lives of the organisers and the participants post event.

MT (working title)

  • Evershine Pty Ltd
  • Producer Helen Barrow
  • Director Hugh Piper
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Synopsis An observational documentary about print journalism, freedom of speech and publishing in South East Asia.


  • Sea Dog TV International Pty Ltd
  • Executive Producer Dione Gilmour
  • Producers Jodie De Barros and Leighton De Barros
  • Director Leighton De Barros
  • Co-director Sam Smith
  • Writers Leighton De Barros and Sam Smith
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Sales & Distribution ABC Commercial
  • Synopsis Follows the incredible life cycle of the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo through an engaging story of one small bird family as they fight for survival and the one man who will do whatever it takes to protect them.


  • Matchbox Pictures
  • Executive Producer Penny Chapman
  • Producer Michaela Perske
  • Writer Mark O’Toole
  • Broadcaster SBS
  • Sales & Distribution SBS Content Sales
  • Synopsis A six-part factual series hosted by Julia Zemiro that will explore the last 50 years of Australia’s sexual landscape. A lively series using a blend of experts, philosophers, academics and ordinary people that poses the big questions about sex in the modern day.


  • Artemis International Pty Ltd
  • Executive Producers Nick Murray and Michael Cordell
  • Producer Toni Malone
  • Director Michael Cordell
  • Broadcaster ABC
  • Sales & Distribution ABC Commercial
  • Synopsis Tim Flannery and John Doyle undertake their third quixotic journey through the Australian landscape, this time exploring The Great Dividing Range. To the east of the Divide are abundant rivers, fertile land and ever-burgeoning population. To the west are uncertainty, drought and vast tracts of ‘emptiness’. As Tim and John follow the range northward they are undertaking more than a geographical journey, they are also exploring the ‘great divides’ in Australian life. Arguments over water, population and nuclear power will all feature, as well as more profound debates – like Holden vs Ford.


  • Artemis International Pty Ltd & Serendipity Productions Pty Ltd
  • Executive Producer for Artemis Brian Beaton
  • Executive Producer for Serendipity Margie Bryant
  • Series Producer Celia Tait
  • Broadcaster SBS
  • Sales & Distribution SBS Content Sales
  • Synopsis Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets and surprises from the past.


  • Essential Media and Entertainment
  • Producer Chris Hilton
  • Director Randall Wood
  • Broadcaster ABC, Arte France, Smithsonian
  • Sales & Distribution Essential Media and Entertainment
  • Synopsis Amongst perhaps the only truly happy people on earth, maverick linguist Daniel Everett sets out to discover if the language we speak defines the way we think. In fresh studies of the culture and language of the Amazonian Pirahã tribe he seeks evidence for groundbreaking concepts that, if proven, will end the ostracism and insults Everett has endured from his own savage tribe of academics and expand our idea of what it means to be human.


  • Intomedia Pty Ltd
  • Producers Stuart Scowcroft and Seona Robertson
  • Director Les Wilson
  • Broadcaster Foxtel, BBC Scotland
  • Synopsis Lachlan Macquarie took the jail settlement of Sydney Cove from a penal outpost to a British colony in 10 short and tumultuous years. In doing so he paved the way to nationhood. This is his story.


  • Firelight Productions Pty Ltd and Paper Bark Films Pty Ltd
  • Producers Marcus Gillezeau and Ellenor Cox
  • Director Gregory Read
  • Writer Simon Nasht
  • Broadcaster Discovery Networks Asia
  • Sales & Distribution Off The Fence, ABC Enterprises
  • Online Blink Digital
  • Synopsis This is the story of a tenacious Australian jet pilot, David Mayman, as he strives to achieve his childhood dream of building and free-flying his very own Rocket Belt, only to discover he faces a nearly impossible task. Collaborating with the world’s leading Rocket Belt engineers David risks life and limb to become the world’s next Rocketman. Rocket Compulsion will take the audience on a ride that shows point blank why less people have flown Rocket Belts than have walked on the Moon.


  • Electric Pictures Pty Ltd
  • Producers Andrew Ogilvie and Andrea Quesnelle
  • Writer/Director Stephen Oliver
  • Broadcaster SBS, Ch4, DR, NPS/VPRO, NRK, RTE, SVT, VRT, WDR, YLE
  • Sales & Distribution BBC Worldwide
  • Synopsis Some see it as an outdated, second-rate entertainment show. But as the contest enters its second half century in robust health, this is an opportunity to take it seriously (well, most of the time) in a documentary series that mixes politics and pop music, fun, gossip, and – sometimes – real international intrigue, to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of one of the great institutions of European broadcasting. A winning blend of humour and insight, the program will peer beyond the glitz and sparkle to examine the Eurovision Song Contest and how it has tracked – and at times even influenced – the changing social and political life of Europe.

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