David and Margaret give blessing to sinful Bazura Project

The brainchild of Shannon Marinko and Lee Zachariah, the ABC’s irreverent film show The Bazura Project, has been given the okay by stalwarts David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz.

Across a season of six episodes, The Bazura Project – which went to air on ABC2 for the first time last night – offers a ‘Guide to Sinema’, exploring the depiction of sin in film.  

Zachariah told Encore, “We were distinctly non-Biblical with our definition of ‘sin’, as an entire episode devoted to, say, sloth would probably not be the most captivating of television. So the show will look at Violence, Sex, Money, Profanity, Drugs and Fame over the course of the run.”

The Bazura Project originated on Melbourne’s community channel, Channel 31, airing from 2006-2008, picking up four Antenna Awards along the way.

Speaking about the original show, Zachariah said, “The Bazura Project was the type of movie show we couldn’t believe no one else was making. It was comedy and information in often-uneven measures: spoofs of famous movie scenes; film news; feature stories about everything from How To Take a Date To The Cinema to the history of Italian Neo-Realism; interviews with the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Bud Tingwell, Danny Boyle, George Miller, Steven Berkoff, Gillian Armstrong, and many others; and film reviews the way we wanted to see them, with two people sitting down with a drink for an unscripted chat.”

In its new incarnation, “Both the ABC and us had a similar idea to mix up the format of the show, but keep the style the same,” said Zachariah. “So we recreated it from the ground up with a whole new concept, but the essence of the show has remained the same: film history with lots of comedy.”

Moving from community TV to the ABC as a co-production between the public broadcaster and The Bazura Project Pty Ltd, in association with Yaman Films, Zachariah said there still wasn’t a huge budget to play with: “we had to retain our sense of guerrilla filmmaking that informed the original show. But it is nice to be able to just focus on the show, rather than trying to squeeze the show and full-time work in together. Channel 31 would let us get away with a lot, only occasionally phoning us if an episode contained something non-broadcastable. The ABC is a lot more involved in the process, but not unwilling to take risks.”

With the ABC already having one weekly movie show, The Bazura Project was kept to a six episode minimum, but Zachariah and Marinko not only sought approval from Pomeranz and Stratton, they sought involvement, said Zachariah. “David actually appears in the show! He plays my therapist across all six episodes, as I tell him how movies warped my childhood. He was brilliant, absolutely up for anything we threw at him. I met Margaret a few weeks ago, and she couldn’t have been nicer. She seemed genuinely excited that the ABC had commissioned another film show, which was lovely of her. They’ve both been so supportive.”

Last night’s first episode did not pull in a large audience. Ratings for only the top 100 shows on the digital channels are available to Encore. The Bazura Project did not make it onto that list, meaning it reached an estimated metro audience of less than 58,000.


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