‘Kids on speed’ among docos to get Screen Australia funding

A three-part documentary series about the effects of the drug Ritalin on children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder leads a list of four documentaries funded by Screen Australia.

Kids On Speed, produced by Essential Media and Entertainment for the ABC, looks at attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and the prescription of Ritalin and similar drugs. Directed by Max Bourke, the show will, with a team of clinicians and educators, attempt to improve the lives of six kids showing symptoms of ADHD without the use of the drugs.

Produced by Alan Erson and Sonja Armstrong, the funding comes to Essential Media and Entertainment through Screen Australia’s General Documentary Program.

The investment from the national screen agency is $1m with the expectation to trigger $2.8m in production.

Bourke will also direct Ten Bucks a Litre, a Smith & Nasht production, which will ask ‘What are Australia’s options as we enter the age of energy disruption?’ with the help of outspoken Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith, also expected for the ABC.

Smith & Nasht will also produce The Vasectomist, for the SBS as well as CBC in Canada and VPRO in the Netherlands, about a Florida based urologist saving the planet one vasectomy at a time. Jonathan Stack is directing with Simon Nasht and Ruth Cross producing.

The final hour long documentary is Shark Girl, produced by Kaufmann Productions Pty Ltd, about one Queensland girl’s quest to save sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.

General Documentary Program

3 x 57 mins
Essential Media and Entertainment
Producers Alan Erson, Sonja Armstrong
Director Max Bourke
Broadcaster ABC TV
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children is one of the most hotly disputed and commonly diagnosed mental disorders of our time. Kids on Speed is a 3 x 1-hour documentary series that confronts and illuminates the question of whether or not to treat ADHD and related conditions with stimulants like Ritalin (a drug with similar effects to the amphetamine known as speed). A team of leading clinicians and educators will attempt, without prescribing drugs, to improve the lives of six challenging kids showing symptoms of ADHD and related conditions. Can rethinking our classrooms, our communities and the way we run our families prevent at least some of the current widespread medication of our kids?

52 mins
Smith & Nasht
Producers Simon Nasht, Ruth Cross
Director Jonathan Stack
Broadcasters SBS TV, CBC (Canada), DR (Denmark), VPRO (Netherlands)
Sales SBS International
Synopsis The Vasectomist follows Dr Doug Stein, a urologist from small-town Florida, on a mission to save the planet by ‘spreading the gospel of vasectomy’. He’s performed more vasectomies than anyone – 27,000 – throughout the US, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. A modern day Don Quixote; part dreamer, madman and visionary committed to the impossible quest of lowering population on the planet, one vasectomy at a time. As he travels the world, Doug confronts the difficult ethical questions surrounding birth control and the reluctance of men to be involved in family planning. While the mathematical absurdity of his vasectomy mission haunts his every procedure, the questions Doug raises about the future of humankind are critical to our collective wellbeing.

National Documentary Program
55 mins
Smith & Nasht
Producers Simon Nasht, Kate Hodges
Director Max Bourke
Broadcaster ABC TV
Synopsis Some of our most serious global challenges revolve around energy – controlling it, paying for it and the consequences of burning it. As both one of the world’s biggest per capita users and exporters of fossil fuels, Australia is sure to be deeply affected by the radical changes coming down the energy pipeline. Yet there is a lot of confusion around the subject. Self-confessed fossil fuel junkie Dick Smith will try to separate the facts from the hot air. What are Australia’s options as we enter the age of energy disruption?

International Documentary Program
57 mins
Kaufmann Productions Pty Ltd
Producers Gisela Kaufmann, Carsten Orlt
Writer/Director Gisela Kaufmann
Broadcaster ABC TV
Sales ABC Commercial, Smithsonian (US), Terra Mater (Austria)
Synopsis Shark Girl is the story of a young Australian conservationist who has changed her life to protect sharks in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Park.



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