Producing Campion mini-series, a thrill: Sherman

See-Saw Films producer Emile Sherman says it’s “a huge thrill” for him to be working with Jane Campion on her first TV production since 1990’s An Angel at My Table – the Australia/New Zealand co-production Top of the Lake.

“Essentially, I was approached by Jane. We’d met and got on really well, and she thought that this could be a good project for us to work on together. I couldn’t believe that she actually offered me the job,” Sherman told Encore.

Sherman expects Top of the Lake to be in production in the second half of 2011, shooting in and around Queenstown, New Zealand.

The six-part series has been commissioned by BBC2 and although it already has a broadcaster in Australia and New Zealand, Sherman chose not to disclose which networks would show Top of the Lake in these territories.

Top of the Lake was created by Campion, and written with Gerard Lee.

“It’s about a young girl who is found to be pregnant and then disappears, and a detective who goes in to solve the case. It’s through the detective and this mystery that we uncover a very unique and colourful world, set in one of the most beautiful regions on Earth,” said Sherman.

See-Saw’s UK-based production The King’s Speech (released here by Paramount/Transmission on Boxing Day), starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter,  is likely to be a strong contender in the upcoming awards season, and the company’s next film – Shame, directed by Steve McQueen – starts production in New York next month.

Sherman is also a co-owner of Fulcrum Media Finance, a finance company created to cash flow the Australian Producer Offset and New Zealand’s equivalent, the Screen Production Incentive Fund.

Fulcrum has recently started operations in the UK, financing its first project The Deep Blue Sea – a remake of the 1955 film directed by Terence Davies and starring Rachel Weisz.

The UK opportunity is possible thanks to the partnership – a $20m revolving loan fund – between Fulcrum and superannuation fund Media Super.

“We were then freed up to use that fund to go elsewhere, and it was through that we made a move into the UK. We brought on Alice Clough as head of business affairs in London, who is across both See-Saw and Fulcrum, and she’s the contact point for producers there. She reports to Sharon Menzies,” explained Sherman.


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