F.Y.I.

Screen Australia and The Guardian to fund four online documentaries

Screen Australia and The Guardian have announced four projects which will receive production funding.

The announcement:

The Guardian and Screen Australia have announced the four projects that will receive production funding through their joint initiative announced in August last year: The Big Wait, Lost Rambos, Operations from the Bottom and Where the River Runs Red. All four are helmed by early career filmmakers and will cover both local and international stories.

The documentaries will be available to stream for free from 2019 on the The Guardian’s Australian, UK, US and international sites, and will be uniquely positioned to reach a global audience via one of the world’s leading English-language news sites.

“Working with The Guardian for this initiative is an excellent way to provide Australian documentary filmmakers with a direct pathway to an international audience,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “We are thrilled that the successful projects will contribute a distinctly Australian voice to The Guardian’s rapidly expanding content offerings.”

Originally intended to fund only three projects, the initiative was extended to four due to the impressive calibre of the applications.

“These are four exciting and diverse ideas that all feel like they’re giving us an access-driven window into stories from Australia and beyond, with all of them taking place in small communities with lesser-exposed stories to tell,” said Charlie Phillips, Head of Documentaries at The Guardian. “These teams represent the best of up-and-coming Australian documentary-making and we think our global audience will really respond to them.”

All films will be between 15 and 30 minutes in duration. The funded projects are:

  • Corrugated Films’ The Big Wait (WA) from writer/director Yannick Jamey who will also produce alongside Melissa Hayward and Pete Gleeson. The documentary will tell the story of a couple employed to maintain a remote emergency airstrip and a tiny adjoining ‘township’ in the middle of a featureless desert, an infinite space that becomes both their playground and their prison.
  • Pursekey Productions’ Lost Rambos (NSW, VIC) from writer/director Chris Phillips and producer Michaela Perske. The documentary will explore the changing nature of tribal fights in the highlands of Papua New Guinea since the introduction of automatic weapons.
  • JOTZ Productions’ Operations from the Bottom (NSW) from writer/director Gemma Quilty and producer Tom Zubrycki. The production will follow a young African entrepreneur and his group of friends who dream of hosting the biggest dance parties in Western Sydney.
  • Gravy Productions’ Where The River Runs Red (QLD) from writer/director Brodie Poole and producer Nicholas Flynn, which is set in a small mining town in regional Tasmania whose economic centrepiece – the Mt Lyell Mine – has closed down. The documentary will follow the proud locals who attempt to transform their mining town into a town with a mine, albeit with conflicting ideas for the future.

The Guardian and Screen Australia are providing a total of $165,500 in production funding for the four documentary films*.

The partnership with Screen Australia demonstrates The Guardian’s commitment to supporting new Australian talent, and producing quality documentary content. Previous Australian films commissioned by Guardian Documentaries include The Fight directed by Violeta Ayala and produced by Dan Fallshaw, and The Island directed by Gabrielle Brady and produced by Alex Kelly.

Source: Screen Australia media release

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