ABC bolsters doc slate

‘Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra’. 

The ABC has added feature documentaries The Australian DreamFirestarter – The Story of Bangarra and natural history and science series Australia Remastered to its slate.

An official Australian-UK co-production between Good Thing Productions and Passion Pictures, The Australian Dream, written by Stan Grant and directed by Dan Gordon, chronicles the national conversation that took place after former Sydney Swans captain Adam Goodes was racially vilified during an AFL match.

Producer Nick Batzias said: “Good Thing are thrilled to be working with Passion Pictures UK producing The Australian Dream. In collaborating with Adam Goodes, director Dan Gordon, writer Stan Grant and a host of contributors, we have the best opportunity to not only tell Adam’s story accurately, but to generate important conversations about Australia’s past, present and future in the context of an international feature documentary.”

The film has received principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Film Victoria, and is being distributed theatrically by Madman.

WildBear Entertainment’s Australia Remastered will see the ABC archive used to tell create eight individual documentary series: five natural history series, two science history series and one world history series, retelling timeless stories reinvigorated with the latest discoveries.

WildBear Entertainment managing director Alan Erson said: “Diving this deeply into the archive across so many genres is a reminder of why the ABC matters; the great range of material, the depth and the consistent intelligence with which it was made. And it’s all about us, our view of our country and the world.” ABC Commercial will serve as the worldwide distributor of the series.

Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra, to be co-directed by Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin, tells the 30-year story of Bangarra Dance Theatre through the eyes of artistic director Stephen Page. The hybrid doco, produced by Ivan O’Mahoney for In Films, will convey key moments in the Bangarra story in dance sequences exclusively choreographed for the film.

Blair and Minchin said: “The story of the last 30 years of Bangarra not only gives us amazing access to one of the most creative companies in the world, but it is also a window into the harsh reality of what life is like for Indigenous people in this country.

“Through unparalleled beauty and devastating pain, the resilience and passion of people like Stephen and his dancers make for an indomitable force. This documentary gives us a chance to celebrate an unbelievable story.”

ABC head of factual and entertainment Josie Mason-Campbell said: “Documentary and factual content are a vital part of what makes the ABC distinctive, providing us with opportunities to tell Australian stories in authentic, ambitious and innovative ways. Factual and documentary programs – across our Factual, Indigenous, Arts, Science, Regional & Local and ABC Children’s teams – bring people together to explore and understand issues that matter to them. Our creative partnerships with all levels of the external production community are invaluable and we are thrilled to announce productions with Good Thing Productions, WildBear Entertainment and In Films, delivering more outstanding content to audiences across the country.”