Amazon adds six new unscripted titles to originals slate

Top (L-R) Dave Hughes, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon, Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt, and Tommy Little. Bottom (L-R) are Leah Purcell, Tyler Bern, Sarah Christie, Hushidar Kharas, Asher Keddie, and Megan Smart.

Amazon will launch nine new originals in 2023, announcing six additional unscripted titles to go with previous commissions The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Deadloch, and Class of ‘07.

Nearly 18 months after unveiling a slate of seven Australian projects at Sydney’s Barangaroo, the streamer staged another showcase in the city on Tuesday evening, bringing together producers and talent from its upcoming productions.

They include Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, produced by Augusto, Frog Productions, SAM Content; Dance Life from EQ Media, Biscuit Tin Productions, and Creative Bubble; Sweetshop & Green’s The Defenders; and the Princess Pictures-produced live special Hugh van Cuylenburg G.E.M,

There is also a second season of cricket docuseries The Test, made in collaboration with Cricket Australia, as well as stand-up specials from Joel Creasey, Rhys Nicholson, Dave Hughes, Tommy Little, and Lizzy Hoo.

It takes Amazon’s overall tally of Australian commissions to 23 since 2019, the others of which have included Making Their Mark, LOL: Last One Laughing Australia with Rebel Wilson, Back to the Rafters, Luxe Listings Sydney S1 – S3, The Moth Effect, Head Above Water, Burning, Kick Like Tayla, and Warriors On The Field.

Prime Video Australia and New Zealand head Hushidar Kharas said the company was pleased to be stepping up its efforts for the coming year.

“Prime Video is proud to announce that 2023 will be its biggest year for launching Australian content to local and international customers,” he said.

“We continue to be incredibly focused on investing in and developing the world’s best talent, to deliver the highest quality content for our Prime Video customers in Australia and around the world.”

Sydney was not only the location of Tuesday’s event but is also currently housing production on Dance Life, a five-part documentary series that will go behind the curtain of the Australian dance institution Brent Street, considered the Southern Hemisphere’s leading dance academy.

Created and produced by Jade Barnes and Luke Cornish, the series follows students in their quest to stand out from the competition at ‘Agent Week’ and get a lead role for the final dance graduation at the end of the year. Executive producing with Cornish and Barnes are Shahn Devendran, David Alrich, and Brendan Dahill.

Luke Cornish and Jade Barnes.

Dancing also features heavily in Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, a documentary that tracks the journey of Anthony, Murray, Greg and Jeff, and a dinosaur called Dorothy from when they decided to call themselves The Wiggles after the way children move to achieve worldwide recognition and reemerging into the cultural zeitgeist in 2022.

SAM Content content co-founder Sally Aitken directs the Australia/New Zealand co-production alongside co-director Fraser Grut, with the pair also producing with Aline Jacques, Cass Avery, Daniel Story, Kate Chiodo, and Luke Field. It received major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screen NSW.

Like Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, The Defenders was one of five titles to receive support through Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program in March.

Written and directed by Matthew Bate, the feature documentary centres on footballer Hakeem al-Araibi and the global campaign that fought to free him from prison. It tells the true story of how former Australian football captain Craig Foster and a ragtag team of social media warriors challenged two monarchies, a military junta, and the sporting body FIFA to rescue al-Araibi. Produced by Gal Greenspan and Alice Burgin, the film is financed with the support of VicScreen and the South Australian Film Corporation. International sales will be managed by Autlook Film Sales.

Resilience is further explored in Hugh van Cuylenburg G.E.M, a 90-minute special in which the author of The Resilience Project and co-host of The Imperfects podcast using engaging storytelling and unpacking research to provide simple tips on positive mental health strategies.

Rounding out the slate are comedy specials Dave Hughes: Ridiculous; Tommy Little: Pretty Fly for a Dickhead; Lizzy Hoo: Hoo Cares, from Guesswork Television; Joel Creasey: Queen of the Outback; and Rhys Nicholson’s Big Queer Comedy Concert, from Big Yellow Taxi.

Tuesday’s event also included first glimpses of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Deadloch, and Class of ‘07, all of which are slated to premiere in 2023.

Amazon Studios Australia senior scripted development executive Sarah Christie said the scripted original series featured the “very best Australian talent”

“We believe that these distinctly Australian stories, Class of ’07, Deadloch, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, will not only excite our Australian viewers but will resonate with our customers worldwide.”