Amazon unveils seven new Australian originals

Representatives from the new local originals announced by Amazon Prime Video in Sydney today.

Amazon Prime Video launched a slate of seven new local originals at a showcase event in Sydney today, including projects from Made Up Stories, Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films, Matchbox Pictures and Guesswork Television.

Among the commissions are documentaries Burning and Warriors On The Field, four-part docuseries Head Above Water, drama series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, and comedy series The Moth Effect, Deadloch, and Class of ‘07.

Amazon Studios Asia Pacific head of originals Erika North; Prime Video Australia head of content Tyler Bern, and Prime Video Australia head Hushidar Kharas were on hand to introduce the upcoming projects, as well as offer the first glimpses of previously announced originals Back to the Rafters, Luxe Listings Sydney and Kick Like Tayla, as well as season two of The Wilds, currently shooting in Queensland.

At the same event, the streamer announced the global acquisition of Nine Perfect Strangers, ex. US and China. Originally commissioned by Hulu, Nine Perfect Strangers is produced by Made Up Stories and Nicole Kidman/Per Saari’s Blossom Films, and was shot in Byron Bay.

The new projects form part of Amazon’s $150 million commitment into Australian productions since 2019, which it says has resulted in more than 2,500 jobs.

The streamer is also looking to expand its presence with the recruitment of a local scripted content head to be based in Sydney.

Speaking to IF, Bern said the showcase represented an “inflection point” of Amazon Prime’s Australian pipeline.

“We thought now was the time to make this statement about how we are investing in local content,” he said.

“But it was more a function of our development pipeline and knowing that something like The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is going to leak because it’s such a big show with some really big stars.”

Based on the international best-selling book by Australian author Holly Ringland, and and to star Sigourney Weaver, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart tells the enchanting and compelling story of a young girl, Alice Hart, whose violent childhood casts a dark shadow over her adult life.

The series is being produced by Bruna Papandrea and adapted for the screen by writer Sarah Lambert, who serves as the series showrunner. Glendyn Ivin, who previously collaborated with Made Up Stories on Penguin Bloom, will direct.

Dirty Films is behind Burning, to be directed by the Academy Award-winning Eva Orner; Matchbox Pictures Class of ‘07; Guesswork Television and OK Great Productions Deadloch; Bunya Entertainment The Moth Effect and Head Above Water McEvoy Media.

Bern credited the partnerships Amazon Prime shares with Australian production companies as being “incredibly important” to their progress in the country.

“With COVID and the fact we have been doing everything on Zoom for the past 15 months, it’s the strength of these relationships that we have with these production companies that has really helped sustain us and gotten us to this point,” he said.

“We want to nurture these relationships and we want to make sure people understand that Amazon is invested in their projects and is going to give it a big global audience.”

Sarah Lambert, Holly Ringland and Bruna Papandrea.

The new commissions include:

Burning: The first Amazon Australian Original feature-length documentary made in Australia. Burning, from executive producers Cate Blanchett, and Eva Orner, who also serves as director, examines the deadly Australian bushfires of 2019-2020, known as ‘Black Summer’. Burning is an exploration of what happened as told from the perspective of victims of the fires, activists, and scientists. Produced by Propagate Content, Dirty Films, and Amazon Studios.

Class of ‘07: An eight-part Australian original comedy series that will commence filming in Australia this December. Class of ‘07 is created by writer and director Kacie Anning (Upload, The Other Guy) and produced by Matchbox Pictures. When an apocalyptic tidal wave hits during the ten-year reunion of an all-girls high school, a group of women must find a way to survive on the island peak of their high school campus. Like Lord of the Flies (in cocktail dresses), the series follows a group of former classmates, now freshly entangled in decade-old drama, as they attempt to survive not just the apocalypse but each other.

Deadloch: A comedy series written by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan and produced by Guesswork Television, OK Great Productions, and Amazon Studios. ‘The Kates’ latest creation is a feminist noir comedy set against a bucolic backdrop with a rising body count. Filming of the eight-part series will commence in Tasmania this November.

Head Above Water: A four-part docuseries that follows elite Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe, Bronte Campbell, Kyle Chalmers, as well as former-junior-champion-turned-international-musician, Cody Simpson in the lead up to the Games in July. Produced by McAvoy Media, Swimming Australia and Amazon Studios, Head Above Water will launch on June 4 on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and select countries and will complete its global rollout later in 2021.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart: Based on the international best-selling book by Holly Ringland, and starring Sigourney Weaver. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart tells the enchanting and compelling story of a young girl, Alice Hart, whose violent childhood casts a dark shadow over her adult life. Produced by Bruna Papandrea from Made Up Stories and Endeavor Content, and adapted for the screen by writer Sarah Lambert who serves as the series showrunner. Glendyn Ivin is set to direct.

The Moth Effect: A satirical six-part sketch comedy produced by Bunya Entertainment, Amazon Studios and created by Nick Boshier (Bondi Hipsters) and Jazz Twemlow (Tonightly). The Moth Effect will launch one episode per month premiering on July 30 on Prime Video in Australia and select countries around the world. The series will showcase some of Australia and New Zealand’s finest talent including Bryan Brown, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Ben Lawson, Jonny Brugh, Peter O’Brien, Kate Box, Sam Cotton, Christiaan van Vuuren, Sarah Bishop, Nazeem Hussain, David Woodhead and Zoë Coombs Marr.

Warriors On The Field: A documentary presented by former AFL champion Michael O’Loughlin to premiere on Amazon Prime Video later in 2021. It explores the stories of three Indigenous AFL players and celebrates Aboriginal Australia and its association with the Australian Football League. Sharing their stories alongside Michael (a Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri, Narungga man) are current AFL player Michael ‘Sonny’ Walters, a Noongar man from Fremantle Dockers and up-and-coming North Melbourne star Tarryn Thomas, a Kamillaroi and Lumaranaana man, originally from Sydney.