Aussie doco Jabbed gets a US makeover

Sonya Pemberton’s documentary Jabbed: love, fear and vaccines drew a sizable audience on SBS last month and now a US version is in the works.

The writer-director-producer is working with Tangled Bank Studios (the film production arm of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute) to create a one hour version of the program for PBS's 9 pm Nova slot.

Jabbed followed Pemberton, an Emmy award winner, as she roamed the globe to investigate the real science behind vaccinations and epidemics and the cost of opting out. She interviewed vaccine makers, alternative healers, psychologists, anthropologists and parents, posing the question, “What would you do to protect the ones you love? "

It was the first feature documentary produced by Genepool Productions formed in 2011 by Pemberton and executive producers Michael Cordell and Nick Murray of Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder Productions.

"Jabbed is SBS's most successful commissioned single documentary in recent history, starting a remarkable national conversation around vaccination," said John Godfrey, senior commissioning editor at SBS Documentaries.

Pemberton and her crew are filming in Washington, San Francisco, Virginia and New York City. The doco will air next year on 88 PBS stations.

“After spending two years investigating the hot topic vaccination, it’s wonderful to have the Australian broadcast generate such an extraordinary level of public interest,” she said.

Her film Immortal, which examined the discovery by Nobel prize-winning Australian scientist Professor Elizabeth Blackburn of the so-called immortalising enzyme which is transforming how humans approach aging, stress and cancer, won the 2012 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Science Programming.

Cordell said: "It's a joy working with Sonya and the team on a slate of cutting edge science documentaries. Our aim is to combine great storytelling with solid science. Jabbed is a great example of just that."

Genepool's next project, the Screen Australia-funded three-part science series Tales of the Unexpected for SBS and the US Smithsonian Networks, is in pre-production.