Cordell Jigsaw and Zapruder’s Other Films merge: Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder is born

Two prestigious Australian independent production companies have joined forces.

Sydney companies Cordell Jigsaw – established by Michael Cordell and Nick Murray – and Zapruder’s Other Films – led by Andrew Denton, Anita Jacoby and Peter Thompson – have formed Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ).

The combined company, touted as the biggest privately-owned production company in Australia, currently has 10 shows in the works for ABC, Nine, Ten, SBS and Foxtel. Such series include quiz show Randling (ABC), telemovie The Great Mint Swindle (Nine), Mega Truckers (Foxtel) and Country Town Rescue (ABC). The first show goes to air this Wednesday morning on ABC3 – You're Skitting Me – which was previously known as LOL. The children's sketch show is a first for Australia.

Established in 2005, Cordell Jigsaw has been responsible for such productions as Bondi Rescue, Hardliners, Recruits, O’Loughlin and the popular Go Back To Where You Came From. The latter – SBS’ highest-rated show of 2011 – saw Cordell and Murray win Documentary Producers of the Year at last year’s SPAA Independent Producer Awards. Series two is currently in production.

Murray said the Cordell/Zapruder tag-team represented a big step for the company. “The combined teams have great complementary skills. We’re all looking forward to mixing the creative talent from each company. The ultimate goal is to have some fun while delivering the best quality ideas to networks and audiences.”

Zapruder’s Other Films is known for producing such shows as CNNNN, Enough RopeHungry Beast, AFP, Can of Worms, The Joy of Sets and The Gruen Transfer. The Gruen Transfer, hosted by comic Wil Anderson, recently won the AACTA Best Light Entertainment Program. The company also co-produced its first scripted feature with Distracted Media: low-budget flick The Tunnel.

In a statement, Denton said: “We have long seen ourselves, separately, as local corner shops up against multinational supermarket chains importing overseas formats by the container-load. Combined, we will have greater strength to continue championing lovingly-made, original, Australian television. We remain the fresh food-for-thought people… only bigger”.

Cordell added: “We’ve spent years trying to poach their staff and they’ve spent years trying to poach ours. The only sensible thing is to jump in to bed together and see how good the sex is”.

The CJZ libraries and formats will be managed internationally by Cordell Jigsaw Distribution.