Damon Gameau and Anna Kaplan.

When filmmaker Damon Gameau and producer Anna Kaplan were casting around for names for their new production company, the word ‘regeneration’ was top of mind.

Hence was born Regen Studios with the mission to create and distribute content designed to help communities, cities, schools, governments and business to regenerate and replace what has been lost in precious resources.

Screen Australia is providing funding from the Enterprise program to enable Gameau and Kaplan to develop a business plan, build their slate and share their expertise as executive producers and consultants.

Continuing their collaboration after 2040 and That Sugar Film, the duo is developing several projects including an interactive documentary series and web platform with the passionate support of Leonardo DiCaprio, and a high-end short film that will draw on community listening to present a collective vision for Australia in 2030.

“Off the back of 2040 we saw the appetite people have for regenerative practices, whether that’s in agriculture, oceans, economics or finance,” says Gameau, whose previous banner Regen Pictures co-produced 2040 with Nick Batzias’ Good Thing Productions.

“Given Anna’s expertise, it felt like the right time to combine powers and marry content with a call to action.”

Kaplan, who is continuing with Good Thing Productions, tells IF: “Regen Studios is the evolution of our five-year working relationship and our commitment to producing purpose-driven content that activates transformative change at a personal, societal and planetary level.

“It’s terrific to have Screen Australia’s support to develop a sustainable business model and lay strong foundations.”

The Regen Network, the interactive documentary series and web platform, is being developed in collaboration with US author and environmentalist Paul Hawken and Leila Conners’ production company Tree Media.

Conners directed Ice on Fire, the 2019 documentary examining innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which DiCaprio produced for HBO.

Gameau’s 2040 drew on Hawken’s Project Drawdown, which sets out 100 solutions to reverse global warming. The filmmaker plans to make a 6-part series for the platform based on Hawken’s next book Regeneration, which will list various ways to regenerate the landscape.

DiCaprio, Jaden Smith and Jane Goodall are supporting this project, which will host short-form and long-form content, discussions and masterclasses. The aim is to launch mid-2021.

He has spent the last few months working on Regenerate Australa, a high-end short in partnership with a number of organisations including the WWF. It will draw on Gameau’s community listening exercise around the country to gauge how people have been coping firstly with the bush fires and then with COVID-19.

The aim is to present a vision for Australia in 2030 which Gameau says can be achieved if a regeneration and sustainable development principles are applied to the nation’s recovery.

“I think the short will be almost like a trailer or teaser for something larger down the track,” he says. “We will stream the short on a range of different networks and at events including one at Parliament House.”

Odonata is a privately-commissioned documentary that utilises film, CGI and monitoring technology to track the impact of a native ecosystem restoration and wildlife conservation project that is creating a network of native wildlife sanctuaries on private farms. The result will be a large biodiversity corridor along the East coast.

On top of all that, Gameau is discussing a couple of ideas for feature docs with Batzias.

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