Discovery Networks Australia, a unit of the number one non-fiction media company Discovery Communications, today announced that four documentaries will receive letters of intent for co-production funding through the Discovery Ignite local co-production initiative.
Independent filmmakers Maryella Hatfield and Akhim Dev have been successful in going through to the next stage, along with production companies Lonely Planet and Becker Entertainment.
Filmmakers were invited to submit documentary proposals in categories announced at AIDC (Australian International Documentary Conference) in February and a shortlist of 22 applicants, out of 100 entries, pitched their projects to Discovery Networks in May and the final four were then selected.
The successful Discovery Ignite projects are:
* The Future Makers (independent filmmaker Maryella Hatfield); Ecological solutions to global warming inspired by nature, from surprising and successful Australian business innovators.
* Horror Scopes Australia (independent filmmaker Akhim Dev); Combining extreme surfing and weather prediction, sport and the science with bravery to find the biggest storm fronts and surf them.
* Natural Born Traveller (Lonely Planet); Australian thrill-seeker Steve Crombie embarks on a unique motorcycle journey to discover the heart of the Kimberley, applying mechanical and survivalist nous in a hostile environment.
* When Australia Catches Fire (Becker Entertainment); How the signs of fighting bushfires is changing.
‘Discovery Ignite was established specifically to generate local Australian content. The overwhelming response from the Australian Film Production Industry has reflected our enthusiasm for this new co-production funding initiative,’ said Mandy Pattinson, vice president and country head, Discovery Networks in Australia. ‘We received over a 100 impressive proposals and are proud to be backing the selected productions and bringing these original Australian stories to our audiences.’
Natural Born Traveller’s executive producer Peter Beilby describes thrill-seeker Steve Crombie as, ‘an exciting new travel talent; a natural born traveller driven by an irresistible impulse to discover new places, do new things and arrest the most of life’.
Maryella Hatfield says that her film, The Future Makers, is a story the world is ready to hear. ‘People inspired by nature’s ingenuity are creating successful innovative business models for the 21st century, incorporating the principles of problem solving for the planet.’
For the first round of Discovery Ignite co-production funding, Discovery Networks in Australia called for documentary proposals for one-hour programs or series in the categories of climate change, cultural significance, innovation and travel.
New categories will be announced for a second round of Discovery Ignite co-production funding at the end of this year and the pitch session will be organised in 2008. Australian producers will again be invited to submit original proposals for Discovery Networks’ flagship factual network Discovery Channel and lifestyle network Discovery Travel & Living. The networks reach over 115 million households and 101 million households respectively in Asia Pacific.