Northern Pictures’ Hardball has snared an International Emmy Kids Award, taking home the prize in the Kids: Live-Action category.

Commissioned by ABC ME, the series beat out Disney’s Juacas, from Brazil, South Korea’s Extraordinary You and Dropje from the Netherlands.

Created and written by Matt Zeremes and Guy Edmonds and produced by Joe Weatherstone, Hardball follows fish-out-of-water Mikey and his dream to become the ‘sweetest-bestest-acest’ handball champ in Western Sydney.

The Emmy joins a host of other awards for the project, including the Prix Jeunesse International Award for best fiction program for 7-10-year-olds, and the Rockie Award for the Best Children & Youth Fiction Series at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada.

Northern Pictures head of kids and scripted Catherine Nebauer said: “Right from the start when show creators Matt and Guy first pitched in the idea there was something unique that was appealing, and so it continued. Everyone responded immediately to this charming but heartfelt series from our wonderful partners at ABC ME, ACTF and our funding bodies, Screen Australia and Screen NSW, and the collective team that came together to bring Hardball to life.

“At a crucial point in the kids’ industry in Australia, this win further seeds that we as an industry produce exceptional stories that are uniquely Australian and which resonate with the global audience.”

ABC head of children’s production said Libbie Doherty said the award recognised the world-class standard of Australian kids’ content. “Congratulations to Hardball creators Matt Zeremes and Guy Edmonds, executive producer Catherine Nebauer and series producer Joe Weatherstone for their outstanding win at the International Emmys. At the heart of Hardball is Australian creative excellence, which has again been recognised on the international stage.

“The ABC is proud to be the home of Australian children’s content and to support Australian children’s producers to excel and inspire and entertain audiences around the world.”

In March, ABC Kids’ Bluey, Australia’s most popular children’s TV show, won the Kids: Preschool Emmy Award.

The full list of winners:

Kids: Animation

The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Lupus Films / Tiger Tea Productions / HarperCollins Children’s Books / Universal Pictures / Channel 4
United Kingdom
A mysterious tiger turns up unannounced and invites himself in for afternoon tea. Young Sophie and her mommy watch in fascination as the tiger proceeds to eat not only their tea, but the entire contents of the fridge and everything else in the house!
Kids: Factual & Entertainment
Finding My Family: Holocaust – A Newsround Special
BBC Children’s In-House Productions / CBBC
United Kingdom
“For you it’s history… for me it’s life”. These are the words of Holocaust survivor Steven Frank, as he takes his teenage granddaughter to Auschwitz to learn about his experiences during the Holocaust. This film shows children the horrors of this time in history, with the message that we must never forget.

Kids: Live-Action

Northern Pictures / Australian Broadcasting Corporation / Australian Children’s Television Foundation / Screen Australia / Create NSW
When Mikey moves from New Zealand to Western Sydney, he finds himself in the thick of the ultra-competitive schoolyard game of handball. After saving a kid on the playground from a wayward ball and finding he has the most powerful strike in the world, Mikey is befriended by Jerry and Salwa, who join forces to train him to become a handball weapon of precision and skill equipped to topple resident king of the court, Tiffany, and take home the western suburbs handball crown… if only he could make the ball land in the right suburb! Can Mikey go from zero to hero, in the quest to be the best in the west?

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