[press release from Limelight PR]

Matchbox Pictures, the new production company formed by award-winning producers Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden, Penny Chapman, Michael McMahon and Helen Panckhurst, launches itself in 2009 with a dynamic slate of projects on screen, in production and hitting the festival circuit.

The first Matchbox project to go to air is Darwin’s Lost Paradise, a two-part, high-end science documentary about Charles Darwin’s voyage onboard the Beagle (SBS, 15th & 22nd Feb, at 7.30pm). This is followed closely by Saved, a telemovie starring Claudia Karvan – about a married woman who saves a young Iranian refugee from detention, only to fall passionately in love with him (SBS, Sunday 12 April at 8.30pm).

Also screening in April is Anatomy, the award-winning arts documentary series exploring sexuality and the body (ABC1, 10.05pm Tuesday 14 & 10.00pm Tuesday 21 & 28 April 2009).

Later in the year, the documentary Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? will be broadcast on the ABC, telling the remarkable story of the Australian woman whose passionate fight for environmental reform lead to her mysterious disappearance.

Going into pre-production in Sydney on 23 February, My Place is the landmark children’s television series for the ABC based on the acclaimed book by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins.

Lou, a feature film starring John Hurt and Emily Barclay, about a young girl who finds love through a dangerous game with her Alzheimic grandfather, will shoot in Northern NSW in June. Lou will be released theatrically by Kojo Pictures in 2010.

On the festival front, Ali and the Ball, a short film produced by Helen Panckhurst and directed by Alex Holmes, has just screened at the Berlin Film Festival and recently picked up the award for Best Direction in an Australian Film at Flickerfest.

Matchbox team member Polly Staniford’s short film Netherland Dwarf, produced by Polly and Angie Fielder and directed by David Michôd, also screened at Berlin this week and won the Flickerfest award for Best Australian Film.

Matchbox is also pleased to announce the appointment of Sophie Miller as their new Development Manager. Sophie joins Matchbox with a diverse range of film and television experience. Starting out as a script supervisor in the UK and Australia, she has worked in production roles on Australian projects such as Little Fish and Green Bush.

Sophie was the Drama and Comedy Coordinator at SBS Independent for two years, working across projects such as Wilfred, The Circuit and The Home Song Stories. She spent the last year working with Penny Chapman and recently directed and co-wrote the NSWFTO funded short film At the Tattooist.

In 2009 Sophie will manage the development slate for Matchbox, working alongside the Matchbox producers and focusing on developing new long-run television and interactive strands and building solid relationships with young talent.

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