Netflix heads to SA for Clay Glen’s ‘Gymnastics Academy: A Second Chance!’

Eva Grados, Zoe Burns, Jada Lee Henry, and Stella Shute.

A spin-off series based on Clay Glen’s Second Chance franchise will mark Netflix’s first commission from a South Australian production company.

Production is underway in Adelaide on Glenpictures’ Gymnastics Academy: A Second Chance!, which follows Kyra Berry (Jada Lee Henry), a 14-year-old African American gymnast whose dream to compete in the Olympics comes undone when she injures her knee.

Maddy Cornell (Emily Morris), the ex-world champion Australian gymnast turned coach, sees Kyra’s potential and invites her to join Australia’s Elite Gymnastics Program on a trial.

Kyra’s time in Australia is shaped by amazing friendships, important life lessons, personal growth, and her first boy crush, all of which she shares with young teen teammates.

The ten-part series will be Morris’ third outing as Maddy Cornell, following appearances in A Second Chance and A Second Chance: Rivals. Young cast members Stella Shute, Akira Van, and Eva Grados also return from the 2019 sequel.

They are joined by emerging South Australian talent Zoe Burns, Luciana Valdez Tirado, Ava Maios, and Jett Gazley, as well as adult actors Alexander Lloyd, Melanie Munt, Trung Le, Justina Ward, and Michelle Nightingale.

Kelly Schilling and Clay Glen.

Glen serves as writer, producer, and director on the project, which is co-produced by Sally Clarke and executive produced by Nicely Entertainment’s Vanessa Shapiro. Nicely Entertainment will distribute the series internationally.

Kristian Leadbeater is co-writer, while Kelly Schilling and Stephen de Villiers will direct alongside Glen.

The creative team also includes director of photography Michael Tessari, production designer Rita Zanchetta, costume designer Anita Seiler, make-up/hair supervisor Marie-Lyne Morant, sound designer Todd Telford, and editors Leadbeater and David Banbury.

Major production funding was provided from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC).

Glen said the series continued his commitment to film, cast, and get crew out of South Australia.

“I’m thrilled to partner up with Netflix, SAFC, Vanessa Shapiro, and Sally Clarke to bring Gymnastics Academy: A Second Chance based on the feature films to life as a series,” he said.

“South Australia with its amazingly diverse and easily accessible locations is the best place to film in Australia.

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said the organisation welcomed Netflix’s ongoing engagement with South Australian creatives and production companies.

“The SAFC is delighted to be providing major production funding for this exciting new South Australian-made Netflix series,” she said.

“[The series] will not only provide significant employment and skilling opportunities for local crew and cast but will grow South Australia’s pool of ‘greenlighters’ by providing the first television credits for local director, writer, and producer Clay Glen as well as key creative credits for co-writer Kristian Leadbeater, and directors Kelly Schilling and Stephen de Villiers.”