Screen Australia today announced $5.4 million investment in six feature films, triggering over $32.3 million in production expenditure.

Screen Australia's Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, “The feature slate announced today includes exciting projects from some of Australia’s most loved and acclaimed directors such as Gillian Armstrong and Paul Cox, as well as projects from rising directorial talents such as Mark Grentell and Kim Farrant.”

“Kim Farrant’s Strangerland has an incredible cast including Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving, a strong creative vision and massive A-list festival potential, and Last Cab to Darwin from director Jeremy Sims is an entertaining and distinctly Australian story.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to invest in Maya the Bee Movie, a 3D animation feature film for young children. Australian children will see a home-grown product, and given the global strength of the brand, the film also has huge international appeal,” said Dr Harley.

Strangerland is a mystery drama about a couple whose lives unravel after their two teenage children go missing in the harsh Australian desert. The film is written by Fiona Seres and Michael Kinirons and is produced by Naomi Wenck and Macdara Kelleher, with executive producers Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah E. Johnson, Andrew Mackie and Richard Payten.

Mark Grentell will make his feature film directorial debut with the warm-hearted comedy drama Backyard Ashes, about an Australian and Englishman who fight out their rivalry in the cricketing challenge of the century. The film is written and produced by Mark Grentell and Peter Cox, with producer Anne Robinson also on board.

Gillian Armstrong will direct Women He’s Undressed, a behind-the-scenes Hollywood theatrical documentary about the legendary Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly. The film is written by Katherine Thomson and is produced by Damien Parer with executive producer Michael Wrenn.

From iconic auteur producer/writer/director Paul Cox comes Force of Destiny, a highly emotional love story, also produced by Mark Patterson and Maggie Miles.

Last Cab to Darwin is a road movie drama to be directed by Jeremy Sims, about a man who is told he doesn’t have long to live and embarks on an epic drive from Broken Hill to Darwin to die on his own terms. The script is based on Sims and Reg Cribb’s acclaimed stage play, which they have adapted for the screen. Last Cab to Darwin is produced by Greg Duffy, Lisa Duff and Jeremy Sims, with executive producers Ned Lander, Edward Simpson, Ian Darling, Mark Nelson, Andrew Myer and Jon Adgemis.

Maya the Bee Movie is a 3D animation for young children, based on the acclaimed books and animated television series. The German/Australian co-production is directed by Alexs Stadermann, with writer Fin Edquist, producer Barbara Stephen, and executive producer Jim Ballantine.

Crow Crow Productions
Anne Robinson, Mark Grentell, Peter Cox
Writers Mark Grentell, Peter Cox
Director Mark Grentell
International Sales Level K
Australian Distributor Umbrella Entertainment
Synopsis Aussie versus Pom rivalry peaks when Dougie and Edward fight it out in the cricketing challenge of the century… the ‘Backyard Ashes’.

Paul’s Next Feature Pty Ltd
Mark Patterson, Maggie Miles, Paul Cox
Writer Paul Cox
Director Paul Cox
International Sales Arrow Entertainment
Australian Distributor CinemaPlus
Synopsis Established artist Robert is told he has cancer of the liver and limited time to live… And so begins a love story. Another screen gem from veteran director Paul Cox, invested with the poignancy of an almost-true story.

Hydra Hamlet Pty Ltd
Greg Duffy, Lisa Duff, Jeremy Sims
Executive Producers Ned Lander, Edward Simpson, Ian Darling, Mark Nelson, Andrew Myer, Jon Adgemis
Writer Reg Cribb
Director Jeremy Sims
International Sales Films Boutique/Films Distribution
Australian Distributor Icon Film Distribution
Synopsis Rex is a loner, and when he's told he doesn't have long to live, he embarks on an epic drive from Broken Hill to Darwin to die on his own terms; but his journey reveals to him that before you can end your life you have to live it, and to live it, you've got to share it.

Official Germany–Australia Co-production
Buzz Studios Pty Ltd in association with Flying Bark Productions
Barbara Stephen
Executive Producer Jim Ballantine
Writer Fin Edquist
Director Alexs Stadermann
International Sales Wavery Productions BV
Australian Distributor Buzz Studios/Hoyts Jnr.
Synopsis Maya is a little bee with a big personality. But in a hive where fitting in is the most important thing, being different isn’t easy.

Dragonfly Pictures Pty Ltd and Fastnet Films
Gap funding Worldview Entertainment
Naomi Wenck, Macdara Kelleher
Executive Producers Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah E. Johnson, Andrew Mackie, Richard Payten
Writers Fiona Seres, Michael Kinirons
Director Kim Farrant
Cast Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving
International Sales Wild Bunch
Australian Distributor Transmission
Synopsis When Catherine and Matthew Parker’s two teenage children disappear into the remote Australian desert, their relationship is pushed to the brink as they confront the mystery of their children's fate.

Damien Parer Productions Pty Ltd
Damien Parer
Executive Producer Michael Wrenn
Director Gillian Armstrong
Writer Katherine Thomson
International Sales Hollywood Classics
Australian Distributor Rialto Films, Pay TV Rights – Foxtel Broadcasting
Synopsis Orry-Kelly designed costumes for Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, Bette Davis and Ava Gardner during the boom years of Hollywood. His films included Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, Now Voyager and Oklahoma. This feature-length documentary celebrates the colourful life of Australia's greatest Oscar® winner.

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