Screen Aus funds 13 new documentary projects

Family, racial and sexual identity, history and science are just some of the themes that will be explored in the 13 documentary projects selected under the National Documentary Program and General Documentary Program.

The projects will receive over $3.8 million of Screen Australia funding support in the final round of documentary funding for this financial year, generating an estimated production value of more than $13.2 million.

Screen Australia’s Senior Manager of Documentary, Liz Stevens, said, “We are excited about this final round of well-researched projects that will entertain and inform. Appealing to a wide audience the projects should stimulate conversation about contemporary concerns such as parenting, poverty and identity.”

Three projects will be supported through the National Documentary Program; DNA Nation, Priscilla: Monster in a Party Frock and Stop Laughing, This is Serious.

From Blackfella Films, DNA Nation goes back in time genetic time travel, written/produced by Jacob Hickey and produced by Darren Dale for SBS. It is a story about our origins and how we are all related to one another.

Priscilla: Monster in a Party Frock comes from writer/director Paul Clarke and takes a look at the evolution of gay culture. This one-off documentary from Jungleboys FTV will be produced by Joanne McGowan, Jason Burrows and Jen Peedom for the ABC.

Stop Laughing, This Is Serious is a three-part one-hour series exploring the history of Australian comedy, by writer/producer Paul Horan and Paul Clarke with Screentime for the ABC.

Ten projects (listed below) will receive funding through the General Documentary Program.

Screen Australia’s documentary funding programs are currently under review to ensure that they continue to support the unique qualities of Australian documentary in an evolving ecosystem of screen production and consumption. Drawing on the submissions to the Discussion Paper, Stories that Matter, Screen Australia will be publishing draft guidelines shortly for industry feedback.


DNA NATION (working title)
3 x 52 mins
Blackfella Films Pty Ltd
Producers Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey
Writer Jacob Hickey
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS Distribution
Synopsis This is an epic story of genetic time travel. A story about who we are, where we came from and how we are all related to one another.

1 x 57 mins
Jungleboys FTV Pty Ltd
Producers Jo-anne McGowan, Jason Burrows, Jen Peedom
Director Paul Clarke
Writers Paul Clarke, Alex Barry
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Monster in a Party Frock is the story of how an unlikely film changed the course of history and brought a celebration of gay culture to the world.

3 x 57 mins
Screentime Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Jennifer Collins, Bob Campbell
Producers/Writers Paul Horan, Paul Clarke
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Stop Laughing:This Is Serious is a documentary series exploring the history of Australian comedy for ABC1.


6 x 24 mins
For Valour Pty Ltd.
Producers Michael Tear, Harriet Pike
Director Serge Ou
Writer Michael Cove
Broadcaster FOXTEL History Channel
Synopsis How the ANZACs met and defeated the main force of the enemy on the Western Front.

1 x 57 mins
Media Stockade Pty Ltd.
Producers Madeleine Hetherton, Rebecca Barry, Ester Harding
Director/Writer Sophie Wiesner
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis In the midst of a silent yet devastating epidemic of fatherlessness, this is a film about fathers at risk of or struggling with broken families whose children are vulnerable. Now, through a men’s program, they each have the chance to regain what’s lost, to transform himself and earn another shot at the title, ‘Dad’.

3 x 52 mins
Cordell Jigsaw Productions Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Nick Murray, Michael Cordell
Producer/Director Rick McPhee
Broadcaster SBS
Sales Cordell Jigsaw Distribution
Synopsis With major changes to government policy on boat arrivals, six Australians with strong views on the issue, embark on a life changing journey which will challenge their opinions to the very core.

1 x 57 mins
360 Degree Films Pty Ltd
Producer Sally Ingleton
Director Tosca Looby
Writers Tosca Looby, Sally Ingleton
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ZED Sales
Synopsis How a national nuisance helped shape Australia.

1 x 52 mins
Jotz Productions Pty Ltd
Producer Tom Zubrycki
Director/Writer Jeff Daniels
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis The story of an immigrant boy from Brazil who becomes an AFL star. A black man in a white world, Harry searches for his own identity in a country and culture that he feels never really accepts him. From the slums of Rio de Janeiro to the dizzying heights of Australian celebrity this is the story of a boy who becomes a man by forging his own perilous path through other's expectations.

1 x 57 mins
360 Degree Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producer Sally Ingleton
Producers Sally Ingleton, Alex Tarney, Tosca Looby
Directors/Writers Tosca Looby, Alex Tarney
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis ‘Slow coach’ Carl Honore has five weeks to turn three busy families from stressed and hectic, to happy and unhurried – via the power of ‘slow’.

1 x 57 mins
Licketty Split Pty Ltd
Executive Producer John Moore
Producer Lisa Horler
Director/Writer Lucy Paplinska
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Missing Ingredient is an intimate and cautionary tale about secrets surrounding sperm donation … and the donor conceived adults – and donors – who are demanding some answers.

1 x 52 mins
Artemis International
Producers Celia Tait, Brian Beaton
Director/Writer Russel Vines
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis Celebrated comedian and writer journeys to the East to discover the oldest religion in the world to help him better understand his own relationship with God.

3 x 52 mins
KEO Films Australia Pty Ltd
Producers Leonie Lowe, David Galloway
Broadcaster SBS
Sales Hat Trick International
Synopsis A three-part observational documentary series that will feature the voices and stories of a cross-section of struggling western Sydney residents and families as they try to get by, despite overwhelming personal and social challenges.

1 x 55 mins
Artemis International Pty Ltd
Producers Brian Beaton, Celia Tait
Director Michael Muntz
Writer Michael Muntz, Celia Tait
Broadcaster Channel 7
Synopsis A murder investigation and trial divides a city, and the legal fraternity.