Simon Baker will make his feature directing debut, Matchbox Pictures will adapt another Christos Tsiolkas’ novel for the ABC and Endemol Australia will produce a female-driven drama for the Nine Network in projects funded by Screen Australia.

Among other funding recipients are a TV spin-off of Tomorrow, When the War Began, a Nowhere Boys telemovie for the ABC and a relationships comedy directed by Tim Ferguson and Marc Gracie.

In total Screen Australia is investing $13.4 million in 12 film and television projects which will trigger production worth $64.3 million.

Baker (The Mentalist) will direct and star in the screen adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel Breath, scripted by Top of the Lake’s Gerard Lee.

The producers are Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad, The Notebook), Baker and See Pictures’ Jamie Hilton (Backtrack, The Little Death).

Arclight is pitching the 1970s-set project to prospective buyers at the Cannes Film Market. The novel focusses on two teenagers, Pikelet and Loonie, who form an unlikely bond with a reclusive surfer and his mysterious wife.

Matchbox Pictures' Barracuda is based on the Tsiolkas novel which follows a young Olympic hopeful, Danny Kelly, as he deals with the pressure of obsession, their second collaboration following The Slap. Blake Ayshford and Belinda Chayko are the writers and Tony Ayres and Amanda Higgs are producing.

Ayres is co-writing with Craig Irvin and  Rhys Graham Nowhere Boys: The Rise of Bear, produced by Beth Frey for Matchbox.

Endemol’s Mimi Butler will produce Tips for Married Life, a six-part drama scripted by Justin Monjo about a woman’s journey of survival from housewife to taking over her husband’s criminal empire.

Brendan Maher will direct Tomorrow, When the War Began for ABC3, produced by Ambience Entertainment’s Michael Boughen and Tony Winley and scripted by Blake Ayshford, Alice Addison, Monjo and Josh Mapleston.

Ferguson and Gracie’s Circle Work (working title) will chronicle the misadventures of two friends, Lucy and Billy, at a wild Bachelors & Spinsters Ball, produced by Gracie and David Redman. Sony had long been attached as the local distributor and championed the project to the studio brass so Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions came on board.

Cate Shortland will direct Berlin Syndrome, the saga of a holiday romance that turns sinister, scripted by Shaun Grant, produced by Polly Staniford and starring Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt (who features in Sense8, the sci-fi series created by the Wachowski siblings which premieres worldwide on Netflix in June).

Damien Power’s feature debut Killing Ground will follow a young couple whose camping trip turn into a violent ordeal.

FremantleMedia’s Mary: Making of a Princess is a telemovie which tells of Mary Donaldson’s transformation from ordinary Aussie to Crown Princess of Denmark, for Network Ten. Antonia Barnard is producing, Jennifer Leacey is directing and the screenplay is by Samantha Strauss.

Also for Ten, Shine Australia's Kerrie Mainwaring will produce Peter Brock, a two-parter by Adam Todd and the prolific Monjo about the late motor racing champion, directed by Geoff Bennett.  Rory Callaghan is the EP, which will delay his departure to Screentime where he will be CEO.

Other recipients include Anupam Sharma’s cross-cultural romantic comedy unINDIAN and Blackfella Films’ Deep Water, a crime drama for SBS written by Kris Wyld and  Kim Goldsworthy, produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear.


Aquarius Films Pty Ltd
Producer Polly Staniford
Executive Producers Angie Fielder, Troy Lum, David Whealy
Director Cate Shortland
Writer Shaun Grant
Australian Distributor eOne
International Sales Memento Films International
Cast Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt
Synopsis A passionate holiday romance takes an unexpected and sinister turn when an Australian photographer wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave.

See Pictures Pty Ltd, Gran Via Productions, Breath Productions Pty Ltd
Producers Mark Johnson, Simon Baker, Jamie Hilton
Director Simon Baker
Writer Gerard Lee
Australian Distributor Palace Films
International Sales Arclight Films
Synopsis Based on Tim Winton’s award-winning novel set in mid-70s coastal Australia. Two teenage boys, hungry for discovery, form an unlikely bond with a reclusive surfer and his mysterious wife. The boys are driven to take risks that will have a profound and lasting impact on their lives.

CIRCLE WORK (working title)
Stella Rose Productions with Redman Entertainment
Producers Marc Gracie, David Redman
Executive Producers Stephen Basil-Jones, Bryce Menzies
Directors Tim Ferguson, Marc Gracie
Writers Edwina Exton, Tim Ferguson
Australian Distributor Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
International Sales Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
Synopsis At a wild Bachelors & Spinsters Ball two best mates, Lucy and Billy, have one night to discover their love for each other… Love is a Cattlefield.

Hypergiant Films Pty Ltd
Producer Joe Weatherstone
Executive Producer Lisa Shaunessy
Writer/Director Damien Power
Australian Distributor Mushroom Distribution
International Sales Films Distribution
Synopsis A young couple’s camping trip turns into a violent ordeal when they stumble across the scene of a shocking crime.

Producers Anupam Sharma, Lisa Duff
Executive Producers Devendra Gupta, Chandru Tolani
Director Anupam Sharma
Writer Thushy Sathi
Australian Distributor Friends India Entertaainment
Cast Tannishtha Chatterjee, Brett Lee, Supriya Pathak Kapur, John Howard, Adam Dunn, Arka Das, Tiriel Mora
Synopsis When beautiful divorcee Meera meets Will, she finds it hard to resist the tall blonde man with a charming smile… But her family has other ideas in mind, as falling in love with an Australian is not only scandalous – it’s unINDIAN! A cross-cultural comedy with heart and spice.


Matchbox Productions Pty Ltd
Producer Amanda Higgs, Tony Ayres
Writers Belinda Chayko, Blake Ayshford
Broadcaster ABC
Domestic/International Sales Universal Media Studios International Limited
Synopsis Based on the book of the same name by Christos Tsiolkas, Barracuda follows young Olympic hopeful, Danny Kelly, as he deals with the pressure of obsession.

Blackfella Films
Producers Miranda Dear, Darren Dale
Writers Kris Wyld, Kym Goldsworthy
Broadcaster SBS
International Sales DCD Rights
Synopsis A gripping crime drama that explores a world in which the threat of violence or death is only one encounter away.

FremantleMedia Australia Pty Ltd
Producer Antonia Barnard
Executive Producers Jo Porter, Anthony Ellis
Director Jennifer Leacey
Writer Samantha Strauss
Broadcaster Network Ten
Domestic/International Sales FremantleMedia International Ltd
Synopsis Twenty-eight-year-old Mary Donaldson has all but given up on love when one night she goes to the pub and meets a prince. But falling in love is the easy part, compared to what it takes for an Australian girl to become the future Crown Princess of Denmark.

PETER BROCK (working title)
Shine (Aust) Pty Ltd
Producer Kerrie Mainwaring
Executive Producer Rory Callaghan
Director Geoff Bennett
Writers Justin Monjo, Adam Todd
Broadcaster Network Ten
Domestic/International Sales Endemol Shine International
Synopsis This is the true story of a man who was a hero to a generation of Australians. Loved and admired by many, but few knew the real Peter Brock – what made him tick?

Endemol Australia Pty Ltd
Producer Mimi Butler
Executive Producers Janeen Faithfull, John Edwards
Writer Justin Monjo
Broadcaster Nine Network
Domestic/International Sales Endemol Shine International
Synopsis A grieving career wife has to wise up and fight for survival when she finds herself responsible for her dead husband’s criminal debts and wrongdoings.


Matchbox Productions Pty Ltd
Producer Beth Frey
Executive Producers Tony Ayres, Michael McMahon
Writers Tony Ayres, Rhys Graham, Craig Irvin
Broadcaster ABC TV
Domestic Sales Australian Children’s Television Foundation
International Sales Universal Pictures (Australasia), NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Cast Dougie Baldwin, Joel Lok, Rahart Adams, Matt Testro
Synopsis As a devastating magical being threatens to destroy the multiverse, the Nowhere Boys discover that to save everything and everyone that they love, they must make the ultimate sacrifice… themselves.

Ambience Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Michael Boughen, Tony Winley
Executive Producers Matthew Street, Kim Vecera, Christopher Mapp
Director Brendan Maher
Writers Blake Ayshford, Alice Addison, Justin Monjo, Josh Mapleston
Broadcaster ABC3
Australian Distributor ABC Commercial
International Sales Annapurna Pictures
Synopsis When their country is invaded by a large hostile force, a group of teenagers fight for their family and homeland. Based on the era-defining novels by John Marsden.

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