Screen Australia injects $18 million into 13 new film, TV, doco projects

Screen Australia has announced an $18 million injection into six feature films, five adult TV dramas, a children’s TV series and a documentary series.

Set to trigger production worth more than $85 million, the production investment was announced at MIFF’s 37 degrees South Market Saturday night.

Such projects receiving funding include Greg McLean’s sequel to 2005 horror film Wolf Creek, a feature entitled Jungle – directed by the Spierig brothers and produced by The King’s Speech Oscar winners Emile Sherman and Iain Canning – and a comedy “bro-mance” written by Brendan Cowell.

“I’m thrilled to announce a compelling slate of quality screen productions that promise to engage audiences of all ages and tastes,” Screen Australia chief executive Ruth Harley said in a statement.

Television projects receiving a financial boost include indigenous drama Redfern Now, The Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, and two-part ABC miniseries Jack Irish.

“Australia is making some of the most innovative and original television in the world. The bar has unquestionably been raised,” Harley said.

The full list of projects receiving Screen Australia funding:


Pictures in Paradise Pty Ltd, See-Saw Films and Locomotion Pictures
Producers Chris Brown, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Dana Lustig
Writers Justin Monjo, Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig
Directors Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig
Australian Distributor Transmission Films
Synopsis What begins as a dream adventure for three backpackers and their enigmatic guide, quickly becomes a struggle for survival as they unravel under the duress of the wilderness. Jungle is the incredible true story of Yossi Ghinsberg’s triumph over the most adverse and frightening of circumstances. It is a tale of survival, human fortitude and social manipulation, against the wildest backdrop on the planet.

Ulah Pty Ltd
Producer Antony I Ginnane
Writers Terence Hammond, David Pulbrook
Director David Pulbrook
International Sales Highpoint Media Group
Australian Distributor Becker Film Group
Synopsis Last Dance is a taut human story, torn from today’s headlines but touching on themes as old as the human condition itself – faith, freedom, love, loss and hope.

Red Lamp Films
Producer Sylvia Wilczynski
Executive Producer Bridget Ikin
Writer/Director Kim Mordaunt
International Sales Memento Films International
Australian Distributor Curious Films
Synopsis A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and a couple of ragged misfits through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey, to prove he’s not cursed he builds a giant rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.

Save Your Legs
Producers Robyn Kershaw, Nick Batzias
Writers Brendan Cowell with additional writing by Boyd Hicklin
Director Boyd Hicklin
International Sales Protagonist Pictures
Australian Distributor Madman Entertainment
Synopsis When cricket obsessed Teddy Brown realises his best mates are growing up and moving on, he grasps at a boyhood dream and leads his mates and their D-Grade team on an audacious tour of India where stumps fly, friendships fray and Ted learns that it’s time to start playing shots for himself.

6ixty Foot Productions in association with Firelight Productions
Producers Ellenor Cox, Marcus Gillezeau
Writer Chris Nelius
Directors Chris Nelius, Justin McMillan
International Sales RedBull Media House & 6ixty Foot Productions
Australian Distributor Madman
Synopsis Storm Surfers 3D follows the story of big wave Australian surfers Ross Clarke- Jones and two-time surfing world champion Tom Carroll, as they work with surf forecaster Ben Matson to track massive Australian weather systems, hunt down big waves and surf the most dangerous breaks of their careers.

Emu Creek Pictures / 403 Productions
Producers Greg McLean, Matt Hearn
Writers Greg McLean, Aaron Sterns
Director Greg McLean
International Sales Arclight
Australian Distributor Roadshow
Synopsis The Outback once more becomes a place of mind-bending horror, action and suspense as another unwitting tourist becomes the prey for crazed, serial-killing pig-shooter, Mick Taylor.


A Screentime production
Co-producers Louisa Kors, Peter Andrikidis
Executive Producers Des Monaghan, Greg Haddrick, Rick Maier
Series Producer Roger Simpson
Writers Roger Simpson, Jo Martino, Greg Haddrick
Director Peter Andrikidis
Broadcaster Network Ten
Synopsis Brothers in Arms tells the story behind the fatal feud between two outlaw motorcycle clubs that resulted in the Milperra Bikie Massacre in south-western Sydney on Father’s Day, 1984.

Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Julie McGauran, Sarah Smith
Writers John Ridley, Sarah Smith
Director TBC
Sales Endemol Worldwide Distribution
Broadcaster BBC Worldwide Australia
Synopsis When Detective Bennett O’Mara investigates the death of a strangled girl it leads him to voluptuous chocolatier Juliana Lovece. Just as this intriguing woman gets under his skin, he suspects she may be at the centre of an increasing murder count.

Essential Media & Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producer Ian Collie
Writers Andrew Knight, Matt Cameron
Director Jeffrey Walker
Sales ZDF Enterprises and ABC Commercial
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Jack Irish – criminal lawyer, collector of uncollectable debts, football lover, punter, trainee cabinet-maker and sometime lover. The complete man, really. Two telemovies based on the successful character created by crime novelist Peter Temple.

Blackfella Films Pty Ltd
Producers Darren Dale, Miranda Dear
Story Producer Jimmy McGovern
Writers Jon Bell, Michelle Blanchard, Danielle MacLean, Steven McGregor, Adrian Wills
Directors TBC
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Think Redfern, think black ghetto full of junkies and criminals, right? Think again. Redfern Now is a kaleidoscopic drama that explores this inner-city suburb and the people who inhabit it. Over six episodes we join the households of six ordinary families whose lives are forever changed by a seemingly insignificant incident – an accident, a weakness, a lie.

Cordell Jigsaw Productions and Zinc Finger Films
Producers Russell Vines, Michael Cordell, Paul Bennett
Executive Producers Jo Horsburgh, Nick Murray
Writer Reg Cribb
Director Geoff Bennett
Sales Nine Film and Television
Broadcaster Nine Network
Synopsis Sundowner is an extraordinary tale about two innocent men who become embroiled in one of the most famous heists in Australia’s history. It is a mysterious saga about their fight to clear their names over a crime that has never been solved.


Jonathan M Shiff Productions
Producer Jonathan M Shiff
Writers Sam Carroll, Anthony Morris, Chris Roache
Director Evan Clarry
Sales ZDF Enterprises
Broadcaster Network Ten
Synopsis When 15-year-old Zac goes camping on Mako Island, he has no idea his every move is being monitored by real-life mermaids Sirena, Nixie and Lyla, whose job it is to ward off trespassers. When he comes into contact with the magical waters of the Moon Pool on the night of a full moon, Zac is given a taste of Mako’s powers, waking the next day to discover he has been granted fin-like feet and the power to control water… causing all sorts of trouble for
Sirena, Nixie and Lyla.


Cordell Jigsaw Productions
Producer Steve Bibb
Executive Producers Nick Murray, Michael Cordell, Steve Bibb
Writer Michael Cordell
Director Ivan O’Mahoney
Sales The Format Vault
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis For the first time, witness the world’s largest island continent, its people, its workings, its unique wildlife and dramatic landscape from a revealing perspective – from the air.