Screen NSW has invested $1.66 million in eight projects including two new television series, three telemovies, a feature film and two factual programs.

The one feature funded, The Rocket, is about a boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him, who 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.

It will be filmed entirely in Laos and Thailand early next year and star acclaimed Thai actor Thep Po-ngarm. All post-production will be completed in NSW.

Screen NSW chief executive Tania Chambers said the eight projects would result in production expenditure of $22.5 million and employ local talent such as actor Richard Roxburgh, director Peter Duncan, Bran Nue Dae director Rachel Perkins, First Australians producer Darren Dale and production company Southern Star.

“Significant among these projects is Redfern Now, an outstanding drama series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians, and the second series of the hugely entertaining and successful television drama Rake,” she said.

Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby is about to start filming at Fox Studios while Alex Proyas' VFX-heavy Paradise Lost is also set to be filmed and produced in Sydney. Animal ogic is continuing work on 3D feature Walking with Dinosaurs.

The new productions which have received Screen NSW funding are:

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.
Production Company: Red Lamp Films Pty Ltd
Finance: $180,000
Writer/Director: Kim Mordaunt
Producer: Sylvia Wilczynski

TV Drama Series
Synopsis: Nestled in the heart of Australia’s most glamorous city lies Australia’s most infamous suburb. Urban slum, Aboriginal icon and centre of black struggle and pride, or real estate goldmine? Depending on your point of view Redfern and The Block signify many different things and inspire both fear and affection. Redfern Now is the first drama series written, directed and produced by Indigenous Australians.
Production Company: Blackfella Films Pty Ltd
Finance: $470,000
Writers: Michelle Blanchard, Jon Bell, Adrian Wills, Steven McGregor, Danielle MacLean, Jimmy McGovern
Producers: Darren Dale, Miranda Dear
Directors: TBC

TV Drama Series
Synopsis: Criminal Barrister Cleaver Greene is reckless, brilliant, self destructive, funny and bloody-minded … and that's just his personal life.
Production Company: Essential Media and Entertainment
Finance: $400,000
Writers: Peter Duncan and Andrew Knight
Producer: Ian Collie
Directors: Peter Duncan, Jess Hobbs and Jeff Walker

Synopsis: Sundowner is a tale about two innocent men who become embroiled in one of the most famous heists in Australia’s history. It is a mysterious twenty-year saga about their fight to clear their names over a crime that has never been solved.
Production Company: Cordell Jigsaw Productions & Zinc Finger Films
Finance: $85,000
Writer: Reg Cribb
Producers: Michael Cordell, Paul Bennett and Russell Vines
Director: Geoff Bennett

Synopsis: When Detective Bennett O’Mara finds a chocolate wrapper on a strangled girl it leads him to voluptuous chocolatier Juliana Lovece. Just as this perceptive woman gets under his hardened skin, he suspects she may be at the centre of an increasing murder count.
Applicant: Julie McGauran and Sarah Smith
Production Company: Southern Star Entertainment Pty Ltd
Finance: $240,000
Writers: John Ridley and Sarah Smith
Producers: Julie McGauran and Sarah Smith
Director: TBC

Synopsis: This television drama tells the story of one of Australia’s national heroes: Eddie Koiki Mabo, the Torres Strait Islander who left school at fifteen, yet spearheaded the High Court challenge that once and for all overthrew the fiction of terra nullius.
Production Company: Tradewind Films Pty Ltd
Finance: $150,000
Writer: Sue Smith
Producers: Darren Dale and Miranda Dear
Director: Rachel Perkins

Factual – Single
Synopsis: A new war has broken out in the Middle East between the usual suspects, but chickpeas, not bullets, are in the front line. This is a culinary war over HUMMUS. It's a story about who owns the Middle East's heritage- all of which is subterfuge for a bigger, bloodier picture, riddled with age-old hatreds, land and identity.
Production Company: Yarra Bank Films Pty Ltd
Finance: $45,000
Writer/Director: Trevor Graham
Producers: Trevor Graham and Ned Lander

Factual – Series
Synopsis: The untold story of 50,000 years of humanity in Australia before Captain Cook. Over 50,000 years ago modern humans arrived in Australia, after the first open ocean crossing in history. They encountered Australia’s bizarre megafauna and spread to every corner of this vast and varied continent. They adapted to arid deserts, rainforests and glacial lakes, they survived the worst drought in history and thrived. Rock art, technological innovation, new food sources, songs, dances and trade flourished in the longest living culture on the planet. For the first time this astounding story of adaptability and continuity will be revealed on television.
Production Company: First Footprints Pty Ltd
Finance: $90,000
Writer: Stephen Kinnane
Producers/Directors: Martin Butler and Bentley Dean

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  1. Every time Screen NSW invests in projects that are being filmed and constructed at Fox Studios Australia…hundreds more members of the local community and general public suffer as a consequence of ‘hazardous, toxic group a chemical emissions’ – but in Australia the film industry supersedes the rights of its citizens….go to and see the obituaries and see how favoured the industry is by having all regulatory and planning laws removed….so as to prevent any liability…..documents highlight how many people, off site, will be adversely affected by this on-site’s activities…..residents and the general public seen as acceptable ‘cannon fodder’…………

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