Bunya Productions is one of 18 NSW-based production companies to receive slate funding from Screen NSW. 

Eighteen production companies will share in $1.7 million via Screen NSW’s slate development fund, established in response to COVID-19.

Initially the agency had set aside $700,000 for the fund, but increased the amount by $1 million due to ‘the overwhelming strength of the projects demonstrated by a large number of applicants”.

Among the production companies to receive funding are Causeway Films, See-Saw Films, Screentime, Made Up Stories, Matchbox Pictures, Fremantle Australia, Goalpost Television and CJZ. Each has been given funding to develop a slate of three or more projects to be produced and/or post-produced in NSW across TV drama, factual, features, documentary and online.

The projects span a range of subjects and genres including thrillers, play and novel adaptations, comedy, art and documentary series with many projects set to support filmmaking opportunities in regional NSW and Western Sydney communities.

“Support for our local screen industry is more important than ever. I’m thrilled to be able to announce this much-needed funding so NSW production companies can deliver on a wide range of new works representing Australia’s diverse stories, at a time when we need it the most,” said NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin.

“From projects that create opportunities for filmmakers in regional NSW, to the adaptation of a powerful story set in a women’s refuge centre, to stories that support our communities in western Sydney, the diversity and strength of projects supported will further boost the reputation of NSW as the leading state for screen creatives.

“I’m excited to reveal the high quality of the project submissions has resulted in more funding provided to the initiative enabling 18 production companies to deliver 66 projects. At the crux, it will generate employment for so many creatives in the screen sector whose future was, up until now, uncertain.”

The details of the recipients are below:

Bunya Productions – $100,000
Bunya Productions will continue to develop content that amplifies diverse Australian stories and supports a range of creative practitioners. The slate will include a mix of established and new talent across a range of captivating quality dramas, including an adaptation of a powerful novel set in a women’s refuge centre and a gripping Western Sydney-based paranormal drama.

• Buster Productions – $100,000
Buster Productions will create four new works for underrepresented communities, working with experienced professionals and emerging talent from various cultural backgrounds to offer a genuine opportunity to progress their careers. Projects include The Loop, a Western Sydney-based concept focusing on an Indonesian Australian lead, TV series Harry Chen and His Quest for Love will galvanize a group of LGBTQI+ creatives, established and emerging, to explore the journey of a young man’s quest for love with support from his heteronormative parents, The Sienna Felix Files – a Sci-Fi teen thriller for teens – will identify emerging talent in the Sudanese Australian Community and third-generation identifying emerging creatives to develop this project and finally Suing Santa, a project working with development producer Chase Lee, his first transition into the mainstream Australian production community. Buster Productions will engage in a strategic partnership with Information and Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.) to engage new creatives for The Loop and The Sienna Felix Files.

Causeway Films  – $100,000
Causeway Films will develop three feature film projects with key NSW based creatives. In Stolen, Causeway will partner with writer/director Catriona McKenzie (Satellite Boy) and writer Patricia Cornelius. Largely spoken in Pitjantjatjara, Stolen is the story of a white baby girl brought into an Aboriginal community by a dingo. The Moogai, an Indigenous psychological horror, will be the feature film debut of writer/director Jon Bell (Cleverman, The Gods of Wheat Street), produced alongside Mitchell Stanley’s No Coincidence Media. To be shot in Sydney as well as regional NSW, the production will see an injection into the local economy and the creation of NSW jobs in a post COVID world. Finally, an adaptation of local author John Purcell’s novel The Girl on the Page will see producer Samantha Jennings return to screenwriting. Set in the literary world of London with a diverse cast of characters, this project offers an opportunity for a UK-Australian co-production with high-profile talent.

• CJZ – $84,000
CJZ will use funding to support staff and freelancers to help progress projects such as The Future of Cruising?, a feature length documentary which takes a deep dive into the Cruise industry and high-end drama, Filth, based on the Hawkesbury River.

• Easy Tiger Productions – $100,000
Easy Tiger’s funded slate includes Future Boy, a sci-fi comedy created by regional NSW writer Tristram Baumber with Emmy-nominated US comedy writer Jim O’Doherty (3rd Rock From The Sun); The Red Cord, a dual-female protagonist mystery thriller by NSW writer/creator Rachael Turk, an international co-production for the European market; and Pilgram, a mind-bending sci-fi from creators Josh Reed and Rob Gibson, which will shoot in Australia.

• Fremantle Australia – $100,000
Fremantle Australia will work with NSW creatives, both emerging and well-established, on several projects across a diverse development slate. Fremantle will prioritise the development of projects that maximise employment throughout NSW, nurturing TV and screen creatives in metropolitan and regional NSW through its collaboration with Screenworks in the Northern Rivers area of NSW.

• Goalpost Television – $100,000
Pip Karmel (Total Control) is adapting Genevieve Gannon’s best-selling book The Mothers, for television; Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker) is the creator and writer of the dramedy Empty; and Kaye Bendle (Small Claims) and Keith Thompson (The Sapphires) are the writers and co-creators of Natural Justice. The three very different series, all set in and around the suburbs of Greater Sydney, highlight major NSW talent, and will sit alongside Goalpost Television’s slate created
through their development deal with All3Media.

• In Films – $100,000
Screen NSW’s slate development grant will help In Films (Hitting Home, Revelation) employ over fifteen people across the development of five major projects, including three investigative documentary series, an arts factual series and a feature documentary.

• Jungle Entertainment – $99,578.14
The Screen NSW Slate Development Fund will enable nine projects that draw on creative talent including Nakkiah Lui, Niki Aken, Van Badham, Leigh Sales, Meg Mason, Sam Simmons, Trent O’Donnell and more. Content will range from prestigious dramas, savvy political satires, subversive rom-coms to ambitious works that aren’t afraid to tackle, deconstruct and satirise dramatic themes such as race, class and gender. More than half of the projects will be led by women, and contribute more than 50 development jobs.

• Lingo Pictures – $99,998.00
Lingo Pictures will utilise the Screen NSW Slate Development Fund to support the development of three TV projects, while creating jobs for six NSW writers.

• Made Up Stories – $100,000
The Slate Development Fund will support two new TV dramas and one new feature film.

• Matchbox Pictures – $100,000
Matchbox Pictures will develop three projects including a new series from Louise Fox set in regional NSW, an adaptation of an award-winning and epic play spanning continents and generations, and a series penned by a renowned Sydney playwright about millennials living fast-paced professional lives caught in a maelstrom of gender, class, race and power

• Playmaker Media – $99,000
With a renewed interest by international broadcasters in quintessentially Australian scripted comedy, Playmaker Media has embarked on a new authored and diverse slate of projects. The Slate Development Fund will further support each original series, which have been progressing during recent COVID-19 shutdowns with some of Australia’s most exciting emerging and proven scripted comedy creatives.

• Roadshow Rough Diamond – $100,000
Roadshow Rough Diamond will develop three ambitious new projects with funding support from Screen NSW. From the exciting, fresh talent of Brown Skin Girl to a life affirming feature film with one of Australia’s most successful directors, Jocelyn Moorehouse, and lastly to the extraordinary true story as investigated by Kate McClymont of the rise and fall of notorious Sydney identity Ron Medich.

Inspired by the hit stage show of the same name, Brown Skin Girl reunites writers Ayeesha Ash, Emily Havea and Angela Sullen who will be principal creators of the TV series to be co-produced with Roadshow Rough Diamond. Playwrights Sopa Enari (Who’s Poppin?), Grace Eather (Stingray Sisters), and Lillian Hannah U (Bangarra) will also join in the writers’ room.

Dead Man Walking will team pre-eminent Australian investigative journalist Kate McClymont with Gregor Jordan’s sardonic wit to bring the murky world of notorious Sydney identity Ron Medich to television.

• Screentime – $96,392.84
Screentime will develop three projects included on its slate. The first is a family, feel-good drama set both in harbourside Sydney and outback New South Wales. Another project is an Australian noir, located both in Sydney and just beyond the Blue Mountains while the final project is a nostalgia piece anchored in Sydney’s inner west and its city beaches.

• See-Saw Films – $100,000
See-Saw Films will focus on three projects across its television slate.

• WildBear Entertainment – $41,068
WildBear Entertainment will continuing to build its diverse and global non-fiction slate.

• Wooden Horse – $89,983
Partners Jude Troy and Richard Finlayson are working across a broad range of diverse and provocative stories including a timely series about. pride, ambition and loyalty that plays out on the streets of Western Sydney. This hip-hop drama series is a fascinating and urgent immersion in a vibrant sub-culture that is exploding across the local and global music scene. The series is written by Matt Okine (The Other Guy), and triple j Hip-Hop host Hau Latukefu with screenwriter Ben Crisp (Squinters) and Mt Druitt-based, emerging writer Winnie Dunn. Wooden Horse is also working on an online series for SBS from writers Fadia Abboud, Adele Vuko (Over & Out) and Amal Awad also set in Sydney’s western suburbs in the Arab community.

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