Scroz backs production of ‘Ride Like A Girl’; Guy Pearce’s directorial debut

Rachel Griffiths in ‘Barracuda’ (Photo credit:Ben King) and Guy Pearce in ‘Jack Irish: Black Tide’  (Photo credit: Lachlan Moore).

Screen Australia has announced its latest round of production funding, which saw the agency inject $7.4 million across a variety of projects in film, TV and online.

Among them is Guy Pearce’s directorial debut, Poor Boy, in which he will also star. To be produced by Wildheart Films’ Al Clark and Andrena Finlay, Poor Boy is about a little boy who announces to his family on his seventh birthday that he is a stranger named Danny – a grown man who died seven years earlier. The project, written by Matt Cameron and based on his play by the same name, is slated for an August shoot, with Pearce and his partner Carice van Houten to star alongside an attached cast of Frances O’Connor, Richard Roxburgh, Callan Mulvey and Sarah Peirse.

Scroz has also backed Rachel Griffith’s directorial debut Ride Like A Girl, the first feature film backed via the agency’s Gender Matters initiative to enter production. Scheduled to shoot in Victoria next month, the film is the story Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. Teresa Palmer and Sam Neill are confirmed to star and Roadshow Films to handle local distribution. Griffiths is also producing with Richard Keddie and the script has been penned by Andrew Knight and Elise McCredie.

Among the TV projects funded is the previously announced How to Stay Married for Ten, from Princess Pictures and Pablo Pictures. The eight part drama will star Peter Helliar and Lisa McCune as a couple whose 13-year marriage is put to the test by a new job, an unexpected house guest, a redundancy and an experimental sex move. It will be produced by Jess Leslie, EP’d by Andrea Denholm and Emma Fitzsimons, and directed by Natalie Bailey from a script by Helliar and Nick Musgrove.

Screentime is currently in production on comedy Orange is the New Brown for Seven, a six part series billed as reflecting “contemporary Australian life using one-off sketches, original and recurring characters and TV parodies.” It is produced by Jack Kain, executive produced by Johnny Lowry, directed by Hayden Guppy and written by Nazeem Hussain, Joel Slack-Smith, Sophie Braham, Richard Thorp, Penny Greenhalgh and Heidi Regan.

Screen Australia has also backed two drama projects from Lingo Pictures, The Ropes for SBS and Lambs of God for Foxtel.

The Ropes is a four-part miniseries set in Sydney’s western suburbs following  a young Iraqi-Australian woman chasing her dream to become an elite boxing trainer. It’s produced by Helen Bowden and Courtney Wise, executive produced by Jason Stephens, directed by Shannon Murphy, and written by Tamara Asmar, Adam Todd and Ian Meadows.

Two-part thriller Lambs of God, based on the novel by Marele Day, follows three eccentric, secluded nuns who live on a remote island until a priest happens upon them. Ali’s Wedding, Dance Academy and Riot’s Jeffrey Walker will direct, working alongside producers Jason Stephens and Lisa Argenzio, EP Helen Bowden and writer Sarah Lambert.

Screen Australia also announced it has gave production funding towards Lynette Wallworth’s VR/AR Awavena, which recently debuted in Sundance’s New Frontier program, a second season of Deadrock Media’s Skinford for Blackpills, and completion funding towards Emerald Films’ feature Undertow.