See-Saw Films and Samantha Strauss form joint venture Picking Scabs

Samantha Strauss. 

Following on from their collaboration on Foxtel/Sky UK’s The End, writer and producer Samantha Strauss and See-Saw Films have formed a joint venture in production company Picking Scabs.

The partnership will develop projects for Strauss to write and produce in both Australia and overseas, with Strauss to work closely with See-Saw producer and EP Rachel Gardner on the slate.

“We want to tell stories that are a bit itchy and a lot addictive; that dig below the scab and broken skin and investigate all sorts of wounds that haven’t healed properly,” said Strauss.

“Let them bleed, weep and breathe. The opportunity to tell more of these stories, with the brilliantly supportive and talented See-Saw family, fills my writer heart with glee.”

Gardner said: “Samantha is a rare talent, one that is able to marry her immense artistic gifts with a keen understanding of the business, and lead projects that are both critical darlings and commercial successes.

“Our sensibilities in both areas are deeply aligned, and I look forward to creating magical television together.”

Yet to air in Australia, The End is a multi-generational dark comedy following people trying to figure out how to die with dignity, starring Harriet Walter and Frances O’Connor, alongside Noni Hazlehurst, Roy Billing, Robyn Nevin, Luke Arnold, Morgan Davies and Ingrid Torelli.

Created and written by Strauss, the 10-part See-Saw series was shot on the Gold Coast, directed by Jessica M. Thompson and Jonathan Brough, and produced by Louise Smith and Carol Hughes. The executive producers are Strauss, Gardner, Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Emile Sherman and Iain Canning. It was recently sold to Showtime for the US, where it will air next year.

Outside of Picking Scabs, Strauss is is a writer and executive producer on Made Up Stories/Blossom Film’s Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers, currently shooting in Byron Bay and starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. She is adapting another of Liane Moriarty’s novels as a television series for the same producers.

She also recently wrote The President’s Astrologer for John Madden to direct, with Damian Jones producing for Fox Searchlight and Film Four, and has a pilot deal with the ABC Network with Tom McCarthy’s production company, Slow Pony.

Her other credits include the International Emmy-nominated Dance Academy, for which she was co-creator and head writer for all 65 episodes, its subsequent film spin-off Dance Academy: The Movie; The Wrong Girl and Mary: The Making of a Princess. Her reps include CAA, Curtis Brown UK and Yellow Creative Management.

See-Saw head of television Jamie Laurenson said: “Samantha’s credits truly speak to her range as a content creator, and her ability to identify and deliver projects that delight audiences from all demographics was a key factor in our decision to partner with her.”

“We’re thrilled to formalise this already great relationship with Sam and already have several groundbreaking projects in development. Ironically, The End was just the beginning.”

The Picking Scabs venture was negotiated by See-Saw Films’ COO of television Hakan Kousetta and head of business affairs Australia Rebecca Hardman, with Strauss’ longtime manager, Jean Mostyn.

Other projects on the See-Saw Films TV slate include The North War for BBC, Slow Horses and The Essex Serpent for Apple TV+, while in film the Sydney and London-based company has upcoming projects in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog for Netflix, John Madden’s Operation Mincement and Francis Lee’s Ammonite, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

See-Saw Films also has a joint venture with Lion director Garth Davis in I Am That, for which Samantha Lang heads development.