Stan bolsters slate with seven new Originals, announces Lionsgate partnership

Stan CEO Martin Kugeler.

Nine-owned streamer Stan has taken further steps towards its commitment to invest in more than 30 productions per year within five years, announcing today seven new Original titles.

A week after unveiling a slate of long-form investigative factual content, the service confirmed further additions to its catalogue across episodic drama, film, reality, and documentary.

The commissions coincide with the news Stan has entered an originals development partnership with Hollywood studio Lionsgate with three projects already in development: Prosper, The Geography of Friendship, and Population 11.

The agreement builds on Stan’s existing partnership with the studio, having last year extended its output agreement for a raft of new and exclusive first-run US dramas.

Stan CEO Martin Kugeler said the updated programming reflected the streamer’s ability to offer a “significantly increasing number of high-quality original productions”.

“Stan Originals have always been a key pillar of our content strategy and are amongst our highest performing programs in terms of subscriber acquisition and engagement,” he said.

“This new slate of Stan Originals will see us partner with some of the world’s most sought-after producers both locally and internationally, alongside our newly expanded partnership with Hollywood studio Lionsgate and our collaborative initiative with the 9Network.”

The drama lineup includes Goalpost Television’s Black Snow, a series that examines the murder of 17-year-old Jasmine Baker in the Far North Queensland town of Ashford in 1994.

The crime, which shocked the small town of Ashford and devastated Jasmine’s Australian South Sea Islander community, was never solved and the killer never found.

In 2019, the opening of a time capsule unearths a secret that puts cold-case Detective James Cormack on the trail of the killer.

Created by Lucas Taylor, who writes alongside Boyd Quakawoot and Beatrix Christian, Black Snow is directed by Sian Davies and Matthew Saville and shot by Murray Lui. Producing are Rosemary Blight, Lois Randall, and Kaylene Butler.

Themes of grief are also at the centre of fellow drama series The Jump, which follows troubled young 20-something, Vivian Cunningham.

When she learns her grandfather has died and left her his house on the edge of a cliff face, it soon becomes abundantly clear that the place she’s inherited isn’t just a home – it’s a suicide hotspot that her ancestor used to try and save every lost soul that passed through. Suddenly, this blunt, angry woman is talking people away from the ledge, and strangely enough, they’re responding to her chaotic, nihilistic brand of psychology.

The series is created and executive produced by Gretel Vella, who writes alongside Keir Wilkins and Emme Hoy. Alice Willison produces, with Nat Lindwall as executive producer and Ellie Madritsch as associate producer. AMC Networks’ Sundance Now and Fremantle International are partners on the production.

There is a more international flavour with MGM International TV Productions’ five-part drama Last Light, which is being executive produced by Lost star Matthew Fox, who stars alongside English actress Joanne Froggatt.

Based on Alex Scarrow’s international best-selling novel, the story follows petrochemist Andy Yeats (Fox), who knows how dependent the world is on oil; if something were to happen to the world’s oil supply, it would set off a chain reaction – transportation would grind to a halt, supplies would cease to be delivered and law enforcement would be overwhelmed. While on a business trip to the Middle East, Andy realises his worst fears are coming true and his family is separated at this crucial moment. His teenage daughter, Laura (Alyth Ross), is alone at home in London while his wife, Elena (JFroggatt), and young son, Sam (Taylor Foy), are in Paris.

Distributed by MGM, Last Light is being produced in association with Peacock, Nordic Entertainment Group’s Viaplay, Stan, and MBC. The series will premiere in the US on Peacock.

Rounding out the new dramas is previously announced Bump spin-off Year Of, set to begin production in June.

Taking place in the same universe as its predecessor, the series explores the liminal time between childhood and adulthood that characterises senior years in high school and the renegotiations with adults that it brings.

Roadshow Rough Diamond’s Dan and John Edwards are working alongside the writing team of Jessica Tuckwell, Kelsey Munro, Enoch Mailangi, Emily Havea, Zoe Norton Lodge, Eddie Diamandi, Ayeesha Ash, and Eleanor Kirk. ITV Studios is managing international sales.

With regards to Bump, Stan has revealed Ava Cannon, Harry Greenwood, and Oscar Perez will be joining the cast for season three.

In other casting news, previously announced Matchbox Pictures’ drama Bad Behaviour will be led by Jana McKinnon, alongside Markella Kavenagh, Yerin Ha, Erana James , Tuuli Narkle, Dan Spielman, Diana Glenn, Mantshologane Maile, and newcomers
Melissa Kahraman, Daya Czepanski, Bronte Locke, Abbey Morgan, Malaynee Hayden and Jessica Lu.

Melissa Kahraman, Markella Kavenagh and Erana James in ‘Bad Behaviour’ (Image: Sarah Enticknap)

Based on the book by Rebecca Starford, the four-part drama promises an emotionally and physically intense glimpse into the lives of teenage girls at the wilderness campus of an exclusive girls’ boarding school. At the helm are scribes Pip Karmel and Magda Wozniak, producer Amanda Higgs and director Corrie Chen.

Elsewhere, the streamer will welcome Armagan Ballantyne’s Nude Tuesday as an original feature film.

The Australia/New Zealand co-production follows a couple (Jackie van Beek and Damon Herriman), who in an effort to rekindle the spark in their troubled marriage, head to a three-day couples’ retreat run by a relationship and sexual healing guru (Jemaine Clement).

Upon arrival, the path to their reconnection is met with hilarious and increasingly absurd farce. Spoken entirely in an improvised, gibberish-esque language, Nude Tuesday is a multi-version viewing experience, featuring distinct subtitles from Australian comedians Celia Pacquola and Ronny Chieng, as well as British writer Julia Davis.

The film, which van Beek penned from a story she created with Ballantyne, is produced by Emma Slade for Firefly Films and Virginia Whitwell and Nick Batzias for GoodThing Productions.

Madman Entertainment is managing theatrical distribution in Australia and New Zealand, with Cornerstone handling international sales.

Stan will explore relationships in the unscripted realm as well, collaborating with Endemol Shine Australia and Nine on an original reality format that delves into the struggle for love in the world of modern dating.

The yet-to-be-named program is being executive produced by Endemol Shine Australia’s Tara McWilliams, along with Nine’s Adrian Swift and John Walsh, and Stan’s Cailah Scobie and Amanda Duthie.

In the sports documentary stakes, the service will follow up its AFL trade period docuseries, Show Me The Money, with an inside look at the NRL’s newest team, the Redcliffe Dolphins.

Produced by Onion TV, Dawn of the Dolphins charts the Queensland-based club’s transition from successful community side to an elite professional force in the world’s leading rugby league competition.

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett.

Speaking about the seven new titles, Stan chief content officer Cailah Scobie said the seven viewers were spoiled for choice across the board.

“Every year we bring fresh, distinctive and engaging Stan Originals to Australian audiences, and with this new slate Stan will continue to entertain and enthrall subscribers,” she said.

“We thank our many partners, including Screen Australia, Screen NSW, VicScreen and Screen Queensland, alongside the talented creatives on these projects, without whom this remarkable lineup would not be possible.”

Of the three series to be made in partnership with Lionsgate, Prosper is a family drama set in the inner sanctum of a family bound together by unfathomable wealth and unchecked power as they build an evangelical megachurch hell-bent on global domination.

Developed by Jason Stephens and Helen Bowden for Lingo Pictures, the series is written by lead creative and executive producer Matt Cameron, Liz Doran, Louise Fox, and Belinda Chayko.

Stan and Lionsgate will work with Jungle Entertainment for Population: 11, a comedic crime thriller that takes place in a tiny outback town where a man goes missing and a desperate stranger arrives to investigate. Creator Phil Lloyd executive produces alongside Trent O’Donnell and Jason Burrows, with Bridget Callow-Wright
producing. Jungle Entertainment received support for this project through Screen Australia and Australians in Film’s Global Producers Exchange program.

As IF reported last year, Aquarius Films and Dollhouse Pictures will jointly develop and produce The Geography of Friendship, a 6 x 1 hour limited series based on Sally Piper’s novel by the same name.

The story follows three female school friends in past and present timeframes who are involved in a hike celebrating the end of school that culminates in a violent confrontation. The trio go their separate ways and remain estranged until decades later when they reunite to retrace their steps, seeking closure, connection and redemption.

Aquarius’ Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford will produce, alongside Dollhouse’s Jessica Carrera, with Rose Byrne executive producing alongside Giula Sandler and Aquarius Films’ Miranda Culley. Sandler will lead the writing team, which includes Tamara Asmar and Dollhouse Pictures’ Krew Boylan, while Shannon Murphy and Gracie Otto will co-direct.

Lionsgate president, international television and digital distribution, Agapy
Kapouranis, who negotiated the deal with senior vice president of
international TV acquisitions and co-productions Marc Lorber, said the series’ were “just the tip of the iceberg of a robust pipeline of premium content” the businesses would create together.

“Stan has been an incredible partner to Lionsgate and we’re eagerly looking forward to our new development venture,” he said.

“We already have an exciting lineup of new originals in the works with renowned Australian producers, storytellers, and talent.”