Screen Australia invests AUD$2.2MN in nine documentaries

Louise Duffy | 03-12-2013

Screen Australia has announced an investment of AUD$2.2 million in nine documentaries, triggering more than AUD$10.6 million in production.

Liz Stevens, Screen Australia’s senior manager documentary, said: “The slate of documentary projects announced today will examine a diverse range of topics across history, science and contemporary social issues, in a combination of series and one-off programmes. This is a great outcome for industry and audiences alike and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished films.”

Three programmes have been funded through the National Documentary Program (NDP), including Changed Forever, a three-part documentary mini-series that tells the stories of people who were shaped by World War I, who also shaped Australia. It is produced by Michael Tear and Harriet Pike, directed by Serge Ou and written by Michael Cove.

Also funded through the NDP is a musical documentary set in Berrimah Prison on the outskirts of Darwin, Songs from the Inside, from writer/director Kelrick Martin. Harry Bardwell and Martin will produce the one-off documentary with Bardwell and Ron Saunders also on board as executive producers.

Writer/director David Bradbury’s one-off NDP documentary Vietnam ANZACs is an account of Australian soldiers’ action in the Vietnam War and the tragedy of the post traumatic stress that followed. It is produced for the ABC by both Jenny Day and Bradbury.

Media personality Geraldine Doogue will make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at Easter 2014 to search for what she believes is the essence of her Catholic faith in writer/director Mark Gould’s The Way of the Cross, funded through the General Documentary Program. Trevor Graham and Gould will produce the one-off documentary for ABC TV.

Five documentaries have been funded through the International Documentary Program (IDP), including producer/writer/director Janine Hosking’s 10-part series The Australian War Memorial. Produced for Foxtel's History Channel with executive producer John McAvoy, the series follows renowned historian Neil Oliver behind the scenes of one of the world’s most iconic institutions, the Australian War Memorial.

Islands of Oz is an IDP-funded documentary miniseries written by John McCourt and produced by Ed Punchard, Julia Redwood, Bill Jones and Philippa Braithwaite for Seven Network, which follows acclaimed actor and comedian Martin Clunes as he explores remote and spectacular islands that surround Australia.

Filmed over four years, writer/director Marc Eberle’s The Cambodian Space Project: Not Easy Rock N’ Roll is the story of the birth of multicultural rock band The Cambodian Space Project. The one-off IDP documentary is produced for the ABC, BBC, SVT and DR by Richard Kuipers and Eberle, with executive producers Sharyn Prentice and Angus Macqueen.

The one-off blue-chip natural history documentary Big Red tells the remarkable life story of a red kangaroo. Funded through the IDP, it’s directed by Jens Westphalen and Thoralf Grospitz, written by Bettina Dalton and produced for National Geographic Channel International by Dalton and Veronica Fury.

Scientists will work barehanded with sharks to determine the driving forces of shark predatory behaviour in director/writer Matt Tomaszewski’s Great White Matrix. The one-off IDP-funded documentary is produced by Karina Holden for Nine Network Australia and Discovery US.