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Script Comp

Screen Australia invests record sum in drama

Screentime’s Playing for Keeps will air on Network Ten

Screen Australia invested a record sum of nearly A$20m (US$14.8m) in adult TV drama in the 2017/18 financial year, the funding body has revealed.

That includes six series in the latest round of funding plus a further four that will be announced later.

The agency also announced support for Aquarius Films’ first children’s drama and seven online projects from prodcos such as Ludo Studio, Robot Army and the Wyrmwood horror movie team of Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said: “This slate represents the most money we have ever invested in adult TV drama in a single round. Indeed, in the 10 years Screen Australia has been operating, the near A$20m we have invested in adult TV drama in the 2017/18 financial year is an all-time record.

Mason cited the global sales of FremantleMedia Australia/Foxtel’s miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock and Bunya Productions’ crime series Mystery Road, which clocked more video plays on pubcaster ABC’s iview on-demand platform than any other drama.

The new TV projects include The Hunt (4×54’), Closer Productions’ first longform drama, directed by Sophie Hyde and commissioned by pubcaster SBS.

Written by Matthew Cormack (52 Tuesdays) and Niki Aken (ANZAC Girls, Janet King), the female-centric drama centres on two high school teachers who discover students are sharing explicit photos of their underage friends and peers. DCD Media is handling international sales.

Guesswork Television is producing a second season of Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan’s Get Krack!n for the ABC. Guesswork Distribution is shopping the series outside Australia.

The slate includes the previously announced Bloom, produced by Playmaker Media for local streamer Stan, and Screentime’s Playing for Keeps for Network Ten.

The latter show follows the male-dominated world of a football club where the real power lies with the women and features Madeleine West, Cece Peters and Annie Maynard.

Commissioned by the ABC, Aquarius Films’ The Unlisted (15×30‘) centres on 12-year-old identical twins who discover the government is secretly manipulating Australia’s youth via electronic tracking devices. Sinking Ship has the international rights.

In addition, Cheeky Little Media’s Spongo, Fuzz and Jalapeña, a children’s series for the ABC and DHX International, received completion funding.

In the online space, Ludo Studio and Indigenous Media Company Since 1788 will collaborate on Robbie Hood (6×10’) for SBS, a re-imagining of the classic tale of Robin Hood. Set in Alice Springs, the series will follow a gang of preteen mischief masters. Dylan Rivers is writing and directing with Tanith Glynn producing.

Director Kiah Roache-Turner and producer Tristan Roache-Turner are teaming up with Spectre Studios for Wyrmwood VR, a 15-minute shortform virtual reality experience that will allow audiences to immerse themselves in the Wyrmwood movie narrative.

Robot Army will produce 10 Year Beached Aziversary (10×5’), the third edition in the Beached Az animated franchise, for the ABC. Written and directed by Nick Boshier, Jarod Green and Anthony MacFarlane, the show will reunite the Whale and the Seagull in addition to a new set of seafaring, human-ish and mythical-creature friends.

The Big Nothing (5×7’) is a sci-fi detective thriller co-directed by Lucy Campbell and Peter Ninos, produced by Sharptooth Pictures with Sophie Morgan and Adam Camporeale. The series will follow a detective as he investigates a murder on an isolated mining outpost near Saturn.

Created by writers and performers Fiona Harris (The Beautiful Lie) and Mike McLeish (Utopia, Keating the Musical), online comedy The Drop Off (6×8’) will explore that strange bubble of time each school morning between when parents and carers drop the kids off and when the school bell tolls.

Writer and director Tonnette Stanford and Opening Act Films will deliver the second season of online series Romp (6×14’). Launched as Love Bytes in 2014 and generating more than nine million views online, the sitcom follows a group as they seek love and romance but instead find misadventure in Sydney’s hetero-flexible dating scene.

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