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Aussie Minderoo Foundation launches production and finance company

Minderoo Foundation in Australia has launched a production and finance company with an initial A$10m (US$7.5m) to invest in screen projects that inspire change.

Minderoo Pictures has been set up by Minderoo’s billionaire founders, Australian businessman Dr Andrew Forrest AO and philanthropist Nicola Forrest AO, who serve as co-chairs.

Andrew Forrest (photo: Lisa Tomasetti)

Former Screen Australia senior executive Richard Harris, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the film industry, will spearhead Minderoo Pictures’ work as executive producer.

Minderoo claims to be Asia-Pacific’s largest philanthropic organisation. The Perth-based outfit is looking to work with creative teams globally to develop, produce and assist in the release of “ambitious” screen projects that inspire change.

The first four projects in development are on topics such as ocean conservation, plastics and human health, and early childhood development in Indigenous communities.

These include: a feature film collaboration between Academy Award winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) and Josh Murphy (Artifishal); Blueback, helmed by Robert Connolly (The Dry); Honey Ant Dreamers, directed by Michael Cordell (Year of the Dogs) and Emily-Anyupa Butcher; and First Born, produced by Workshop TV.

Nicola Forrest (photo: Lisa Tomasetti)

Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest said: “Our initiatives are tackling some of the most significant global challenges, from plastic pollution to modern slavery and cancer research.

“Lasting change doesn’t just happen by itself. To have real impact we must motivate people, companies, and governments to act, to reassess their behaviours or start a movement. This is what we hope to achieve through Minderoo Pictures.”

Minderoo Foundation co-chair Nicola Forrest added: “The arts enrich our lives and nourish our souls, and they can also be a powerful communication tool.

“Long form storytelling through film speaks to us in a unique way. It has the capacity to cut through, it can create movements for change and even trigger cultural shifts. Minderoo Pictures is seeking projects that will reach new audiences and inspire them to work towards a better, fairer world.”

Richard Harris (photo: Lisa Tomasetti)

In addition to the films themselves, Minderoo Pictures said it is also working to produce high profile, cross-platform impact campaigns to reach diverse audiences across policymakers schools and the business sector.

Executive producer Harris said: “Minderoo Pictures is an exciting new player in the global impact film space at a time when there is a burgeoning demand for films with something to say.

“Minderoo Pictures will be a strategic and active collaborator seeking the best films, the best teams and the best ways to invest across the film value chain, from development through to production and release. At its heart, Minderoo Foundation believes in the transformative power of the arts to change the world. Minderoo Pictures will work to cut through and inspire global change.”

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