In the final round of drama funding for the financial year, Screen Australia announced production investment in 12 projects including two feature films, a television series and nine multi-platform programmes. Screen Australia’s support of over AU$4.5 million in these projects will initiate production worth over AU$25 million. 

“In this round of funding we are pleased to be able to support a great diversity of Australian creative talent generating compelling stories on all platforms. These stories promise to help shape our national consciousness, challenge us, build resilience in our kids and make us laugh, all with great Australian content. They are intended to appeal to a wide range of audiences on the many platforms that now form part of our regular media diet. Here we see the breadth of formats, genres and innovative pathways to audience that the Australian production community is capable of,” said CEO of Screen Australia, Graeme Mason.

“The value of Australian stories was recently reaffirmed at Cannes with Australian film sales to international territories more than doubling the quantum of sales made last year. This capped the three Australian films screened at the festival receiving standing ovations and critical acclaim; and a prestigious award for veteran Indigenous actor David Gulpilil. Australian talent continued to shine on the world stage with Australians announced in key roles in many high-profile international productions.

“It is impressive to see Australians continuing to love their local fare on the small screen, with titles such as Parer’s WarGods of Wheat StreetFamily Confidential and Love Child going from strength to strength – the final episode of Love Child was the top-rating Australian drama programme in April with a combined average of 2.1 million viewers.”

Investment in this round will see the team behind the award-winning film, Red Dog producer Nelson Woss, director Kriv Stenders (Kill Me Three Times) and writer Daniel Taplitz join forces again in Blue Dog, the story of the early events that led to the discovery of Red Dog and his rise to become an Australian legend. Woss Group Film Productions’ Red Dog ranks among the top 10 Australian films of all time with over AU$21 million at the local box office. 

Funding will also be allocated to Happening Films’ Downriver, a mystery film inspired by true events by multi award-winning short film director and debut feature film director and writer, Grant Scicluna. The film will be produced by Jannine Barnes.

Producer Ewan Burnett (Last Man Standing), writer/producer Louise Fox (Love My Way) and writers Kris Mrksa (The SlapThe Time of Our Lives, The Turning), and Giula Sandler (Love Child, Wentworth), will receive support for their television drama, Glitch. Matchbox Pictures’ supernatural drama, about a group of people fighting for their lives (for a second time) after they are accidentally resurrected from the dead, will be broadcast on the ABC.

A diverse and unconventional slate of nine multi-platform drama projects will also receive support.

From Queensland’s Ludo Studio, fresh from their Digital Emmy win for #7 Days Later, comes an animated comedy series called Doodles, which brings to life the artistic contributions of their social media audience.

Hoodlum (Secrets & Lies, The Stranger Calls), also hailing from Queensland and a Digital Emmy winner, will collaborate with filmmakers Michael Cox and Paul Mayze to make Illusion Five Sweeper Squad, a sci-fi comedy series about a dysfunctional team of cleaners tasked with mopping up after the super heroes.

Four Quartersan innovative comedy series from WA, tells the fictional story of a group of footy fans against the backdrop of the current, real-time AFL season. It is produced by WBMC’s Aidan O’Bryan and Janelle Landers (Son of a Gun, Wasted on the Young).

Two interactive kids apps are in the round: Daisy Chain, by Protein One (the NSW creators of iTunes Best of 2012 app, Dandelion), is an anti-bullying app about a young misfit facing the issue of bullying, from producer/creative director Galvin Scott Davis; and from Victoria’s Bizzibrains producer Nicola Lansdell and creative director Kat Chadwick, I Learn is a story-driven app that builds kids’ confidence for their early years at school.

Katering is a parody of popular cooking shows, written and performed by Melbourne-based comedians Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney. The series will be directed by McCartney and produced by Tamasin Simpkin.

Commissioned for the ABC, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person is a two-part adaptation of the popular one-woman play from award-winning writer/performer Lally Katz (Wonderland, Wentworth), directed by Erin White (At Home with Julia), and produced by Katherine Slattery with Matchbox Productions.

The Wondrous Adventures of Desmondo Ray, from Tropfest and AFI-winner Steve Baker and producer Leanne Tonkes (My Mistress), is an animated series about a peculiar man-child who seeks true love in a world he has difficulty fitting into. The series is based on a short film which was an official selection for SxSW 2014 and is screening at the St Kilda Film Festival 2014.

Ricketts Lane is a musical comedy series for ABC2 and iView based on the Barry-award winning live comedy show by Sammy J and Randy. The series is produced by Donna Andrews (Pearlie) of Sydney-based Sticky Pictures (Me & My Monsters, Dukes of Broxstonia).