MELBOURNE/LONDON – NBCUniversal International Studios and Matchbox Pictures have announced they are backing Tony Ayres’ brand new production company. The award-winning writer, director and producer has launched Tony Ayres Productions (TAP) to specialise in high end scripted drama and feature films for both Australian and international audiences.
Headquartered in Australia, TAP will operate as an independent company, creating its own slate of television programmes and feature films. It will exclusively work in partnership with NBCUniversal and Matchbox to foster creative and commercial opportunities across international markets, growing the company’s global footprint. NBCUniversal will also have a first look over feature film projects developed and/or produced by Tony Ayres through TAP.
Continuing his longstanding creative collaboration with Matchbox, Ayres will remain as Executive Producer on a number of Matchbox projects, including season four of Matchbox’s Emmy award-winning children’s drama Nowhere Boys (ABC/Netflix).
Tony Ayres said: “For the past few years, I’ve been keen to focus on more international-facing drama in television and film. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with NBCU International Studios to develop a new slate of global projects with my key collaborators. I’m also very pleased to continue working with the super-talented people at Matchbox.”
Matt Vitins, Interim Managing Director for Matchbox added: “Tony has been so integral to Matchbox’s success since the start. So we are thrilled that he will set up his new company alongside Matchbox. We are really excited to embark on this new chapter with him and extend our partnership further.”
Jeff Wachtel, President of NBCUniversal International Studios also added: “Tony is one of the most inspirational and talented creatives this industry has to offer. His commitment and dedication to Matchbox over the past decade has been invaluable. We’re delighted to be able to support him on his new venture and to work with him to bring his vision directly to the global market.”
Ayres has created, produced or executive produced a number of Matchbox’s award-winning shows including The Slap (ABC), Glitch (ABC/Netflix), Barracuda (ABC), Seven Types of Ambiguity (ABC), Nowhere Boys (ABC/Netflix), The Family Law (SBS), Underground (TEN) and Wanted (SEVEN).
He served as Executive Producer for Matchbox’s feature film, which won an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award for Best Screenplay in 2017. He has also directed three multi-award winning feature films – Cut Snake, The Home Song Stories and Walking on Water.
Matchbox Pictures was originally formed in 2008 by Tony Ayres, Penny Chapman, Helen Bowden, Michael McMahon and Helen Panckhurst. In May 2011, NBCUniversal International Studios took a majority stake in the company and acquired full ownership in January 2014.
With offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and now Adelaide, Matchbox has fast become one of Australia’s most innovative and successful production companies. Home to some of the most sought after talent in the country, it develops and produces a diverse slate of programming across drama, children’s, factual entertainment, animation and feature films for global audiences.
The company recently appointed South Australian producer, Kirsty Stark to head up its new office in Adelaide and drive its local scripted development slate. Stark’s credits include ABC’s online comedy Goober, feature film A Month of Sundays and the ground-breaking online sensation Wastelander Panda.
Writer, producer and showrunner Louise Fox was also recently appointed to exclusively work across Matchbox’ scripted portfolio. Fox, whose credits include The Kettering Incident (Foxtel), Love My Way (Fox/W/Showtime) and Broadchurch (ITV), has worked with Matchbox for a number of years on projects such as Glitch.
Matchbox has received a number of other awards and accolades over the years. It has been awarded the Screen Producers of Australia Production Company of the Year Award three times in the last six years (2011, 2015, 2017). It won two Equity Ensemble Awards for Seven Types of Ambiguity and The Family Law, for the second consecutive year.
Seven Types of Ambiguity star Hugo Weaving also recently won the award for Most Outstanding Actor in the drama at the 2018 Logie Awards. Safe Harbour actor Hazem Shammas also won the Logie Award for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor.