New funding package announced to develop 20 new Australian Drama projects

Screen Australia has confirmed details on a new funding package that will help develop twenty new Australian Television Drama projects.

The funding package, which totals $1.6 million is to assist with Story Development of Australian drama projects. Along with the 20 tv projects, the funding will also be shared by 14 feature films, and eight online projects currently under development.

The TV projects include Shakespeare Now, an anthology of adaptations of Shakespeare’s works for television, including Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night. The works are led by teams of all-female creatives including Leah Purcell, Elise McCredie and Anchuli Felicia King.

Television comedy Colourful Faces, an eight-part series about a crew of misfit actors and their manipulative agent who try to exploit the industry’s thirst for diversity on their road to success. Led by an Aboriginal actor who won’t take Aboriginal roles, a fallen Bollywood Diva and a Chinese comedian who isn’t funny, this band of hustlers set out on a chaotic and politically incorrect quest to get ahead. The creative team features writer/producers Bjorn Stewart (Killer Native) and Rami Fischler (Spread the Word), and producer Amanda Reedy (Superwog).

A six-part television comedy called DNA Dad (working title), centred on neurologically diverse young man Michael who discovers his biological father is UK actor Ben Miller, and travels to London to meet him. The connection leads both men to discover the true meaning of family. The creative team includes writer/director Darren Ashton (Hardball), writer/producer Ben Miller, producer Joanne Weatherstone (Hardball) and executive producer Catherine Nebauer (Hardball).

Six-part dramedy New Animal, from writer Marieke Hardy (Laid), based on the upcoming debut novel by Ella Baxter. The television series follows 28-year-old oddball Amelia who works as a cosmetician at a family funeral parlour. After the sudden death of her mother, she is drawn into the local BDSM community in an attempt to deal with her grief. New Animal will be produced by Jason Stephens and Helen Bowden of Lingo Pictures (Lambs of God).

The Sapphires Animation, a television series inspired by hit Australian film The Sapphires. This series re-imagines Gail, Julie, Cynthia and Kay growing up in today’s world, as they follow their musical dreams and learn about life, love, and who they are in the process. A celebration of sisterhood, sass and sweet grooves, this project will be written by Kodie Bedford (Mystery Road) and produced by Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne with Tony Briggs, who worked on the original film.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Nerida Moore said,

“While this has been a turbulent, challenging time for many in the industry, it hasn’t stopped the drive, passion and imagination of Australian creative teams. In fact we have continued to see applications coming through with really strong and distinctive content, with the application numbers across March-June this year up 76% on the same period last year.”

“It’s exciting to see re-imaginings of well-loved stories such as Shakespeare Now and an animated series inspired by The Sapphires. And we continue to support storytelling on all platforms, with two online series from comedians Gabriel Willie (better known as Bush Tucker Bunjie) and Chloe Black who are each creating their first scripted narrative comedies.”

“We are really pleased to see more ambitious television projects in the pipeline, with 32 television projects funded through the Premium stream in the past 12 months, up from 12 projects last year.” 

The full list of the 2019-2020 Television development funding approvals can be found here.

Kevin Perry
Co-Creator and Editor of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. | Call/Text 0428 275 111
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