The projects fall under the federal Australian body’s Documentary Producer program, which provides foundational funding, and its Documentary Commissioned programs, which support diverse programming for television broadcast. Five of the selected films are feature-length documentaries; two are for Australian pubcaster ABC, one is for hybrid-funded Aussie pubcaster SBS and one for pay-TV operator Foxtel.
In a statement Liz Stevens, senior manager of documentary at Screen Australia, said the chosen projects, which include five feature-length docs, were “hard-hitting stories that show the realities of living in a complex world.”
The films that will receive funding under the Documentary Producer category are an untitled project from Oscar-winner Eva Orner in partnership with Hilla Medalia; Richard Lowenstein’s Mystify (Ghost Pictures), about INXS singer/songwriter Michael Hutchence; and Richard Todd’s Dying to Live, follows Allan Turner as he campaigns to make Australia an opt-out organ donation location, after his seven-year-old daughter becomes the only Australian under the age of 16 in Victoria province to donate her organs upon her untimely death.
Other projects garnering support are Contact Films’ documentary by award-winning Australian journalist Liz Jackson on her personal journey with Parkinson’s disease; Wildbear Entertainment’s Flight of the Rhino (pictured), in which a pair of breeding rhinos are transported from South Africa to a zoo in Dubbo, aimed at protecting the endangered species from illegal poaching; and Sensible Films’ From Under the Rubble, providing a window into the on-ground devastation in Gaza told through the story of a survivor who lost 48 family members following attacks on her neighborhood in January 2007.
The remaining three projects fall under the Documentary Commissioned category. They are:
- The Mosque, which is produced by Southern Pictures, takes viewers into the world – and mosque – of Australian Muslims and has also received funding from Screen Queensland. It will air on SBS.
- The Archibald, which is produced by Mint Pictures, follows eight Australian artists as they compose portraits in contention for a highly coveted national art prize. It will air on Foxtel.
- Right Here: The Go-Betweens, which is produced by Essential Media and Entertainment, gives viewers a backstage perspective on the county’s top indie rock bands. It received funding from Screen NSW and ABC TV’s Arts; Documentary Feature Fund. The film will premiere at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.
Screen Australia awarded its inaugural round of funding to the tune of $1.8 million to eight projects in May last year.