Screen Australia unveils first Documentary Producer grantees

The first round of the funding body's Documentary Producer program will offer AUD$1.8 million to eight projects (Pictured: Screen Australia's senior manager of documentary, Liz Stevens).
May 25, 2015

The first round of funding from Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program is offering AUD$1.8 million to eight projects, including a landmark doc about Australian artist Brett Whiteley.

Northern Pictures is producing Whiteley, a look at the iconic artist at the forefront of Australia’s avant-garde movement. On board for the project are producer Sue Clothier, writer/director James Bogle and writer Victor Gentile.

Renegade Films’ Land Artists (working title) has also been granted funding by the program. The doc follows architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall as it attempts to beat challenges to create the Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. Producers include Lucy Maclaren, Joe Connor and Ken Connor.

Another grantee, the webseries Black As provides insight into Aboriginal culture and community in a remote area of Australia, and is produced by David Batty and Rebel Films.

Cast from the Storm, meanwhile, tells the story of a group of teenage refugees united through a Sydney high school theater program that will see them present their “storm stories” – the stories about how they became refugees – to Australian audiences. James Cogswell produces, while David Mason directs.

The Eulogy, from iKandy Films, tells the story of Australian concert pianist Geoffrey Tozer who, while achieving recognition around the world, was little known in his homeland. Katey Grusovin producers while Janine Hosking directs.

The Living Universe, a 90-minute doc from Essential Media and Entertainment, uses CGI and input from “the world’s most inspiring scientists” to explore new developments in the search for life on other planets. Producers are Alan Erson and Christine Le Goff, while exec producers are Chris Hilton and Marcus Gillezeau. Richard Smith directs.

On Richard’s Side, from Pericles Film Productions, follows, over the course of three decades, a young man named Richard who was born with severe intellectual disability, and the efforts of his parents in caring for him. Andrew Wiseman produces and directs.

Secrets of the Stone Age, meanwhile, from Electric Pictures, is a two-parter that will provide reconstructions of life in the Stone Age, while illuminating how recent fossil discoveries have advanced studies of human evolution.

“It’s been reassuring to see the strength of projects coming through the first round of the Producer program,” said Liz Stevens (pictured), senior manager of documentary for Screen Australia, in a statement. “The program has accomplished what it set out to achieve – offering trigger funding across a range of content, styles and platforms to both experienced and emerging filmmakers. We’re incredibly buoyed up by the quality of the content, the enthusiasm of producers to try something different and the ambitions of the projects in general.”

Online applications for the next round of funding will be accepted until June 19, 2015.

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