Australian federal screen production funding body Screen Australia has committed AU$2.1 million (US$1.4 million) in funding to 14 documentary film projects.
Twelve of the projects will receive funding through Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program, which gives producers the foundational funding required to leverage their projects creatively and commercially.
The final two projects, meanwhile, will receive funding via the Documentary Commissioned program, which supports the production of a diverse range of quality projects for TV broadcast, SVOD or similar.
“This is an exciting lineup of projects telling uniquely Australian stories across science, social issues, modern legends and even big cats, through different formats and media,” said Screen Australia’s head of documentary Bernadine Lim in a statement. “It’s fantastic to support three co-productions which open up the teams to international opportunities in financing as well as audience reach.
“The past few months have presented several challenges for the sector but it’s been great to see that many documentary projects have been able to continue production in some form, and we’re impressed with the adaptability and resilience teams have shown.”
Commissioned projects include: the hour-long science doc The Science of Success (Smith&Nasht), which reveals a series of new discoveries about how success emerges, for CuriosityStream, Canada’s CBC and Sweden’s Sveriges Television; and What Does Australia Really Think?, a three-part series for SBS Australia from Joined Up Films.
Producer projects selected include: A Big Life, a 15-minute digital doc from Anna Brownfield and Poison Apple Productions; A Plague on our Houses, a two-part doc from Emerald Films and Possum Creek Films examining the factors that led to COVID-19 impacting the globe; feature doc Bob’s Manual for Living and Dying from filmmaker Amiel Courtin-Wilson; Carbon: An Unauthorised Biography, a feature-length documentary from Genepool Productions for the ABC, CBC and ARTE; Facing Monsters, a feature doc from Beyond West and Veerhuis Pictures; and General Hercules, the first feature documentary from director Brodie Poole, produced by Toy Shop Entertainment.
Additional producer projects are: SHANE (pictured), a feature doc on iconic cricketer Shane Warne from co-directors and co-producers Jon Carey and Adam Darke of Gospel; Strange Beasts, a digital short from Oh Yeah Wow and director Darcy Prendergast; the hour-long Strong Female Lead from director Tosca Looby and executive producer Karina Holden of Northern Pictures; and Jeff Daniels’ feature-length film Television Event from Common Room.
Remaining producer projects include: Thin Ice VR, a 20-minute virtual reality project from Monkeystack and director James Calvert, which traverses the historical expedition of Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica; and the 8 x 5-minute Woven Threads: Stories from Within, an animated online docuseries for Pedestrian TV which aims to de-stigmatize mental health issues for young people.
In May, the Australian film agency altered its Documentary Development Program to remain open year-round in an effort to increase “flexibility for creatives.”