Create NSW & ABC Arts announce the second Documentary Feature Fund film Double Happiness
Create NSW and ABC Arts have announced that Double Happiness, a fresh look at relations between Australia and China through the prism of love and marriage, is the second film to be commissioned through the Documentary Feature Fund joint initiative, with additional major production funding from Screen Australia.
Double Happiness will take viewers on a billion-dollar ride of fantasy, aspiration, hope and reconciliation, exploring contemporary China and its relationship with Australia from the fascinating aspect of the burgeoning pre-wedding photography industry. The film is the directorial debut of celebrated photographer Olivia Martin-McGuire with Media Stockade’s Rebecca Barry and Madeleine Hetherton confirmed as producers.
Olivia Martin-McGuire is an Australian documentary photographer based in Shanghai. She has exhibited her work widely, shoots for various international publications and companies and is part of the popular Instagram group of documentary photo and video storytellers called the Eyes On China Project. She has directed two short films in her career, Under the Swell and It’s that time of the Month Again, which screened as part of the Loud Televised Short Film Festival on ABC and at international festivals.
With a focus on producing social-impact factual storytelling, Rebecca Barry and Madeleine Hetherton’s previous films include I Am A Girl, which received four AACTA nominations and rated highly on SBS Television, and documentary film The Surgery Ship, which also screened on SBS and was later developed into an eight-part series for National Geographic. The Opposition premiered at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival and internationally at the influential HotDocs Festival in Canada.
The Create NSW and ABC Arts Documentary Feature Fund is a three-year joint initiative to fund one new feature length arts documentary per year. Create NSW contributes $100,000 to each production with the ABC allocating a $150,000 license fee.
Each film funded through this initiative receives a world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival prior to screening on ABC. The first year’s documentary The Go-Betweens: Right Here from director Kriv Stenders premiered at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival and was a sell-out success.
Create NSW CEO Michael Brealey said, “The pitch from Olivia and her producers was irresistible. They have taken a highly creative approach to exploring this distinct cultural phenomenon in a way that takes the viewer deeply into Chinese society and delves into the country’s evolving relationship with Australia. We are very excited to see Olivia translate her exceptional photographic eye into a documentary feature format.”
ABC Arts Acting Head, Linda Brusasco said, “ABC Arts is thrilled to once again be partnering with Create NSW for this exciting initiative. Olivia’s trailer was visually arresting and as soon as we saw it – and heard her pitch – we knew we wanted to see more. Double Happiness promises to be a rich ride for our audience and a unique way of looking at Australia’s cultural place within the wider region.”
This is the second feature documentary title Screen Australia has supported through the Create NSW and ABC Arts initiative.
“Double Happiness is a real career opportunity for first-time feature director Olivia Martin-McGuire, and the producers Rebecca Barry and Madeleine Heatherton are to be commended for supporting another early career female filmmaker,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “This project promises to be a visual feast as it explores the beauty, opulence and theatricality of Chinese wedding photography.”
Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small added, “Sydney Film Festival congratulates director Olivia Martin-McGuire and producers Rebecca Barry and Madeleine Hetherton (SFF 2017 alumni with The Opposition) as the second recipients of the Create NSW and ABC Arts documentary commission. The Festival is proud to premiere Double Happiness in June 2018 and expect it to receive the same popular and critical enthusiasm as did inaugural recipient Kriv Stenders’ The Go-Betweens: Right Here.”