Screen Australia invests over $3.8 million in 13 new documentaries

Screen Australia invests over $3.8 million in 13 new documentaries

In the final round of documentary funding for this financial year Screen Australia is pleased to announce 13 projects will receive over $3.8 million in support, generating production value of more than $13.2 million.

The projects selected under the National Documentary Program and General Documentary Program include eight one-off documentaries and five series. The documentaries will appeal to a diverse audience covering areas across science, arts, sports, history and religion, and will be accessible broadly through public, free-to-air and subscription broadcasters.

Screen Australia’s Senior Manager of Documentary, Liz Stevens, said, “We are excited about this final round of well-researched projects that will entertain and inform. Appealing to a wide audience the projects should stimulate conversation about contemporary concerns such as parenting, poverty and identity.”

Three projects will be supported through the National Documentary Program.

From Blackfella Films comes DNA Nation, an epic story of genetic time travel, written/produced by Jacob Hickey and produced by Darren Dale for SBS. It is a story about our origins and how we are all related to one another.

Writer/director Paul Clarke’s Priscilla: Monster in a Party Frock is an observation of the history and development of celebrating gay culture. This one-off documentary from Jungleboys FTV will be produced by Jo-anne McGowan, Jason Burrows and Jen Peedom for the ABC.

Stop Laughing, This Is Serious is a three-part one-hour series exploring the history of Australian comedy, by writer/producer Paul Horan and Paul Clarke with Screentime for the ABC.

Ten projects will receive funding through the General Documentary Program.

Battlefields is an account of the ANZACs’ encounter with and defeat of the enemy on the Western Front. Written by Michael Cove, produced by Michael Tear and Harriet Pike, and directed by Serge Ou, the six-part half-hour series by For Valour will broadcast on Foxtel’s History Channel.

A moving examination of the growing trend of broken families and fatherlessness, Call Me Dad, is about fathers that have come together through a men’s program to transform themselves with a focus on reconnecting with their children. Writer/director, Sophie Wiesner, producers Madeleine Hetherton, Rebecca Barry and Ester Harding with Media Stockade will make the one-off documentary for the ABC.

From Cordell Jigsaw Productions, Go Back to Where You Came From returns with a third series, by producer/director Rick McPhee. The three-part documentary for SBS, will challenge six Australians with strong views about the government policy on illegal immigration and boat arrivals.

360 Degree Films’ one-off documentary The Great Australian Fly, written/produced by Sally Ingleton and written/directed by Tosca Looby for the ABC, examines the annoying pest and the influence it has had on shaping Australia.

Harry is the story of a poor young Brazilian immigrant who rises to become an Australian AFL celebrity and struggles to understand a different culture and establish his identity along the way. Jotz Productions’ one-off documentary will be written and directed by Jeff Daniels and produced by Tom Zubrycki for SBS.

From writer/producer/directors Tosca Looby and Alex Tarney, and producer Sally Ingleton, comes Kids Unplugged, a life lesson from Carl Honore teaching three busy families techniques to turn their fast-paced lives into relaxed and happy existences in five weeks via the power of ‘slow’. The one-off documentary from 360 Degree Films will go to air on the ABC.

Licketty Split’s Missing Ingredient explores the ramifications of donor-conceived children and donor dads not being allowed to find each other because of existing laws. The one-off documentary will be written/directed by Lucy Paplinska and produced by Lisa Horler for the ABC.

A documentary about a celebrated comedian and writer travelling to the East to discover the oldest religion in the world to help him better understand his own relationship with God, Artemis International’s SMGR will be written/directed by Russel Vines and produced by Celia Tait and Brian Beaton for SBS.

KEO Films’ three-part series, Struggle Street, observes the voices and stories of a cross-section of the western Sydney community struggling to get by while facing overwhelming personal and social challenges. The three-part series by producers Leonie Lowe and David Galloway will be broadcast on SBS.

WKCR is a documentary about a murder investigation and trial that affected many in the community. Produced by Artemis International with writer/director Michael Muntz, writer/producer Celia Tait and producer Brian Beaton, it will be screened on the Seven Network.

Screen Australia’s documentary funding programs are currently under review to ensure that they continue to support the unique qualities of Australian documentary in an evolving ecosystem of screen production and consumption. Drawing on the submissions to the Discussion Paper, Stories that Matter, Screen Australia will be publishing draft guidelines shortly for industry feedback.


DNA NATION (working title)
3 x 52 mins
Blackfella Films Pty Ltd
Producers Darren Dale, Jacob Hickey
Writer Jacob Hickey
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS Distribution
Synopsis This is an epic story of genetic time travel. A story about who we are, where we came from and how we are all related to one another.

1 x 57 mins
Jungleboys FTV Pty Ltd
Producers Jo-anne McGowan, Jason Burrows, Jen Peedom
Director Paul Clarke
Writers Paul Clarke, Alex Barry
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Monster in a Party Frock is the story of how an unlikely film changed the course of history and brought a celebration of gay culture to the world.

3 x 57 mins
Screentime Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Jennifer Collins, Bob Campbell
Producers/Writers Paul Horan, Paul Clarke
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ABC Commercial
Synopsis Stop Laughing:This Is Serious is a documentary series exploring the history of Australian comedy for ABC1.


6 x 24 mins
For Valour Pty Ltd.
Producers Michael Tear, Harriet Pike
Director Serge Ou
Writer Michael Cove
Broadcaster FOXTEL History Channel
Synopsis How the ANZACs met and defeated the main force of the enemy on the Western Front.

1 x 57 mins
Media Stockade Pty Ltd.
Producers Madeleine Hetherton, Rebecca Barry, Ester Harding
Director/Writer Sophie Wiesner
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis In the midst of a silent yet devastating epidemic of fatherlessness, this is a film about fathers at risk of or struggling with broken families whose children are vulnerable. Now, through a men’s program, they each have the chance to regain what’s lost, to transform himself and earn another shot at the title, ‘Dad’.

3 x 52 mins
Cordell Jigsaw Productions Pty Ltd
Executive Producers Nick Murray, Michael Cordell
Producer/Director Rick McPhee
Broadcaster SBS
Sales Cordell Jigsaw Distribution
Synopsis With major changes to government policy on boat arrivals, six Australians with strong views on the issue, embark on a life changing journey which will challenge their opinions to the very core.

1 x 57 mins
360 Degree Films Pty Ltd
Producer Sally Ingleton
Director Tosca Looby
Writers Tosca Looby, Sally Ingleton
Broadcaster ABC
Sales ZED Sales
Synopsis How a national nuisance helped shape Australia.

1 x 52 mins
Jotz Productions Pty Ltd
Producer Tom Zubrycki
Director/Writer Jeff Daniels
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis The story of an immigrant boy from Brazil who becomes an AFL star. A black man in a white world, Harry searches for his own identity in a country and culture that he feels never really accepts him. From the slums of Rio de Janeiro to the dizzying heights of Australian celebrity this is the story of a boy who becomes a man by forging his own perilous path through other’s expectations.

1 x 57 mins
360 Degree Films Pty Ltd
Executive Producer Sally Ingleton
Producers Sally Ingleton, Alex Tarney, Tosca Looby
Directors/Writers Tosca Looby, Alex Tarney
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis ‘Slow coach’ Carl Honore has five weeks to turn three busy families from stressed and hectic, to happy and unhurried – via the power of ‘slow’.

1 x 57 mins
Licketty Split Pty Ltd
Executive Producer John Moore
Producer Lisa Horler
Director/Writer Lucy Paplinska
Broadcaster ABC
Synopsis Missing Ingredient is an intimate and cautionary tale about secrets surrounding sperm donation … and the donor conceived adults – and donors – who are demanding some answers.

1 x 52 mins
Artemis International
Producers Celia Tait, Brian Beaton
Director/Writer Russel Vines
Broadcaster SBS
Synopsis Celebrated comedian and writer journeys to the East to discover the oldest religion in the world to help him better understand his own relationship with God.

3 x 52 mins
KEO Films Australia Pty Ltd
Producers Leonie Lowe, David Galloway
Broadcaster SBS
Sales Hat Trick International
Synopsis A three-part observational documentary series that will feature the voices and stories of a cross-section of struggling western Sydney residents and families as they try to get by, despite overwhelming personal and social challenges.

1 x 55 mins
Artemis International Pty Ltd
Producers Brian Beaton, Celia Tait
Director Michael Muntz
Writer Michael Muntz, Celia Tait
Broadcaster Channel 7
Synopsis A murder investigation and trial divides a city, and the legal fraternity.

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