A huge year for Australian documentary and the final eight projects to be funded for 2014

A huge year for Australian documentary and the final eight projects to be funded for 2014

Friday 19 December 2014

In the final funding round for the year, Screen Australia is pleased to announce that eight documentaries will receive over $1.3 million in support, generating production to the value of $3.7 million. This marks the final rounds under the National, General and Signature Documentary programs.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “These stories will captivate audiences with explorations of what brings us together and what can tear us apart. Compelling narrative centred on things that define us as a nation – from barbecues to beliefs plus distinct individual stories and crazes – these eight documentaries bring together exciting and experienced teams who will deliver fascinating stories to audiences.

“It has been a tremendous year for documentaries. We have seen five documentaries invited to the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA), the world’s leading documentary festival, and an outstanding result from the progressive and innovative approach by Good Pitch2 to support the documentary form through new sources of support. And stories with high cultural impact, such as First Contact,have been delivered to Australian audiences.”

Through the Signature Documentary Program, Screen Australia will support six projects. From Projector Films, producers Daniel Joyce, Rose Tucker and director Matthew Salleh will make Barbecue. The film will take audiences on a gastronomic journey exploring the barbecue cultures of the world, exploring the primal need for humans to cook meat over fire.

The Family offers a powerful and rare glimpse into the mysterious sect formed in the mid-60s in the Dandenong Ranges headed by a charismatic yoga teacher, Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The sect is known as ‘The Family’ and has spread across to the USA and UK attracting attention from the FBI. The film from Big Stories Co was written by Rosie Jones, who will also direct, and will be produced by Anna Grieve. It was recently pitched at the prestigious round table forums at IDFA.

Following an acclaimed festival response at IDFA Forum, Monsieur Mayonnaise will receive support. From Yarra Bank Films the film will be produced by Trevor Graham, Lisa Wang, Ned Lander and Carl-Ludwig Rettinger and will be directed by Trevor Graham. This project was also pitched at the round table forums at IDFA. The story, about the creation of a distinctive and personal graphic novel by Australian artist and filmmaker Philippe Mora, explores his rich cultural and filmmaking history, including his parents’ role in the French resistance, where mayonnaise-laden baguettes became an unexpected communications device.

Wonderland Productions, SEE Pictures, producer Claire Haywood and director Sascha Ettinger Epstein will make The Pink House. The film follows a 70-year-old madam in her attempt to save the oldest and last remaining brothel in Kalgoorlie, a mining town in remote Western Australia.

Go Girl Productions’ producer and director Janet Merewether will make feature documentary Reindeer in My Saami Heart. A passionate story of the Northern Saami people and culture, told through the eyes of one of the last generation born into the nomadic Indigenous Saami reindeer herding family in the Arctic Circle – inspirational poet, Inghilda Tapio.

Roller Dreams is an entertaining story about the transient yet iconic Venice Beach roller dancing scene. From Aquarius Films the feature documentary will be produced by Cecilia Ritchie and Diana Ward and directed by Kate Hickey.

From Joined Up Films, controversial documentary Is Australia Racist? will receive support through the General Documentary Program. Using a variety of exposing methods, the film will uncover the nation’s position on the contentious issue. Writer Mike Bluett, producers Daniel Brown and Anthony Willinge along with director Sally Aitken will make the film to be broadcast on SBS.

Mindful Media will tackle racism from a different perspective in Are You Racist? A passionate expert embarks on a journey to discover the extraordinary new science being used to understand and change racism. Supported through the National Documentary Program, writer/executive producer Paul Scott and producer/director James Knox will make the film to screen on SBS.

Alongside the ABC, Screen Australia recently launched the fourth series of Opening Shot. This initiative was launched to reinforce our commitment to support young filmmakers and has seen some unique and bold storytelling emerge so far.

Screen Australia offered additional support to documentary filmmakers through 31 travel grants to people/companies invited to showcase their projects at international festivals and forums this year including Toronto International Film Festival, World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, Hot Docs, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and Asian Side of the Doc.

Over the summer, Australian audiences will have access to three outstanding documentaries supported through the agency – Australia’s first documentary musical Prison Songs (4 January, 9.30pm on SBS); three-part series The Great Australian Race Riot, narrated by Peter FitzSimons, looking at the history of race riots in our country (4 January on SBS); and Blown Away, revealing new perspectives on one of the worst natural disasters in Australian history (23 December, 8.30pm on ABC).

We are grateful for the high level of engagement from the documentary community during the extensive guidelines review, and excited about what 2015 will offer when the new guidelines come into effect. We also acknowledge the fantastic legacy the previous suite of programs has created over the past five years.

The new guidelines and application closing dates are published on the website.


75 mins
Projector Films Pty Ltd
Producers Daniel Joyce, Rose Tucker
Director Matthew Salleh
Synopsis A mouth-watering kaleidoscope of barbecue cultures around the world, Barbecue is an affirmational portrait of the human condition, framed through the most primitive of human processes… cooking meat over fire.

90 mins
Big Stories Co
Producer Anna Grieve
Writer/Director Rosie Jones
Synopsis A powerful feature documentary set in Australia, the UK and the USA about an elusive apocalyptic sect led by the charismatic Anne Hamilton-Byrne.

90 mins
Yarra Bank Films Pty Ltd
Producers Trevor Graham, Lisa Wang, Ned Lander, Carl-Ludwig Rettinger
Executive Producers Andrew Myer, Joanna Baevski, Carrillo Gantner, Ziyin Gantner, Neilma Gantner
Director Trevor Graham
Australian Sales & Theatrical Antidote Films
Synopsis Monsieur Mayonnaise (feature, TV hour and multiple short webisodes) is a story about the creation of a distinctive and personal graphic novel by Australian artist and filmmaker Philippe Mora. Demonic forces, innocent individuals, werewolves, Nazis and 20th century history are unfailing themes and obsessions across Philippe’s art, personal life and movie making.

70 mins
Wonderland Productions & SEE Pictures
Producer Claire Haywood
Director Sascha Ettinger Epstein
Synopsis A tenacious 70-year-old madam and her last remaining lady-of-the-night battle to save the oldest original brothel in Kalgoorlie, a notorious gold mining town in the remote Western Australian desert.

76 mins
Janet Merewether T/A Go Girl Productions
Producer/Director Janet Merewether
Synopsis A feature documentary about the life and poetry of Inghilda Tapio, one of the last generation of children born into a nomadic Indigenous Saami reindeer herding family in the Arctic Circle, today an inspirational poet and passionate advocate for her Northern Saami people and their culture.

75 mins
Aquarius Films Pty Ltd
Producers Cecilia Ritchie, Diana Ward
Executive Producer Angie Fielder
Director Kate Hickey
Synopsis A crowd-pleasing feature documentary about the short-lived but iconic Venice Beach roller dancing scene.


52 mins
Joined Up Films Pty Ltd
Producers Daniel Brown, Anthony Willinge
Executive Producer Jacqueline Willinge
Writer Mike Bluett
Director Sally Aitken
Broadcaster SBS
Sales SBS International
Synopsis In this ground-breaking show, using a number of incredibly revealing methods, we’ll finally get to the bottom of this highly controversial issue… Is Australia Racist?


57 mins
Mindful Media Pty Ltd
Producer/Director James Knox
Executive Producer/Writer Paul Scott
Broadcaster SBS
Sales Off the Fence
Synopsis A passionate expert undertakes an immersive journey to discover the extraordinary new science being used to understand and change racism.

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