Screen Australia’s new Documentary Producer program will fund the intimate story of Brett Whiteley

The first round of Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program will give eight documentaries $1.8 million in funding support. These projects will generate production expenditure close to $9.3 million and showcase some unique, true Australian stories.

Whiteley, a definitive, landmark documentary, will give audiences a close look into the incredible life and legacy of an iconic Australian artist. Northern Pictures will make the one-off documentary with experienced producer Sue Clothier, writer/director James Bogle and writer Victor Gentile.

Land Artists (working title) follows one of Australia’s most outstanding (and controversial) architecture firms Denton Corker Marshall as they work against the clock and across cultures, to create the Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. Renegade Films will make the documentary with producers Lucy Maclaren, Joe Connor and Ken Connor.

Short documentary web series, Black As follows a group of energetic young Indigenous men through Arnhem Land providing access and insight into Aboriginal culture and community in a remote part of Australia. The life-affirming adventure has created goodwill from both the community and through a successful crowd funding campaign. Rebel Films will make the film with writer/director/producer David Batty.

Emerging filmmakers James Cogswell (producer) and David Mason (director) will deal with a difficult subject matter in a moving and insightful way in Cast from the Storm. The film follows a group of teenage refugees brought together through a theatre program run by a Sydney high school. Under the guidance of three passionate teachers, they will share their ‘Storm Stories’ – the stories that made them refugees – in front of Australian audiences.

Liz Stevens, Senior Manager, Documentary, said, “It’s been reassuring to see the strength of projects coming through the first round of the Producer program. 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.”

The purpose of the Producer program is to provide filmmakers with a solid foundation to attract and finalise additional finance for their projects. The new system gives filmmakers up to four months to secure the remaining finance and the stability to progress their projects.

The program provides filmmakers with creative and commercial flexibility on their projects, as well as the autonomy to broaden the pathways to audience. Projects in this round will reach local and international audiences through theatrical, broadcast, digital and festival release.

Screen Australia is pleased to announce the Documentary Producer program will accept online applications for the next round through the new Application Portal, with a deadline of 19 June 2015.

Below is a complete list of projects funded through Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program.


20 x 4 mins
Rebel Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Director/Producer David Batty
Executive Producer David Noakes
Synopsis Going bush with the Black As crew, a celebration of bush culture, ingenuity and what it is to be a young fella in the bush today.

70 mins
Missing Archive Productions
Producer James Cogswell
Executive Producer Susan MacKinnon
Director David Mason
Synopsis After desperately fleeing war and persecution, an extraordinary bunch of teenagers are brought together through a life-changing theatre program. At a Sydney high school, under the guidance of three passionate teachers, they share their ‘Storm Stories’ – the stories that made them refugees – in front of Australian audiences.

98 mins
iKandy Films
Producer Katey Grusovin
Director Janine Hosking
Synopsis The Eulogy tells the powerful story of little known concert virtuoso, Geoffrey Tozer, and poses the question – did Australia fail its greatest ever pianist?

57 mins
Renegade Films Pty Ltd
Producers Lucy Maclaren, Joe Connor, Ken Connor
Director Paul Goldman
Synopsis The story of the art and philosophy behind one of Australia’s most outstanding (and controversial) architecture firms, Denton Corker Marshall, and their rise to international recognition.

90 mins
Essential Media and Entertainment Pty Ltd
Producers Alan Erson, Christine Le Goff
Executive Producers Chris Hilton, Marcus Gillezeau
Director Richard Smith

Synopsis The next great voyage of human exploration has already begun: the search for life on planets orbiting distant stars. With extraordinary CGI, the world’s most inspiring scientists, via extreme environments on Earth and around the solar system, the film takes viewers aboard the next generation of space ships, across the cosmos and beneath the clouds of the exo-planets to discover The Living Universe.

85 mins
Pericles Film Productions Pty Ltd
Producer/Director Andrew Wiseman
Synopsis Filmed over three decades, this documentary charts the life story of Richard, a young man with severe intellectual disability since birth, and his parents’ quest to carve out a quality life for their son and a fulfilling life for themselves.

2 x 52 mins
Electric Pictures Pty Ltd
Producer Andrew Ogilvie
Director Steve Westh
Synopsis Spectacular reconstructions of life in the Stone Age draw audiences into the exciting story of how surprising fossil discoveries across Asia are now challenging our understanding of human evolution.

90 mins
Northern Pictures
Producer Sue Clothier
Director James Bogle
Writers Victor Gentile, James Bogle
Synopsis Whiteley is a portrait that looks intimately at the artist Brett Whiteley’s incredible life and legacy.

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