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Screen Australia announces over $2.3 million for nine documentaries


10 04 2024 - Media release Screen Australia announces over $2.3 million for nine documentaries

Guardians of the River

Screen Australia has announced nine documentaries that will share in over $2.3 million of production funding.

Among the projects is Our Medicine, an NITV series that follows First Nations professionals working on the medical front-line as they try to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and communities; The Kimberley explores the extraordinary animals who inhabit the region and the passionate individuals working to protect its unique biodiversity; Second to None documents the journey of elite female cycling team, Lidl-Trek, as they compete in the illustrious Tour de France Femmes 2023; and The Colleano Heart about the Colleanos, an Indigenous family and self-made entertainers of circus, who escaped oppression and racism to rise to the upper echelons of the world's vaudeville and circus.

Angela Bates, Head of First Nations at Screen Australia said, Our Medicine shines a light on First Nations medical practitioners, and frontline health workers who play a critical role in caring for, and healing Indigenous patients through Western medicine balanced with individual social, emotional and wellbeing needs. This program also explores a new model that incorporates ancient traditional practices to help address the low life expectancy in our communities, and the many barriers our mob face in the health system. It's an important and timely series and one we are proud to support.

Screen Australia's Head of Documentary Richard Huddleston said, This slate reflects our determination to support Australian filmmakers who want to tell stories from not just within our nation but further afield; whether it be exploring the brilliant mind of John Clarke, escaping to the majestic Kimberley, interrogating the inner workings of our jury system, following an epic tradition in Mongolia or fighting for the Papua New Guinean environment. They all push boundaries, play with form and reflect the rich, wide range of storytelling approaches we have in the Australian documentary community.

The project funded through the First Nations Department is:

Our Medicine: A 6 x 30-minute documentary series for NITV following First Nations professionals working on the medical front-line as they try to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and communities. The series examines how these professionals navigate the medical system with their culture and identity at the forefront and look at the strategies necessary to close the unacceptable gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes. Attached is series director Kimberley Benjamin (Family Rules), co-director Karla Hart (Yokayi Footy, Family Rules) and post director Jeremy Thomson, with Karla Hart and Sam Bodhi Field of Our Law producing. It has received major production investment from NITV with support from Screenwest, Lotterywest and the WA Regional Screen Fund.

The project funded through the Commissioned Program is:

The Jury Project: From Northern Pictures, The Jury Project is a four-part series for SBS that puts the jury system on trial and explores the challenges and intricacies of the justice system. The Jury Project is directed by Tosca Looby and executive produced by Karina Holden, whose credits include Asking For It and See What You Made Me Do. It has received major production investment from SBS.

The projects funded through the Producer Program are:

When the Front Fell Off: This feature-length documentary is an intimate tribute to the life and work of one of the world's greatest satirists, John Clarke, told through the eyes of his daughter, Lorin. When the Front Fell Off is a unique look at a very funny man and lifts the lid on a treasure trove of archival material, and personal stories revealing the creative, often hilarious and sometimes not quite as funny struggles and successes of John Clarke. Directing is Lorin Clarke and producing is Richard Keddie (Ride Like a Girl, Oddball, Hawke). It is financed in association with the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund, VicScreen, Soundfirm and Rialto Distribution, who are also distributing locally.

Guardians of the River: A 90-minute documentary that charts the journey of Papua New Guinean activist Manu Peni and his people as they launch an urgent mission to protect the Sepik River from an enormous, nearby mine. In Guardians of the River, audiences will witness Project Sepik's work on the ground as they build a powerful indigenous grassroots movement to resist the mine on their own terms, using traditional decision-making structures. The film is written and directed by Lachlan McLeod (Clean) and Matasila Freshwater (Vai). It is produced by Kerry Warkia (The Legend of Baron To a), David Elliot-Jones (Clean), Maria Tanner (The Feijoa Club) and Emmanuel Peni, with Chris Kamen (Franklin) executive producing. Guardians of the River is financed in association with the Pacific Islanders in Communications, The Post Lounge and VicScreen, with support from the Shark Island Foundation and the Three Springs Foundation.

Sand Roads: This 90-minute film documents the journey of three Sydney boys in their twenties, Valerio, Jamie and Ted, as they set off in 2010 on a great adventure crossing Europe, Africa and Australia on quad-bikes, as an initiation to their adulthood, self-filming their epic journey. But tragically, while in Malawi, a car overwhelms one of the quads and Valerio dies. Weaving archive footage with contemporary interviews, Sand Roads is a story of resilience and remembrance showing how healthily accepting grief and paying heed to loss can heal. Sand Roads is from writer/director Gabriele Gianni (Notes on Stone), writer/director Lorenzo Conte (Th
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