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Screen Australia announces over $3.7 million for 13 documentaries


03 11 2021 - Media release Screen Australia announces over $3.7 million for 13 documentaries

Harley & Katya

Screen Australia has announced six documentaries through the Producer Program and seven projects through the Commissioned Program that will share in $3.7 million of production funding.

This includes a feature documentary from Stranger Than Fiction (Mountain, Australia in Colour) that follows an Indigenous figure skater from Western Sydney, Harley Windsor, on his quest to compete in the Winter Olympics; a series going inside the Sydney Opera House for the ABC; and a feature documentary about a grandmother with dementia who became an internet sensation in Everybody's Oma.

Screen Australia's Head of Documentary, Alex West said, We were impressed by the broad mix of applications and these documentaries are a testament to the talented filmmakers creating local stories with great impact. These projects will explore contemporary social issues including how First Nations artist Richard Bell's work uses art to effect change in War & Order, as well as the complexities of teen parenting in Kids Raising Kids. They are also set to celebrate Australian icons like the Sydney Opera House and the Tasmanian Tiger, and I look forward to seeing them hit our big and small screens.

The projects funded through the Producer Program are:

Everybody's Oma: A feature documentary from director/producer Jason van Genderen (Mankind is No Island), who makes home videos about his ageing mother Oma' who is living with dementia. Quite accidentally, Jason turns Oma into an internet sensation, creating a love fuelled battle for identity that played out in front of 100 million people. The film charts the family's playful, moving and ultimately hopeful journey in the public spotlight and behind the scenes. van Genderen is joined by producer Ros Walker (Into the Deep), editor/co-director Gavin Banks (Lockout), co-producer Olivia Olley (Solus) and composer Angela Little (Australia). This project has been developed with support from Screen NSW and will be distributed by Bonsai Films.

Israel Folau (working title): A feature documentary about Australia's most gifted and controversial athlete, and how a social media post landed him at the heart of culture wars, derailing campaigns and careers in the process. A homophobic bigot to some, a persecuted freedom warrior to others, this will be the first time Israel Folau's story is examined in all its multilayered complexity. The creative team features director Nel Minchin (Firestarter The Story of Bangarra), associate director Vanilla Tupu, and producer Ivan O'Mahoney (Firestarter The Story of Bangarra) of In Films. This project is developed with support from Screen NSW.

Harley & Katya: A feature documentary from Blayke Hoffman and Stranger Than Fiction about Indigenous Australian figure skater Harley Windsor, who was the poster boy for the Australian Winter Olympic Team. Paired with Russian skater Katya Alexandrovskaya, this unlikely duo achieved unprecedented success on the ice before meeting with great tragedy. This film follows Harley on a journey of triumph, loss and transformation. Writer/director Selina Miles (Martha: A Picture Story) teams up with producers Blayke Hoffman (Viva the Underdogs), Jo-anne McGowan (Mountain) and Aaliyah-Jade Bradbury, and executive producer Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa). The project is supported by Screen NSW and will be distributed internationally by MGM/K2.

Tiger on the Rocks: A one-hour documentary about the Tasmanian Tiger which once roamed throughout Australia, leaving lasting connections with the land and its First Peoples. Featuring insights from Indigenous artists, rangers and custodians, biologists, bone hunters and archaeologists, this project explores the connection between human and animal, culture, nature and country. Tiger on the Rocks is written and directed by Cathryn Vasseleu (De Anima) and produced by Pat Fiske (Rosemary's Way). It is financed with support from Screen Territory.

The Last Daughter: A feature documentary about Brenda Matthews, a Wiradjuri woman whose earliest memories are of growing up in a white foster family, until she was placed back with her biological family, leaving her feeling disconnected with both sides. Directed by Matthews, The Last Daughter follows her mission to uncover the truth of her past, find a deeper connection to her culture and her story, and ultimately reconcile the two sides of her family. The film is also directed by Nathaniel Schmidt and is produced by Simon Williams and Brendon Skinner who previously collaborated on short documentary Ice Ball. The executive producers are Kyle Slabb (Surfing the Healing Wave), Michael Tear (Hating Peter Tatchell) and Taryn Brumfitt (Embrace).

War & Order: A feature documentary about 50 years of First Nations activism in Australia, shown through the lens of contemporary Australian Aboriginal artist Richard Bell. Director Larissa Behrendt (Maralinga Tjarutja) teams up with producers Charlotte Wheaton (Off Country), Nick Batzias (The Australian Dream) and Josh Milani. It will be executive produced by Richard Bell and Virginia Whitwell (The Australian Dream). Madman and NITV will be bringing War & Order to Australian audiences.

The projects funded through the Commissioned Program are:

Untitled Family Court Murders Documentary: A four-part series for Network 10 from Easy Tiger Productions in association with SAM Content which will examine the family court murders in 1980's Sydney which resulted in several family court judges and their families being targeted by domestic terrorist attacks. This series will expose a chapter of Australian life that has frightening relevance today. Director/producer Sally Aitken (Playing with Sharks) teams up with producers Ian Collie and Rob Gibson whose credits inclu
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