Screen Australia kickstarts $63.5m content spend

$8.8 million in funding will be allocated to a range of screen stories

Screen Australia has announced its support of seven television dramas and four feature film projects.

In total, $8.8 million in funding will be allocated to a range of screen stories, which in turn will trigger production to the value of $63.5 million. The slate includes brand new dramas for SBS and Network Ten and a new film from brothers Clayton and Shane Jacobson, who will reunite to co-star in a follow-up to their 2006 comedy hit Kenny.

Rising talents Ellie Beaumont (Newton’s Law, House Husbands) and Drew Proffitt are the writers, producers and executive producers behind new SBS thriller drama Dead Lucky from Subtext Pictures. The four-part series follows experienced detective Grace Gibbs and trainee Charlie Fung, who are begrudgingly partnered together in the wake of a homicide to track down a killer with whom they both share a history. The show marks Beaumont’s first foray into television producing, and is also produced by Diane Haddon (The Code, Hiding), directed by David Caesar (Hyde and Seek, Underbelly), and executive produced by Nina Stevenson (Ali’s Wedding, East West 101) and Greg Sitch (Ali’s Wedding, The Cup).

Two Network Ten dramas have received production investment funding – Endemol Shine’s family drama Sisters and season two of Playmaker Media’s romantic comedy drama The Wrong Girl.

Sisters is produced by Imogen Banks (Offspring, The Beautiful Lie) and Nicole O’Donohue (The Daughter) in her TV debut, is written by Jonathan Gavin (Seven Types of Ambiguity, Offspring), and will be directed by Emma Freeman (Secret City, Glitch). It tells the story of Julia, whose father – an IVF pioneer – makes a deathbed confession about secretly using his own sperm for anonymous donations, leading her to the late-in-life discovery of two sisters. Casting includes Maria Angelico in the lead, Antonia Prebble, Lucy Durack and comedienne Magda Szubanski. The show has also received funding from Film Victoria for the pilot episode.

2017 Best Actress Logie winner Jessica Marais will return to star as romantically challenged breakfast TV producer Lily Woodward in season two of The Wrong Girl alongside fellow Logie winner Rob Collins. Executive produced by David Maher and David Taylor (Love Child, The Code, House Husbands), produced by Tom Hoffie (Love Child, Return to Nim’s Island) and written by Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy, Wonderland), Vanessa Alexander, Josh Mapleston (Ready For This, Dance Academy), Claire Phillips, Ian Meadows and Sarah Walker (Neighbours, Wonderland). Season two will be directed by Mat King (Wentworth), Jen Leacey (Newton’s Law), Darren Ashton (Here Come The Habibs) and Peter Templeman (Wanted). Screen Australia likewise supported season one of The Wrong Girl as did Film Victoria, who have also funded season two.

Feature Sibling Rivalry is a black comedy co-starring Clayton and Shane Jacobson, with Clayton also taking on producing and directing duties. Written by prolific screenwriter Jamie Browne (The Mule, Secret Daughter, Please Like Me), produced by Jason Byrne (Sucker, How To Talk Australians, Rats and Cats) and executive produced by Tait Brady (The BBQ, Little Acorns, Healing) and Julia Adams (Mako Mermaids, The Day My Butt Went Psycho) it tells the story of two brothers who, with their mother at death’s door, go to extreme and deadly lengths to protect their family inheritance.

Photo: Antonia Prebble, Maria Angelico and Lucy Durack star in Sisters

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