Screen Australia Commits Development Funds to Sixteen New Films

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Iain Canning and Emil Sherman are developing a new Take on Chinese legend 'Mulan'.

Projects from See Saw Films, Stephan Elliot, and Ben Elton and the Wiggles are among those that will receive more than $475,000 in development support from the national agency.

New films from See Saw Films, Stephan Elliot and Sheridan JobbinsBen Elton and the Wiggles, as well as projects from established Aussie TV scriptwriters making the move into feature directing, have all received development funding from Aussie agency Screen Australia

The agency said Friday it was providing more than $475,000 in funding for 16 feature film projects, backing a number of debut and second-time writers, directors and producers. Eleven new projects have been added to Screen Australia’s development slate, while five projects will receive continued support.

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With an eye on the Chinese market, See Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, with writer Jan Sardi (Shine), are developing a new story inspired by the ancient Chinese fable about a legendary female warrior, Mulan.

Elliot and Jobbins, who previously adapted Noel Coward’s Easy Virtue together in the U.K. -- starring Jessica Biel -- are working on a new comedy, Madams, which Arclight Films’ Gary Hamilton will produce.

Comedian Ben Elton will write and direct The Wiggles: Pandamonium!, the second movie from the veteran Aussie kids entertainers. Wiggles manager Paul Field is producing alongside Michael Wrenn and Gary Hamilton. An eponymously named feature about another classic Australian children’s character, Blinky Bill, is being developed by Flying Bark Productions, with Fin Edquist writing and Deane Taylor producing.

And writer/director Jennifer Kent has received early-stage funding to support work on her second feature, Interior, the follow-up to her Sundance hit The Babadook.

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Among the TV writers to receive feature development funding are Kirsty Fisher and Marieke Hardy, with their edgy Death Is for the Living, to be directed by Trent O’Donnell; All I Know of the Devil, also from TV writer Shanti Gudgeon, in her first feature script; and Jacquelin Perske, who has written the psychological thriller The Phobos Experiment, to be directed by Rowan Woods and produced by Penny Wall.

Also supported in this round are romantic comedy EM, from director Kate Reidl, writer Emma Jensen and producers Matthew DabnerKaren Radzyner and Anna Vincent; Damien Lay’s To the Bitter End, a psychological thriller about a pirate and pursuer locked in a treacherous ocean pursuit, written by John Goldsmith and produced by Carolyn Frichot; and director Eron Sheean’s horror film End of Animal, written by Shane Danielsen and produced by Michael Wrenn and Paul Yi.

Theater director Michael Kantor will receive support to begin work on his second feature, with writer Marion Nelson -- an adaptation of Chloe Hooper’s critically celebrated novel The Engagement, to be produced by Bruno Charlesworth and Jo Dyer.

Other dramas supported in this round include Undertow, by writer/director Miranda Nation and producers Lyn Norfor and Sylvia Wilczynski, and King: A Street Story, by producer/writer/director Jacqueline McKenzie and producer Rob Coe.

Screen Australia’s head of production, Sally Caplan, said: “The funding decisions made in this last quarter reflect the breadth of stories coming out of this country and the depth of talent. It is great to be able to support such a spread of genres and ideas and such a range of established and emerging writing, directing and producing talent.”


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