Plans are very shaky for Christmas this year, but not for Stan, who announced this week that production is currently underway in Adelaide on a new Stan Original comedy film A Sunburnt Christmas, to premiere in time for the big day.
Directed by Christiaan Van Vuuren, and created and written by Elliot Vella, Gretel Vella and Timothy Walker, the film is described as ‘a wild, hilarious and heartfelt story about a single mum and her kids doing it tough on their outback farm until a runaway criminal dressed as Santa Claus (Daniel Henshall) crashes into their property and their lives.’ Other stars include Ling Cooper Tang (The Secrets She Keeps), Sullivan Stapleton, and new talents Lena Nankivell, Eaden McGuiness and Tatiana Goode as the kids. Producers are Lisa Scott for Highview Productions, with executive producers Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox for Every Cloud Productions and Mike Jones co-producing.
Screen Australia on track to meet Gender Matters KPI but more work to be done
- The agency announced today that it’s on track to meet its new Gender Matters KPI at the end of 2021/22, with 57% of key creative roles (producer, writer and director) across approved development and production funding held by women and female-identifying people in 2019/20.
- This is the first year of the new KPI reporting. It’s not all great news when you dig down though, and as producer Joanna Werner, Screen Australia Board Member, chair of the Gender Matters Taskforce said: ‘While we are encouraged by the result overall, the KPI has been lifted by high levels of participation by women in development applications, and these high levels are not yet carrying through to some areas of production.’
- Werner also said that industry-wide data tracking participation over an eight-year period showed that men continue to dominate all key creative roles in feature production, and writer and director roles in television drama, online drama and documentary.
Budget and changes to Australian Content Regulation
- Children’s sector confronts government, politely. The children’s television sector looks like the biggest loser out of the current rebuild of the sector, and producers are pushing back against the government.
- The Devil is in the detail on government changes. Some sulphur, some smiles. QAPE & kids & extra dosh. What does it mean?
- Here is the Screen Producers Australia position on the changes to regulation of Children’s and other Australian content, predicting loss of jobs, investment and local stories on our screens.
- Screen budget 2020: No relief for ABC, SBS and agencies. Similar amounts of cash to run the agencies while screen makers continue to agonise over the tax changes.
Australian Directors’ Guild Awards
- The ADG Awards will take place online in a virtual ceremony on Monday 19 October at 6pm via Live Stream. To watch the awards, hosted by Greta Lee Jackson and Bridie Connell, go to adgawards2020.livestreaming.com.au or via social media @ABCTV and the @AustralianDirectorsGuild facebook page.
- Be bold, be real, be rigorous: Samantha Lang on creativity and change in this weird moment. The writer, director and ADG President reflects on the stories we’re going to need and the challenges facing the industry.
ACMI prepares for comeback
- ACMI renews digital promise in virtual launch. Is the Australian Centre of the Moving Image a place? A Zone? A Cultural Accumulation Machine to defy COVID-19? First hints are released in a digital launch of the online component.
- ACMI’s Cinema 3 is an on demand option for renting and streaming its selections at home. It launches on Wednesday 11 November with a digital restoration of Claire Denis’ classic film, Beau Travail (1999), following the story of soldiers in the French Foreign Legion.
West Australian Roundup
With WA-shot Dirt Music in cinemas now, and Rams and Never Too Late coming out on the 29th, there’s a boom in news from the wild and COVID-free West, as outlined by the latest ScreenWest update:
- ABC television series ITCH produced by Komixx Entertainment recommenced production for its second season this week, with filming taking place in the Peel and Great Southern regions.
- Pre-production for Arenamedia’s Blueback is in full swing. Principal photography is expected to commence in early 2021.
- With funding greenlight from Screenwest and Screen Australia, Jub Clerc’s debut feature film as writer director, Sweet As, is currently slated for production in mid-2021.
- Feature film The Furnace, written and directed by Roderick MacKay and produced by The Koop was the only Australian feature film to screen at the Venice Film Festival in August.
- 100% Wolf which Siamese post-produced in Western Australia released to premium-on-demand, and was in the top ten highest grossing films in Spain as it opened in its first week across 136 cinemas in September.
- Revelation International Film Festival pivoted to deliver it’s Couched program entirely online, while CinefestOZ took advantage of brilliant timing to showcase Western Australian features Dirt Music and Rams showcase some brilliant Western Australian short films. Screenwest and Lotterywest supported films Doug the Human and Carmentis were both recognised with awards.
- Eight female Indigenous writer-directors selected for RED Anthology. WA Indigenous production companies PiNK PEPPER and Ramu are teaming up with the NZ powerhouse behind successful portmanteau feature films Vai and Waru to make one with an Aboriginal focus.
Games & Podcasts
- Winners of the 2020 Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDAs) have been announced. Winning titles include Necrobarista (Route 59), Moving Out and Boomerang Fu.
- What can SA’s Video Game Development Rebate do for local developers? The SA Video Game Development Rebate, the first of its kind in Australia, is now available to SA devs. What can a rebate like this actually achieve?
- Film Vic announces Amplify Victoria, a podcast production fund. The newly announced documentary development funding initiative co-funded by audible has a view to supporting the production of premium podcasts.
- Adelaide Film Festival (14 – 25 October) is currently underway. Opening night film was Seth Larney’s sci fi thriller 2067. Watch out for Adrian Martin’s review in tomorrow’s Screenhub bulletin.
- Byron Bay Film Festival (23 October – 1 November) will open with Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra, and will feature a mix of virtual and real screenings, including a VR event at the famous Byron Bay Lighthouse under a full moon.
- Sit Down Shut Up & Watch! (SDSW) is South Australia’s own, international, learning disability led short film festival, running concurrently with Adelaide Film Festival (14-25 Oct) and a ‘Best Of’ screening at AFF.
Mental health webinars announced for screen industry. Following on from the documentary ‘The Show Must Go On’ comes Screen Well, a series of webinars tailored for crews, creators, performers and heads of department in film and TV.
- Film Review: Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra is vivid and important. Created to mark 30 years of the acclaimed Indigenous dance company, Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin’s documentary also serves as a moving tribute to the Page brothers.
- Film Review: Combat Wombat is fresh, fun and inspiring. Brisbane-based animation company Like a Photon delivers another crowd-pleaser, with Deborah Mailman’s lead voice a real highlight, says Diversity in Australian Media reviewer Naavikaran.
- Film Review: Dirt Music has a sense of disconnection. Lovingly capturing its West Australian locations, this Tim Winton adaptation would have worked better with local lead actors, argues Sarah Ward.
- Film Review: High Ground delivers its own reckoning. Fresh from an Australian premiere at Brisbane International Film Festival, this is an enthralling addition to a new canon of films about historical injustice to our First Peoples.
- Film Review: Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt). Monica Zanetti’s queer coming out comedy has echoes of Australian high-concept teen classics. It’s a refreshing crowd-pleaser, says Glenn Dunks.
Most exciting news for Mad Max fans…
Finally, the internet went a bit silly yesterday over the news that Warner Bros is definitely developing ‘Furiosa’, a prequel story for the Mad Max franchise, going back into the youth of the Charlize Theron character. She’s to be played by Anaya Taylor-Joy, with Chris Hemsworth confirmed to star in the movie that George Miller will direct, co-write and produce with his longtime producing partner Doug Mitchell. Miller’s own Australian-based Kennedy Miller Mitchell banner will produce, but there’s not a lot of other detail available yet.