Robert Connolly amongst successful recipients of Screen Australia’s Enterprise Industry program

Writers’ rooms, script workshops and audience-driven distribution are the major themes running through Screen Australia’s re-imagined Enterprise Industry program announced today. Amongst the successful recipients are Robert Connolly (Paper Planes) and the Van Vuuren Bros. (Bondi Hipsters).

Ten Australian production companies have been awarded $3.2 million to develop projects and talent with a view to expanding production and broadcast pipelines.

“This is a boon for emerging and experienced creatives,” Screen Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Cameron, said today.

“It gives approximately 100 writers, producers and script editors an unprecedented opportunity to hone their skills and gain greater exposure domestically and internationally. This is filling a serious employment gap in the industry identified by the sector through our consultation process and serves to regenerate our screen industry,” she said.

The production companies supported are investing in projects as diverse as Bondi Hipsters: The Movie, and the expansion of the Cinema Plus model – the innovative distribution method used for the successful release of The Turning.

Through the Enterprise Growth stream, the Cinema Plus proposal will complement strategies to peak interest in more traditionally released feature films. Arenamedia, spearheaded by director/producer/writer Robert Connolly (Paper Planes) and founder of Cinema Plus, will use its funding to advance this distribution model and develop new finance models for screen projects.

Robert Connolly said, “Times are changing; it is all about knowing the audience – how to find them and create a unique theatrical experience for them. I am convinced inspiring Australian stories will continue to have a place in cinemas, on television and online with the continuing support of the Australian Government.”

Screen Australia will partner with Jamie Hilton’s See Pictures to progress their development slate and low-budget production arm, Ticket to Ride, and to pilot a direct-to-digital distribution scheme.

The Van Vuuren Bros. get a license to create longer-form content that is audience driven through their multi-project approach – ‘make a lot of stuff and get it out there’.

Stay tuned for the Soul Mates spin-off musical Kiwi Assassins: The Musical – a feature length extension of the popular comedy sequence (Kiwi Assassins).

Screen Australia will support the Documentary Australia Foundation to bring philanthropists and filmmakers together to create a new source of funding for the sector. Enterprise funding will enable the organisation to build on its success and resource and build its educational program for filmmakers, philanthropists and donors.

The Independent Cinemas Association of Australia (ICAA) will be funded to expand marketing and promotion activities, especially in regional areas, like the ‘Paper Planes – Win a Family Trip to Tokyo’ competition.

Under the Enterprise Stories stream, Screen Australia will partner with FremantleMedia Australia in a matched funding arrangement to develop up to four high-end drama concepts for commission outside the traditional broadcast model.

Jo Porter, FremantleMedia Australia’s Director of Drama said, “This is the most innovative and ambitious development model ever undertaken in Australia. We will partner with local writers to take Australian-led stories to the international stage.”

“This significant investment is going to be a game changer for Australia’s creative community. It is a unique opportunity to connect the best local talent with the leading creatives in the world,” she said.

Every Cloud Productions (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Werner Film Productions (Dance Academy) and screen resource organisation Open Channel have also been funded to develop market-ready scripts for film, television and multiplatform projects. The script workshop proposals include public call outs, a Western Australian and Northern Rivers (NSW) focus and close collaboration with distributors and broadcasters.

And finally, Bogan Entertainment Solutions (BES), the poster child for children’s animation, will be funded to build skill sets in 2D animation and to create original IP to sell to the world market. This funding will allow BES to make contemporary animated comedy involving Australian creatives in the tradition of Adventure Time and The Regular Show by Cartoon Network productions.

BES have the ideas, skills, networks and, by way of this funding, the ability to develop projects to a level where they can retain ownership of their original concepts. Their goal is to create content and produce and sell their own shows retaining rights within Australia and build talent in the Australian animation sector.

“Enterprise Industry has a fundamental underlying principle of advancing the capacity of the industry as a whole and not just the business plan of the applicant. These projects announced today are ambitious, innovative and together work to raise the profile of the Australian screen sector and ensure it is armed to punch above its weight into the future,” COO Fiona Cameron concluded.


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