New Year funding announcements by Australia’s federal and regional-level film support bodies have allowed the green-lighting of a string of features and documentary films.
Prominent among them is “Go Karts,” a family film about a boy who must overcome difficulties, including his own recklessness, to win a kart championship. The film is directed by Owen Trevor (“Top Gear”) from a script by Steve Worland (“Paper Planes”) and starts production the first half of 2018.
Production is by Jamie Hilton (“Breath”) and Sonia Borella for See Pictures. Executive producers are Joel Pearlman, Michael Pontin, Berry Meyerowitz and Jeff Sackman. Roadshow Films will handle distribution in Australia and New Zealand. International sales are by Aqute Media.
The film has funding support of the Western Australian Regional Film Fund (WARFF) through Screenwest, and received major production investment from Screen Australia and Screenwest in association with Create NSW and Spectrum Films.
Screen Australia, Screenwest and Create NSW, have also come together to back animated feature “100% Wolf” from Flying Bark Productions and co-producer Siamese. “100% Wolf” is based on the book of the same name by Western Australian author Jayne Lyons. The film will be directed by Alexs Stadermann and has been adapted by Fin Edquist, with Barbara Stephen and Alexia Gates-Foale producing.
“Wolf” tells the story of Freddy Lupin, heir to the leadership of a proud family line of werewolves. Positive he’ll become the most fearsome werewolf ever, Freddy is in for a shock when on his 14th birthday his first tryout goes wrong, turning him into a poodle instead.
Flying Bark is one of Australia’s leading animation firms with past credits including “Maya The Bee,” and “Blinky Bill: The Movie.” International sales will be handled by Studio 100 Film.
Screen Australia also unveiled federal funding for 12 documentaries through two assistance programs – US$680,000 (A$850,000) via its producer support program, and US$2.13 million (A$2.66 million) via its project-specific commissioned program.
Highlights include feature-length “Working Class Boy,” and “The Fight” and Northern Pictures’ series “The Magical Land of Oz.”
CJZ’s “Working Class Boy” is based on Jimmy Barnes’ best-selling book of the same name, about the early years of Australia’s biggest rock star, and is directed and co-produced by Mark Joffe (“Jack Irish”). The film will be released theatrically by Universal Pictures, followed by a broadcast on Australia’s Channel Seven.
“The Fight” is a full-length adaptation of producer and director team Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw’s award-winning Guardian short of the same title. It examines the discrimination faced by people with disabilities in Bolivia. Ayala and Fallshaw’s “The Bolivian Case” was recently acquired by Netflix.
“Magical Land’ by writer-director Tosca Looby (“Outback”) and executive producers Sue Clothier, Karina Holden, Caroline Hawkins and Clare Birks, is a wildlife series that will explore the unique exotic creatures of Australia that have evolved in a country shaped by a distinctive climate and years of isolation. It will air on the via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC2 in the U.K. and PBS in the U.S.