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Cate Blanchett’s ‘Burning’ Heads Amazon Prime’s Expanded Production Slate in Australia

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Amazon Prime Video has unveiled the production of seven new original shows to be produced in Australia, including bush fire feature-documentary “Burning,” executive produced by Cate Blanchett.

The move, along with confirmation of Amazon’s acquisition of “Nine Perfect Strangers” outside the U.S., is part of a concerted effort by the global streamer to expanding local content in Australia.

“(The) announcements are another step in our mission to bring outstanding content to fruition,” said Erika North, head of originals, Asia Pacific, at Amazon Studios.

“Burning” is a feature-length documentary from executive producers Blanchett and Eva Orner, who also serves as director. It examines the 2019-20 bushfires from the perspective of victims of the fires, activists and scientists. It is produced by Propagate Content, Dirty Films and Amazon Studios, and will launch on Amazon Prime later in 2021.

High-profile acquisition “Nine Perfect Strangers” stars and is executive produced by Australian actor Nicole Kidman. Filmed in Australia, and based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same title, the eight-part series is set at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation to nine stressed city dwellers. It also stars Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans, Asher Keddie, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Shannon, Regina Hall, Manny Jacinto, Grace Van Patten and Samara Weaving. The series is co-written by David E. Kelley and John Henry Butterworth, who also executive produce. Jonathan Levine directs.

Amazon has all distribution rights outside the U.S. and China. The series will be screened later this year on Hulu in the U.S.

At a presentation on Tuesday, Amazon unveiled commitments to six other original shows.

It has given a green light to eight-part comedy series “Class of ’07,” which will shoot in Australia from December. The series is created by writer and director Kacie Anning (Amazon’s “The Other Guy”) and produced by NBCUniversal International Studios’ Matchbox Pictures.

Another comedy series, feminist noir “Deadloch,” is written by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan (aka ‘The Kates’) and produced by Guesswork Television, OK Great Productions and Amazon Studios. Filming is set for Tasmania in November.

Four-part documentary series “Head Above Water” follows elite Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe, Bronte Campbell, Kyle Chalmers, in their build up to the Olympic Games. Produced by McAvoy Media, Swimming Australia and Amazon Studios, it will launch on June 4, 2021 on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, the U.S., U.K., Canada and New Zealand and will complete its global rollout later in 2021.

Glendyn Ivin is to direct Sigourney Weaver in drama series “The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart,” based on a book by Holly Ringland. It tells story of a young girl whose violent childhood casts a dark shadow over her adult life. It is produced by Bruna Papandrea (“Nine Perfect Strangers”) from Made Up Stories and Endeavor Content, and adapted for the screen by Australian writer Sarah Lambert.

“The Moth Effect” is a satirical, six-part sketch comedy produced by Bunya Entertainment, Amazon Studios and created by Nick Boshier (“Bondi Hipsters”) and Jazz Twemlow (“Tonightly”). It will launch at the rate of one episode per month from July 30, 2021 on Prime Video in Australia and select countries around the world. It will feature Australia and New Zealand talent including Bryan Brown Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Ben Lawson, Jonny Brugh, Peter O’Brien, Kate Box, Sam Cotton, Christiaan van Vuuren, Sarah Bishop, Nazeem Hussain, David Woodhead and Zoë Coombs Marr.

Original documentary, “Warriors On The Field,” presented by former Australian Football League champion Michael O’Loughlin, explores the personal stories of three Indigenous AFL players and celebrates Aboriginal Australia.

The greenlighted titles mean that Amazon Prime Video has invested A$150 million ($120 million) in 14 local productions in Australia since 2019. Others include: “The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team,” “Making Their Mark,” a series of 10 stand-up comedy specials by some of Australia’s best comedians, “LOL: Last One Laughing AU,” with Rebel Wilson and the second season of “The Wilds.”

“We know that viewers in Australia want to see new, fresh, unique and authentic stories that they can connect with, and we’re committed to producing diverse Australian programming for Prime members globally,” said Tyler Bern, head of content, Prime Video Australia.