Screen Australia Assigns $4 Million to 13 New Documentaries

Screen Australia has funded The First
Courtesy of Screen Australia

Screen Australia will pump $4 million into 13 new documentary projects.

The documentaries will cover everything from the Australian Open tennis tournament, to Australia’s LGBTQI+ history and the platypus.

Seven of the projects are being funded via the Commissioned Program, five through the Producer Program and one through the First Nations Department.

Alex West, Screen Australia’s head of documentary, said the format provides a powerful avenue to spark or shift national conversations, and he can’t wait to see the stories brought to life on screen.

“We are living through a period of immense change to the planet and society,” West said. “So these documentaries offer timely reflections on Australian culture and identity, exploring the importance of topics such as activism, arts, health and environment.”

The project gaining funding via the First Nations Department is “Still We Rise”, a one-hour archival documentary for the ABC which captures the 1972 moment when activists erected an Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns opposite Parliament House.

The documentary is a Tamarind Tree Pictures production, financed in association with Vic Screen, and developed and produced in association with the ABC. Writer and director John Harvey (“Off Country”) has teamed up with producer Anna Grieve (“Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky”) for the project.

Angela Bates, head of First Nations for Screen Australia, said “Still We Rise” would be vital viewing.

“We are pleased to support “Still We Rise”, which will provide an Indigenous lens to the events surrounding the Aboriginal Tent Embassy to align with its 50th anniversary, with incredible archival footage from the ABC. This project will be vital viewing, not only as a celebration of First Nations history, but also as an invaluable resource to educate future generations.”

“The First Inventors”, meanwhile, has been subsidised via the Commissioned Program.

It will be hosted by actor Rob Collins (pictured above) for NITV and Network 10, who will investigate the innovations, complex knowledge systems and scientific discoveries of Australia’s First People.

It’s directed by award-winning filmmaker Larissa Behrendt (“Maralinga Tjarutja”) alongside co-producer Cian McCue, with Ben Davies (“Outback Ringer”) and Ben Commens (“Further Back in Time for Dinner”) executive producing.

The project is produced by Ronde Media with Moogie Down Productions co-producing, with financial support from the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Tourism Australia and Screen Territory.

For a full list of the financed productions, click here.

Earlier this month, Screen Australia announced $2 million in funding for nine online projects. In July, it allocated $4.4 million to 18 screen industry festivals and events.