Filmmaker Tony Ayres is certainly a busy man.
His telemovie Saved went to air on Sunday night on SBS with positive reviews all round. He has also co-produced the three documentaries, Anatomy, starting tonight on the ABC, with his co-producer Michael McMahon.
Next up he is co-producing a feature film Lou, directed by Saved‘s writer Belinda Chayko staring John Hurt and Emily Barclay (Prime Move, Suburban Mayhem, In My Father’s Den). And for SBS he has a new drama series in development.
“We’re in development with SBS on a 13 part drama series, written and co-produced by Roger Monk (East of Everything, Walking on Water). It’s called Parole, and it’s about people getting out of prison on parole trying to find their way back into life.
Ayres says he hopes the series will be in production in the second half of the year.
“We’re very excited about it,” he added.
As a director of socially-aware dramas, Ayres is clearly forming a strong bond with the public broadcaster. He says that despite SBS not being as niche as it used to be it is reflecting the real Australia.
“It’s not a censored version of Australia which you get on the other broadcasters,” he said. “The only time its uncensored on other broadcasters is the reality and talent shows. But typically the other broadcasters are biased against the real Australia, which is kind of odd.”
While some call for a return to ethnic-broadcasting on SBS Ayres believes there is a broader role the network is achieving.
“My feeling is that as long as its reflecting the real Australia then I think it can be as mainstream as you want. That’s the next step: the progression of multiculturalism as an aesthetic,” he said.
“Ethnic diversity is the background but it’s not the story. It’s stories that anyone can relate to, but they just happen to be set in worlds that we don’t see. Otherwise pro-active championing of diversity tends to produce the same kind of work.
“We’ve got to get beyond that.”