EXCLUSIVE: SBS will look at Australia’s Lebanese community in a four-part documentary series, Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl.
To be produced by Northern Pictures, the series will trace the origins of Lebanese-Australians in the Sydney suburb of Punchbowl, following on from the documentary on the Vietnamese community in Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta. The series attracted bumper ratings for SBS when it screened earlier this year.
Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl will begin in the ‘70s when many newly arrived migrants were Muslim, and will explore how domestic and global events challenged and divided the community. It will touch upon the Gulf War, September 11, the Bali bombings, and crimes by persons of “Middle Eastern appearance” which all led to the stereotyping of primarily Lebanese young men, an enraged media, and the Cronulla Riots.
As with the Cabramatta series, Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl will tell the inside story, told by community leaders, police, families and individuals.
SBS has also commissioned a one-off documentary, Surgery Ship, looking at a team of Australian doctors and nurses aboard a ‘floating hospital’ sailing to Guinea on the West African Coast.
On arrival they will face the most severe medical issues, confronting the most difficult ethical decisions as they decide who will be helped and who will not. They will deal with life and death cases and balance the fates of patients in their hands.
Surgery Ship is made by newly formed production company Media Stockade.
Both docos will air in 2013.
NB: David Knox blogs Eurovision at sbs.com.au Photo: stock image