Secret River producers pursue Eureka project

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Producers of acclaimed drama The Secret River have their next history drama in sight.

Boutique production company Ruby Entertainment have optioned screen rights to The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, written by historian Clare Wright.

Wright, who wrote the ABC documentaries Utopia Girls: How Women Won the Vote and The War That Changed Us, turns her attention to the untold story of the women behind Ballarat’s 1854 rebellion. They were central to the working, family and cultural life of the goldfields, and instrumental in the creation of the Eureka Flag, depicting the Southern Cross. The battle of the ‘Eureka Stockade,’ in which upwards of 30 people were killed, is regarded as the birth of modern Australian freedom.

The book won the 2014 Stella Prize and the 2014 NIB Award for Literature, was a finalist for the Walkely Book Award and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s, WA Premier’s and Queensland Literary Awards, the NSW Premier’s History Awards, and the Victorian Community History Awards.

Producers Stephen Luby and Mark Ruse said, “We are delighted to have won the rights for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka and to be able to develop it for the screen. This wonderful book is rich in stories that take audiences on an amazing journey with characters who were part of forming Australia as a nation, moulding the Australian character and shaping the new world.

“The experiences and perspectives of the women of this time were pivotal in making us what we are and their stories have never been properly told. Now is the time. This is the perfect project to follow our mini-series, The Secret River and we are sure it will resonate profoundly with audiences here and round the world.”

The Secret River recently won an AWGIE Award, Screen Composer’s Award, and Screen Producers of Australia Award, and is nominated for 8 AACTA Awards.

A network is yet to be attached to the project.

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