Move over Commercial TV, Public Broadcasters and Subscription TV -Community TV station Channel 31 is about to unleash its first ever one-hour drama series, Sonnigsburg.
The independently produced supernatural drama, will air for six weeks on C31 Melbourne and C44 Adelaide and on YouTube.
Ann Truong (Hard Target 2, Hunters) stars as a TV location scout who goes to visit her ex-girlfriend, in rural Mount Sunshine. While visiting, she hears stories of Sonnigsburg – a town that no one has visited for decades. But she discovers Mount Sunshine is haunted by the ghosts of its past -and her ex has gone missing.
The series also stars Ian Stenlake (Sea Patrol, Stingers) and veteran character actor Don Bridges (Neighbours, Blue Heelers).
It was developed over three years on a budget of just $30,000 by independent producer Fiona Bulle. The first $10,000 was invested by the Community Broadcast Fund, the second $10,000 raised through crowdfunding by Indiegogo, including a donation from one local Victorian business, Quest Payment Systems. The third $10,000 was self-funded by Bulle herself.
The production was filmed in former Victorian gold-rush town Walhalla. With a population of only 18 permanent residents, it has a reputation for being “haunted.”
“When I started thinking about the show in 2013, supernatural drama wasn’t something that Australian television made. Now we’ve got Glitch and The Kettering Incident, and Sonnigsburg sits alongside those – just with a far smaller budget,” Bulle says.
Just before Community TV is forced to shift from Broadcast to Online, Sonnigsburg reminds us of the importance of platforms for emerging talent.
“Even though C31 is moving to an online platform, there’s something really exciting about premiering the show on television before moving to online streaming. We’ve worked on web series before and this feels like a step up, even as the environment evolves around us,” says Bulle.
Co-creator Keith Gow adds, “Most of the people working on Sonnigsburg have never worked in television before, but have come to the project with varying levels of experience in film and theatre.
“Channel 31 has given us the opportunity to learn how to craft a six-part series from the ground up. It’s an essential step for us in our careers.”
Bulle adds, “I want to make television and I love one-hour dramas and I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I’ve co-produced a feature film before, so why not the equivalent of three?
“It was harder than I thought it would be but it has been a fantastic learning experience and we have a show that we’re all proud of.”
Melbourne: Channel 31 8:30pm Monday November 14th
Adelaide: Channel 44 10:00pm Monday November 14th
It will also be available on the C31 app and YouTube.