Two new children’s television series for ABC and two online projects are amongst projects funded by Screen Australia.
First Day, which portrayed 12-year-old transgender girl Hannah, was a one-off drama produced by Epic Films screened as part of International Day of the Girl. It won the Prix Jeunesse International Children’s Television Festival in Cannes, and now proceeds to series.
Also funded is an animated series with four animal lifeguards fromCheeky Little Media.
Screen Australia’s CEO, Graeme Mason said: “It’s also exciting to support some stories which offer viewers a chance to connect with Australian experiences and perspectives that are rarely seen on our screens. In First Day we see an authentic portrayal of personal growth and acceptance; and Girl, Interpreted, a bilingual comedy series about a Mandarin interpreter in Melbourne, brings humour that carries across cultural boundaries. I’m confident these will resonate with viewers.”
A four-part series which follows 12-year-old transgender girl Hannah as she navigates the challenges of starting high school and finding the courage to live her most authentic self. The series is based on the stand-alone episode created in 2017 through Screen Australia and ABC Children’s Girls initiative, a funding program to uncover and support the next generation of Australian female content makers. The episode won the inaugural MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Award for Kids’ Programming and the Gender Equity Prize at the prestigious Prix Jeunesse International Children’s Television Festival in 2018. The series is written and directed by Julie Kalceff, creator of hit online drama Starting From Now, and will star Evie Macdonald as Hannah. Producers Kirsty Stark (Unboxed) and Kate Croser (Top End Wedding) and co-producer Kate Butler are also attached. This project is commissioned by ABC Children’s and financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.
A 26-part animated series centred on the adventures of four junior lifeguards – joey Pounce, koala Frizzy, wombat Neville and platypus Gemma. The furry friends are never far from fun, or danger, but under the guidance of grown-up lifeguards the young cadets are on their way to becoming pint-sized heroes of Kangaroo Beach. Each episode has an important water safety message, and consulting on water safety information will be Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins (Bondi Rescue) and Craig Riddington of Surf Educators International. This series is created by Tim Bain who has written for global hits such as PJ Masks, Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank Engine. The writers are Tim Bain, Charlotte Rose Hamlyn (Blinky Bill), Simon Dodd (Spongo, Fuzz & Jalapena) and Samantha Carroll (The Deep). Also on board are producers Celine Goetz and Isla Curtis, and executive producer Patrick Egerton from Cheeky Little Media (Kazoops!). Kangaroo Beach is commissioned by ABC Children’s and is financed with support from UYoung Media.
A 5 x 5-minute bilingual comedy series for YouTube about Lillian, a pedantic Mandarin interpreter eager to impress in her new job in Melbourne. Inspired by writer/director Grace Feng Fang Juan’s professional experience as an interpreter, the series follows Lillian as she is reluctantly caught in a tussle of cultures and words during the most unexpected assignments. It is produced by Nikki Tran off the back of her online dramedy FRESH!, and executive produced by Stuart Menzies (The Cry). Girl, Interpreted is financed with support from Film Victoria.
A 10 x 12-minute animated series for YouTube set in a future where video games are everything, and technologically-enhanced e-sports competitors known as Meta Runners reign supreme. The series follows Tari, a young Meta Runner, as she weaves her way through this high-stakes and sometimes dangerous world where everyone wants to be number one. It is presented by writer/director Luke Lerdwichagul and writer/producer Kevin Lerdwichagul, creators of the highly popular YouTube channel SMG4. Meta Runner has received completion funding from Screen Australia and is financed with support from Epic Games and AMD.