Miles Franklin winner set for adaptation

A new film and television company Cenozoic Pictures has a Miles Franklin winning novel in script development.

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lukashenko was optioned by Cenozoic Pictures in May. On Tuesday it won the Miles Franklin literary award.

Cenozoic Pictures, based in Fitzroy, was founded by Veronica Gleeson (formerly of Madman and Screen Australia), creative producer Suzanne Walker (Madman) and filmmaker Luke Walker (AACTA/FCCA/SPA nominated director/ producer).

In a statement, CenozoicPictures said,  “Melissa Lucashenko is a luminous talent we have long admired. Her writing is urgent, funny, sharp and painfully vital. From the opening pages, Too Much Lip boasts an exciting cinematic fluency. It is a story that eviscerates as it reconciles; entertains as it provokes. We commend the Miles Franklin judges for their vision in bringing the book to the fore of Australian culture, and congratulate Melissa on this brilliant achievement. We could not be more thrilled with the opportunity to realise Too Much Lip to the screen. It is an extraordinary work of guts and power – one that should be shared broadly.”

Lucashenko is a multi-award-winning Goorie writer, a Walkley Award winner for her non- fiction, and a founding member of the prisoner’s human rights group, Sisters Inside. Her novel tracks the story of wisecracking Kerry Salter, a Bundjalung woman whose intention to return home for 24 hours to farewell her Pop becomes a life-changing stay as she confronts family, corruption, buried secrets and the possibility of love.

With a strong emphasis on providing writers with a creatively supportive environment in which to tell warmblooded stories, Too Much Lip forms part of a slate the company plans to launch in the second half of 2019.

Writer Veronica Gleeson is currently adapting the novel, working closely with Lucashenko as co-creator and co-writer. Gleeson first met Lukashenko in her former work life as a film funding executive. Gleeson is now writing a number of commissions for the BBC, produced by BAFTA winning UK company Duck Soup. In Australia, she is dramatising Anne Deveson’s seminal work Tell Me I’m Here. Veronica also served as creative producer on feature film Below, set for its world premiere at Melbourne International Film Festival on August 3.

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