Roy Billing - News Poster


'Underbelly Files: Chopper' and 'House of Bond' among Nine's 2017 slate

Ben Mingay and Sam Neill star in Nine's new mini-series 'House of Bond'..

Nine has unveiled its programming line-up for the new year, and with it sees the return of Underbelly.—.this time focused on the .untold, uncut. story of Mark .Chopper. Read.

The series, known as Underbelly Files: Chopper, will be once again be produced by Screentime..

Also coming up for the network is the mini-series House of Bond, which tells the rags to riches tale of the controversial business tycoon Alan Bond. Sam Neill, Rachael Taylor and Adrienne Pickering star alongside Hacksaw Ridge.s Ben Mingay as Bond.

Other cast members include Samantha Jade, Gyton Grantley, Marcus Graham, Anne Looby, Johnny Ruffo, Roy Billing, Paul Gleeson and Jack Campbell..House of Bond.was produced by Cjz, with the assistance of Screen Australia and Screen Nsw. The mini was written by Sarah Smith and directed by Mark Joffe..

Karl Stefanovic
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'Sisters', 'Wake in Fright' and the return of Russell Coight: Ten’s 2017 slate


Network Ten has unveiled its 2017 line-up, with two new local dramas leading the slate; Sisters,.starring Barry Otto and Catherine McClements, and the previously announced.Wake in Fright.

Other new local content includes Common Sense, a news-focused show from the creators of Gogglebox; The Biggest Loser: Transformed; and a new series of.Russell Coight.s All Aussie Adventures,.after 15 years away from screens..

Offspring and The Wrong Girl will return, alongside lifestyle and reality programming such as MasterChef Australia, I.m A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here!, Gogglebox, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Family Feud, The Living Room, Shark Tank, Australian Survivor, The Bachelor Australia and The Bachelorette Australia..

Network Ten chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said the 2017 slate was .diverse and deeply engaging..

.Wake In Fright and Sisters are extraordinary Australian stories. The Biggest Loser: Transformed will take a beloved brand to a whole new level,
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Torres Strait docudrama Blue Water Empire enlists Ryan Corr, Jack Thompson

Blue Water Empire.

Filming has begun in Far North Queensland and the Torres Straits on Blue Water Empire, the three-part docudrama on the history and culture of the Torres Strait Islands set to air on the ABC next year.

The cast list has filled out with a who's who of the local scene: Jack Thompson, Ryan Corr, Damian Walshe-Howling, Aaron Fa.Aoso, Jimi Bani, Roy Billing, Geoff Morrell, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Peter Phelps, Merwez Whaleboat, Robert Mammone and Damian de Montemas..

The series is being produced by Aaron Fa.Aoso and Jimi Bani's Lonestar Company in partnership with Bunya Productions, led by producers David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin (Goldstone). It was commissioned by the ABC with assistance from Screen Australia and Screen Queensland.

.It.s an honour to be telling the stories of our amazing people and their contribution, over the last two centuries, to the history of Torres Strait Islanders and wider Australia,
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House Husbands dusts off the perambulators as shooting begins on season five

House Husbands.

House Husbands season five begins filming in Melbourne this week.

Gary Sweet, Firass Dirani, Rhys Muldoon, Julia Morris, Natalie Saleeba, Jane Allsop, Louise Siversen and Denise Scott are all back, and will be joined by Packed to the Rafters alum Hugh Sheridan.

Sheridan will play Nick Gazecki, a music teacher who makes an enemy of his new neighbour Lewis (Sweet).

Other new additions include Roy Billing and Australian musical theatre legend Nancye Hayes.

.Everyone with a family can relate to the House Husbands and their partners as they juggle the pressures of relationships, work and parenting", Nine.s co-Heads of Drama Jo Rooney and Andy Ryan said..

Sue Seeary from Playmaker said: .We are thrilled to be back again for a fifth series. With such a wonderful returning cast and the opportunity of working with Hugh Sheridan as the new House Husband, this series is sure to capture
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Hacksaw Ridge's Ben Mingay to star as Alan Bond in Nine's House of Bond

Ben Mingay.

Ben Mingay (Packed to the Rafters, Hacksaw Ridge) will star as Alan Bond in House of Bond, Nine's miniseries now in production.

House of Bond tells the tale of Australia.s most controversial tycoon, whose excesses ran to women, fame, money, crime and everything in between..

The mini-series co-stars Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones) as Diana Bliss, Adrienne Pickering (Rake) as Eileen Bond and Sam Neill (House of Hancock) as Roland .Tiny. Rowland.

House of Bond is the rags-to-riches tale of Bond.s incredible rise and spectacular fall in the 1970s and 80s as the cheeky, knockabout .Ten Pound Pom. who fought his way from the back alleys of Fremantle to become the richest man in Australia and one of our greatest sporting heroes for winning the America.s Cup..

The series will also star Gyton Grantley, Samantha Jade, Anne Looby, John Howard, Johnny Ruffo, Roy Billing, Paul Gleeson and Jack Campbell.
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Andrew Knight on Jack Irish: "I'm really pleased with it"

Guy Pearce and Roy Billing in Jack Irish.

Asked how he's doing after a whirlwind year, screenwriter Andrew Knight is characteristically understated:.

"I'm alive and trying to construct a breakfast at the moment".

In between film work last year, Knight wrote new seasons of Rake and Jack Irish simultaneously, a process he calls "a blur"..

The new Jack.begins this Thursday - a six-part series instead of the earlier telemovies.

Knight calls the change "liberating"..

"We had more time to tell a story. The hard part was working out where everything would fall. We had an overall story, but assigning things episodically was a constant trade-off and shifting game"..

"I worked closely with the other two writers, Matt Cameron and Andrew Anastasios. The three of us would go away and write our bits, then we'd come back and say - that needs to move, this needs to shift"..

"If you're just writing a tele-movie,
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Roy Billing slams Meaa's Save Our Stories campaign

Actor Roy Billing.

Acting legend Roy Billing has launched a scathing attack on the Meaa's Save Our Stories campaign which seeks to prevent changes to the visa approval process for imported actors and crew.

This comes ahead of the release of the government's Review of Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa (Subclass 420), which was undertaken to reduce the burden and cost of unnecessary or inefficient regulation imposed on individuals, business and community organisations.

Billing said the union's Save Our Stories campaign was "disengenous"..

"It is drawing a very long bow to claim that taking the union out of the visa application process will ruin the Australian film industry," he said..

"Australian stories and jobs are not under threat as government subsidised productions have to adhere to strictly enforced cultural guidelines." . . .

Billing said one of the key components of the review, which started last year, was to seek opinions about compulsory union consultation
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The luck of the Irish for Darcy-Smith

Based in the Us for the past three years, Kieran Darcy-Smith had not seen the Jack Irish telepics when he was offered the gig as set-up director of the spin-off series starring Guy Pearce as a former criminal lawyer turned private investigator and debt collector.

After watching the telepics and reading the scripts for the 6-part ABC series by Andrew Knight, Matt Cameron and Andrew Anastasios, Darcy-Smith readily agreed.

In his first TV drama assignment, the director whose breakthrough was Wish You Were Here is directing two episodes and Mark Joffe and Daniel Nettheim are each helming two. Essential Media and Entertainment.s Ian Collie is the series producer.

.The scripts are sensational; this is as good as TV drama gets,. Kieran tells If as shooting is underway in Melbourne to be followed by a week in the Philippines. .I am working with the A-team..

The plot is under wraps so Darcy-Smith is circumspect,
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Meaa objects to Brandis snub

The Meaa has criticised the Arts Minister for refusing to accept a petition urging the government not to axe the process of approving visas for imported actors and crew.

A delegation of Australian actors and crew went to Canberra on Tuesday to present the petition, #saveourstories, which features photos of more 1,000 campaign supporters.

Senator George Brandis declined to meet the delegation despite repeated requests, the Meaa tells members in its latest bulletin.

Instead, actors Geoff Morrell, Nadine Garner and Jay Laga.aia plus key grip Dave Nichols and costume supervisor Robyn Elliott met with Labor shadow ministers and crossbenchers.

Meaa Actors Equity director Zoe Angus said: .The petition shows the faces of our industry. It sends a clear message to the Abbott government: Don.t scrap vital job opportunities for Australia.s creative talent and the chance to tell uniquely Australian stories..

Morrell added: .Changing these laws would put us
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Meaa urges members to lobby Senators against visa reforms

The Meaa has asked its members to lobby Senators to oppose legislation deregulating the importation of actors and crew by sending them .selfies..

The union made that call during protest meetings in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth on Monday night as part of its .Save Our Stories. (Sos) campaign.

The Meaa has warned that scrapping visa controls would lead to the large-scale hiring of overseas performers and crew in Australian taxpayer funded screen productions.

Screen Producers Australia, Foxtel, Free TV Australia and the Australian Subscription and Radio Association have urged the government to remove the 30-year-old requirement for the Arts Minister to approve visas for foreign personnel and to consult with the union.

The union is organising a mass .visual petition,. with actors and crew holding up their Sos posters and taking .selfies,. to present to parliament in June before the findings of a government review of the 420 visa scheme are announced.
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Meaa ramps up campaign against visa reforms

The Meaa is mobilising its members to attend meetings in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth on May 11 to protest proposals to deregulate the process of approving visas for imported actors and crew. .Scrapping the visa controls would mean productions will have unfettered ability to fill all lead and major supporting roles with overseas performers and import entire teams of production crew,. the union says in a bulletin to members.

.Your industry needs your support to fight these changes. Current and future generations of performers and crew are depending on you.. The Meaa has launched a campaign entitled Save Our Stories, which also taps into concerns by the Awg, Adg and others that the rise of Netflix, Stan and Presto could threaten Australian story telling since none of the streaming services is subject to local content rules.

In the visa review Screen Producers Australia, Foxtel, Free TV Australia and the
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Meaa continues the fight against visa reforms

The Meaa is lobbying MPs to block any government moves to reform the system of approving visas for foreign actors and crew to work in Australian taxpayer-subsidised screen productions.

The union is hoping the Greens, Senator Nick Xenophon and other independents in the Senate will file a disallowance motion if the legislation gets through the lower house.

Xenophon joined actors John Howard, Susie Porter and Geoff Morrell when they went to Canberra in February to voice their opposition to dismantling protections for Australians employed in tax-payer supported films and TV productions.

Morrell, who is Equity.s acting president, told members in the Equity magazine, .We await the government.s next step .but have been encouraged by the response to our visit to Canberra recently to lobby the crossbench Senators to support our position. [We] received unqualified support from the Greens and several important crossbench Senators.

.Should the government proceed with their
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Creative burst for The Water Diviner co-writer

In a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years, writer-producer Andrew Knight has rarely been so busy.

The co-writer (with Andrew Anastasios) of The Water Diviner concurrently is working on the Jack Irish series, the fourth season of Rake and three movies.

He is collaborating with actor-writer Osamah Sami on the screenplay of Ali.s Wedding, a feature which is due to start shooting in June, directed by Wayne Blair for Matchbox Pictures. He.s developing two other features, The Cartographer (co-written with Anastasios) for South Pacific Pictures, and King of Thieves, a co-production between Essential Media and Entertainment.s Ian Collie and UK producer David Parfitt.s Trademark Films.

.It.s a fantastic time to be writing and producing drama; I am doing exactly what I want to do,. Knight tells If.

In January he won Aacta.s Longford Lyell Award which recognises outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia.s screen environment and culture.
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Government reviews imported performers regime

The federal government is reviewing the regulations governing the importing of foreign film and TV performers and production personnel.

In a discussion paper released today, the government flags the option of no longer consulting with the Meaa when deciding on which artists can be imported.

.Stakeholder views are varied, however a common concern indicates the requirement to consult with the relevant union is unnecessary and increases uncertainty in complying with the regulations,. it says, describing the rules as cumbersome and at times restrictive.

The announcement has alarmed Meaa officials who fear the review may be a precursor to wider industry deregulation. "We have significant concerns about the terms of the review," says Actors Equity director Zoe Angus. "According to its terms, the purpose of this review is to 'support the whole of government deregulation agenda' within the arts industry. "This review is not about reducing red tape. These are not procedural changes being proposed.
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Tropfest sets lineup

Australia short film fest reveals 16 finalists.

Tropfest 2014 (Dec 7) has announced 16 finalists for this year’s festival held in Sydney.

Local actors to appear in films include Steve Vizard, Pia Miranda, Roy Billing and Cassandra Magrath.

The judges will pick the winner live on the Festival Night, with the first prize-winning filmmaker taking home a Toyota, $10,000 cash, a trip to Los Angeles for a week of meetings with film executives (courtesy of Motion Picture Association and the Australian Screen Association), a Nikon D810 and Dslr camera and $2,000 Rrp worth of Nikkor lenses and accessories.

“It’s been twenty three years since Tropfest first began and every year the films entered into the competition remind me of why I started this in the first place - to raise the profile of creative filmmakers and to share stories that, without this platform, might not otherwise be told,” said Tropfest founder and director John Polson.

The festival
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Imported actors issue rumbles on

Actor Roy Billing launched the campaign calling for the relaxation of restrictions on casting overseas actors in Australian screen productions, and he.s not giving up.

Billing has received support from all sectors of the screen industry, including fellow actors, since his op-ed piece ran on If on September 17.

.Five weeks on and the support continues unabated,. he said today. .Initially I received many emails and phone calls and now as I interact with my colleagues as a working actor I am getting face-to-face support. The issue is still very much alive in the screen sector..

Billing questions why his union Actors Equity appears to be ignoring the issue, apart from an op-ed article from newly appointed Equity director Zoe Angus, which, he says, failed to address the issues he raised.

.There has not been one mention of my stance in Equity e-bulletins so the majority of rank and file
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Actors defend imported actors’ regime

An Actors Equity national performers committee member has defended the union.s process of vetting imported actors in Australian taxpayer-funded film and TV productions.

Jonathan Mill argues the present policy enables actors to work with international performers while ensuring most lead roles go to Aussies.

Kevin Harrington, a former Npc member, supported Mill, stating, "From my experience on the Npc the committee is more flexible on policy than any other any union in Australia. If we had stuck to policy, Red Dog would not have been made."

Actor Roy Billing reignited the debate on the issue in his op Ed piece for If when he asked Equity to ease the restrictions on foreign actors. Subsequently he called for Equity and the Npc to be taken out of any of that decision-making. Denise Roberts, CEO and principal director of Screenwise Film & TV School for Actors, together with many producers agreed with
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Imported actors issue generates more heat

The chorus of voices calling for a review of the process for approving imported actors in Australian taxpayer-funded film and TV productions is growing louder.

Actor Roy Billing reignited the debate in his Op Ed piece for If when he asked his union Actors. Equity to ease the restrictions on foreign actors.

Billing argued that allowing more overseas actors to work here would boost production, creating more work for actors, crew, directors and writers. He suggested decisions on importing actors should be made collectively by representatives of all industry guilds and organisations.

Today Billing went even further, telling If, .I think that Equity and their Npc (national performers committee) should be completely taken out of any decision-making regarding the importation of foreign actors."

The actor describes the support he has received from all sectors of the industry - producers, directors, casting agents, government film bureaucrats and even actors- as overwhelming.
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Op ed: Actors' Equity on the issue of foreign actors

The right for Australian actors to take lead roles in Australian film and television productions was hard won.

As the film and TV industry grew dramatically in the 1980s it became obvious that if actors were to secure lead roles in local productions some regulations would be required.

We had to balance what at the time were largely ineffective Department of Immigration rules that failed to see that producing cultural content was different to producing chocolate bars.

The producers and actors nutted out guidelines that were introduced in 1985 and renegotiated in 1988. In 1990 Spa withdrew from the guidelines.

Negotiations between the producers, actors and government followed and resulted in the import guidelines that are in place to this day.

Administered by the Department of the Arts, the guidelines balance the needs of producers with those of actors. They also reflect the role taxpayer funds play in underpinning Australia.s feature film
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Calls for new regime for casting imported actors

Roy Billing.s plea to his union Actors. Equity to ease the restrictions on importing actors for Australian films has triggered a wave of support from producers, directors, writers and other industry figures.

Some believe Equity should have no role in vetoing foreign actors and that producers and directors should be free to cast whoever they think is right for particular roles.

Odin.s Eye Entertainment.s Michael Favelle says, .There should not be any kind of arbiter in respect of who a director, producer and financier need in their movie to make it financially viable and audience friendly..

In a similar vein, producer-distributor Antony I. Ginnane contends, .The industry push should be to take Equity out of the mix completely and leave casting decisions to the producers and investors who are taking the entrepreneurial and financial risks..

Hoodlum Entertainment.s Tracey Robertson, who is in the Us producing the
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