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Indiedoco campaign gains momentum

1 December 2013 2:17 PM, PST

The Indiedoco campaign to save the single documentary has been supported by every major documentary organisation.

Launched at the Australian Directors Guild conference, the campaign calls on the ABC and Sbs to follow the example of BBC2 by reinstating a single documentary strand. It urges Screen Australia to remove the requirement for a broadcaster pre-sale for the National Documentary Program and to set up a new panel to select projects for Ndp funding based on creative, cultural and artistic criteria.

The organisers also want Screen Australia to revive a slate development program for documentary filmmakers similar to the Australian Film Commission.s General Development Investment Program; a substantial boost to Screen Australia's Signature Fund; and for the agency to change the definition of 'bona fide release' for feature documentaries to enable more feature docs to qualify for the 40% producer offset.

Indiedoco reps are arranging meetings with commissioning editors at the »

- Don Groves

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Church donates funds to sexual abuse drama

1 December 2013 12:39 PM, PST

The Broken Bay Diocese of the Catholic Church has donated $20,000 towards the cost of producing a 30-minute drama which tackles sexual abuse in the Church.

A Priest in the Family stars Lynette Curran, Susie Porter, Gillian Jones and Lisa Hensley and is based on a short story by Irish writer Colm Tóibín about an elderly woman whose son, a parish priest, is accused of molesting his former students.

Co-directed by producer Anni Finsterer and Peter Humble, who wrote the screenplay, the film has finished shooting. Finsterer tells If that Humble is assembling footage so the producers can apply for funds to complete post production.

Curran plays Molly, a vigorous Irish woman in her late 70s who attempts to keep up with the changing times of her grandchildren by mastering the Internet. When Molly learns that her son Frank, a local parish priest, is about to go on trial for the sexual abuse of former students, »

- Don Groves

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Foxtel triple-play could trigger pricing war

1 December 2013 12:28 PM, PST

Foxtel.s decision to package its TV channels with broadband internet and fixed-line telephone services next year will help to boost its penetration of households from 30%.

But the triple-play offering runs the risk of cannibalising the existing customer bases of Foxtel and its 50% shareholder Telstra.s T-Box and BigPond Movies, according to TV industry executives whose opinions If canvassed after Foxtel confirmed it would bundle its services, starting in late 2014, with pricing and other terms and conditions to be announced.

The triple-play initiative is designed to enable Foxtel to capitalise on the roll-out of the National Broadband Network while signing up new subscribers and lowering the rate of those who cancel their subs each year. The churn rate in the year to June 30 was 14.2% and Foxtel had 2.5 million customers.

Foxtel.s major challenge, say other executives, will be to come up with a pricing structure that is competitive with its ISP competitors. »

- Don Groves

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True-life crime drama shoots in Queensland

1 December 2013 12:21 PM, PST

The true story of a young male Australian nurse who was falsely accused of rape has inspired the feature film Rise, which is shooting in Queensland.

It.s the first feature from writer-director Mack Lindon, a co-founder of Gold Coast-based Vision Films Australia.

Nathan Wilson plays the nurse, Will, who is accused of drink spiking and rape after a one-night stand. Found guilty at trial, he.s sentenced to six years in prison. Will is incarcerated in a maximum security prison where he meets Jimmy (Martin Sacks), a hardened inmate who was responsible for a spate of armed robberies.

Jimmy is inspired by Will.s courage and determination. Erin Connor plays the QC who appeals his case in the Supreme Court. Gemma Laurelle is the primary antagonist, Constable Rossi, and Linda Millar is the chief warden.

The unit is shooting at a disused jail. .It's eerie and surreal shooting in a big, »

- Don Groves

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Australian programs dominate top 50

30 November 2013 5:20 PM, PST

Stats for the 2013 ratings year confirm that Australian audiences continue to overwhelmingly prefer home grown shows to Us and British imports.

The bad news for the free-to-air broadcasters was that collectively their share of the 16-54 audience dropped by 3% and their primary channels were down by about 6%.

ABC-tv ended the ratings year as the number 3 network with a prime-time share of 14.6% (up from 13.6%).

Reality remains the most favoured genre: The top 50 titles were dominated by The Voice, My Kitchen Rules, The Block and The X Factor.

The top-rating Aussie dramas were A Place to Call Home, Packed to the Rafters, House Husbands and Winners & Losers.

Only five imports figured in the top 50: Downton Abbey, The Blacklist, Revenge, The Big Bang Theory and New Tricks.

The most popular sports event was Seven.s Afl Grand Final, which drew an average of 2.7 million viewers and 2.47 million for the post-match presentations.

Seven »

- Don Groves

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Atom awards for First Footprints, Jabbed, Fallout

28 November 2013 4:59 PM, PST

First Footprints, Jabbed, Fallout and Once My Mother were among the winners of the 2013 Ipaf Atom awards presented in Melbourne on Thursday night.

Founded in 1982 and voted by members of the Australian Teachers of Media, the awards recognise film and media excellence in the education and screen industry sectors.

There were more than 600 entries from Australian and New Zealand media producers in 29 categories. The event was hosted by Brian Nankervis from RocKwiz. The Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (Ipaf) was the naming sponsor this year.

Martin Butler and Bentley Dean.s First Footprints, which tells how the first Australians adapted, migrated, fought and created in dramatically changing environments, was named best documentary, general.

Sonya Pemberton.s Jabbed, which poses the questions how do you decide whether to vaccinate or not, and what are the risks?, took the award for best docu, science, technology and the environment.

Lawrence Johnston.s Fallout, which »

- Don Groves

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UK deal for Secrets & Lies

28 November 2013 3:56 PM, PST

The UK.s Channel 5 has picked up Secrets & Lies, Hoodlum Entertainment.s six-part drama starring Martin Henderson as a guy who finds the body of a young boy and becomes the prime murder suspect.

The broadcaster seems to have an appetite for Australian drama, having scored good ratings with FremantleMedia.s prison drama Wentworth.

Scripted by Stephen M Irwin, Secrets & Lies will air in the UK after it screens on Network Ten. Diana Glen plays the wife of Henderson.s character, with Anthony Hayes as a detective and Adrienne Pickering as a neighbour.

The Us ABC network has commissioned a 10-part series adapted from the Australian show, the second Us remake for Hoodlum, whose comedy/mystery The Strange Calls is being developed for the same network by 20th TV.

Hoodlum.s Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield are producing the Us series with ABC Studios and Aaron Kaplan.s Kapital Entertainment, »

- Don Groves

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Love Child evokes the spirit of the Sixties

28 November 2013 12:41 PM, PST

Jessica Marais in Love Child..

.

Sarah Lambert wasn.t around in the 1960s but Love Child, the drama series she created for the Nine Network, sets to capture that era of revolution, bohemia, youthful innocence and exuberance.

The eight-part series set in Kings Cross in 1969 evidently delivers on that promise, encouraging the network to commission a second season as announced by director of television Michael Healy at the launch of Nine's 2014 season this week..

As the writer-producer, Lambert was inspired to make the show when she learned that a close family friend of her mother was one of thousands of women who had been forced to live in an unwed mothers' home and give up her baby daughter for adoption 20 years earlier.

Produced by Playmaker Media, the series follows characters who live and work in a maternity hospital and home for unwed mothers, contrasted with those who inhabit the streets »

- Don Groves

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Kathy Lette on Puberty Blues 2

27 November 2013 5:09 PM, PST

As the co-writer with Gabrielle Carey of the coming-of-age book which inspired Bruce Beresford.s 1981 movie Puberty Blues and the Network Ten series, Kathy Lette has an almost maternal interest in the show.

The producers, Southern Star.s John Edwards and Imogen Banks, consulted with Lette on the first series and have done so again on the second season, and she.s rapt.

.The producers have been very inclusive and allowed me to read all the scripts which are fresh, funny, harrowing, heart-breaking and searingly honest about love, life, acne, orgasms, bonging-on, bad bikinis, unwanted pregnancies, hard drugs, sexually incontinent boys and the girls who occasionally end up being used as sperm spittoons,. she posted on Facebook.

Lette, who was in her teens when she co-wrote the novel, published in 1979, and who loves puns, added, .In other words, view at your own risqué..

Edwards tells If that he and Imogen also consulted with Gabrielle, »

- Don Groves

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Welcome back Hoges

27 November 2013 12:52 PM, PST

Paul Hogan returns to Australian TV next year as the star of the ABC documentary Hoges: I.ve Just Gotta Ask.

The Crocodile Dundee star, who.s 74, promises to tell his life story in conversation with his friend, fellow comedian/actor Shane Jacobson.

Produced by Dean Murphy's Sounds Write Productions, the one-hour special follows the pair as they revisit Hogan.s childhood home in Sydney.s Granville and spend time with his former workmates when he was a painter on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The program delves into the characters and sketches he created for his TV show and travels to Los Angeles where he revisits his favourite haunts and relives the Oscars when he was nominated for best screenplay for Crocodile Dundee with fellow writers Ken Shadie and John Cornell.

In a glimpse into his private life, he.s shown taking his 15-year-old son Chance to school in Santa Monica. »

- Don Groves

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Nomadic Jessica embraces Cut Snake

26 November 2013 8:27 PM, PST

Jessica De Gouw..

.

Jessica De Gouw has no permanent home but that.s hardly a sign of an actor who.s out of work.

In July last year De Gouw moved to Los Angeles and quickly landed a recurring role in Arrow, the Us TV series based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, shot in Vancouver.

She then spent seven months in Budapest working on Dracula, NBC.s series that stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the title character, who poses as an American entrepreneur while he seeks revenge on those who cursed him.

In between those series she flew to Perth to play a supporting role in Apocalyptic thriller These Final Hours, the debut feature from writer-director Zak Hilditch. Now she is in country Victoria shooting Matchbox Pictures. crime thriller Cut Snake, opposite Sullivan Stapleton and Alex Russell.

.I am a gypsy. I have no base; my life fits into two suitcases, »

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ABC-tv unveils 2014 slate

26 November 2013 1:14 PM, PST

Comedies from Matchbox Pictures, Princess Pictures, Working Dog and The Bondi Hipsters are among the highlights of ABC-tv.s 2014 schedule.

The drama slate includes the previously announced Anzac Girls (Screentime), which stars Georgia Flood, Antonia Prebble, Laura Brent, Anna McGahan and Caroline Craig in the saga of five young military nurses from Australia and New Zealand during the Gallipoli and Western Front campaigns; The Code (Playmaker Media), a political thriller about two brothers who stumble across information that people in power will kill to keep secret, starring Ashley Zukerman and Dan Spielman; and Old School (Matchbox), which features Bryan Brown and Sam Neill as a retired crim and ex-cop who solve crimes and unravel scams while avoiding the wrath of the police and the underworld.

Among the other dramas are Janet King (Screentime), a legal drama starring Marta Dusseldorp; crime thriller The Broken Shore (Essential Media); second series of The »

- Don Groves

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Nine unveils Corby, Rinehart, mid-air drama projects

25 November 2013 7:17 PM, PST

The Nine Network today revealed details of its upcoming telemovie on Schapelle Corby, a miniseries on Gina Rinehart and a telemovie chronicling a near- disaster involving a Qantas flight.

The network.s 2014 slate also includes a factual series which follows Australian diplomats as they deal with Aussies in crisis in Thailand, relationships documentary Married at First Sight, dating show When Love Comes To Town and a new, six-part current affairs series, Inside Story.

FremantleMedia.s Schapelle features Krew Boylan as the 27-year-old beauty school dropout from the Gold Coast who was arrested at Bali airport with 4.2kg of marijuana in a boogie board bag. The cast includes Jacinta Stapleton as her sister Mercedes, Denise Roberts as her mother Ros, Colin Friels as her father Mick, Les Chantery as her mentor Ron Bakir, Vince Colosimo as lawyer Robin Tampoe, Francis Greenslade as Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Michael Croaker as Federal Police boss Mick Keelty. »

- Don Groves

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Nine unveils Corby, Rinehart, air drama projects

25 November 2013 7:17 PM, PST

The Nine Network today revealed details of its upcoming telemovie on Schapelle Corby, a miniseries on Gina Rinehart and the chronicle of a near- disaster involving a Qantas flight.

The network.s 2014 slate also includes a series in which Australian diplomats reveal how they saved Aussies in crisis abroad, relationships documentary Married at First Sight, dating show When Love Comes To Town and a new current affairs series, Inside Story.

FremantleMedia.s Schapelle will star Krew Boylan as the 27-year-old beauty school dropout from the Gold Coast who was arrested at Bali airport with 4.2kg of marijuana in a boogie board bag. The cast includes Jacinta Stapleton as her sister Mercedes, Denise Roberts as her mother Ros, Colin Friels as her father Mick, Les Chantery as her mentor Ron Bakir, Vince Colosimo as lawyer Robin Tampoe, Francis Greenslade as Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Michael Croaker as Federal Police boss Mick Keelty. »

- Don Groves

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Edmonds rises to a sexy challenge

25 November 2013 5:02 PM, PST

After playing a member of the dysfunctional Moody family and a young Rupert Murdoch, Guy Edmonds is set to play a guy who.s forced to impregnate seven women in seven days.

That.s the punishment meted out to his character Scott by a domineering angel in Wingman, a made-for-the web series from writer-director Steve Anthopoulos and producer Yingna Lu.

The screenplay by Anthopoulos and co-writer Luke Davidson follows Scott as he buys the morning after-pill for his girlfriend Becky. This prompts a visit from an extroverted angel named Wingman, who tells him they've committed a grave sin by ending a potential life. To save his girlfriend from eternal damnation, he must impregnate seven women in seven days.

.It.s a funny, sexy show with an underlying message: Everyone has the right to choose,. Edmonds tells If. The producers aim to raise a modest $8,500 via crowd funding site Pozible towards the cost of renting locations, »

- Don Groves

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Google slammed by Aussie anti-piracy body

25 November 2013 1:16 PM, PST

Google has been accused of turning a blind eye to criticism that its search engine frequently directs consumers to pirated websites.

Neil Gane, regional director, Australasia at the Australian Screen Association, has questioned the online giant.s efforts to combat piracy.

In an article in Aheda.s Yearbook (www.aheda.com.au), Gane takes issue with Google.s recent How Google Fights Piracy document in which it claims it had disabled its own ads to 46,000 piracy websites in 2011. Google stated, .As a global leader in online advertising, Google is committed to rooting out and ejecting rogue websites from our advertising services..

He questioned how long these 46,000 ads had been on piracy websites before they were taken down and how much money Google made from these ads.

Gane quotes a recent UK Government select committee report which stated, .We strongly condemn the failure of Google, notable among technology companies, to provide »

- Don Groves

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Home entertainment biz rallies

25 November 2013 12:50 PM, PST

Australian producers and distributors who feared the home entertainment business may be in freefall can take heart: the industry is proving to be remarkably resilient.

Consumer spending on DVDs, Blu-rays and online film and TV content in 2013 is likely to be level with last year, according to a new report.

The physical DVD and Blu-ray disc business remains a $1 billion-plus industry while online revenues grew by an estimated 31% this year, said Simon Bush, CEO of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association.

Launching Aheda.s first-ever Yearbook (www.aheda.com.au), Bush said, .After recent years of declines in our business, 2013 is on track to end the year flat..

The medium-term outlook is bright. Ihs forecasts the total video market in 2017 will be worth $1.12 billion, including $260 million in online revenues. That doesn.t include Svod services.

Last financial year local retailers sold nearly 63 million DVD and Blu-ray discs generating $1.14 billion in sales, »

- Don Groves

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Studiocanal grabs The Outsider

24 November 2013 8:47 PM, PST

Tom Hardy is set to play an American WWII veteran who joins a Yakuza crime family in The Outsider, an action-thriller to be directed by Takashi Miike.

Studiocanal has closed a deal for Australasian rights and plans to release the film in 2015, probably after the May 15 launch of George Miller.s Mad Max 4: Fury Road, which stars Hardy as Max Rockatansky alongside Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Hardy will also be seen as Elton John in Rocketman. the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film scripted by Billy Elliot.s Lee Hall.

Studiocanal CEO Robert Slaviero bought The Outsider, encouraged by the casting of Hardy, the screenplay by Andrew Baldwin and the pedigree of the Japanese director whose credits include 13 Assassins and the Dead or Alive trilogy.

The deal with Qed Entertainment closed after the American Film Market, the only title Slaviero picked »

- Don Groves

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StudioCanal grabs The Outsider

24 November 2013 8:47 PM, PST

Tom Hardy is set to play an American WWII veteran who joins a Yakuza crime family in The Outsider, an action-thriller to be directed by Takashi Miike.

StudioCanal has closed a deal for Australasian rights and plans to release the film in 2015, probably after the May 15 launch of George Miller.s Mad Max 4: Fury Road, which stars Hardy as Max Rockatansky alongside Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Hardy will also be seen as Elton John in Rocketman. the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film scripted by Billy Elliot.s Lee Hall.

StudioCanal CEO Robert Slaviero bought The Outsider, encouraged by the casting of Hardy, the screenplay by Andrew Baldwin and the pedigree of the Japanese director whose credits include 13 Assassins and the Dead or Alive trilogy.

The deal with Qed Entertainment closed after the American Film Market, the only title Slaviero picked »

- Don Groves

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Foxtel CEO lashes media rules

24 November 2013 8:08 PM, PST

Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein today lashed the system of media regulation in Australia as illogical, unbalanced and focused on sectional interests rather than consumers.

Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce, he called for a .rethink of the regulatory environment from first principles..

The pay-tv executive urged that cross-media limitations, anti-siphoning regulations and restrictions on access to spectrum should be reviewed or removed, claiming they distort business decisions and stifle innovation.

He argued that emerging Iptv players (such as Foxtel.s own Presto service) and other broadband service providers should be exempt from these rules.

.The history of media regulation in Australia is littered with ad hoc decisions, compromises and special deals,. he said. .Governments of both persuasions have sought to influence media companies by doing favours to win their support or by trying to control them. Too often the default position of many media companies is to go for a regulatory solution, »

- Don Groves

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