Part 1: Wrapping it up with a Bow – The 2nd AACTA Awards Luncheon, presented by Deluxe

DSC_7062

Winners at the 2nd AACTA Awards Luncheon, presented by Deluxe, Monday 28 January. Photo: Belinda Rolland

The statuettes have been presented, the winners have been toasted and the laurels have been sent out to each winning production. While the 2nd AACTA Awards may be fast receding behind us, there’s now the task of looking through all the wonderful photos and priceless video footage from the two Sydney events, and making sure they’re labelled and saved for posterity – and shared with screen industry and audience members alike.

In this, the first part of our AACTA Awards wrap, we shine the spotlight on the 2nd AACTA Awards Luncheon, presented by Deluxe and held in Sydney at The Star Event Centre on Monday 28 January.

The luncheon was hosted by the ever-entertaining Adam Elliot, who memorably appeared in one segment dressed as a gold-clad human statuette. Other presenters included Diana Glenn, Jane Harber and Jimi Bani as well as acclaimed actors Damon Herriman, Daniel Henshall and Felicity Price. Also taking to the stage were The Sapphires stars Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens.

A highlight of the luncheon was the special presentation of the Raymond Longford Award to Producer, Al Clark.

The 2nd AACTA Awards Luncheon, presented by Deluxe also recognised the talent and innovation of artists and craftspeople working across television, documentary, short fiction film, short animation and feature film categories.  Here’s a quick rundown, with clips from our YouTube Channel:

DOCUMENTARY

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY
Storm Surfers 3D. Ellenor Cox, Marcus Gillezeau.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY UNDER ONE HOUR
Then The Wind Changed. Jeni McMahon, Celeste Geer. ABC1

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY SERIES
Go Back To Where You Came From. Rick McPhee, Ivan O’Mahoney. SBS

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTION IN A DOCUMENTARY
Fighting Fear. Macario De Souza. FOXTEL  Movie Network

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A DOCUMENTARY
Fighting Fear. Tim Bonython, Chris Bryan, Macario De Souza, Lee Kelly. FOXTEL – Movie Network

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST EDITING IN A DOCUMENTARY
Once Upon A Time In Cabramatta – Episode 1. Sam Wilson. SBS

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SOUND IN A DOCUMENTARY
Dr Sarmast’s Music School. Dale Cornelius, Livia Ruzic, Keith Thomas. ABC1

 

SHORT FILM

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SHORT ANIMATION
The Hunter. Marieka Walsh

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FICTION FILM
Julian. Robert Jago, Matthew Moore.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY IN A SHORT FILM
Transmission. Zak Hilditch.

TELEVISION

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION SERIES
Agony Aunts. Adam Zwar, Nicole Minchin. ABC1

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST TELEVISION COMEDY SERIES
Lowdown – Season 2. Nicole Minchin, Amanda Brotchie, Adam Zwar. ABC1

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TELEVISION COMEDY
Patrick Brammall. A Moody Christmas. ABC1

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST CHILDREN’S TELEVISION SERIES
The Adventures Of Figaro Pho. Dan Fill, Frank Verheggen, David Webster. ABC3

 

FEATURE FILM

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Sapphires. Warwick Thornton.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST EDITING
The Sapphires. Dany Cooper ASE.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SOUND
The Sapphires. Andrew Plain, Bry Jones, Pete Smith, Ben Osmo, John Simpson.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE
Not Suitable For Children. Matteo Zingales, Jono Ma.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Sapphires. Melinda Doring.

AACTA AWARD FOR BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Sapphires. Tess Schofield.

A gallery of gorgeous photos of winners from the luncheon can be found here on Facebook or on our Instagram account, but for a taste, here’s a gallery of selected shots from the event:

For full details of the 2nd AACTA Awards Luncheon, presented by Deluxe, see the AACTA website here.

Coming next: Part 2: Wrapping it up with a Bow: The 2nd AACTA Awards Ceremony.

Why I Adore: Adaptations

by Popzilla

Cloudstreet Poster

The eagerly awaited 6-part adaptation of 'Cloudstreet' premieres on Foxtel's Showcase this Sunday, 22 May, at 8.30pm.

As much as I’m a film nut, I’m also a book nut. So when both media are awesomely combined – I’m as happy as a ham in mud.

I have to admit, I probably discovered books before I discovered film. But some of my most vivid child and teen memories arise from not only the musky damp comfort of books, but also the thrill of seeing them come to life on screen – through film adaptations.

Theatre works, comic books, games, pop-fiction novels, classical adaptations – I’m there. I might love it, I might hate it , but I appreciate the efforts involved in every little detail, to bring much loved, pop-culture adventures, or undiscovered tales to big or small screens.

Through  written stories, we discover (quite often in GREAT detail), heart rending family sagas (Cloudstreet; The Slap, Our Father Who Art in the Tree), quirky coming of age kerfuffles, seedy criminal underworlds (Truth), and even classic  poems  (The Man from Snowy River).

Great stories are already awash with all the colours and sounds of ‘the big screen’. So what happens when novels are translated onto big or small screens? There is a moment where you’re about to take a gamble –  into the cinema, or say, reserving a quiet weekend to open the first page of a novel just watched on the big screen… when some of us take a big pensive breath and say… “um, should I really be doing this?”

Will we love the film version just as much if characters are removed; plots changed and (gasp!) endings completely re-written? In speaking with friends, family, filmmakers, and some cranky librarians, I have found that not everyone immediately jumps for joy at the mention of an adaptation. No – quite the opposite.

There are literary purists who immediately promise to stay ‘true’ to the author’, to never forsake the written word for the big screen version. Not even choc-tops can lure them away from their musty pages. There are others who are bitterly disappointed in ‘crude adaptations’, and the impact the screen sometimes takes on a good story. And then there are those (just like me) who love the opportunity to see a story brought to the big screen. To revel in the backdrops, the little details, and even the changes that are evident in adaptations.

It’s kind of ridiculous I guess, but sometimes I also wonder about the correct order – whether I should be seeing a film before I read it the book it’s based on, or afterwards! Many a book has no doubt been improved by its film adaptation, not to mention the sudden increase in book sales. Film adaptations can quite often bring hidden novel gems to mainstream masses – something that has been hiding on dusty shelves just waiting for the chance to come to life.

And, yes, some books have been ruined by screen adaptation. Whether it’s overzealous screenwriters, directors, bossy-pants authors or badly cast actors – who knows who is to blame? Converting a book into film is a tricky business. Firstly – you have to secure the rights to the novel – and the cost ranges for script and development can be much higher than those associated with filming an original screenplay.

However, it must be said that adaptations can also raise books, games and comics to new heights – creating brand new interpretations (and new BRAND interpretations), even adding further value to a story… or film.

There’s also the question of what happens to the screenwriter after all the writing is  completed. Have they written themselves off the page and out of the film? (An interesting interview with screenwriter John Collee  (Happy Feet, Master and Commander) sheds some light on Collee’s screenwriting experiences in the biz.)

In honor of writers, screenwriters, and filmmakers everywhere, and to illustrate how wonderful they can be – here are (in no particular order) my ‘adored’ Australian film adaptations:

Puberty Blues

“You wanna go down the dunnies for a smoke?”

I love the teen awkwardness that is captured in this film, and the snapshot of 80s Cronulla. Based on the book by Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette – not all of the book made it to the screen, but it is an absolute screen gem. And who could forget the theme song?

Picnic At Hanging Rock

It’s spooky, it’s kooky –just like the book, if not better! The BAFTA award-winning Peter Weir adaptation of the book by Joan Lindsay is still loved today. Just go to Hanging  Rock to hear Swedish backpackers yell ‘Miranda!!’ from the haunted peaks…

Oscar and Lucinda

A glass church. A GLASS CHURCH! I still can’t believe Gillian Armstrong mastered this complex and imaginary tale whilst auditioning Cate Blanchett for the world screen. And the chemistry between Ralph Finnes and Blanchett set the pages of this Peter Carey novel on FIRE!

 Romulus, My Father


Everyone is heartbreakingly beautiful in this AFI Award winning film adaptation of the book by Raimond Gaita. With the screen adaptation written by British poet Nick Drake, stunningly filmed by Shine cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson, and an impressive directorial debut by Richard Roxburgh, even the author himself saw the film more than 20 times…

Playing Beatie Bow

Australia’s version of Labyrinth with kids instead of goblins. Adapted from the Ruth Park novel of the same name, I’m just hanging out for a film on Park to come out one of these days…

Praise

I just love it. The performances, mood and feel of John Curran’s 1999 movie completely match that of the book by Andrew McGahan.

http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/praise/trailer

He Died With A Falafel In His Hand


I know a lot of people who have yet to warm to this early 2000 flick. But for me, it captures so many true-to-life tales of share-house living, and has one hell of a kick-ass soundtrack. Noah Taylor is the bees-knees as a depressed and down and out writer living on the dole.

My Brother Jack

Some heartbreaking moments in this AFI Award Winning production starring Matt Day, Claudia Karvan, William McInnes and Jack Thompson. A 2001 made-for-television adaptation of George Johnson’s classic novel.

ADAPTATION AUSSIE!

Here are some upcoming adaptations to watch out for:

 Cloudstreet


I’m already taken in by the trailer! Written for the small screen by the author himself, alongside co-screenwriter Ellen Fontana.

Cloudstreet premieres on the Foxtel channel Showcase on Sunday, May 22 2011, 8.30pm.

The Slap

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1823011/

An eight part ABC television series adaptation of the bestseller by Christos Tsiolkas is to star a stellar lineup including Brendan Cowell, , Melissa George, Alex Dimitriades, Sophie Lowe, Jonathan LaPaglia and more.

Red Dog

The story of Red Dog is a well-known WA legend but it was popularised by English author Louis de Bernieres in his book of the same name.

The film adaptation directed by Kriv Stenders is based on the legendary true story of the Red Dog who united a disparate local mining community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long-lost master

.Starring Josh LucasRachael TaylorNoah Taylor, Luke Ford and Bill Hunter with release set for August 2011.

Oranges and Sunshine


Based on the true story by UK social worker Margaret Humphreys about her expose of the scandal of Britain’s forgotten and abused child migrants (previously published as Empty Cradles), Oranges and Sunshine stars Hugo Weaving, David Wenham and Emily Watson. Set for release in Australia in June 2011.

LBF

http://www.lbfthefilm.com/

LBF is a ‘pop art film’ based on the novel Living Between F***ks by Cry Bloxsome from which it draws much of its wry narration. Paris-based writer Goodchild (Toby Schmitz) returns to Sydney for the funeral of his ex-girlfriend l and steadily veers off the rails. Starring Gracie Otto, Septimus Caton and Australian model April Rose Pengilly, the film also has a very cool little soundtrack featuring aussie bands Boy & Bear and Operator Please. Premiering at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival.

The Telegram Man

 http://www.thetelegramman.com/

Based on a short story by John Boyne, the award-winning author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Set in Australia, The Telegram Man is short film with a mega cast including Gary Sweet and Sigrid Thornton,and will be actor Jack Thompson’s first short film acting debut. Currently in post production and coming soon to a Film Festival near you in 2011.

Adaptation Websites

More? The story doesn’t end here folks…

Australian Adaptations

http://www.middlemiss.org/matilda/film-adaptations/

50 Upcoming Book-to-Movie Adaptations

http://www.nextmovie.com/blog/upcoming-book-adaptations/

Film of the Book: Top 50 Adaptations

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/apr/19/film.books

UK paper The Guardian provides a list of Top 50  usual suspects.

Top Grossing Film Adaptations

As declared by Forbes – there’s billions in the books!

http://au.pfinance.yahoo.com/special-features/top-gross-film-adaptations/index.html

From Page to Screen

Four part article written on worldwide adaptations – successful, unsuccessful and upcoming.

http://www.digitalfie.com/1466-from-page-to-screen-part-4-books-yet-to-be-filmed

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Do you know of any upcoming adaptations with Aussies in them?

Be sure to post below!

Also keen to know your own top 5 Australian adaptations…

 


Why I Adore: Round the Twist

By Clem Bastow

There’s no surer way to guarantee your rapid plunge into irrelevance than lamenting the lot of “kids these days”. Their music is too loud, or too stupid; they have no manners; they take too many drugs; and their hair colour is weird and unnatural. “Kids” took plenty of drugs in the 1960s, hair colours were weirder in the ’90s, and music has been loud and stupid since Prokofiev wrote Dance of the Knights. In other words, I’d sooner commit hara kiri via rocking chair than turn into an old fogey.

However, whenever I take a casual stroll across the TV networks during the children’s television hours, I am struck by one particular thought: it’s a shame that kids these days don’t get to grow up with Round the Twist (1989-2000). That sense of slowly creeping fogeyism sparks up whenever I think of Paul Jennings and Esben Storm’s show, unquestionably one of the best children’s television shows Australia has produced. In fact, I would go so far as to say one of the best television shows Australia has produced, period.

It’s funny the way Round the Twist will weave its way back into my life. For a time, there was a Twitter game we (read: I) whiled away the hours with. It entailed, simply, writing “You now have the Round the Twist theme song in your head” and watching the outraged @-replies come flooding in.

Round the Twist Series 2

Round the Twist: Series 2

At other times, it’s been as fleeting and simple as someone saying “You two are on washing-up duty for the next 25 years!” or finishing a sentence with “…Without my pants.” Some days it’s wishing that I had a magical ability to pass on injuries to others by playing The Wild Colonial Boy on an enchanted gum leaf.

Most recently, it was upon hearing the sad news that the show’s co-creator and producer (and star, as Mr Snapper) Esben Storm had died at the age of 60. Mr Snapper was always the archetypal school principal. I can recall many classmates bellowing “SNAPPER’S COMING!” when a teacher’s footsteps stalked the hallway outside the classroom.

Round the Twist occupies a strange place in the subconscious of a generation (or so) of Australians; it didn’t necessarily enter the vernacular in the same way that, say The Simpsons did, and yet there it is, always hiding in the backs of our minds, a televisual folklore. A holiday pilgrimage to “the lighthouse” seems to be a recurring theme among many of my peers.

I think what made it – and keeps it – so compelling and watchable was that unlike most children’s shows, which feature plenty of mugging asides and bright colours, Round the Twist was bawdy, natural and, most important of all, not afraid of melancholy.

The episode Nails, from the second season remains one of the finest filmic depictions of young love. In it, Linda falls for the new boy at school, the mysterious Andrew, who lives on an island with his single dad. It turns out Andrew’s mum was a mermaid, and soon Andrew will return to the sea to live with her in a bittersweet shared custody arrangement.

It’s a testament to the delicacy of Jennings and Storm’s writing that the episode manages to pack more genuine emotion – without ever resorting to sentimentality or mawkishness – into its half hour than most romantic comedies can manage over the course of an hour or more. (In between Linda and Andrew’s lovely interactions, it goes without saying, Nails is also hilarious.)

There are, of course, plenty of good children’s TV shows being made these days. Many of the US efforts, particularly Wizards Of Waverly Place and iCarly, are cut from the same cloth as classic TV comedies like I Love Lucy and TheRound the Twist DVD cover Nanny. But there’s something about Round the Twist’s first two seasons (the “post-Jennings” years were less remarkable) that feels like it was a one-off; as though some special alchemy of cast, crew, time and place came together for a few brief moments to create a perfect series. It’s the same magic that permeates more recent short-lived shows like Freaks & Geeks and Party Down.

It would be easy to say “there’ll never be another show like it”, but that would be to lose faith in the possibility that kids these days may be lucky enough to be treated to their own TV show with the enduring importance of a show like Round the Twist.

Until that day, however, I’ll never forget the time when we “pissed on the cold ear”.

About the Author:
Clem Bastow is a Melbourne writer. She is the Music Editor of The Big Issue and Senior Contributor at Inpress, and also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sunday Age. Catherine Deveny called her “one of the most dynamic, innovative and talented young writers and communicators we have in Australia”; Brian McFadden called her “some journalist”. After a decade of dedicated service to the music criticism business, she has also branched out into TV and film criticism at The Vine. In her spare time she spends too much money making costumes to wear to pop culture conventions.

Extra Links for Round the Twist:

Round the Twist on Wikipedia
Round the Twist on Australian Screen
Buy the series – available from the ABC Shop
Read the AFI’s tribute to the late Esben Storm here.

Read Previous ‘Why I Adore’ Posts:

Paul Anthony Nelson (the ‘Why I Adore’ godfather and founder) introduces the concept, and rhapsodises about Mad Max. AFI Membership Administrator Lia McCrae-Moore revisits the lyrical beauty of One Night the Moon.

Contribute:

We’re currently looking for more ‘Why I Adore’ articles devoted to Australian film and television. Send a one paragraph summary to editor[at] afi.org.au and we’ll get back to you with more details.

On the Box: Australian Television 2011

In-the-box-2011

For the third year running, we preview some Australian television highlights for the year ahead. (You can read the 2009 and 2010 stories to see if we got it right). With more channels than ever, and Pay TV on the rise, the television landscape is in flux. Audiences are increasingly fragmented and demanding – as they can afford to be, with so much choice available. They want quality entertainment, up-to-the-minute news, and flexible catch-up options to snare their missed favourites. Increasingly, viewers expect to be able to extend their interests on a show’s website, and to be able to chat about their interests on Facebook, Twitter and blogs, thus participating in a virtual community of viewers and fans.

Television may be a global industry, but the demand for excellent local content with an Australian accent remains strong. Here is just a small selection of what we’re looking forward to in 2011. We’ll focus broadly on those categories celebrated in the AFI Awards: drama, comedy, light entertainment, and children’s television – and of course we can’t mention everything. (Note: Some of these shows have already screened and are currently in their encore broadcasts; others are vaguely dated for late 2011.) Here’s the run-down:


Drama: Series, Mini-Series and Telefeatures

Rake, Series 1  

(ABC2, Mondays, 8:30pm – encore screenings, 8 x 60 min)

Now in its encore season, Rake follows the exploits of a lovable rogue, criminal defence barrister Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh) who defends the indefensible – from bigamists to cannibals and everything in between. He’s champion of the lost cause …both in the court room and in the bedroom. An excellent cast includes Matt Day, Geoff Morrell, Adrienne Pickering, Danielle Cormack, Russell Dykstra and Caroline Brazier. Rake is created by Peter Duncan and Richard Roxburgh (who also produce alongside Essential Media’s Ian Collie), and co-written by Andrew Knight. Directors include Rachel Ward, Jessica Hobbs and Jeffrey Walker. A second series is rumoured to hit screens in 2012. Rake
Winners & Losers  

(Seven Network, currently screening Wednesdays, 8:30pm)

The first episode was a ratings winner with 1.6 million viewers. From the creators of Packed to the Rafters, Winners & Losers is a drama about four 20-something friends who were rejects and ‘losers’ ten years ago at school. Now they’ve reunited and won the lottery, forcing them to negotiate the pleasures and pitfalls of being ‘winners’. How will this affect their friendships and their love lives? A likeable cast includes Zoe Tuckwell-Smith, Melissa Bergland, Melanie Vallejo, Virginia Gay, Denise Scott and Francis Greenslade. Produced by Bevan Lee, John Holmes and AFI Award nominee MaryAnne Carroll (All Saints) and directed by Nicholas Bufalo and Ian Gilmour. Winners & Losers
Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo 

(ABC1, Sunday 17 April & Monday 18 April, 8:30pm, 2 x 110 min)

The blurb sounds great: “It’s 1972. Skirts are up, pants are down. Girls can have anything: fabulous careers, fashionable clothes, oral sex. And riding the wave of sexual liberation and feminist freedom is Cleo magazine – fresh, bold and naughty. Two ambitious, young upstarts – Ita Buttrose and Sir Frank Packer’s unregarded second son, Kerry – create their own legends as they fling the modern girl headlong into the passion and politics of this turbulent era.” Starring Asher Keddie as Ita, and Rob Carlton (Chandon Pictures) as a lean and hungry Kerry Packer, Paper Giants is produced by Southern Star’s John Edwards and Karen Radzyner and directed by Daina Reid and Emma Freeman. Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo
Small Time Gangster 

(Movie Extra, Tuesdays, 8:30pm from 19 April, 8 x 60 min)

Tony Piccolo (Steve Le Marquand) is a devoted suburban family man who works hard in his carpet cleaning business. He also happens to be Melbourne’s toughest stand-over man, with another secret ‘family’ headed up by terrifying underworld boss Barry Donald (Gary Sweet). When the two worlds threaten to collide, there’s black comedy aplenty. Small Time Gangster stars Sacha Horler as Tony’s loving wife, Geoff Morrell as an ex-hitman and mentor, and Gia Carrides as streetwise mover and shaker. Written and created by Gareth Calverley (Spy Shop) and Joss King (H2O), Small Time Gangster is directed by Jeffrey Walker (Rake, City Homicide). Small Time Gangster
East West 101, Series 3 

(SBS One, Wednesdays, 8:30pm from 20 April, 7 x 60 min)

This is the third and final series of the AFI Award winning and critically acclaimed East West 101 from producers Steve Knapman and Kris Wyld and director Peter Andrikidis. Tense, exciting and politically relevant, this third series explores the fallout from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through crimes committed in Australia. Don Hany returns as the tough and troubled Muslim cop working alongside a cast including Susie Porter, Aaron Fa’aoso, Daniella Farinacci, Aden Young, Tammy McIntosh, Matt Nable, Aaron Jeffrey, Robert Mammone and Rena Owen. East West 10, Series 3 has just been nominated at the Monte Carlo Television Festival for Outstanding International Producer (Wyld and Knapman), Outstanding Actor (Don Hany and Aaron Fa’aso), and Outstanding Actress (Susie Porter and Rena Owen). Winners will be announced in June. In the meantime we’re looking forward to this top-shelf drama. East West 101, Series 3
Cloudstreet 

(Showcase, Sundays, 8:30pm from May 22nd, 6 x 120 min)

The long-awaited screen adaptation of Tim Winton’s acclaimed bestselling novel tells the story of two rural families who suffer separate catastrophes and flee to the city to pick up the pieces of their lives and start again. Living in the same house at No.1 Cloud Street, the Lambs and the Pickles share numerous tragedies and triumphs that draw them closer together, until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts. Set in Perth during the 1930s and 40s, Cloudstreet boasts an outstanding ensemble cast including AFI Award winning actors Stephen Curry, Essie Davis, Emma Booth, Geoff Morrell, and is directed by AFI Award winner Matthew Saville (The King, Noise) and adapted for the screen by Ellen Fontana and Tim Winton. Cloudstreet
Offspring, Series 2 

(Network Ten, May 2011, 13 x 60 min)

Will Nina (Asher Keddie) and Chris (Don Hany) finally get it together? Tune in for the second series of the charming and frustrating drama about the messy and humorous loves and lives of the Proudman family. Produced by Southern Star’s John Edwards and Imogen Banks, Offspring features a stellar Australian cast including Kat Stewart, John Waters, Eddie Perfect, Richard Davies, Linda Cropper and Deborah Mailman – fresh off the back of her recent AFI Award win for her performance as Cherie. Directors include Kate Dennis, Ken Cameron, Daina Reid, Shirley Barrett, Emma Freeman. Offspring, Series 2
Blood Brothers 

(Channel Nine, May TBC, 90-minute telemovie)

Based on the true story of the Gilham family murders, one of Australia’s most sensational criminal cases, Blood Brothers is produced by Playmaker Media and stars Lisa McCune, Tony Martin and Michael Dorman. Based on the book by Robin Bowles, with a screenplay by Victoria Madden, the telemovie promises to be “a chilling portrait of crime and punishment, a compelling insight into human nature, and a relentless fight for justice.” Blood Brothers
Packed to the Rafters, Series 4 

(Seven Network, mid-2011, 22 x 60 min)

Australia’s highest rating drama series returns with the rest of Series 4 mid-year. Following the ongoing trials and tribulations of the Rafters family with affection and wit, Packed to the Rafters features an ensemble cast led by AFI Award winners Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson  as Julie and Dave Rafter. and boasts some of Australia’s leading directors including AFI Award winners Shirley Barrett and Cherie Nowlan at the helm in 2011. Packed to the Rafters, Series 4
Sea Patrol, Series 5 – ‘Damage Control’ 

(Channel Nine, mid 2011 TBC, 13 x 60 min)

Following the crew of the HMAS Hammersley as they patrol the coastline of Australia and protetct the nation’s borders, this is the fifth and final series of Sea Patrol. Lisa McCune again heads up the cast, along with Ian Stenlake, Conrad Coleby, John Batchelor, Matt Holmes Kristian Schmid and Tammy McIntosh .Sea Patrol is produced by McElroy All Media and was filmed at Mission Beach, Far North Queensland and at Warner Bros Studio on the Gold Coast. Sea Patrol, Series 5 – ‘Damage Control’
The Slap 

(ABC1, late 2011, 8 x 55 min)

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own, setting off a ripple of consequences among those who witness it. Based on Christos Tsolkias’ bestselling novel about a group of friends and family in contemporary Melbourne, this miniseries stars Melissa George, Sophie Lowe, Sophie Okonedo, Essie Davis, Jonathan LaPaglia, Oliver Ackland, Alex Dimitriades, Diana Glenn and Anthony Hayes. A team of four AFI Award winning directors – Jessica Hobbs, Matthew Saville, Tony Ayres and Robert Connolly each direct two episodes. The Slap is produced by Matchbox Pictures’ Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden and Michael McMahon. The Slap
Tangle, Series 3 

(Foxtel/Austar, Showcase, late 2011 TBC, 6 x 60 min)

When Tangle debuted in 2009, it explored an interconnected family and friendship group across two generations – the world of 40-year-olds and their teenage children. The second season looked at what happens when tragedy strikes. Season three promises to pull apart and examine just how the generations separate from one another and how the ties of family are stretched. Produced by Southern Star’s John Edwards, the cast includes Justine Clarke, Kat Stewart and Catherine McClements, who last year won an AFI Award for her performance as Christine in this surprising and original series. Tangle, Series 3
Spirited, Series 2 

(Foxtel/Austar, W Channel, 2011, 10 x 60 min)

Claudia Karvan returns to her role as Suzy Darling, the uptight Sydney dentist who happens to be sharing her apartment with the ghost of Henry Mallet, a wacky 80s rock star (Matt King). A strange and impossible love affair begins. In this season, Suzy’s ex-husband (Roger Corser) continues to try to win her back, while Henry is joined by an entourage of other ghosts, including ‘The King’ played by Simon Lyndon. Another Southern Star production, Spirited boasts a team of accomplished directors, including Stuart McDonald, Michael J. Rowland, Jonathan Teplitzky, Rowan Woods and Jonathan Brough. Jacquelin Perske heads up the writing team, comprising Tony McNamara, Lally Katz, Alice Bell, Jessica Redenbach, Tommy Murphy, Ian Meadows and Mandy McCarthy. Production began in February, with the series expected to air later this year. Spirited, Series 2
Rush, Series 4 

(Network Ten, second half 2011, 13 x 60 min)

Since 2008, Rush has established itself as an action-packed series with exceptional production values, winning the 2010 AFI Award for Best Television Drama Series and AFI Award for Best Direction in Television (Grant Brown). This year we can expect more breathtaking stunts and punchy emotional drama than ever before. Yet another Southern Star production, Rush stars Roger Corser, Callan Mulvey, Joelene Anderson, Nicole da Silva, Catherine McClements, Samuel Johnson, Ashley Zuckerman, Kevin Hofbauer and Josef Ber. Production will commence on the 13-part series mid-year. Directors include Andrew Prowse, Grant Brown, Daina Reid, Ben Chessell, Darren Ashton, Adrian Wills Rush won the AFI Awards for Best Television Drama Series and Best Direction in Television (Grant Brown) in 2010. Rush, Series 4
Underbelly: Razor  

(Channel Nine, late 2011, 13 x 60 min)

Following on from the Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here; Infiltration and The Man Who Got Away, the new Underbelly series, Razor will hit screens later this year. Set in Sydney in the 1920s, Underbelly: Razor is the story of that bloody, decade-long, tit-for-tat rivalry between Tilly Devine, a sharp-tongued Cockney who ran a chain of 40 brothels, and her bitter rival Kate Leigh, an Aussie battler who’d built an empire out of sly grog, thieving and cocaine. Heading this series will be Danielle Cormack (Rake) as vice queen Leigh and Jack Campbell (All Saints) as Jim Devine, Tilly’s husband. Underbelly: Razor is produced by Screentime’s Peter Gawler and Elisa Argenzio. Underbelly: Razor
Killing Time 

(Foxtel – TV1, 2011, 10 x 60 min)

Fremantle Media’s Killing Time follows the true story of Andrew Fraser’s rise from small time lawyer to successfully defending the most infamous criminals this country has ever seen, and then his ultimate downfall and imprisonment for five years in maximum security. Written by Ian David (Blue Murder), Mac Gudgeon (Halifax) and Katherine Thompson (Satisfaction) and starring AFI Award winners David Wenham, Colin Friels and Anthony Hayes, Killing Time is one of the most eagerly anticipated series in years. Delayed by legal woes, the series will make its long-awaited debut on Foxtel’s TV1 later this year. Killing Time
Crownies 

(ABC1, 2011, 22 x 60 min)

Focusing on five eager young lawyers who work in the Department of Public Prosecution, Crownies is a 22-part drama produced by Screentime Australia for ABC TV. Fresh out of law school, the young solicitors work in a highly stressful and fast-paced environment, liaising with police, victims and witnesses of crime – as well as dealing with the moral and social dilemmas of single life. An ensemble cast includes relative newcomers Todd Lasance, Hamish Michael, Ella Scott Lynch, Andrea Demetriades and Indiana Evans, together with Marta Dusseldorp, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jerome Ehlers and Jeanette Cronin. Crownies is written by Greg Haddrick, Jane Allen, Kylie Needham, Tamara Asmar, Blake Ayshford and Justine Gilmer. Directors include Tony Tilse, Chris Noonan, Cherie Nowlan and Grant Brown. The series is produced by Karl Zwicky with Carole Sklan, Des Monaghan and Greg Haddrick as executive producer. Crownies
Wild Boys 

(Seven Network, late 2011, 13 x 60 min)

Set in the 1850s, in a gold rush world of horses and bushrangers, this new colonial western will focus on a gang of four young men who stage holdups and struggle to stay one step ahead of the lawmen and the noose. Daniel MacPherson, Michael Dorman and David Field will star, alongside Zoe Ventura, who will play a single mother with a business to run. The Southern Star series is produced by Sarah Smith and Julie McGauran and will be filmed in NSW. Written by John Ridley, Jeffrey Truman, James Walker, Dave Warner, Michelle Offen and Margaret Wilson, Wild Boys will be directed by Arnie Custo, Chris Martin-Jones, Ian Watson, Jeffrey Walker and Ken Cameron. With production scheduled to begin now (March) the series is expected to air later this year.

Also Tracking: ABC’s Bed of Roses, Series 3; Channel Nine’s Rescue Special Ops, Series 3; Channel Nine telemovie Panic at Rock Islandand perhaps later in the year Steven Spielberg’s QLD-filmed time-travelling dinosaur adventure series Terra Nova. We’re also intrigued by the sound of The Straits, an ABC crime drama about a family of smugglers, set in the Torres Strait and Far North Queensland.

Comedy & Light Entertainment

Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight 

(ABC1, currently screening, Wednesdays, 8:30pm)

This live weekly talk show is fast becoming an enjoyable Wednesday night appointment for those missing Spicks & Specks. Host Adam Hills is likeably naughty as he chats with a variety of guests and interacts with the studio and online. Clad in a dinner suit, Hannah Gadsby provides a nicely twisted version of Girl Friday as she assists Hills with pranks and props from the sidelines.  Visit the website for Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight for heaps of extras and add-ons. Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight
The Jesters, Series 2 

(Movie Extra, Tuesdays, 8:30pm, encore Saturdays)

Professing to “lift the skirts on the making of a TV comedy show”, The Jesters is back for another wry and often hilarious second series. Mentor and boss Dave Davies (Mick Molloy) wonders whether he’s created a monster by giving the young upstart comedians their own stunt-based show. Helped by his producer and right hand woman Kat (Emily Taheny) and Machiavellian network boss Julia (Susie Porter), Dave’s kept in check by his long-time agent and ego-stroker, Di (Deborah Kennedy). The Jesters, Series 2
Laid 

(Encore Screenings – ABC2, Wednesdays, 9:00pm, 6 x 30 min)

Haven’t been Laid yet? You better catch the repeats on ABC2 (Wednesdays, 9pm) and stand by for series two. Written by Marieke Hardy and Kirsty Fisher and produced by AFI Award winner Liz Watts (Animal Kingdom), Laid is a black romantic comedy about Roo McVie (Alison Bell), a woman whose sexual past catches up with her in the most unusual of ways. Co-stars include AFI Award winner Abe Forsythe (Marking Time). Laid
Woodley 

(ABC1, 2011, 8 x 30 min)

Comedian Frank Woodley (of Lano and Woodley fame) writes, produces and stars in this physical comedy about an exasperating 40-year-old man-child. He’s sharing custody of his eight-year-old daughter and trying to win back his long-suffering ex-wife (Justine Clarke), who has just started dating a local psychiatrist (Tom Long). Early indications suggest this will be hilarious and unique, a comic drama from one of our best contemporary clowns. Woodley
Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable 

(ABC1, 2011, 6 x 30 min)

Comedian Laurence Leung’s latest documentary series adventure is tipped to be Mythbusters meets Ghostbusters as he embarks on mind-bending quests to examine the irrational and the impossible. With his curious scientific research and somewhat ludicrous real-life experiments, Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable pokes fun at our own misconceptions and tests the limits of our beliefs.
The Gruen Transfer 

(ABC1, 2011)

Wil Anderson, Russell Howcroft and Todd Sampson will be back later in the year with a brand new series of the 2010 AFI Award winner for Best Light Entertainment Television Series, The Gruen Transfer. Advertising executives beware! In the meantime, you can follow the Gruen Team on Twitter http://twitter.com/gruenhq The Gruen Transfer
Angry Boys 

(ABC1, 2011, 12 x 30 min)

2008 Byron Kennedy Award winner Chris Lilley will soon be back on our screens with his new mock doco series Angry Boys. Produced in association with HBO and BBC TV and shot in various locations across the globe, Lilley introduces us to a bunch of new and familiar characters as he explores what it means to be a boy in the 21st century, and all the angst, anger, anticipation and absurdity that comes with it. Angry Boys
Housos 

(SBS, mid-2011 TBC)

Multi Logie nominee Paul Fenech’s particular brand of irreverent humour was in full force in Pizza and Swift & Shift Couriers and garnered him a devoted fan base. His new series Housos, about the residents bikie gang living in a public housing estate, is set to continue Fenech’s penchant for biting parody and lampooning of ethnic stereotypes that will entertain many and ruffle a few feathers. The Housos cast will include Fenech, Anthony Salame, Angry Anderson, Ian Turpie and Amanda Keller. Housos
Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey 

(ABC1, mid 2011, 6 x 30 min)

Judith Lucy is lost. Now, ready or not, she’s going on a journey to find herself. This six-part series follows the droll and dry comedian Judith Lucy on a very personal path from devoutly religious child to determined young atheist to adult searching for something to believe in. She tries on different faiths for size, revealing what’s on offer for the spiritually curious, and reliving the hilarious, bizarre and profound moments in her life that have shaped who she is today. A co-production between ABC TV and Bearded Lady/Pretty Good Productions, this comedy/documentary is written by Judith Lucy, produced by Todd Abbott (Micallef Tonight, David Tench Tonight) with directors Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) and Tony Martin (The Librarians, The Late Show). Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey
Outland 

(ABC1, mid 2011, 6 x 30 min)

Starring Christine Anu, Adam Richard, Ben Gerrard, Paul Ireland and Toby Truslove as the members of a gay science fiction fan club, Outland is a comedy series about their lives, loves and passion for the worlds of science fiction. Orbiting around their shambolic meetings at each other’s apartments, this is a series about how you cope if you’re gay and a geek. Filmed in Melbourne and produced by Princess Pictures – the same team behind the highly popular Summer Heights High and John Safran’s Race RelationsOutland is written by John Richards and Adam Richard and directed by Kevin Carlin (City Homicide, Packed to the Rafters). Outland
Hamish & Andy  

(Channel Nine, late 2011)

Details are being kept under wraps for the much anticipated show by radio kings, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee.  Having dominated the airwaves for the past 5 years, audiences wait to see what shape their foray back into television will take.  The show will be produced through their Radio Karate production company. Hamish & Andy
Twentysomething 

(ABC2, 2011, 6 x 30 min)

Created and starring Jess Harris (Hamish & Andy’s Real Stories, Rove) and Josh Schmidt (5 Lost at Sea) Twentysomething is the story of two best mates, Jess and Josh, who never went to uni, never had a clear talent, and never really had a drive to grow up. While their friends climb the corporate ladder and start settling down, Jess and Josh begin to tire of their dead-end jobs. They decide to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure. Produced by Nicole Minchin (Lowdown) and directed by Paul Currie, the comedy series also stars Hamish Blake as Jess’s on-again off-again crush, and Leah de Niese (Offspring) as another ‘back-up’ friend, Abby. Filmed in Melbourne in December and January, the series is expected to air later this year. Twentysomething

Also Tracking: SBS comedy spoof about 60s-era spies on a mission to kill Hitler in Danger 5; John Clarke’s The Games: London Calling (Channel Nine); Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee host a new Channel Nine discussion program The Joy of Sets, produced by Zapruder’s Other Films; and of course new series of SBS’ Rockwiz and ABC’s Spicks and Specks, which is returning after Easter.

Children’s Television

Go Lingo! 

(ABC3, premieres Monday, April 11, 11.25am)

New to ABC3 this April is the children’s game show Go Lingo! Each episode sees three contestants aged 11-12 battling it out to gain the most points while competing in a series of fun, hi-tech intellectual and physical games designed to test their spelling and grammar. If the website is anything to go by Go Lingo! sounds like a blast with a pit of oversized letters for the contestants to jump in to as well as digital basketball and paint ball to master. The show will also showcase Indigenous languages from around Australia with a segment titled ‘My Country’ and will be hosted by 19-year-old Torres Strait Islander Alannah Ahmat, who was selected after a nationwide search. Go Lingo!
Slide 

(Fox8, August 2011, 10 x 60 min)

Filmed in Brisbane, Fox8’s new teen drama Slide follows the unpredictable exploits of a group of teenagers as they prepare to face life after school. The 10-part drama will be produced by Playmaker Media and Hoodlum. Hoodlum has gained international recognition for US projects including Lost and Flash Forward. The cast of Slide features Gracie Gilbert (Lockie Leonard), Brenton Thwaites, Ben Schumann (Neighbours, Kick) , Adele Perovic and Emily Robins (The Elephant Princess, Shortland St.). The series is aimed at an audience of 17 to 25-year-olds and draws upon youth for its story development. Produced by David Maher (Supernova), Nathan Mayfield (Hard Choices, Fat Cow Motel), Tracey Robertson (Feeling Sexy, Fat Cow Motel), and David Taylor (Blood Brothers, Crash Palace). Slide
My Place, Series 2 

(ABC3, late 2011, 13 x 30 min)

Mischief and adventure continue to abound in My Place, winner of last year’s AFI Award for Best Children’s Television Drama and co-winner of the 2011 international KidScreen Awards . Produced by multi AFI Award winner Penny Chapman (RAN, The Road from Coorain) from Matchbox Pictures, the story is based on the acclaimed book by Nadia Wheatley, about several generations of Australian children who have lived in the same place for over 130 years. The second series is written and directed by well known Australian talent including; Rachel Ward (Beautiful Kate), Wayne Blair (Lockie Leonard), Catriona McKenzie (The Circuit), Sam Lang (Monkey’s Mask), Greg Waters (Dance Academy), Nick Parsons (Dead Heart), Alice Addison (RAN), John Alsop (RAN, Brides of Christ), Dallas Winmar (Aliwa!), Tony Briggs (The Sapphires) and Michael James Rowland (The Last Confession Of Alexander Pearce). My Place, Series 2
Dance Academy, Series 2 

(ABC3, late 2011, 26 x 30 min)

Tara (Xenia Goodwin) returns to the National Academy of Dance with the goal of representing Australia in the world’s most prestigious ballet competition. But perhaps she should be more focused on just surviving Second Year, where having climbed to the top in her first year at the Academy – in dance, in life, in love – she now has a very long way to fall. The highest rated drama on ABC last year, and co-winner of the 2011 international KidScreen Awards, Dance Academy has also been shortlisted for the 2011 NSW Premier’s Script Writing Award. Produced by two-time AFI Award nominee Joanna Werner (Bring it On Again, H20: Just Add Water), the show also stars Tara Morice (Strictly Ballroom), Alicia Banit (Summer Heights High), Dena Kaplan (City Homicide, The Flight of the Conchords), and Tom Green (Emerald Falls).

Also Tracking: a brand new 3D animated series of Bananas in Pyjamas; the ABC’s hugely popular Australian version of Prank Patrol; and a second series of the inventive children’s animation series The Adventures of Figaro Pho (from AFI Award winner Luke Jurevicius).