Disney+ is partnering with Western Australian filmmakers and scientists to shoot its first ever Australian documentary, taking a deep dive into some of the state's 1,600 shipwrecks for a new six-part series
Production has now kicked off along WA's so-called 'Treasure Coast' for Shipwreck Hunters Australia, with the help of highly skilled divers, underwater filmmakers and expert maritime archaeologists from the Western Australian Museum.
Directed by Brendan Hutchens of Fremantle-based VAM Media, the principal investment for the series is from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and the Western Australian Screen Fund.
Hutchens, who is known for his documentary Drawn to Water about marine artist Roger Swainston, will dive into one of the planet's most spectacular ocean environments, showcasing thrilling discoveries and looking to solve some iconic shipwreck mysteries, backed by new evidence, the latest technologies and archival research.
He will be joined by underwater filmmakers from Terra Australis to bring these long-lost shipwreck secrets and new discoveries to the screen, as well as series producer Katherine Barrett (Aussie Gold Hunters) and Steve Bibb (former ABC Head of Factual and owner of Barking Mad Productions).
"I'm incredibly excited to be working with a unique team of highly skilled divers, master mariners, ocean filmmakers and maritime archaeologists to share these captivating West Australian-based stories with the world," says Brendan Hutchens of VAM Media.
"And what a platform to be sharing it on! We're over the moon to be bringing Shipwreck Hunters Australia to Disney Plus.
"We're grateful for the support from our production funding partners and for the hard work of our brilliant production team. Teaming up with the Western Australian Museum brings another level of expertise to these expeditions which will be action packed and full of adventure. It's going to be epic."
Screen Australia's head of content Sally Caplan says she can't wait or audiences here and around the world to discover WA's hidden coastal treasures.
"We're delighted to have Disney+ on board for their first Australian documentary with Shipwreck Hunters Australia, which will take viewers on an adventure through the remarkable underwater world along Western Australia's Treasure Coast," Caplan says.
"With the support of the State Government, we're thrilled to support Shipwreck Hunters Australia, an exciting first for a WA production company to be shooting a project for Disney+," adds Screenwest CEO Willie Rowe.
"We hope this paves the way for future series and other projects with the streaming giant, as they have shown a dedication to high quality documentary programming and commissions."
The Walt Disney Company ANZ senior vice president and managing director Kyle Watson-Wheeler says the company is extremely excited to announce its first local product for Disney+.
"Shipwreck Hunters Australia brings to life epic shipwreck discoveries from an intrepid ocean adventure team. We know our Disney+ audience will be wowed by some of the most fearless shipwreck hunters in the world, all filmed on our stunning Australian doorstep," says Watson-Wheeler.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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