Gettin' Square sequel among five feature films set for $6.9m funding boost

Gettin' Square sequel among five feature films set for $6.9m funding boost

David Wenham as John Spitieri in the 2003 production Gettin' Square.

Five feature films, including a sequel to Gold Coast legal eagle Chris Nyst’s Gettin' Square and a feature film based on the harrowing ordeal of Australian journalist Peter Greste a decade ago, are set for production backed by more than $6.9 million in funding from Screen Australia.

The financial support announced today will support 11 productions in total, including television drama Last King of the Cross and popular ABC children’s series Spooky Files, as well as four online projects.

Screen Australia’s director of content Grainne Brunsdon says these productions exemplify ‘the power of storytelling and brilliant filmmaking across a range of genres and platforms’.

“From diverse voices to innovative visions, these narratives showcase the boundless creativity at the heart of our thriving screen industry, and we can’t wait for audiences to immerse themselves in these extraordinary tales,” Brunsdon says.

Spit

Among the feature films greenlit for production is Spit, the sequel to 2003 award-winning crime comedy Gettin’ Square which will see ex-junkie John Spitieri return to Australia, only to find himself locked up in an immigration detention centre with a massive target on his back.

Drawing on the theme of old enemies determined to settle old scores with him, Spit makes new friends amongst the detainees, teaching them his version of mateship and what it means to be truly Australian. 

Spit, which is being financed in association with Screen Queensland, is being directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and written by Nyst, who draws his inspiration from a long career as a criminal lawyer.

Producers are Greg Duffy (Last Cab to Darwin), Trish Lake, whose credits include Gettin’ Square, Felicity McVay and David Wenham (The Furnace).

The Correspondent

The story of Australian journalist Peter Greste, confronted with the brutal realities of reporting from one of the most dangerous cities on earth, is being told in The Correspondent, a film directed by Kriv Stenders (Red DogDanger Close: The Battle of Long Tan), written by Peter Duncan (Operation BuffaloRake) and produced by Carmel Travers (One Four - Against All OddsMy Freaky FamilyAlien TV).

Set in the shadow of the Great Pyramids of Egypt in 2013, Greste is accused of terrorism and becomes a pawn in a deadly game full of corrupt officials and ancient rivalries – with only his wits keeping him alive. 

The Correspondent is financed in association with Screen NSW with support from Jovial Planet Productions, Spectrum Films, Dreamlight Studio and the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

Kangaroo

A heart-warming family comedy about former television personality Chris Masterson is told in Kangaroo as he becomes stranded in an outback town after a car accident on his way to Broome.

There, he forms an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old Indigenous girl Charlie. In Kangaroo, Chris and Charlie work together to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned joeys in the remote outback, an endeavour that proves to be life-changing for them both.

Kangaroo is being directed by Kate Woods (The Lincoln LawyerThe Umbrella AcademyLooking for Alibrandi), with writing from Harry Cripps (The Dry) and additional writing by Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi).

Th feature film is being produced by David Jowsey (True Colours), Greer Simpkin (Sweet Country), Rachel Clements (MaveriX) and Trisha Morton-Thomas (8MMM Aboriginal Radio), with finance from Screen Territory and Screen NSW.

One More Shot

Time-loop comedy One More Shot tells the story of Minnie, who on New Year’s Eve 1999 discovers a bottle of time-travelling tequila that takes her back to the start of the night.

 Armed with this mysterious bottle of tequila, she hopes to win the heart of on-again-off-again old flame, Joe, but no matter what she does, she can’t escape herself. 

One More Shot is directed by Nicholas Clifford (Monologue) and written by Alice Foulcher and Gregory Erdstein, whose credits include That’s Not Me.

Nick Batzias and Virginia Whitwell of Nitram and Nude Tuesday are producing alongside Jim Wright and Elise Trenorden of Monologue and This is Going to be Big, with finance from the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund and VicScreen.

Red Rock Run

Red Rock Run is a family feature film that follows 10-year-old Lucy who is forbidden from attending the 1978 regional athletic trials as punishment for racing a delivery plane on a remote dirt airstrip.

But with the help of her grandmother, she defies her Vietnam-veteran father and enters the first kids’ team into the Red Rock Run, a gruelling 120km outback marathon race.

The film is directed by Cathy Randall (Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger), written by Meg Shields and produced by Miriam Stein (Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger). 

Red Rock Run is financed in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest, Screen NSW and Spectrum Entertainment.

Netflix production under way in Melbourne

Adding to the local production schedule - and not included in today's funding announcement - is Apple Cider Vinegar, a Netflix and See Saw Films/Picking Scabs production which has started filming in Melbourne.

Described as a ‘true-ish story, based on a lie’, Apple Cider Vinegar details the story of two women who set out to cure life-threatening illnesses through health and wellness, motivating their online followers along the way - all of which would be inspiring if it were true.

The series stars Kaitlyn Dever (Dopesick, Unbelievable), anditis directed by Melbourne-born Jeffrey Walker (The Clearing, The Artful Dodger, Modern Family), and written by Samantha Strauss (The Dry, Nine Perfect Strangers, Dance Academy), alongside Anya Beyersdorf (The Twelve) and Angela Betzien (Total Control). 

The cast includes Alycia Debnam-Carey (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Fear the Walking Dead), Aisha Dee (The Bold Type, Safe Home), Tilda Cobham-Hervey (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, I Am Woman), Ashley Zukerman (Succession) and Mark Coles Smith (Mystery Road: Origin).

Apple Cider Vinegar, which is set to create 450 jobs and generate more than $13 million in economic value locally, comes on the heels of recent productions including Paramount+ Australia series Fake starring Asher Keddie and David Wenham, and Wind Catcher, a Stan and Australian Children’s Television Foundation family feature.

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