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Viewers can now binge on all of the bite sized sketch comedy series  called FRESH BLOOD anytime on ABC COMEDY on iview or on ABC COMEDY on YouTube.     But now four of those 20 sketch comedy teams have been selected as Fresh Blood’s Class of 2017,

These four will now receive $75,000 each to produce a half-hour pilot to premiere on ABC iview in 2018. Continue reading FRESH BLOOD: 4 COMEDY TEAMS TO CREATE PILOTS


Featured image – Director Greg McLean, with producers Rob Gibson and Lisa Scott. Pic Ben Apfelbaum.

Director Greg McLean and some of the show’s stars including Tess Haubrich walked the Red Carpet at the World Premiere  on Tuesday 21st November at the brand new  Palace Central complex, Central Park Mall, Sydney.

A high-end psychological thriller, the new season of WOLF CREEK pits a diverse cast of characters against an inhospitable, remote landscape, whose lethal dangers are personified by the series’ infamous serial killer, Mick Taylor.

A six part television series WOLF CREEK will premiere exclusively on Stan on December 15.



Screen Australia Releases 2016/17 Drama Report

Three Summers – Photograph by David Dare Parker
Source: Screen Australia

Screen Australia’s 27th annual DRAMA REPORT is not just for number crunchers.  It has major implications for what we see and hear on Australian Screens.  And the news is good.

The $1.3 billion spent on screen drama production in 2016/7 is an all-time high.  Of that $667 million was spent on home-grown projects and foreign project spending here was also up, showing as $610 million.

The report covers Australian and foreign feature films, TV drama and online programs and includes PDV-only (post, digital and visual effects). In addition, for the first time, this report includes online drama programs longer than 30 minutes.  These are reported separately, with 22 titles made for platforms such as Stan, ABC iview and YouTube.

Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia said: “Crossing the $1 billion expenditure threshold is an incredible milestone for the Australian screen industry and has not happened by accident. There is a whole ecosystem of support measures that keep our industry firing, including direct government funding, tax incentives and Australian content quotas.”

We all know though that there have been some big budget blockbusters worked on here, both full shoots and PDV only.  The Australian dollar remained below USD$0.80 assisting companies to remain competitive and the Location Offset and PDV Offset, as well as other state and federal government incentives, attracted foreign productions.  These included Thor: Ragnarok, Aquaman and Pacific Rim: Uprising and the PVD on Spider-Man: Homecoming.

But local production of drama features rose to 41 titles from 32 films in the previous year. The report cites  the foreign-backed Peter Rabbit as a driver but also strong domestic and co-production ventures including Sweet Country, Swinging Safari, Cargo and Mary Magdalene (UK).

When we look at drama on the small screen, the growth continues.  Last year had record highs for Australian produced television and this year raises the bar again.  With 46 titles and 457 hours of content.  The majority of which were half-hour comedy formats such as The Family Law (S2), Here Come the Habibs! (S2) and Get Krack!n. Mini-series production remained strong too and included series returns of Cleverman, The Secret Daughter and Wentworth, as well as adaptations such as Wake in Fright and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Locally produced children’s television drama took a knock though with a sharp decline in Australian expenditure in 16/17 ($48 million), significantly below the five-year average of $60 million.

For those interested in state rivalry New South Wales accounted for the largest share of total expenditure in Australia (36%), however Queensland was not far behind (33%) with the significant rise driven by several major Hollywood blockbusters shooting in the state.

The Screen Australia’s DRAMA REPORT 2016/2017  is available online at

Love Bites Funding Announced


Image of Anthony Aitch Monsta Gras 2007 by  Kristian Taylor-Wood

Image of Fez-Faanana by John-Tsiavis

LOVE BITES is an initiative from the ABC and Screen Australia in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2018.

Love Bites will be a series of 10 x 5 minute documentary short films made by filmmakers from the LGBTQI community across Australia and the selected projects have just been funded.

There is $10,000 available for each project and the 5 minute documentaries will screen on the Arts channel on ABC iView to coincide with Mardi Gras.

From a radical 1980s lesbian erotic magazine to an internationally renowned Samoan-Australian drag performer, what it means to grow up with same-sex parents and the ubiquity of dating app culture, these 10 projects will showcase the diversity and artistic expression of Australia’s LGBTQI community.

“There could not be a better time to celebrate the extraordinary diversity that is flourishing in our Australian LGBTQI communities,” said Terese Cau, CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. “The Love Bites initiative has just unleashed 10 amazing documentary teams who will bring us fresh new contemporary LGBTQI stories to enjoy as part of the 40th celebrations of Mardi Gras. We can’t wait to see the outcome!”

The funded projects are:

BEYOND THE MIRRORBALL (NSW) from producer Josh Feeney and producer/director Luke Cornish, that will ask what comes next for the over-50s generation of the LGBTQI community moving on from the disco lights of the party scene.

CLUB ARAK (NSW) from producer Alissar Gazal and director Fadia Abboud, which will tell the story of Sydney’s original queer Arab dance party that has for 15 years created a safe space that empowered and encouraged Arabs to gather and celebrate their cultural identity.

DANCES (VIC) from producer Stephanie Westwood and director Ramon Watkins – an innovative exploration of queer experiences with dating app culture, told through dance and animation.

DANI BOI (VIC) from producer Zena Bartlett and director Logan Mucha, about a provocative drag king and how radical performance art can play a role in challenging gender conformity.

DESPERATELY SEEKING SHAVERS (VIC) from producer Christina Radburn and writer/director Emmett Aldred, which will look at the role facial hair plays in expressing and actualising identity for Trans and gender diverse people.

FEZ (QLD) from producer Jessica Magro, executive producer Kate Paul and director Jermaine D’Vauz – a celebration of the life of Samoan-Australian entertainer Fez Faanana who represents Australia on the world stage in dazzling drag and co-founded the all-male burlesque company ‘Briefs Factory’.

MONSTA GRAS (NSW) from producer Jain Moralee and director Kelli Jean Drinkwater, about one of Sydney’s most legendary art parties hosted by The Glitter Militia, and the feminist political playground that redefines what it means to be queer.

QUEEN BIRYANI (NSW) from producer Kate Vinen and director Gary Paramanathan, which will tell the story of new Pakistani migrant Ali who challenges gender norms by serving up delicious South Asian cuisine through his catering company donned in glittering saris.

SAME SAME (NSW) from producer Lizzie Cater and writer/director Thomas Wilson-White who will draw from his own life for a documentary about growing up with gay parents, and reimagine the many possible versions of Australian families.

WICKED WOMEN: THERE’S NO STOPPING US NOW (VIC) from producer/director Anna Brownfield, a history of the lesbian erotic magazine Wicked Women which launched in 1988 and turned lesbian Australia upside down – liberating lesbian sex for generations to come.

For more about Love Bites Funding Announced, visit


Featured photo- Lexi Laphor in ‘The Glass Bedroom’, an Arts Bite Project.

Ready for Mardi Gras 2018? It will be the 40th anniversary and the creative juices of Australian LGBTQI documentary filmmakers must be bubbling like champagne as Screen Australia and ABC TV Arts announce LOVE BITES.

In recognition of the milestone, Screen Australia and ABC TV Arts have teamed up to provide an national platform for Australian LGBTQI filmmakers … a curated series of 10 x 5 minute shorts to be premiered on the ABC Arts channel on iview during Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in March 2018. Under the banner LOVE BITES applications are now being received and will close Sunday August 6th.

The initiative is backed by funding and practical support. ABC TV and Screen Australia will commit a total of $100,000 to this initiative, offering 10 filmmakers $10,000 each to make the short film for delivery in January 2018. Each team will be supported by a Screen Australia Investment Manager and an ABC Digital Arts Commissioning Editor. Continue reading LOVE BITES : A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING LGBTQI INITIATIVE


Knocking the Who Do You Think You Are? concept out of the ring, THE PANTHER WITHIN is a winning technical and emotional knock-out of a film.

In a tag team bout of several suspenseful rounds, film-maker Edoardo Crismani and his mother Barbara embark on a search to unravel the mystery surrounding Barbara’s father Joe Murray, an indigenous boxing champion who danced and sang vaudeville, and married a blue-eyed blond white woman in 1930s Australia. Astonishing!

On the ropes as far as reliable historical documentation regarding Joe Murray, mother and son journey across the land, from Adelaide to Mildura, Melbourne and Ballarat. They trawl through libraries, meet with researchers, historians and Aboriginal elders, delving into the hidden heritage of the man known as The Black Panther, trying to piece his story together. Continue reading THE PANTHER WITHIN : A STRIKING NEW AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY


This is apparently the most expensive cable television series ever produced. If you loved The Queen and the live screening of the National Theatre’s production of The Audience also starring Helen Mirren as the Queen, you will adore this series as they were all written by Peter Morgan.

This lavish Netflix original drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth 11 from the 1940s to 1956 in this first series of ten episodes. The second series is currently being produced but subsequent series will have new sets of actors as the Queen and Prince Phillip age.

The series begins with an inside look at the early reign of the Queen who ascended the throne when she was 25. Continue reading THE CROWN


The Season 2 Premiere of this silly, slyly satirical police comedy took place at the Golden Age cinema Surry Hills on Tuesday October 25. It involves Quentin Tarintino like dialogue and the police drama trope of helicopetr shots of the big city at night, in this case Sydney.

The script was sufficiently appealing to lure back Rose Byrne and Damon Herriman from Hollywood to participate in Season 2. STAN Pay TV Channel, for the most part sponsored the first two seasons  and announced that continues funding will be available for a third season.

The Blue Carpet was walked by some of No Activity stars including Dan Wyllie, Harriet Dyer, Genevieve Morris, David Field, Chum Aehelepola and Susie Youssef. Celebrity friends such as John Jarrett (Wolf Creek) and Sophie Hensser (Love Child) turned up to lend support.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum.

Toast Of London TV Series Comes To DVD

Toast of London- Series 2

Luvvies love looking in and TOAST OF LONDON is a luvvie fest that looks in on London’s likeliest contender for worst actor, Steven Toast.

Actually, Toast isn’t really such a bad actor, it’s just that he has either made bad choices or has had an agent make bad choices for him. At least he’s a working actor which is more than can be said by many. Although he does seem to spend an inordinately long time having tete de tete with his agent, Jane.

Co-created and starring Matt Berry as the eponymous Toast, TOAST OF LONDON is part sit com, part satire and part musical which takes to abseiling absurdity as gleefully as it does descending to the gutters of smut and potty humour in the best British tradition and does not scorn soft comedy porn or scoff at politically incorrect opportunities to lambast and skewer.

Continue reading Toast Of London TV Series Comes To DVD

2015 Logie Nominations Announced

Inset pic- Jake Freeman  interviews Samantha Jade  who has been nominated for  most popular new talent for her performance in INXS- Never Tear Us Apart. Featured Pic- Amanda Keller and the Block judge Shaynne Blaze emceed the event
Inset pic- Jake Freeman interviews Samantha Jade who has been nominated for most popular new talent for her performance in INXS- Never Tear Us Apart. Featured Pic- Amanda Keller and the Block judge Shaynne Blaze emceed the event

It’s going to feel like déjà vu at this year’s Logies with three previous winners and three previously nominated contenders in the running for Australian television’s highest award; The Gold Logie.

Scott Cam, winner of the 2014 Gold Logie goes up against 2013 Gold Logie winner Asher Keddie and 2012 Gold Logie winner Hamish Blake. Joining the race for the golden statute is Hamish’s partner and funny man Andy Lee, and Home and Away star Stephen Peacocke who is going for his second Gold Logie nomination. Going for her fourth nomination is The Project co-host, Carrie Bickmore.

Continue reading 2015 Logie Nominations Announced

Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular @ Qantas Credit Union Arena

Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular-cybermen

Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular is a musical celebration of the iconic BBC television series which started in 1963, and in 2014 celebrated its 50th anniversary. This extraordinary musical event, has been inspired by the BBC Doctor Who Proms held each year at London’s Royal Albert Hall, since 2008.

An enormous improvement on  the limitations  of the BBC Doctor Who Proms, The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular was last seen in Sydney from 15 to 21 December 2012 at the Sydney Opera House with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular has finally returned to Australia. Touring during January and February 2015 in Adelaide, Perth and then with two SYDNEY sold-out shows at the Qantas Credit Union Arena on Saturday 7th February 2015.

Continue reading Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular @ Qantas Credit Union Arena


Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts



Awards Ceremony Hosts Cate Blanchett and Deborah Mailman were joined on stage by a star-studded line up of presenters including Geoffrey Rush (AACTA president), Lachy HulmeStephen Curry and cricketer Brett Lee to honour Australia’s best achievements in Australian film and television at the 4th  AACTA  Awards Ceremony, held at The Star Event Centre, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, SYDNEY, NSW.

FILM & DOCUMENTARY AWARDS In an unusual though not unprecedented twist, an equal tie for Best Film was announced, with  two feature films awarded the AACTA Award for Best FilmTHE BABADOOK (by first-time feature film director, Jennifer Kent) and THE WATER DIVINER (also marking a directorial debut for Russell Crowe). THE BABADOOK  also took home the  AACTA Award  for  Best Direction presented by Hyundai Genesis , and ^ Best Original Screenplay .


2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards and Nominees

2015 winners Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards)
2015 winners Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards)

2015 SAG Awards and Nominees    

Yes you can catch up with the full list of SAG winners, if you were watching the Miss Universe Pageant Contest instead. All the winners of the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards  have now been announced at the annual awards gala event, that was held at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, on Sunday Evening 25th January 2015.

Continue reading 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards and Nominees

Molly Tells, Um, His Story

The very unique Ian Molly Meldrum
The very unique and much loved Ian Molly Meldrum

Considering Molly Meldrum’s meandering and stumbling interview style, it seems a minor miracle that he lasted on Countdown for so long (thirteen years, from 1974 to 1987). Journalist Jennifer Byrne famously described Meldrum as a ‘truly awful’ interviewer. Others described Countdown as ‘the ultimate squirm tv’ (Deborah Conway). Still, he has been recognised for his contributions to Australian music over the years, from his earliest days at Go-Set rock magazine in 1966.

Though Meldrum had Jeff Jenkins help on this project, the story is told in Meldrum’s voice. It is a very funny, anecdote laden book with all of Meldrum’s most famous interviews and celebrity stoushes, though he is very quick to kiss and make up. Meldrum’s take on Elton John’s 1984 Sydney wedding to Renate Blauel? Elton simply wanted to knock Michael Jackson from the headlines. (Jackson’s hair had accidentally been set on fire while filming a Pepsi ad two weeks earlier). In an ironic twist, when Jackson toured Sydney more than a decade later he married the pregnant Deborah Rowe here. Sydney seemed, for a while at least, to be the place for the famous and sexually confused to tie the knot.                              Continue reading Molly Tells, Um, His Story

Antenna Awards 2014: Community TV’s Big Night

Richard McLelland Channel 31 General Manager interviewed by Jake Freeman
Richard McLelland Channel 31 General Manager interviewed by Jake Freeman

There was an impressive turnout at the Antenna Awards that were held on Wednesday night at the Deakin Edge Theatre at Federation Square. Over 400 representatives from the community television sector, the film and television industry, local business and local, state and federal governments were in attendance.

The event was hosted by Tegan Higginbotham with guest presenters such as former community television personalities Dave Thorton and Tommy Little.

These awards recognise and showcase outstanding community television programs across Australia. This year the event also celebrated the milestone of 20 years of programming by Channel 31 Australia, the country’s largest community broadcaster, now broadcasting digitally on Channel 44. Continue reading Antenna Awards 2014: Community TV’s Big Night

The Amateur Monster Movie

Second PicIf you like truth in advertising, then you’re going to love the title of this week’s film screening on TVS: The Amateur Monster Movie (2011). It certainly is amateur, and it is indeed a movie (if only in the strictest technical sense). The only thing wrong with the title is the word ‘monster’ because there’s more than one! That’s right, this is both a zombie movie AND a werewolf movie! Now that’s real value for money! It’s the first feature film starring, written, directed, produced, catered and edited by twenty-two-year-old Milwaukeean Jozef Kyle Richards – presumably because no one else would. The title tells you right away that it’s going to be both campy and goofy (along with the other five dwarfs) and played strictly for laughs. Continue reading The Amateur Monster Movie


Moderator Anthony McCormack, host David M Green and scorekepper Sophie Loughran
Moderator Anthony McCormack, host David M Green and scorekepper Sophie Loughran

The third season of everyone’s favourite, low budget TV game show premieres tonight and Jake Freeman looks for answers.

It’s a typical Thursday evening at RMITV’s Swanston Street studio and a new episode of 31 Questions will be shot over the next 2 hours. Comedian and warm-up person Michael Connell entertains the audience as they take their seat and glance around the studio thinking the usual, “Wow, it’s smaller in here than it looks on TV” thought before the cameras roll.

At 8:15 PM, host and co – creator David M. Green bounces onto the set, flashing his boyish grin and wearing his trademark brown jacket saturated with questions marks. He’s greeted by rapturous applause. Score keeper Sophie Loughran closely follows and receives a warm reception. Moderator Anthony McCormack is last to enter with the audience booing him like the Collingwood cheer squad does to the umpire.

Continue reading 31 QUESTIONS


Dr Chris Brown and Julia Morris hosted the 56th Logies Awards nomination event at Club 23, Crown Towers
Dr Chris Brown and Julia Morris hosted the 56th Logies Awards nomination event at Club 23.

Drama and miniseries are up for the big awards at this year’s TV’s night of nights, The 56th Logies, which is just around the corner and the complete list of the nominees was announced this week at Crown’s Club 23. Actress and comedian Julia Morris and Bondi vet Doctor Chris Brown hosted the event.

First time nominees for the Gold Logie are: The Block’s Scott Cam and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries actress Essie Davis. Joining them in the contest for the top prize is 2013 Gold Logie winner, Asher Keddie, Andy Lee, Carrie Bickmore and Stephen Peacocke from Home and Away. Three out of the five nominees are from drama/miniseries.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is also nominated for the Most Popular Drama and Essie Davis is in the running for Most Popular Actress. Although the show rated highly with more than 1 million viewers per episode, its future on the ABC’s programschedule also remains a mystery as the public broadcaster has not yet commissioned a third series, despite strong fan support.

Carrie Bickmore, the last original host for The Project is up for the Gold for the second time in a row. Speaking with the Sydney Arts Guide, the presenter was humble about being nominated and the challenges of working in an ever changing industry. Her co-hosts Dave Hughes and Charlie Pickering have since left The Project.
In a bid to shorten the ceremony, the Most Popular New Male Talent and Most Popular New Female Talent awards will be merged into the Most Popular New Talent category, becoming gender non-specific. The award for Most Popular Factual Program has also been eliminated.

Although the Logies have always been the battleground between channels Seven and Nine, the ABC and pay TV provider Foxtel are also dominating the nominations for drama and miniseries/telemovie categories.

Foxtel’s Wentworth is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and its main star Danielle Cormack is up for Outstanding Actress. Foxtel’s other show, Top of the Lake, is nominated for Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie, which breaks the tradition of only free-to-air TV being showcased at the Logies.

Not to be outdone, the ABC’s Paper Giants, Redfern Now, The Time of Our Lives and An Accidental Soldier are also competing for the silver.

From the commercial networks, it’s Seven’s A Place To Call Home, Nine’s Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story and Ten’s Offspring.

Interestingly, The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent are the only variety or talent shows that will be up against four scripted comedies: SBS’s Housos and the ABC’s It’s A Date, Please Like Me and Upper Middle Bogan in the Outstanding Light Entertainment Program category.

The TV Week Logie Awards ceremony will be screened on the Nine Network on Sunday, 27 April from the Palladium at Crown Casino.


Costume Designer Marion  Boyce celebrating at the opening of her exhibiition at the Old Government House, Parramatta
AACTA Award winning costume designer Marion Boyce in great spirits at the opening of her exhibition at Old Government House, Parramatta. Pic John Gollings

From a very early age, Marion Boyce discovered her love of clothes and fabrics.  She says, “I used to drive my mother nuts,  and at about age eleven I’d say, I want a full length denim coat, and she’d come home with one and I’d say, No, it’s the wrong cut”. After that, Marion was given a budget to buy her own clothes.

The talent for costume making could well be in Marion’s genes as her great grandmother was a master lace maker in Italy. Marion went on to study fashion design at RMIT college in Melbourne and began presenting fashion parades in nightclubs.  A producer/director saw her show and asked her to do a film, which is how it all began.