Staff Picks 2021
The Screen Queensland team share their favourite projects from 2021, including must-see productions, initiatives and games. Enjoy a cheeky binge session with our top holiday picks!
Directed by Douglas Watkin, this beautiful documentary shows the arrival of Prince Albert of Monaco to the tiny Torres Strait Islands, to visit local artist Alick Tipoti, after striking up an unlikely friendship when they first meet in Monaco. The two men share a love of and concern for the natural environment. This feature length documentary highlights the urgency the planet faces in addressing climate change. It is a touching and illuminating film.
What an incredible story. A chance meeting between Badu Island artist/activist Alick Tipoti, who was invited to the Musee Oceanographique in Monaco to display his work, and Prince Albert 11 lead to this amazing journey. Two people light years apart, have so many shared ideals on art, life and saving our planet. It was wonderful to see this friendship evolve, especially the visit to Badu Island and the community engagement and activities. There just has to be a sequel to this wonderful story.
A ripping season of Brains VS Brawn. Australian Survivor never fails to deliver and this season was no exception. The depth at which this version of Survivor explores the "social" game, means the audience is taken on a much more insightful journey for the survivors, making it the best iteration of this series internationally. This season was filled with phenomenal challeges, shocking blindsides and crazy tribal councils.
I am looking forward to the twists and turns of the new series of Australian Survivor (Season 7) being filmed in Charters Towers. This incredible landscape will provide such a stunning backdrop for this tribal game play.
Having lived in regional Queensland, I love how this beautifully told story of a troupe of drag queens who invigorate an Ipswich bowls club reflects the truly progressive values and community spirit of contemporary regional Queensland. We can all be inspired by 12-year-old Logan, who finds self-expression and confidence through the drag artform. An insightful and fabulous feature documentary that is guaranteed to spark conversation at your upcoming Christmas functions.
During our time living in Eastern Europe, The Bureau of Magical Things was a cherished reminder of all things Queensland and home - the landscape, the weather, the architecture and the diversity of our people. What is not to love about living with magical powers whilst going to high shool in the Sunshine State?
Directed by Dean Gibson, Incarceration Nation is a story of strength and resistance in the face of racism and oppression. The film lays bare the story of the continued systemic injustice and oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on their own land, told by Indigenous Australians. A sobering and powerful film.
Strait to the Plate brings together cooking and culture against the beautiful backdrop of the Torres Strait Islands and is a wonderful window into the ways of life that have endured generations in one of the remotest parts of Australia. I love everything about this series for NITV and SBS On Demand. I love the landscapes, the vibe, the cool and clever ways in which the audience is invited in and allowed to learn about Torres Strait Island life and culture. And I really love the host. So excited to see Aaron Fa'aoso come back to our screens to present (produce, direct, what doesn't he do?) Season 2, currently in production.
From someone who grew up in a regional coastal town, it's so lovely to see our beaches showcased on the big screen! This Little Love of Mine follows a workaholic lawyer that travels to her island home for business, but finds love on the way. A love story against a beautiful Port Douglas background - watch on Netflix now!
A smash hit release of 2021 for Queensland. A quick glance at the store front shows a huge amount of well earned awards. Unpacking is a zen puzzle game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Winner of Game of the Year at this Year's AGDA's.
I've been a fan of Dwayne Johnson since he debuted in 1997 as "Rocky Miavia" in the WWE. Young Rock Season 2 promises more nostalgia for 1990's wrestling fans and also insights into the man that has built an empire spanning tequila, energy drinks, fitness franchises and merchandise. Season 2 promises to pick up on the cliffhanger ending to Season 1 - will The Rock win the presidential election?
Coming to ABC in 2022, A League of Her Own follows the Queensland Maroons women’s team, as they strive to achieve the extraordinary in one of the most physically demanding professional sports in Australia - rugby league. But there is more to it than just the game - these elite athletes are also juggling family and careers as well as fighting for equal pay. From the team at local production company, WildBear Entertainment.
Ever since Strictly Ballroom burst on the screen in 1992, I've been a classified Baz groupie, adoring Romeo and Juliet (and that soundtrack) for its edgy reimagining of Shakespeare and also Moulin Rouge! (2001) for its super-lush extravagance. Plus, I love Elvis so literally dying to watch this on the biggest screen I can find!
As a huge fan of George Saunders, the Amercian writer whose short story this film is based on, I'm keen to see this Netflix adaptation - and not only for the Chris Hemsworth factor. Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick, Oblivion, Tron: Legacy) this sci-fi thriller is set in the near future where convicts opt to reduce prison time by participating in experimental drug trials.
Producer Tom Hoffie's Australian Netflix series Irreverent looks to be an intriguing story following a US criminal mediator hiding out (as a church reverend) in a secluded north Queensland beach town after a mediation has gone wrong. Filmed in beautiful far north Queensland at Mission Beach and featuring a great cast including Colin Donnell.
Filmed at our very own Screen Queensland Studios, Brisbane, I can't wait for this scripted series from Matchbox Pictures for NBC Universal, based on the wildly bizarre true events that played out in the popular Netflix doco, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Really interesting cast line-up including Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon, Kyle MacLachlan and John Cameron Mitchelll.
Muster Dogs is a lovely trip through rural Australia from the red earth of the Top End to the green pastures of regional Victoria, following a litter of puppies destined to be working dogs. This is a warm, character-driven series featuring five graziers from across Australia, each of whom has been given a Kelpie puppy from the same litter to train up to be a muster dog. The competition is tough and the dogs are adorable. Great family viewing!
The Portable Door is a fantasy adventure film adapted from the series of novels by Tom Holt. The film is a Jim Henson Company and Story Bridge Films production, starring Christoph Waltz and Sam Neil. I was lucky enough to ready a draft of the script and I could not be more excited to see this film in cinemas!
Thirteen Lives was filmed in Queensland during 2021 and, with a high calibre cast and an underlying story that had the world in its grip for 17 days in 2018, is director Ron Howard’s take on the rescue of a group of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave complex in Thailand. I was lucky enough to visit the set of the film during production and, without giving anything away, was immediately struck by the meticulous research and attention to detail that was being woven daily into every frame of this film. I can’t wait to see it on a big screen in 2022.
The Wilds was a huge hit on Amazon Prime in 2020, with lots of plot twists and stirring and breakthrough performances from many of the young cast of actors. Season 2 focuses on a group of boys as well as the girls we got to know in Season 1. Season 2 promises to continue delivering on the emotional plot twists that we became accustomed to in Season 1.
I’m a huge fan of both Julia Roberts and George Clooney, so the two of them starring in a Rom Com is always going to be something I’m excited about! Ticket to Paradise is filming in Tropical North Queensland and SEQ, and being directed by Ol Parker (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). A serious must-see in 2022!
Shaun The Sheep’s Circus Show wasn’t only a great night out! It was a first for Screen Queensland to partner with Circa, the Brisbane-based international performance company and the rock stars of the circus world, and the world-famous Oscar-winning creators of Shaun The Sheep and Wallace and Gromit as investors in a show that fused circus and screen. The show was inventive, cleverly combining three technical elements – live circus performance, screen narrative and animation – in a single narrative that twisted and tumbled and backflipped and juggled and flew to the delight of audiences young and old. It was funny, mischievous, and playful. It will tour Australia this summer. And is, among other things, a great night out.
As a big fan of other projects Yolanda Ramke has worked on, including Cargo and The Haunting of Bly Manor, I'm excited for this upcoming adaptation of the novel Crimson Lake. Starring Thomas Jane as a disgraced ex-cop and filmed on the Gold Coast and tropical North Queensland, this looks set to be a gripping crime drama.
True Spirit is the remarkable story of Jessica Watson, who became the youngest person at 16 years old, to sail solo and unassisted around the world - surviving an unbelievable 210 days alone at sea whilst also filming a documentary of her experience. This inspirational story is based on her bestselling, internationally published autobiography of her journey by the same name. I'm excited to see Director, Sarah Spillane's vision in the re-telling of this fascinating story of courage, grit and determination in the making of a true national hero!