A Queensland-created children’s series will make television history when it is aired on three different networks.
Grace Beside Me, an adaptation of a novel of the same name by Queensland-based Aboriginal writer Sue McPherson will be delivered by a creative team dominated by Indigenous talent.
The series will premiere on NITV, followed by a broadcast on the ABC and with a third outing on subscription TV on Disney Channel – an Australian first.
The series, commissioned by NITV, and supported by Screen Queensland and Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, is produced by Lois Randall from northern New South Wales and Queenslander Dena Curtis.
Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the multiple screenings for Grace Beside Me reflected the strength of Queensland’s local industry.
“Queensland Government investment is creating a continued pipeline of local production that is delivering a thriving and successful screen sector, developing new talent and generating more jobs for our screen workforce,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira said Grace Beside Me was developed with investment from Screen Queensland as part its commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent and growing a strong local industry.
“It is encouraging to mark Sue McPherson’s development as an award-winning writer, from her beginnings as a recipient of a 2011 State Library of Queensland Indigenous Writing Fellowship, to her participation last year in The Athena Project, a national collaborative initiative supported by Screen Queensland, to assist key female talent living in regional Australia,” Ms Vieira said.
In adapting her work for television Sue will be joined by a team of Indigenous writers, including fellow Queenslander Tristan Savage, also a recipient of the State Library of Queensland Indigenous Writing Fellowship (2013).
Channel Manager for NITV, Tanya Orman said, “The commissioning of Grace Beside Me is the fulfillment of a long held dream for NITV. It will provide an enormous number of opportunities for our Indigenous writers and directors.”
Producer Lois Randall said the Grace Beside Me production team included Queenslanders Dena Curtis as her producing partner, Murray Lui as Director of Photography and an almost completely Queensland crew.
“We look forward to filming in Beaudesert and the spectacular landscapes of the Scenic Rim region of South East Queensland, and are privileged to be working with the Mununjali Elders as cultural and location consultants” said Ms Randall and Ms Curtis. “We look forward to working with Queensland cast, crew and the local community to make a unique children’s series that showcases local stories and talent.”
Grace Beside Me is in pre-production.