Cameras will roll in Queensland for Southern Pictures’ new three-part documentary series The School (working title), shining a light on Australian Islamic schools and their communities.
Commissioned for SBS and led by Executive Producers Laurie Critchley and Ross Wilson (The Mosque Next Door, Miriam Margoyles Almost Australian), the three-part documentary series follows the leader of one of Australia’s fastest growing Islamic schools, as he embarks on a bold new social experiment to break down the barriers between communities and breach the fault-lines of modern multicultural Australia.
The production is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Screen Finance Program and will inject approximately $1.4 million into the local economy.
Screen Queensland acting Chief Creative Officer Belinda Burns said supporting the documentary series aligns with Screen Queensland’s remit to invest in locally-made, diverse screen stories with national appeal.
“Screen Queensland is passionate about bringing productions to screen that reflect people and stories from the breadth of Queensland’s multicultural landscape,” Burns said.
“Southern Pictures has an excellent reputation for delivering culturally rich, deeply entertaining documentary content, and we’re proud to support their latest project in Queensland.”
Southern Pictures’ CEO Laurie Critchley said The School builds on the success of Screen Queensland-supported 2017 series The Mosque Next Door, which gave viewers a first-ever look inside Brisbane’s Holland Park Mosque, one of the nation’s oldest mosques.
“Southern Pictures Queensland is excited to be working with the Islamic community of Brisbane, SBS, Screen Queensland and Screen Australia on a new and original factual format,” Critchley said.
“The opportunity to document a unique pilot program and chart its success in fostering cross-cultural understanding and empathy is significant. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this new adventure and collaboration.”
The production is now seeking applications from emerging to early career film and TV practitioners to join as an Associate Producer, supported through the SBS Diversity Talent Escalator Program.
SBS Content Industry Diversity Manager Michelle Cheng said this national initiative focuses on creating opportunities for creatives from under-represented communities within the television production sector.
“Through the Diversity Talent Escalator Program, SBS provides 8 to 12-week opportunities for participants to work with production companies of SBS commissioned programs, in roles that are a step up from their existing level of experience,” Cheng said.
“On The School, SBS and Screen Queensland are searching for an Associate Producer from an under-represented background to work with Southern Pictures. This is part of SBS’s commitment to support sustainable careers for the next generation of creatives, reflecting a diversity of lived experiences.”
Applications are open now at www.screenqld.com.au for diverse screen practitioners identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, culturally and linguistically diverse, female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, persons living with disability, regional or remotely based, under-represented ages and socio-economic status.
Screen Queensland has a long track record of supporting diverse documentaries, including recent SBS/ NITV projects Incarceration Nation, Bowled Over: A Dragumentary and Strait to the Plate (Seasons 1 and 2).
The School is a Southern Pictures production for SBS, with major production funding from Screen Australia in association with SBS and financed with support from Screen Queensland.