Screen Australia Commits to 5 Online Originals; ACTF Welcomes Federal Budget Commitment

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) has secured the Commonwealth Government’s commitment in the Federal Budget to its ongoing operational funding for the next four years, to the tune of $11.9 million AUD (~$9.2M USD).

“This recognizes the significant value of Australian children’s screen content and provides us with certainty, enabling every dollar of the additional $20 million over two years that was previously announced to be invested in new content,” commented Jenny Buckland, CEO, ACTF. “We’re looking forward to announcing the first group of new shows that will be supported with that funding next month. We have some tremendous children’s live action drama, animation and factual content in development with independent producers around the country and are working with Screen Australia, the ABC, NITV, State and Territory agencies, Netflix, Stan and other platforms to deliver Australian children and their families a great range of quality content. We expect that content to go on to entertain children all over the planet.”

Learn more at

ACTF shows
ACTF shows

Screen Australia has announced $1.3 million AUD (~$1M USD) of online production funding for five projects, including animated children’s series Sunset Paradise (from the creators of YouTube hit Meta Runner) and Ginger & the Vegesaurs, as well as comedy series The Emu War, Season 2 of award-winning live-action kids’ series First Day and ReCancelled, the follow-up to Luke Eve’s 2020 lockdown drama Cancelled.

“We’re excited to support these projects which showcase engaging storytelling across a mix of genres including children’s, comedy, animation and a relationship drama,” said Lee Naimo, Senior Online Investment Manager for Screen Australia. “We are always looking for projects that have solid pathways to audience and we are very impressed by the range shown in this slate, whether it’s via platforms such as ABC iview or targeting significant existing fan bases like Glitch Productions’ Sunset Paradise on YouTube and Luke Eve’s ReCancelled on Facebook.”

  • Ginger & the Vegesaurs: A 20-part children’s animated series for ABC iview and YouTube set in a world dominated by Vegesaurs, the freshest and most delicious creatures ever to rule the planet. Ginger, a young plucky ‘Tricarrotops,’ and her three baby ‘Pea-Rex’ pals share adventures in a valley populated by a host of other Vegesaurs – some friendly, some not so much. Created by Gary Eck and Nick O’Sullivan, whose credits include Happy Feet 2, the series was developed and will be produced by Cheeky Little Media. Eck and Sam Carroll (Grace Beside Me) lead the writing team and the series will be produced by Celine Goetz and executive produced by Patrick Egerton and David Webster who previously collaborated on Kangaroo Beach.
  • Sunset Paradise: A 10-part animated series for YouTube from Glitch Productions, the team behind hit series Meta Runner. This comedy adventure series follows a young woman named Meggy, who arrives on a tropical island for a holiday only to find a criminal conspiracy threatening the safety of the island. It’s up to Meggy to save the island from danger – and rescue her holiday plans. The pilot episode which launched in March has already amassed over 1 million views. Sunset Paradise is written by Jasmine Yang and Jasper Marlow, directed by Luke Lerdwichagul and produced by Kevin Lerdwichagul.
Kevin and Luke Lerdwichagul of Glitch Productions
Kevin and Luke Lerdwichagul of Glitch Productions

The second iteration of Screen Australia and SBS’s Digital Originals initiative is also underway, with 12 teams selected to participate in the development workshops.

“It’s also great to be working with the next group of Digital Originals creators, who participated in workshops last week,” Naimo added. “The teams spent time developing their projects as well as hearing from workshop guests including Nisha Ganatra (Late Night), Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country), Ryan O’Connell (Special), Anna Dokoza (Lady Dynamite), Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens), Richie Mehta (Delhi Crime), Vanessa Gazy (Eden) and Ronny Chieng (Ronny Chieng: International Student). The 12 projects are all so different – from dramas to thrillers, comedies to horror – it’s an incredibly strong group and we look forward to selected teams entering further development on their projects for SBS OnDemand.”

The projects are:

  • Appetite – Mohini Herse (Writer/Director/Producer), Neilesh Verma (Writer), Neil Sharma (Director), Sleena Wilson (Executive Producer)
  • CEEBS – Betiel Beyin (Writer/Performer), Leigh Lule (Writer/Performer), Amie Batalibasi (Producer), Nikki Tran (Producer)
  • Deity – Taofia Pelesasa (Writer/Director), Eliorah Malifa (Producer), Nicole Coventry (Producer)
  • Garbage – Hunter Page-Lochard (Writer/Director/Producer), Luke Bouchier (Writer/Director/Producer), Kobie Duncan (Writer)
  • Let Me Help – Emma Myers (Writer/Producer), Angus Thompson (Writer/Producer), Nina Oyama (Writer/Director)
  • Mother Tongue – Katrina Irawati Graham (Writer/Director), Ljudan Michaelis-Thorpe (Writer), Ana Tiwary (Producer)
  • Night Bloomers – Andrew Lee (Writer/Director/Producer), Ashlea Ritchie (Producer), Michael McMahon (Executive Producer), Barry Gamba (Executive Producer)
  • SHADE – Enoch Mailangi (Writer), Wendy Mocke (Writer), Alana Hicks (Director)
  • Sonny – Danny Aumua (Writer/Director), Jason Dewhurst (Writer), Jessica Magro (Producer)
  • The Matriarch – Ivy Mak (Writer/Producer), Jayden Rathsam Hua (Writer/Director)
  • Transferred – Chloe Black (Writer), Paul Moran (Producer), Adele Vuko (Director)
  • Unicorn Hunters – Rachel Perks (Writer), Jean Tong (Writer), Tessa Mansfield-Hung (Producer)

An evolution of SBS’s Short-Form Content Initiative, the Digital Originals initiative aims to support practitioners and projects that reflect gender equity and/or the diversity of people and experiences from around Australia. This includes those who identify as First Nations Australians; are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds; those who are living with a disability; are female or trans/gender diverse; identify as LGBTQIA+; and those who are located in regional and remote areas.

More information at



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



Get the DAILY SCOOP on what's going


Most Popular






    Print or Digital - Subscribe!
Already a subscriber? Access your digital edition