Anton Corbijn’s Life also set to get direct government investment from Screen Australia.

Many Australian filmgoers were today thrilled to hear that director Clayton Jacobson and his brother, the actor Shane Jacobson, the two brains behind the good-natured local box office hit Kenny [pictured], are finally going to be making a followup.

The family movie Oddball is one of two features to get direct government investment from Screen Australia, it was announced today. In the other, the official co-production Life, starring Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, Australia and Germany are minority partners alongside Canada.

Oddball has the perfect mix to really carry across to an international audience,” Clayton Jacobson told Screendaily. “It is your classic four quadrant film. Both Shane and I were invited on board for the ride… We are thrilled to be able to work together again. It’s not every day someone pays you to hang out with family.”

Kenny was made for less than US$1m and grossed US$7m (A$7.8m) in Australian in 2006. While Shane Jacobson played a porta-loo delivery (and collection) man in Kenny, in Oddball he will be an eccentric chicken farmer who saves a colony of penguins with the help of his sheepdog.

“Not unlike Kenny it is a film with heart where its humour derives from a truth inherent in the performance or situation,” said Clayton Jacobson. “So very different stories but my goal is the same: allow an audience to connect in a way that feels genuine yet surprising. The humour must always be secondary to the dramatics of the scene.”

The brothers have a number of projects in development and made a web series called Mordy Koots.

Control director Anton Corbijn, who resides in Germany, will be filming Life in Canada early next year from a script by Luke Davies who won two major Australian scriptwriting awards for the 2006 film Candy, which he wrote with Neil Armfield. Some post-production will occur in Australia.

Emile Sherman, who is in the lineup of producers on Life, was a producer on The King’s Speech and Candy, which starred Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish.

The latest funding round sees Screen Australia tip US$9.9m (A$11m) into two features, two feature-length documentaries (see below), a television series for children and four television dramas for adults – including a mini-series of the iconic book The Secret River and a two-part telemovies biopic of the filthy-rich Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart.

Screen Australia says the total production value of this production is $63m ($70m).

Earlier this week Screen Australia made public the names of four indigenous filmmakers who had received development funding for feature films: Catriona McKenzie for Min Min; Jon Bell for Jackie Henderson; Adrian Wills for Eddie’s Country, which has Mystery Road producer David Jowsey attached; and Beck Cole for The Wonderful Adventures of Topsy Brown and Other Terrible Tales.

Full details of the four features that scored Screen Australia investment are:


See-Saw (Life) Holdings
Producers: Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Christina Piovesan, Benito Mueller, Wolfgang Mueller
Writer: Luke Davies
Director: Anton Corbijn
International sales: FilmNation
Australian distributor: Transmission Films
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Robert Pattinson
Synopsis: A freelance photographer hustling for the next job and a little-known but soon-to-be-immortal actor strike up an improbable friendship in the course of the cat-and-mouse game that is a photo assignment for Life Magazine.


WTFN/The Film Company in association with Kmunications
Producers: Richard Keddie, Steve Kearney, Sheila Hanahan Taylor
Writer: Peter Ivan
Director: Clayton Jacobson
International sales: Global Screen
Australian distributor: Roadshow Films
Cast: Shane Jacobson
Synopsis: The story of an eccentric chicken farmer who saves a colony of penguins by putting his sheepdog on their island.


Wolfhound Pictures, Penance Films
Producer: Patrick McDonald
Writers: Michael Ware, Patrick McDonald
Directors: Bill Guttentag, Michael Ware
International sales: Cinetic Media LLC (representing North American rights)
Australian distributor: Transmission Films
Cast: Michael Ware (reporter/cinematographer)
Synopsis: Theatrical feature documentary Only the Dead is the story of what happens when one ordinary man, Michael Ware, an Australian journalist for CNN and Time Magazine, is transplanted into the Middle East by the reverberations of 9/11 and butts into history. It is a journey that courses through the deepest recesses of the Iraq War and reveals a darkness lurking in Ware’s own heart – a darkness he never knew was there.


Felix Media
Producers: Bridget Ikin, John Smithson, John Maynard
Writer/director: Jennifer Peedom
Australian distributor: Footprint Films
Synopsis: In 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of the world in an act that symbolised everything good about human cooperation and courage. Sixty years later, an ugly confrontation high up the mountain between Western climbers and a mob of angry Sherpas makes global news. What’s going on up there?