As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to wind back the clock and look at the year in review.
In JANUARY the ACTF submitted to The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts’ Inquiry into broadcasting, online content and live production to rural and regional Australia.
The submission highlighted the importance of public and commercial broadcasting, and nation-wide access to arts, news and other services for every child.
Meanwhile, on the education front, the ACTF (in partnership with the Asia Education Foundation) announced the release of the Hoopla Doopla! Curriculum Resource Package for Chinese Language Teachers.
FEBRUARY was all about production! Young Northcote High filmmaker Yianni Rowlands took out the 2016 Trop Jr competition for his poignant animated film, Chess People.
Dukes of Broxstonia was sold to Germany’s Nipponart GmbH and Disney XD in the US.
February also saw the launch of the Little Lunch App on the iTunes store.
In MARCH, over 1,000 students from all around Australia participated in a live Q&A webinar with some of the cast of Little Lunch.
APRIL brought awards fever! Nowhere Boys – Series 2 was awarded an International Emmy Award for Best Kids Series, Bushwhacked! (Mint Pictures) received a Gold Remi, Little Lunch (Gristmill) a Silver Remi and Ready for This (Blackfella Films/Werner Film Productions) a Bronze. All three series were also nominated in the Most Outstanding Children’s Program category for our very own Logie Awards. Bushwhacked! went on to receive a Silver Plaque and Little Lunch a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Television Awards. Little Lunch also received a Banff World Media Festival Rockie nomination in the Children and Youth Fiction category.
In sales, AMC Networks picked up Ready for This and Worst Year of My Life, Again! for their channels in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Meanwhile, RTV acquired Little Lunch for broadcast in Slovenia.
Daro Film picked up The Flamin’ Thongs, Bushwhacked! and Ready for This for Seychelles, Africa, while SIC Portugal acquired Mortified, Lockie Leonard and Worst Year of My Life, Again! for Portuguese-speaking Africa.
Closer to home, the Payang Group purchased Bushwhacked! (Series 1 & 2) for screening on Malaysia’s public broadcaster, RTM.
In MAY, Little Lunch received top honours at the Prix Jeunesse International Festival. The mockumentary series received the award for Best Fiction Program for 7-10. The snack-time series was also the runner up for the Children’s Jury Prize for the same category.
This Prix Jeunesse news came alongside the announcement of two new Little Lunch specials for 2016.
During this month, filming also commenced for You’re Skitting Me – Series 3.
Lights, camera, action! The production continued in JUNE, as filming began for the highly anticipated Dance Academy movie! To fan’s delight, the original cast of the television series announced their return for a feature filmed in Australia and NYC.
June also marked the commencement of production for pre-school animated series Balloon Barnyard in anticipation for its 2017 release.
In Education, a Ready for This Live Q&A Panel was held as part of the Youth Media Festival at ACMI provided a fascinating insight into the origins of the award-winning series and the challenges faced by the writers and cast. Students enjoyed quizzing Madeleine Madden (Zoe), Aaron McGraw (Levi) and Head Scriptwriter Liz Doran on the writing and acting process.
JULY was the time for the joyously destructive series BOXWARS to film its pilot episode at Melbourne’s Princes Hill Primary. The school in Melbourne’s inner north was overrun by Romans as children, teachers and parents prepared themselves for a spectacular cardboard race. It truly was “the art of destruction”.
In AUGUST, Ready for This picked up two AWGIE Award nominations. Leah Purcell’s episode “The Birthday Party” and Josh Mapleston’s “The Crocodile” were among the four scripts in the “C” drama category.
More international sales were finalised, as Disney XD acquired Dukes of Bröxstônia (Series 1, 2 & 3). Hoopla Doopla! was licensed for broadcast to US Hispanic Pay TV channel, VME for Spanish speaking USA. Meanwhile, Latin America’s Blim (Televisa) licenced animated programs including FleaBitten!, Desdemona, Horace in Slow Motion and Mega Bites.
Australia Plus TV secured a package of content for their Asia and the Pacific service, including programs, Ready for This, Worst Year of My Life, Again! , Bushwhacked! , My Place and You’re Skitting Me .
RTE also licensed the two recently announced Little Lunch specials for broadcast in Ireland.
In SEPTEMBER, SLR Productions announced best-selling children’s book series Andy Roid will be adapted to the small screen, with script development funding from the ACTF.
Tasmania was given a sneak peek of upcoming series Little J and Big Cuz, in a special preview during ‘Hidden Stories’ month.
The ACTF received a visit from the Year 11 Media Studies students from Genazzano College in Melbourne, who gained a detailed insight into the role and activities of the organisation.
In OCTOBER, Little Lunch books author and illustrator Danny Katz and Mitch Vane visited the ACTF couch for a live Q&A with primary school students. The students enjoyed asking questions about writing and illustrating children’s books, and the book-to-film adaptation of the Little Lunch series.
As DECEMBER approached, it brought along a festive cheer. Balloon Barnyard burst into action with an official launch party at the 2016 Asian Animation Summit in Brisbane.
The Little Lunch App and Teacher’s Guide, alongside Matchbox Pictures’ feature film Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows received nominations for the 2017 Kidscreen Awards.
Looking back, it’s been an exciting year for Australian children’s television. We can’t wait to see what 2017 holds!