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Five SA productions announced for ABC TV in 2020

07 November 2019

Even more South Australian screen productions are set to reach a national audience next year with the ABC announcing five SAFC supported productions for its 2020 programming slate.

Drama series Stateless and Fallout (working title), children’s series Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors and factual shows Maralinga (working title) and Adelaide Festival (working title), all supported by the SAFC, will all air on ABC next year.

“In a world overrun by global media giants, Australian stories have never been more important. Equally the ABC has never been more essential to the Australian people,” said Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment and Specialist.

“In 2020 the ABC will be the engine room of Australian creativity putting more Australian faces, voices and stories on screen than any other broadcaster. The stories we share will speak to and for all Australians, firing their imagination through bold content and creativity. We will engage new audiences by increasing the diversity of our programs and people, on and off screen, sparking meaningful change in how we see ourselves and each other.”

The five SAFC supported productions announced today are (in alphabetical order):

Adelaide Festival (working title)

What does it take to stage Australia’s premiere arts festival with all its history, pedigree and ambition during its 60th year? Follow co-artistic directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy in this high-stakes relationship drama as they traverse the globe to curate the Adelaide Festival 2020. Set between the pressure cooker of the production office, the international arts circuit, and backstage at the festival itself, this observational documentary reveals the bickering and respect, accessibility and poise, intellectual brilliance and pure gut reaction that together creates an intangible magic.

An SLA Films production for the ABC. Financed with the assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Director: Richard Jasek
Producer: Bonnie McBride
Executive Producers: Anna Vincent and Kalita Corrigan (ABC)

Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors?

Fun and fast paced, the series asks contemporary kids to leave their modern comforts behind and spend twenty-four hours in the life of a child from another era. As our kids dive into worlds they have never experienced before, they learn as much about themselves as they do about history… and maybe even unearth new talents they never thought they had! Drawing from our rich indigenous and multicultural heritage, the series celebrates the diversity of Australia’s shared history. At the end of each episode we find out whether they were up to the task… and what they discover might just surprise us all!

A Flying Kite and Sticky Pictures production for the ABC. Financed by the ABC, in association with the South Australian Film Corporation and philanthropic support via the Documentary Australia Foundation. Distributed by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

Executive Producers: Donna Andrews, Stu Connolly, Bernadette O’ Mahoney, Amanda Isdale (ABC)
Creator & Producer: Vanna Morosini
Series Director: Brad Gustafson

Fallout (working title)

There is no more lethal cocktail than a combination of blind faith and paranoia. And it seems in 1956, everyone was drinking it. It’s the height of the Cold War. The Menzies Government has welcomed British atomic bomb testing at remote, ‘uninhabited’ Maralinga, in outback South Australia. Charged with keeping the base functioning smoothly is Major Leo Carmichael (Ewen Leslie), an Australian Army Engineer and WWII hero. But testing the most dangerous weapon in the world is no easy task for Leo with a Commanding Officer (James Cromwell) who is not fit for purpose; a new meteorologist, Dr Eva Lloyd-George (Jessica De Gouw) who starts asking questions; and the Government and press watching his every move. And as it turns out, the land of Maralinga may not be so uninhabited after all, when Leo’s faced with the arrival of a family of Indigenous Australians seeking their own answers about the giant clouds that explode occasionally … A riveting blend of historical fiction and espionage thriller, this is filmmaker Peter Duncan at his satirical best. Fallout is a story of our infinite capacity for betrayal, and no one is immune, not even the betrayers themselves.

A Porchlight Films Production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and Screen NSW. Financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation and Head Gear Films.

Writer and Director: Peter Duncan
Producers: Vincent Sheehan, Tanya Pheegan
Executive Producers: Liz Watts, Anita Sheehan, Sally Riley (ABC), Andrew Gregory (ABC)

Maralinga (working title)

September 27th, 1956. 1700 hours. In a remote corner of South Australia a 15 kilotonne plutonium warhead is about to be Launched into the clear blue desert sky. This is the home of the Maralinga Tjarutja people. For sixty thousand years. And this is their story in their words. A story of colonisation and culture, of spirit and survival. The story of how the Maralinga Tjarutja people have overcome one of the most destructive nuclear weapon tests the world has ever seen. When the dust settles, culture remains strong.

A Blackfella Films production in association with ABC. Financed with support from South Australian Film Corporation.

Director: Larissa Behrendt
Producers: Darren Dale
Writers: Larissa Behrendt and Jacob Hickey
ABC Executive Producer: Kelrick Martin


An airline hostess is on the run from a dangerous cult, an Afghan refugee and his family are fleeing persecution, a young father is escaping a dead-end job and a bureaucrat is running out of time to contain a national scandal. Stateless is a powerful and timely series about four strangers whose Lives collide at an immigration detention centre in the middle of the Australian desert.

A Matchbox Pictures and Dirty Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia and the ABC. Financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation.

Writers: Elise Mccredie and Belinda Chayko
Directors: Emma Freeman and Jocelyn Moorhouse
Producers: Sheila Jayadev and Paul Ranford
Executive Producers: Cate Blanchett, Tony Ayres, Elise Mccredie, Liz Watts and Andrew Upton, Sally Riley (ABC), Andrew Gregory (ABC)

Featured image: Stateless (2020)

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