La Trobe funds scriptwriter for TV Pilot

La Trobe University today announced it is investing $200,000 into developing a pilot TV script and treatment for Associate Professor Clare Wright’s Stella Prize-winning book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

Hollywood producer and writer, Anne Kenney (Outlander, ER, LA Law), has been secured to develop the pilot script.

“I was intrigued by Clare Wright’s Rebels, and wanted to be a part of any television adaptation, from the moment I heard about it,” Ms Kenney said.

“So I am absolutely delighted we were able to make this happen. Rebels is an historic piece filled with adventure, ambition, intrigue and grit with a group of amazing, previously-unheralded women at the forefront.  What could be better than that?”

Award-winning Australian production company Ruby Entertainment producers Mark Ruse and Stephen Luby (The Secret River, Kath and Kim) optioned the dramatic film and TV rights for La Trobe historian Dr Clare Wright’s book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka in 2015. Published in 2013, the book addresses the little-acknowledged role of women in the Eureka Stockade, telling their remarkable personal stories at this pivotal moment in Australian history.

The $200,000 investment by La Trobe into funding the pilot script is one of the first two investments from the University’s Strategic Innovation Fund – an early stage investment fund to help maximise La Trobe research impact. The money will be used to develop the treatment (series outline) and pilot episode script, necessary for Ruby Entertainment to pitch the series to potential investors and broadcasters.

Associate Professor Clare Wright said the TV series’ chance of moving rapidly to commission is hugely enhanced with this early stage investment from La Trobe’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

“It’s fantastic that La Trobe has seized on this opportunity to fully fund the development of the pilot script and treatment to adapt my book to the screen,” Associate Professor Wright said.

“And with a writer of the profile and calibre of Anne Kenney coming on board, I’m confident the pilot will quickly lead to a TV series.

“Most importantly, this would result in the incredible stories of the unbiddable women of Ballarat reaching huge national – and potentially international – audiences.”

Producer, Mark Ruse said:  ‘We are incredibly excited about having La Trobe investing in the series. This is a bold project for the world stage and having Anne on board and La Trobe’s vision and initiative are fantastic ingredients in our quest to take it there and make the series a reality.”

La Trobe Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Keith Nugent, said the investment is the first of two opportunities the new Strategic Innovation Fund has had to help translate an output of the University’s research.

“Our investment in helping translate Clare’s book into a TV mini-series speaks volumes to the potential impact, opportunity and value that can be leveraged from research coming out of La Trobe,” Professor Nugent said.

“This investment from our Strategic Innovation Fund also sends out a strong signal about the world-class research coming from our College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce.”

The treatment will comprise a broad outline of an eight-part, one-hour, high-end television drama series and will be accompanied by the pilot script written by Anne Kenney for the first episode of the series. Work on the treatment is expected to begin shortly.

Associate Professor Clare Wright will be a Co-Producer and will work on the treatment as part of the creative team with Ruby Entertainment.

ENDS

About the La Trobe Strategic Innovation Fund

The La Trobe University Strategic Innovation Fund is an early stage investment fund that makes proof of concept, seed and follow-on investments into the intellectual property developed at La Trobe. The $5 million Fund has been established by La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar from returns on the University’s long-term investment portfolio. It is designed to help maximise the economic, social or cultural impact derived from the research and teaching conducted at La Trobe.

About Associate Professor Clare Wright

Associate Professor Clare Wright is an award-winning historian, author and television writer/presenter who has worked in politics, academia and the media. Clare’s doctoral research was the subject of her debut book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans (Melbourne University Publishing, 2003). She won the 2014 Stella Prize for her book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, a revisionist work of narrative non-fiction based on her postdoctoral research which addresses the little-acknowledged role of women in the Eureka Stockade. As well as winning the Stella Prize and the 2014 NIB Waverly Prize for Literature, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka was also shortlisted for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and longlisted for the Walkley Awards. Her screenwriting credits include Utopia Girls: How Women Won the Vote (ABC) and The War That Changed Us (ABC) which was nominated for a Logie for Most Outstanding Factual series. Clare is the writer/presenter of Radio National’s history series/podcast, Shooting the Past. Clare is currently a La Trobe ARC Future Fellow, researching a new history of mining in Australia, Red Dirt Dreaming.

About Ruby Entertainment

Ruby Entertainment is a boutique Australian production company with a strong track record of quality and iconic programs. Most recently, Ruby produced land mark mini-series The Secret River for the ABC, which won a Logie for ‘Best Mini-Series, an AWGIE Award, Screen Composer’s Award, a Screen Producer’s of Australia Award, and was  nominated for 8 AACTA Awards.

About Anne Kenney

Anne Kenney has been working as a television writer for more than 20 years. Prior to that, she was a newspaper journalist.  Most recently, she worked as a writer and executive producer on the first three seasons of the STARZ drama Outlander.  Her other writing /producing credits include: Switched at Birth, Greek, Family Law (co-created) ER and LA Law.

Media Contact: Claire Bowers – c.bowers@latrobe.edu.au - 9479 2315 / 0437279903

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