SBS and NITV will present a new documentary series CURIOUS AUSTRALIA exploring our underrepresented communities
Curious Australia, a new installment of seven half-hour documentaries that innovatively explore issues relevant to contemporary Australia, is set to premiere on SBS VICELAND and NITV in August.
Broadcast every Thursday evening, curious australia supports screen practitioners from underrepresented backgrounds in the industry to amplify their authentic, illuminating and powerful stories on Australian screens.
From stories exploring what it’s like to be young, disabled and sexual, to the inspiring story of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman who is an aspiring screenwriter working in a coal mine, curious australia will reflect and explore the diversity of people and experiences in contemporary Australia, in an eye-opening and entertaining way.
The seven documentaries selected in the initiative’s first year were commissioned in partnership with Screen Australia and state and territorial agencies – Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Tasmania, Screen Territory, Screenwest, the South Australian Film Corporation and VicScreen.
SBS ordered We are sexual beings (VicScreen), Alexander’s Ball (Queensland screen), girl class (NSW screen), and Anything that scares you (VicScreen), while black empire (South Australian Film Society), Sisters in Mining (Queensland screen) and Unlocked (Screen NSW) were commissioned by NITV.
Episode 1 – We are sexual beings (VicScreen)
- August 4 at 8:30 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV
We are sexual beings explores what it is like to be young, disabled and sexual in modern Australia. Over the course of a 24-hour period, three adventurous young disabled Australians will pull back the covers of their intimate lives; Oli, an aspiring tennis champion and actor full of swagger and bravado; Maya, a sincere lover in search of her first taste of true romance; and Christina, a wild child from rural South Australia, who, in her own words, “is done with her ho phase and is all about self-satisfaction” – three remarkably different human beings who both share things in common: life-altering spinal injuries and a healthy sex drive.
- Creator/Writer/Director: Isaac Elliott
- Creator/Writer/Producer: Lucy Knox
Episode 2 – black empire (South Australian Film Society)
- August 4 at 9 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV
It’s easy to feel alone in the Australian music industry, but for First Nations musicians the isolation can be overwhelming. Rapper and Larrakia man Jimblah knows full well that despite the fact that black song has played such a transformative role in Australia’s history, it is still seen as nothing more than a marketable asset. What if it could be different? What if there was hope for something better? What will it take for Jimblah to create his own black empire?
- Director: Johannis Lyons-Reid
- Writer/Director: Pearl Berry
- Writer/producer: Piri Eddy
- Producer: Lilla Berry
- Executive producer: Dean Gibson
Episode 3 – Alexander’s ball (Queensland screen)
- August 11 at 8:30 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV
Ballroom culture originated in the 1960s to 1970s in New York City, founded by Black and Latina trans women after continued discrimination from the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a global movement, lifestyle and fierce competition where competitors known as walkers compete in different categories for the grand prize. Alexander’s Ball is Australia’s first look at the mesmerizing world of Ballroom through an outlandish observational documentary, following the exhilarating journey of a Samoan-Australian trans woman of color, Ella Ganza, as she and her ballroom family prepare for one of the biggest events of the year: Alexandre Bal.
- Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Jessica Magro
Episode 4 – Sisters in Mining (Queensland screen)
- August 11 at 9 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV
Sisters in Mining is a documentary that follows the inspiring story of Shontell Leah Ketchell, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, who is an aspiring screenwriter who works as a production operator at a coal mine in central Queensland.
- Co-director: Ewan Cutler
- Co-director/producer: Jill Robinson
- Writer/Creator/Co-producer: Shontell Leah Ketchell
- Executive producer: Dean Gibson
Episode 5 – girl class (NSW screen)
- August 18 at 8:30 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV
Australian Olympian and refugee, Bendere Oboya, searches for her identity as she transitions from the 400m track to the 800m track in a bid to become the best in the world. Having started breakout athletics, the 21-year-old Ethiopian is determined to show that no matter how early you start, anything is possible.
- Director/Producer: Renny Wijeyamohan
- Screenwriter: Zufan Emerson
- Executive producer: Nicholas Searle
Episode 6 – Unlocked (NSW screen)
- August 18 at 9 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV
Unlocked follows two young people trying to integrate into society. Through various experiences, each character’s innocence is quickly dissolved in a filthy and violent city. It is a fully animated documentary, allowing the interviewees to remain anonymous, and to deliver raw memories of their experiences, of being locked up, one in juvenile detention and the other in a mental health establishment.
- Co-director/co-screenwriter: Jake Duczynski
- Co-director/co-screenwriter: Mr. James Hackett
- Executive Producer: Beck Cole
- Producers: Michaela Perske, Margee Brown
- Executive producer: Dean Gibson
Episode 7 – Anything that scares you (VicScreen)
- August 25 at 8:30 p.m. on SBS VICELAND
Anything that scares you is a rite of passage film that documents Breanna Deleo in her first year on the job. Breanna tries to work as a professional artist – a difficult profession for everyone. And Breanna started to identify as neurodivergent. His parents are his greatest allies and defenders. They want to protect Breanna but sometimes to find our way in the world, we have to go it alone.
- Writer and director: Tamara Searle
- Screenwriter: Breanna Deleo
- Producer: Alice Fleming
Bernadine Lim, Documentary Editor at SBS, said:
“curious australia is an exciting new addition to our documentary offering on the network. Each half-hour program is distinct, engaging and meaningful. Together they capture what SBS is known for, exploring issues relevant to contemporary Australia in a unique, daring and entertaining way. We are proud of the films and impressed with how emerging and mid-level creatives have taken this development opportunity to evolve their storytelling. Prepare to laugh, cry, and connect to worlds you may not know.
Marissa McDowell, Editor of NITV, said:
“We are thrilled to provide a national platform for these talented filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds to tell their important stories. We really can’t wait to see these bold and unique stories from a First Nations perspective by our documentary makers across Australia come to life on screens next month.
Screen Australia documentary director Alex West said:
“We are delighted that Australian audiences will be able to experience these seven powerful documentaries this August on SBS VICELAND and NITV, which truly embody, reflect and celebrate the diversity of people and experiences within our country and showcase the remarkable talent working in Australia. the documentary today.
All seven of curious australia the documentaries will be available to stream on SBS on demand with subtitles in five languages: Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, enabling more Australians to engage with these important topics.
Curious Australia will launch with We Are Sexual Beings on Thursday, August 4 at 8:30 p.m. and Black Empire at 9 p.m. on SBS VICELAND and NITV. All seven Curious Australia documentaries will air on SBS On Demand on August 4.