CATE McQUILLEN moved to Whiporie to grow vegetables – not make television shows. It’s funny how the best-laid plans can go awry.
These days Ms McQuillen spends a fair amount of time travelling between cities and countries, making and promoting the children’s animated series, dirtgirlworld, she created Hewey Eustace.
The series’ success has stunned even its creators. Apart from a strong local take-up by ABC television, dirtgirlworld has now sprouted into overseas markets.
It’s had an enthusiastic reception in the United States, where the show’s official launch will be timed to coincide with Earth Day, the UK, Canada, and France, among other countries.
“We always thought it would be something very niche,” Ms McQuillen said yesterday. “It’s dream come true time for us.”
Now a budding producer will get to share Ms McQuillen and Mr Eustace’s dream through a new Federally-funded program being run by Northern Rivers film association Screenworks.
The $17,500 program, which was launched yesterday by Richmond MP and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot at the Bangalow A & I Hall, will give four budding producers the chance to work and train with the cream of the Northern Rivers’ film industry.
One of the producers will work with Ms McQuillen and Mr Eustace, another will work with Deb Cox – the brains behind the hit series SeaChange – on a range of projects, including a new 13-episode drama series being prepared for ABC-TV. A third will work with Leah Wright and Robert Raymond – the originating producer on Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed film Schindler’s List. The fourth placement is still to be decided.
Deb Cox said the program aimed to help fill a gap in experience in the region’s film-making community.
“Many of us have relocated or returned here for a better lifestyle after we have established our careers in other places and believe they can survive the move,” she said.
That meant a strong pool of highly experienced film-makers in the region, while local training institutions provided an equally strong pool of talented newcomers – but there were few people in between.