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01 10 2021 - Media release

Crime drama Savage River coming to ABC

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Director Jocelyn Moorhouse

New crime drama Savage River was announced today, developed and commissioned by the ABC with worldwide distribution rights acquired by Dynamic Television. Produced by Aquarius Films, Jocelyn Moorhouse (Wakefield, Stateless, The Dressmaker) is directing the 6 x 57 series with Golden Globe-nominated actress Katherine Langford (Thirteen Reasons Why, Cursed, Knives Out) attached in the leading role.

Savage River is produced by Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford for Aquarius Films. The TV series is co-created by writers Belinda Bradley, Franz Docherty and lead writer Giula Sandler who most recently penned HBO Max’s Murders at White House Farm and Glitch, produced by Matchbox Pictures for ABC Australia and available for the world on Netflix. Fielder and Staniford also join the writing team. With major production investment from Screen Australia and financed with support from Film Victoria and The Post Lounge, Savage River is filming entirely in Melbourne and regional Victoria adhering to the screen industry’s best-practice COVID-Safe guidelines and all government protocols relating to COVID-19.

Savage River is a superbly written crime drama from immensely talented filmmakers,” said Daniel March, Managing Partner for Dynamic Television. “We’re excited to acquire a series that is sure to be gripping, compelling and will deliver what global audiences crave.”

Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan said, “We’re thrilled to support Belinda Bradley, Franz Docherty and Giula Sandler to create this gripping mystery series, and we look forward to seeing it brought to life by powerhouse director Jocelyn Moorhouse.”

ABC’s Head of Drama, Entertainment and Indigenous Sally Riley says “Savage River is a thrilling and distinctive mystery with unmistakeable characters set in a small town near you.  Aquarius Films have gathered an exceptionally talented creative team to craft a series that will be unforgettable.”

When Miki Anderson returns to her hometown in rural Victoria after eight years in prison, she’s determined to finally move on with her life. But the close-knit community of Savage River is not about to let her forget the past that easily. When a murder rocks the town, Miki immediately becomes the focus of everyone’s suspicion. With the police closing in, she sets out to prove her innocence, uncovering long-buried secrets that will cast doubt on everything she thought she knew. 

Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Don McAlpine (The Dressmaker, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet), production designer Jo Ford (War Machine, The Secrets She Keeps, Picnic at Hanging Rock), costume designer Maria Pattison (Berlin Syndrome, Nowhere Boys, Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries) and BAFTA-winning and Academy Award-nominated composer David Hirschfelder (Elizabeth, Shine, Strictly Ballroom, The Dressmaker) are also on board and Koori Dunghutti filmmaker Darlene Johnson is undertaking a director/producer attachment as part of her Sydney Film Festival and Deutsche Bank’s First Nations fellowship.

“We are thrilled to be producing Savage River with Jocelyn at the helm of all six episodes – she is one of the most talented Australian directors working today and her previous work is a testament to her unique artistic vision. Co-creators Belinda, Franz and Giula have fashioned a complex, character-driven mystery thriller. The scripts have the timeless, universal appeal of the crime TV genre coupled with very distinctive, original characters and the unique specificity of the Australian rural and social landscape. We couldn’t have imagined a more perfect actress to play Miki and with the brilliant Katherine Langford on board, we are excited about commencing filming in Victoria,” said producers and co-writers Fielder and Staniford.

Jocelyn Moorhouse said, “I am really excited to be directing Savage River. It's a compelling and suspenseful mystery and I look forward to working with the extremely talented Katherine Langford in the lead role of Miki.”

Fielder is the Academy Award-nominated producer known for Lion starring Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel and Rooney Mara. Staniford produced Berlin Syndrome starring Teresa Palmer, directed by Cate Shortland (Marvel’s Black Widow) and released by eOne and Netflix.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s first feature film, Proof, won multiple prizes at various international film festivals, including the Golden Camera-Special Mention Award in Cannes and the British Film Institute Awards. The film also earned instant critical acclaim in Australia winning six Australian Film Institute Awards, including best screenplay and best director. Additional film credits include How to Make an American Quilt, starring Anne Bancroft, Winona Ryder and Dermot Mulroney and The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth.

Katherine Langford first gained attention for her starring role as Hannah Baker in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. She went on to roles in 20th Century Fox’s Love, Simon; Lionsgate’s critically acclaimed Knives Out; Paramount Pictures’ Spontaneous, for which she received a Critics' Choice Award nomination and Frank Miller’s Cursed for Netflix.

Aquarius Films’ production and development slate includes the feature film Most Admired Woman based on the acclaimed biography ‘Sister Kenny: The Woman Who Challenged the Doctors’ co-produced with Decade Films, the TV series The Subjugate based on the acclaimed novel of the same title written by award-winner Amanda Bridgeman and co-produced with Anonymous Content,  a co-production with Rose Byrne’s Dollhouse Pictures for TV series The Geography of Friendship based on Sally Piper’s best-selling novel and the comedy drama series Fight Like a Girl adapted from the novel of the same title written by Clementine Ford.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

For Dynamic Television: Marylou Johnston

+33 6 87 77 49 89 | marylou@mljagency.com

For Aquarius Films: Shelly Josias | Maxine Leonard PR

+1 323 640 4486 | shelly@maxineleonard.com

Media enquiries

Amy Burgess | Senior Publicist

+ 61 2 8113 5800  | + 61 413 190 195 | amy.burgess@screenaustralia.gov.au

Lidia Williams | Publicist and Events Officer​

+ 61 2 8113 1091  | + 61 468 784 170  | lidia.williams@screenaustralia.gov.au

All other general/non-media enquiries

Sydney + 61 2 8113 5800  |  Melbourne + 61 3 8682 1900 | info@screenaustralia.gov.au