Round The Twist, now almost a decade old, is back thanks to 13 new episodes being produced by the Australian Children’s Foundation. An additional 13 episodes are planned for a MIPCOM 2000 launch.
The live-action program centering around the fun-loving Twist family has been almost entirely recast, but contains the same comedic format it was built on when it debuted in 1990. ‘Round The Twist remains popular because of the way it combines strong stories and quirky humor. It also pushes boundaries, going just that little bit too far, but always within the bounds of a really strong story,’ says Jenny Buckland, ACTF’s GM. Although broadcasters might see animated or CGI-based programming as the wave of the future, Buckland says the ACTF remains committed to more traditional live-action stories because children enjoy seeing other kids their age on-screen.
The series budget is US$3.3 million for each batch of 13 episodes. The first run will hit TV by January 2000, with the next airing in January 2001. Presales have been made to ABC, BBC, Nickelodeon UK and the Disney Channels in France, Italy, Spain and Germany, along with TV4 in Sweden and TV2 in Denmark.
Also in the works for the ACTF is Yolngu Boy, a live-action feature film co-produced with Burrundi Pictures, scheduled for release in the first half of 2000 in Australia. The film is a coming-of-age story about three friends dreaming of becoming Yolngu hunters who are caught in a struggle between traditional and modern culture. Aimed at both youth and adults, Yolngu Boy begins shooting in Australia this September. Presold to SBS Independent, it will be distributed in Australia by Palace Films and by Beyond Films overseas. With a budget of just under US$3 million, the film is being financed by the Australian Film Finance Corporation, Film Victoria, the Northern Territory Government, SBSI, the ACTF and through private investment.