With the rise of international co-productions, Australian content is being bankrolled from abroad like never before. We welcome four of the industry’s most experienced production and drama executives to talk about how co-pros are changing the way TV gets made. They’ll discuss identifying and unlocking opportunities, negotiating and producing co-pros, leveraging international connections and creating stories for a global market.
Director of Drama, FreemantleMedia
Jo Porter is FremantleMedia Australia’s Director of Drama and established and led its drama team since 2012. Porter, a multi-award-winning producer, is currently developing a range of returning and stand-alone drama series for local and international audiences. She was the Executive Producer and Producer of Picnic at Hanging Rock for Foxtel and Amazon Prime US – the mini-series was selected to open this year’s Berlinale Film Festival and screen in the Tribeca Film Festival. With sales to 90 territories including premium broadcasters BBC and Canal+. Porter was also the Executive Producer of the popular and critically acclaimed series Wentworth, now in its seventh season which set new records when it premiered in 2013 and has been sold to over 140 territories and re-made in four languages. In 2018 it was the first production ever to be awarded the Logie for Most Popular and Most Outstanding Drama Series. Other awards include AACTA for Best Drama, 2014, Most Outstanding Drama Logie in 2014 with multiple individual wins for cast, writers and other creatives.
Porter created, and executive produced 44 hours of Wonderland and was also Executive Producer on the telemovies Mary: Making of a Princess, Hoges and Olivia Newton-John bio mini-series for the Ten and Seven Networks. Prior to joining FremantleMedia Porter developed and series produced the Seven Network’s critical and ratings hits Packed to the Rafters, Always Greener and All Saints. Porter’s television work has garnered 37 industry awards and 92 nominations to date for series and cast including an International Emmy nomination for Always Greener.
Kylie Du Fresne
Partner/Producer, Goalpost Pictures
Kylie du Fresne is a partner at Goalpost Pictures and a film and television producer. Her credits include the feature film Upgrade, written and directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Logan Marshall-Green which premiered at SXSW in 2018, Holding The Man, directed by Neil Armfield and based on Timothy Conigrave’s much-loved memoir, and the box office hit The Sapphires, directed by Wayne Blair. Kylie is Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed Cleverman Season One & Two for ABC TV, SundanceTV, BBC Three & TVNZ and Producer & Executive Producer of Fighting Season, a six-part drama series for Foxtel Australia and Sky Vision. Other television producing credits include the BAFTA-nominated adaption of Tim Winton’s Lockie Leonard for the Nine Network and BBC, Rachel Ward’s tele-movie An Accidental Soldier for ABC TV, the prime time ratings winner Scorched for the Nine Network and ITV International and Geoffrey Atherden’s Stepfather Of The Bride for ABC TV. Kylie is currently producing Top End Wedding directed by Wayne Blair.
CEO, WildBear Entertainment
Michael Tear was Managing Director and co-founder of Bearcage before becoming CEO of WildBear Entertainment As Producer and Executive Producer, Michael’s career spans award-winning television, government and commercial productions, including a recent move into feature films.
Michael has produced commissioned programs for leading international & Australian broadcasters including, National Geographic, Discovery, Arte, ZDF, CCTV, PBS, Blue Ant Media, Beijing TV, ABC (Australia), FOXTEL (Australia) and Nine Entertainment Company (Australia).
As an Executive Producer Michael has been involved in over 200 hours of television most recently including Hunt for Tassie Tiger and Snake Boss for Discovery; The Kangaroo King and Borneo’s Secret Kingdom for National Geographic, M.A.D World For American Heroes Channel and Changed Forever for History Channel Australia.
Michael has had an extensive involvement with China serving as Executive Producer on The Story of Australia (CCTV); The War That Changed The World (CCTV); Colours of China (CICC, ZDF, NZFC); A Tale of Two Cities (BTV); The Long March (CCTV).
Michael was an Executive Producer on feature film The Babadook (2013, dir. Jennifer Kent, Official Selection at Sundance Film Festival 2014).
Michael currently serves as President of Screen Producers Australia.
CEO, Essential Media
Chris Hilton is one of Australia’s most prolific and award winning producer/ directors who has made films across a broad spectrum of subjects for the world’s major broadcasters. He is CEO and founding partner of Essential Media and Entertainment – the multi award-winning Sydney-based production company with a track record in blue-chip factual, lifestyle, television drama, feature films and animation.
Chris’ recent Executive Producer credits include: Living Universe, Pacific with Sam Neill Body Hack (2 seasons), Texas Flip and Move, Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War (winner of the 2016 NSW Premier’s History Award Media Prize); The Real Mary Poppins, Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide, My Brother the Serial Killer, A Traveller’s Guide to the Planets, Miracles, The Floating Brothel, Seduction in the City and The Grammar of Happiness.
Chris served as a Documentary Councillor for Screen Producers Australia for 7 years and won the 2014 Stanley Hawes Award for his outstanding contribution to the documentary industry in Australia.
MC: Anita Jacoby
MC Anita Jacoby has created award-winning programs for all the FTA broadcasters and Foxtel. She has extensive experience as an executive producer, news and current affairs journalist/producer, chief executive and media regulator. Her work has been recognised with various industry awards including six AFI/AACTA’s, an Order of Australia Media Award, Logie, Asia-Pacific Broadcast Union Award and Human Rights Award (Highly Commended).
From 2003-2012 Anita managed Zapruder’s other films alongside Andrew Denton, overseeing production of hundreds of hours of original programming including Enough Rope, The Gruen Transfer, Elders and Angels & Demons. She was Managing Director of ITV Studios from 2013-2015, responsible for the local operations of this international production company. In this role she oversaw the implementation of new commercial, digital and content strategies and the local commission of formats, The Chase and I’m A Celebrity.
In August 2018, Anita was appointed by the Minister for Communications to a second five year term on the Australian Communications & Media Authority. She is a member of Chief Executive Women, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Screen Producers Association. Anita is also a director of Women in Media, the Australian Film Institute/AACTA and The Funding Network. She mentors many in the media industry and established the annual Jacoby Walkley Scholarship for young broadcast journalists in 2013.