Fiona Press - News Poster


Season 2 of ‘The Heights’ expands its storyworld

Emma Fletcher on ‘The Heights’ set.

Viewers won’t know it when the second season of The Heights premieres on the ABC next year, but the 30-episode drama is being enhanced in both production design and cinematography.

The production is using a third studio in addition to the ABC’s two Perth studios which now houses the set of a pub (previously filmed on location in Northbridge) and a new community centre for the Arcadia Heights High School.

All that has enabled the writers to “grow our story world,” according to Matchbox PicturesWarren Clarke, who co-created the show with Que Minh Luu.

“By grouping these sets together we are able to shoot far more efficiently which then allows the show to get a bit bigger,” says Clarke, who produces the serial with For Pete’s Sake Productions’ Peta Astbury-Bulsara.

“We’re still heavily studio-based but splitting our studio time
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ABC renews ‘The Heights’, providing another springboard for new talent

The cast of ‘The Heights’ season 2 (Photo credit: Ben King).

Backed by Screen Australia, the second season of the ABC’s ground-breaking drama serial The Heights will start shooting in Perth on August 26, providing more opportunities for emerging directors, writers and actors.

Jub Clerc, whose short Storytime is featured in the horror anthology Dark Whispers – Volume 1 curated by Megan Riakos and Leonie Marsh, and Kelli Cross (Aussie Rangers) are joining the cohort of directors under the production’s mentorship program.

They will be mentored by Karl Zwicky, alongside another addition in Tenika Smith (Neighbours) and Renée Webster, who made her TV drama directing debut on the first season.

Season one writers Romina Accurso, Hannah Carroll Chapman, Megan Palinkas, Peter Mattessi, Dot West, Magda Wozniak, the showrunner/co-creator Warren Clarke and Katie Beckett return.

They are joined by recruits Tim Williams, Nora Niasari, Nayuka Gorrie, Cassandra Nguyen, Jane Allen, Alex Cullen,
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Claudia Karvan, Lily Sullivan, Barry Otto and Matt Day cast in ‘The Other Guy’ 2

(L-r) Harriet Dyer, Matt Okine, Lily Sullivan and Claudia Karvan.

Claudia Karvan, Lily Sullivan, Barry Otto, Matt Day, Fiona Press and Elsa Cocquerel have joined the cast of the second season of the Stan Original series The Other Guy.

Feminist author Clementine Ford and media personality Yumi Stynes have also boarded the show created by and starring Matt Okine, produced by Aquarius Films in association with Jude Troy’s Wooden Horse.

In her TV series debut Gracie Otto (The Last Impresario) is directing the comedy scripted by Okine, Kacie Anning and Becky Lucas, which is now shooting in Sydney.

Okine returns as radio presenter Aj Amon with Harriet Dyer as Aj’s best friend Stevie, Valene Kane as Aj’s ex Liv, Michael-Anthony Taylor (Pine Gap) as Aj’s dad and Christiaan Van Vuuren as drug dealer Dezzy.

In the first season Amon lost everything – his house, his job and
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Matchbox Pictures and For Pete’s Sake Productions push new talent on ‘The Heights’

The cast of ‘The Heights’.

With the exception of flagship serials Home and Away and Neighbours, for the last few years, long-form adult drama has all but disappeared from our screens, replaced by high budget, short-run shows.

With that has also come a reduced number of training opportunities for emerging writers and directors, something that producers, writers and directors alike have lamented.

Given the landscape, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the ABC announce last June that it had commissioned a 30 x 30” serial drama in The Heights.

Produced by Matchbox Pictures and For Pete’s Sake Productions, The Heights is set in the fictional suburb of Arcadia Heights and explores the relationships, work lives and everyday challenges of six families living in a social housing tower and the rapidly gentrifying inner-city community that surrounds it.

The diverse ensemble cast includes Marcus Graham, Shari Sebbens, Roz Hammond, Fiona Press, Dan Paris,
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‘The Heights’ marks a career pinnacle for Roz Hammond

Roz Hammond and Bridie McKim in ‘The Heights’ (Photo: Ben King).

Roz Hammond rates her role in The Heights, the ABC drama serial from Matchbox Pictures and For Pete’s Sake Productions, as the best she’s ever had.

That’s a big call for the Waapa graduate who broke through as Cheryl, one of the “bitchy” bridesmaids in Paul J. Hogan’s Muriel’s Wedding in 1994.

Perhaps best known as a founding member of the cast in Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, she has featured in a raft of comedies including Please Like Me, The Librarians, It’s a Date and Upper Middle Bogan. She has shown her dramatic chops in Jack Irish, Offspring and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Co-created by Warren Clarke and Que Minh Luu and set in the fictional inner-city neighbourhood of Arcadia Heights, The Heights explores the relationships between a public housing tower
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Shari Sebbens rises to the challenge of ‘The Heights’

(L-r) Shari Sebbens, Calen Tassone, Siria Kickett and Marcus Graham in ‘The Heights’ (Photo: Ben King)

When Shari Sebbens graduated from Nida and Waapa she expected her fair complexion would mean she would be cast mostly as white characters in shows about Indigenous people.

Happily she was wrong. After making her screen debut in Wayne Blair’s 2012 hit The Sapphires she starred in a bunch of series including Redfern Now, The Gods of Wheat Street, 8Mmm Aboriginal Radio and Black Comedy, all true to her cultural identity.

“I think The Sapphires confused the hell out of everybody as they thought, ‘She looks white but she says she’s Aboriginal,’ she tells If. “It’s something our community has known since colonisation: our people come in very different shades. I call it the Fifty Shades of Black.”

The actress will next be seen in the Matchbox Pictures/For Pete’s Sake Productions 30-episode drama serial The Heights,
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‘Out of the Shadows’ Review

  • Nerdly
Stars: Blake Northfield, Kendal Rae, Lisa Chappell, Helmut Bakaitis, Jake Ryan, Goran D. Kleut, Anna Demidova, Jim Robison, Miyuki Lotz, Madison Haley, Fiona Press | Written by Dee McLachlan, Rena Owen | Directed by Dee McLachlan

Joining the long list of haunted house flicks is Australian offering Out of the Shadows from Dee McLachlan. The director’s last feature was 10Terrorists in 2012 (with a couple of episodes of Wentworth inbetween). Has this long gestation period allowed for a horror masterclass? Read on to find out!

Our plot revolves around Detective Eric Hughes (Blake Northfield) and his heavily pregnant wife Katrina (Kendal Rae) the couple find themselves taking residence in a former midwifery with a dark past whilst Eric attempts to unravel the truth behind a grisly murder. As spooky events transpire, we’re left to question whether Katrina mental state is beginning to unravel or if she is truly the victim of
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New president for Equity

Stage stalwart Chloe Dallimore has been elected federal president of the Meaa.s Equity branch.

The actress whose credits include Pippin, Annie, The Addams Family and Thoroughly Modern Millie, succeeds Geoff Morrell.

Morrell had been acting president since Simon Burke stepped down last October after 10 years in that role. Nadine Garner and Lorna Lesly were elected. federal vice presidents.

Members of the new National Performers Committee are:

Federal President (Equity) Chloe Dallimore Federal Vice-Presidents (Equity) Nadine Garner Lorna Lesly Victoria Branch Board Member Genevieve Picot Queensland Branch Board Member Jason Klarwein Nsw Branch President (Equity): Tina Bursill Vice-President (Equity): Jonathan Mill Victoria Branch President (Equity): Abbe Holmes Vice-President (Equity): Francis Greenslade Queensland Branch President (Equity): Carol Burns Federal Council Delegates (Equity) Robyn Arthur Kerith Atkinson Michala Banas Amanda Bishop Mitchell Butel Helen Dallimore Marta Dusseldorp Alan Fletcher Samuel Gaskin Elizabeth Hay Glenn Hazeldine Robert Jago
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Nick Cave, Terry Gilliam, Kevin Smith Films Among 14 Specialty Debuts

Nick Cave, Terry Gilliam, Kevin Smith Films Among 14 Specialty Debuts
Films from notables Nick Cave, Kevin Smith and Terry Gilliam, and another featuring Downton Abbey vet Dan Stevens are helping fill this weekend’s box office, despite studio blockbuster debuts for The Maze Runner and This Is Where I Leave You.

In all, 14 specialty films are debuting this weekend, at the front edge of awards season and the time of year when “serious” films hit the screens left and right. We have The Guest, with Stevens; The Zero Theorem by Gilliam; Smith’s Tusk; Tracks, the latest from the producers of The King’s Speech; and Cave’s doc 20,000 Days On Earth.

And, like a TV informercial, there’s more: the doc Pump, boundary-jumper Stop The Pounding Heart; and Swim Little Fish Swim. Just to fill out the marquees, we also have Tribeca-winning doc Keep On Keepin’ On; Flamenco, Flamenco; Hector And The Search For Happiness; Iceman; Hollidaysburg; and Not Cool.
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Op ed: Roy Billing on imported actors

For nearly 40 years I have had an enjoyable and successful career as an actor. While I hope this will continue, I worry that Actors. Equity seems to be impeding the growth and development of the Australian film and television sector, where most of my work comes from. I have been an Equity member for all my career.

Until my recent resignation, I was an elected member of the National Performers. Committee (Npc) of the Equity division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance trade union.

The Npc.s regular meetings, chaired by Equity President Simon Burke, are supposed to discuss .leading industrial and professional issues and the best course of action to take to ensure a strong and vibrant entertainment industry and a safe and fair workplace for performers.. As an ex-insider, I am not convinced that the Npc.s interpretation of .the best course of action. is necessarily in
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