Together with Screenwest, Screen Australia and ABC Indigenous, we are thrilled to announce KGB, a comedy web series created by Western Australian indigenous filmmaker brothers, Luke and Dan Riches, has been greenlit by the ABC thanks to Screenwest’s Indigenous Online Initiative – Originate.
Originate is a Screenwest and ABC Indigenous narrative web series development and production initiative for emerging Western Australian Indigenous screen practitioners looking to hone their storytelling skills across a series of episodes. The successful series is awarded development funding, production funding and an experienced Executive Producer, as well as a series commission by ABC Indigenous.
Set in Perth’s notorious KGB (Koondoola, Girrawheen, Balga), the series follows two rookie detectives, tough guy Jack and gentle giant Nigel, as they deal with the chaos of their new jobs, no-nonsense boss, work rivals, drug dealers and culprits who consistently turn out to be family members. Despite battling their own insecurities at every turn, and the fact that Jack bullied Nigel in high school, these two might just turn out to be KGB’s finest detectives.
The series boasts a stellar Australian cast including Clarence Ryan (Wrong Kind of Black, Cleverman, Wanted), Bjorn Stewart (Black Comedy, Get Krack!n), Genevieve Morris (No Activity, Bloom,Comedy Inc.) Mark Coles Smith (Pawno, Last Cab to Darwin, LIFT), Aaron McGrath (Mystery Road, Glitch, Jasper Jones), WAAPA alumni Jesse Phillips and indigenous theatre stars Lynette Narkle and Amy Smith, as well as a number of up-and-coming Western Australian performers.
The Riches are the founders of Ardiol Media, a Perth-based production company. After leaving behind their day jobs to pursue their dreams in the film industry, the brothers received a crash course in television production through the making of Lost Diamonds, a documentary coming soon to NITV. The boys are excited to endeavour on a web series comedy which they describe as Hot Fuzz meets Black Comedy.
"We were surprised to be selected given the competitive field of applicants, but also super thankful and excited for the opportunity Screenwest and the ABC are providing us. KGB will allow us to explore our creativity in a whole new genre." said Luke and Dan.
KGB will be Executive Produced by Lauren Elliott of Mad Kids, produced by Taryne Laffar and written by the Riches, together with emerging WA screenwriters Joel Gray (Small Town Hackers, Aussie Rangers) and Clare Toonen (You, Me and Karen, Rift). The Riches will direct, with Henry Inglis (Small Town Hackers, DAFUQ?) as Director’s Mentor.
“I’m so glad KGB won because I really want to watch it! I feel very privileged to be selected by Screenwest and ABC as EP, and I’m excited to be mentoring Luke, Dan and our Series Producer, Taryne Laffar. This opportunity is a real coup for Mad Kids as it will allow us to support emerging indigenous Western Australian talent, as well as produce a show that we think is bloody funny.” said Lauren.
Following a competitive Originate Stage 1 Development Workshop about web series production, how to examine collaborative techniques, what concepts work well for short form narrative, how to effectively reach your online audience and how to execute using minimal resources, KGB was selected by an expert industry panel from 11 shortlisted Originate applications.
“Online series are the new short film in terms of carving a career pathway, and this initiative in particular will provide Luke and Dan with invaluable experience and access to the large ABC audience.” said Devina McPherson, Screenwest Indigenous Programs Manager.
“ABC Indigenous is a proud supporter of new Indigenous voices in the screen industry. Partnering with Screenwest on the Originate initiative ensures that we can continue to provide amazing career opportunities for exciting Western Australian Indigenous talent like Luke and Dan Riches. We can’t wait to share this show with our ABC audience!” said Kelrick Martin, Head of Indigenous for ABC.
Lee Naimo, Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia said, “Screen Australia champions the development of home-grown online projects, and this is a fantastic opportunity for the Riches brothers to further develop their careers, working with EP Lauren Elliott whose credits include the AACTA-nominated Small Town Hackers, Lucy Durack’s screenwriting debut, LIFT and ABC iview original series, DAFUQ? KGB reimagines the much-loved detective comedy genre with a fresh local twist and I’m confident its relatable characters will resonate with audiences when it premieres online in 2019.”
Mad Kids are the team behind a number of original digital and television comedy projects including Small Town Hackers, LIFT, The Big Spaghetti, DAFUQ?, The Legend of Gavin Tanner, The Shapes, Henry & Aaron’s 7 Steps to Superstardom and viral sensations It’s a Snap! and Set Yourself Free.
We kick off filming in Perth this month and the series will premiere on ABC iview in 2019.