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SBS announces three new exciting dramas through the Digital Originals initiative

Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), the National Indigenous Television (NITV) and Screen Australia, have announced three new Australian series coming to screens through the successful Digital Originals initiative, with production underway for ‘Moni’ in NSW, ‘Moonbird’ in Tasmania and ‘Warm Props’ in Western Australia. 

An ongoing partnership between SBS, NITV and Screen Australia, Digital Originals aims to develop exciting, innovative and risk-taking short-form drama projects to premiere on SBS On Demand, SBS VICELAND and NITV, from emerging screen creatives who are currently under-represented in the sector.

In the Pasifika led series ‘Moni’, a gay Samoan man must reluctantly work out why his dead mother has unexpectedly plummeted from the heavens, and in doing so, learn to embrace his own truth. Led by creator, writer, and showrunner Taofia Pelesasa, director Alana Hicks, producer Nicole Coventry and executive producer Eliorah Malifa with Pelesasa Pics, the series explores identity, belonging and self-acceptance. 

‘Moonbird’ is a co-production between the first-ever Tasmanian Aboriginal screen production company, Kutikina Productions, and Sheoak Films. Produced by Catherine Pettman and Adam Thompson, ‘Moonbird’ explores the relationship between a recently sober father and his son who attempt to reconnect through a traditional muttonbirding season on a remote Tasmanian island. The compelling series is directed, co-created, and co-written by Nathan Maynard, and co-created and co-written by Adam Thompson.

‘Warm Props’ takes audiences behind the scenes with Charlie, who returns to a chaotic film shoot in her hometown in Western Australia and must then face her past as her narcissistic boss threatens the stability of her career and personal life. The heartening series is brought to life by creator and writer Jub Clerc, co-writer Kimberly Benjamin, directed by Clerc and Benjamin, and produced by Jodie Bell for Ramu Productions. 

Commissioning Editor, SBS Scripted, Nakul Legha, said: “We’re proud to be commissioning and developing such bold and ambitious scripted series that continue to raise the bar for Australian storytelling. The Digital Originals initiative consistently delivers award-winning, creatively brilliant series that have launched the careers of Australia’s most talented emerging and under-represented voices. We can’t wait for audiences to fall in love with Moni, Moonbird and Warm Props. And we’re thrilled to back the next wave of creatives in bringing their fresh and exciting stories to the screen.” 

The Digital Originals initiative was created to elevate talent historically under-represented in the sector, including people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, First Nations Australians, people with disability, female and gender diverse, LGBTQIA+; and those who are located in regional and remote areas. It continues to prove itself as an effective pathway for creators to advance their skills, and as a launch-pad for their projects to attract local interest and break into international markets.