Get Real – the Documentary Series & Reality TV – 4 September 2003

Title: Get Real – the Documentary Series & Reality TV
Location: AFC Theatre – 150 William St, Woolloomooloo, NSW
Description: WHAT:

Meet the filmmakers behind some
of the best programming
reality television has to offer.

Aviva Ziegler, director of ‘Plumpton High Babies’
and Kerry Brewster, director of ‘Our Boys’.


AFC Theatre – 150 William St, East Sydney


Thursday 4 Sept 2003 – 7pm


Gold Coin Donation

by Sept 1:
Seats reserved till 6.50pm only.
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2003-09-04

Themes for this session.
# Longitudinal shoots – how does the filmmaker survive? What to watch out for.
# How to conceptually create the series and did the filmmakers start out making one?
# The narrative arc; the one hour versus the series. Who tells the story and how does it unfold into the episode(s) and the overall series?
# Is a development script required and how different is it to the finished work?
# Who to choose for subjects and how many?
# Getting into bed with the subjects – how close is the filmmaker required to get?
# The filmmaker’s obligations and ethical considerations toward their subjects, especially in the case of minors.
# How to pick the right crew for the long shoot – does the director end up taking on more responsibility as time wears on? Can this compromise the creative element or the production at large? Pros and cons of the director filming.
# What skills and experiences are useful for this style of filmmaking?
# What makes the documentary series so popular with audiences?
# How appealing are documentary series’ to the broadcasters?
# Development and production finance and the nuts and bolts of getting the film to the screen.


Aviva Ziegler – Director, Writer and Producer

Aviva Ziegler is one of Australia’s most experienced documentary filmmakers and has worked in both commercial and public Australian television for 30 years. She began her television career with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, on the social issues documentary series Chequerboard. In 2003, the ABC aired the acclaimed and highly successful 4 part series, Plumpton High Babies on Reality Bites.

She has been producer and director for the Willesee documentary series, broadcast on the Seven and Nine Networks.

As an executive producer at Film Australia, she was responsible for a wide range of films and videos, many of which have been highly successful on television both in Australia and abroad.

Her personal documentary What is a Jew to You? (1996) has won much acclaim and numerous prizes at home and abroad, and has been screened worldwide.

Aviva’s directing credits include:
# two episodes of Plagued (1992) – a four-part documentary series co-produced by Film Australia and Channel Four in Britain (the series screened in the U.K., U.S.A. and Australia and won numerous prizes around the world);
# the award-winning A Bird in the Hand (1995) for Film Australia and Oregon Public Broadcasting, as part of the PBS Science series Nova;
# the eight-part documentary series Zoo’s Company (1997) co-director and co-producer, co-produced by ABC Natural History Unit and France’s Canal +;
# Casino (1998) a half-hour documentary in the six-part Film Australia series for ABC TV The Gamblers; Chequerboard Revisited (2000) producer/director/writer of six half-hour documentaries for ABC TV.

Awards include a Logie for Best Documentary for Quentin, the highest-rating documentary ever seen on Australian television and a Logie for Best Documentary for her film Facing the Demons (1999), which was also awarded the United Nations Media Peace Prize, the Dart Award and the Odyssey Award for Documentary Excellence.

Aviva continues to work as a freelance producer, director and writer.

For more information on Plumpton High Babies visit the website.

Plumpton High Babies – A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with 220 Productions.

Natacha & Kalebh, Jasmin & Brayden, co-ordinator of Plumpton High School’s young mothers program Rebecca Cowin, Kirsty & Evan, Crystal & Brian, Plumpton High School principal Glenn Sargeant, Baby & Jeremiah, Simone & Ashton.
© Film Australia “Plumpton High Babies”

Crystal and her son Brian.
© Film Australia “Plumpton High Babies”

Kerry Brewster – Producer/Writer/Director

Kerry Brewster is a Walkley award-winning television journalist and documentary film maker. She is the Producer and Director of the four-part documentary series, “Our Boys”, currently in post-production and to be broadcast on ABC television in early 2004.

Kerry began her career as a television news reporter in the early 1980s. She moved to Britain where she worked for Worldwide Television News (WTN) in London, before returning to Australia to join the ABC’s “7.30 Report”. After a year as the Asia correspondent for the Seven Network, based in Hong Kong, she joined the reporting staff of the SBS current affairs program, “Dateline”.

During her ten years with “Dateline” Kerry reported from various parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and also from Australia. She received the Walkley award for Best Investigative journalism for a forty-minute report “The Mt Lyell Legacy” (1995). It exposed the efforts by the Government and University of Tasmania to supress the results of a student’s investigation into the damaging environmental consequences of the Queenstown copper mine. The report also received the Eureka prize for Best Environmental journalism.

She became known as a documentary film director with “Demons at Drivetime”, an SBS Independent film about the radio “Shock Jocks” Alan Jones, Stan Zemanek and Howard Satler. The film won the Sydney Film Festival’s Dendy Award for Best Documentary (1996).

Until “Our Boys” Kerry had not picked up the camera herself. That changed in 2003 when she spent a year filming inside Prime Minister John Howard’s old school, Canterbury Boys High. Her Co-Producing collaborator, Andrea Lang, recorded sound at the school. She and Kerry are in the last stage of editing the four part series.