DISNEY+ DIVES INTO LOCAL DOCUMENTARY CONTENT WITH SHIPWRECK HUNTERS AUSTRALIA
Shipwreck Hunters Australia on screen team: Ryan Chatfield, Johnny Debnam, Ash Sutton, Anouska ‘Nush’ Freedman and Andre Rerekura
Production has kicked off for new six-part documentary series Shipwreck Hunters Australia. The series is the first Australian documentary for Disney+, with principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and the Western Australian Screen Fund.
Filming is taking place off Western Australia’s vast coastline, often referred to as the ‘Treasure Coast’, the resting place for a predicted 1,600 shipwrecks. There, a team of highly skilled divers and underwater filmmakers along with expert maritime archaeologists from the Western Australian Museum, will dive into one of the planet’s most spectacular ocean environments, showcasing thrilling discoveries and looking to solve some iconic shipwreck mysteries. Combining new evidence, the latest technologies and archival research, Shipwreck Hunters Australia is a fresh and vibrant journey into the mysterious past led by modern day ocean adventurers.
Director and producer Brendan Hutchens (Drawn to Water) of VAM Media teams up with the professional divers and underwater filmmakers from Terra Australis to bring these long-lost shipwreck secrets and new discoveries to the screen. They are joined by series producer Katherine Barrett (Aussie Gold Hunters), and executive producer Steve Bibb (former ABC Head of Factual and owner of Barking Mad Productions).
Producer and director Brendan Hutchens of VAM Media said, “I’m incredibly excited to be working with a unique team of highly skilled divers, master mariners, ocean filmmakers and maritime archaeologists to share these captivating West Australian-based stories with the world. And what a platform to be sharing it on! We’re over the moon to be bringing Shipwreck Hunters Australia to Disney+. We’re grateful for the support from our production funding partners and for the hard work of our brilliant production team. Teaming up with the Western Australian Museum brings another level of expertise to these expeditions which will be action packed and full of adventure. It’s going to be epic.”
Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan said, “We’re delighted to have Disney+ on board for their first Australian documentary with Shipwreck Hunters Australia, which will take viewers on an adventure through the remarkable underwater world along Western Australia’s Treasure Coast. I can’t wait for audiences here and around the world to discover these hidden treasures.”
Kylie Watson-Wheeler, SVP and Managing Director The Walt Disney Company ANZ said, “We are incredibly excited at Disney to announce our first local production for Disney+. Shipwreck Hunters Australia brings to life epic shipwreck discoveries from an intrepid ocean adventure team. We know our Disney+ audience will be wowed by some of the most fearless shipwreck hunters in the world, all filmed on our stunning Australian doorstep.”
Screenwest CEO Willie Rowe said, “With the support of the State Government, we’re thrilled to support Shipwreck Hunters Australia, an exciting first for a WA production company to be shooting a project for Disney+. We hope this paves the way for future series and other projects with the streaming giant, as they have shown a dedication to high quality documentary programming and commissions.”
Production credit: Shipwreck Hunters Australia is a VAM Media and Terra Australis Productions production in association with Barking Mad Productions for Disney+. Principal production investment from Screen Australia. Developed and produced with Screenwest and supported by the State Government of Western Australia through the Royalties for Regions Program and the Western Australian Screen Fund. Supported by the Western Australian Museum.