Source: Australia Government Statements 4
15 10 2020 – Media release
From top left: Xavier Michelides, Bonnie Davies, Andrea Gibbs and Ben Russell
Taking tongue-in-cheek inspiration from morning children’s television, Hug the Sun follows a fictional children’s show which aired on Western Australia’s community TV stations between 1990 and 1991. The series will feature the bizarre teaching of ‘Oxtos’ (religious teaching that are just thinly disguised grifts), inept hosts and unintentional comedy that is sure to become a cult hit.
Hug the Sun has been greenlit to go into production across Western Australia and Victoria, which will see a talented group of Western Australian cast and creatives collaborate via the virtual realm with comedy powerhouses Aunty Donna (Glennridge Secondary College).
Comedy team Aunty Donna said, “We’ve been working with Ben Russell and Xavier Michelides for many years and to now be helping them make their own show is super exciting – as they are the two funniest people in Australia. Not an exaggeration of course. And coupled with the incredible Perth based talent of Aaron McCann, Bonnie Davies and Andrea Gibbs – we are so excited for what this show will become. All of which couldn’t be done without the amazing support of both Screen Australia and Screenwest who are helping keep original and creative comedy alive.”
Whilst Western Australian borders remain closed due to COVID-19, the production will take place in isolation across both states.
Producer and director Aaron McCann said, “We’re incredibly excited to bring this show to fruition and shoot across two states – Western Australia and Victoria. We have an amazing team of talented writers, producers, designers, cinematographers and… most importantly – a stable internet connection to link up both states as we attempt to shoot remotely with our performers in isolated bubbles. We can’t wait to bring this wacky little concept to life and are forever thankful to Screenwest and Screen Australia for their belief in this project.”
Screen Australia Senior Online Investment Manager Lee Naimo said, “We’re excited to see Aunty Donna who have made a mark with their absurdist comedy, teaming up with this talented group of emerging creators. Hug the Sun is a bizarre and nostalgic comedy that I’m confident will carve out a niche and connect with viewers online.”
Screenwest CEO Willie Rowe explained, “Screenwest is excited to be able to support such a unique Western Australia web series which will feature some incredibly talented local comedy writers and performers and the collaboration with Aunty Donna is the perfect recipe to propel this web series to new heights.”
This hilarious web series is certainly one to watch. Viewers from around the country will pick up references to some of the most popular, and sometimes strange Australian children’s television shows, whilst Perth audiences will recognise some iconic Perth landmarks from the 1990s.
Creative team: Producer/Director Aaron McCann, Producer Johnny Ma, Executive Producer Max Miller (Aunty Donna), Creator/Performer: Xavier Michelides, Creator/Performer: Ben Russell, Writer/Performer Andrea Gibbs, Writer/Performer Bonnie Davies and Writing Attachment Erin Michelle.
Production Credit: Hug the Sun is a Johnny Ma Studios and Haven’t You Done Well production, created by Ben Russell and Xavier Michelides. Principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest.
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