News

Top Australian indie CJZ Group has appointed Claire Tonkin to head up drama development. Tonkin has held the position of Network Drama Executive at the Ten Network for the past decade, during which time she has climbed the ranks to become Network Executive Producer for NEIGHBOURS and helped oversee the development and production of dramas including OFFSPRING, PUBERTY BLUES, RUSH, THE WRONG GIRL, BIKIE WARS: BROTHERS IN ARMS, UNDERGROUND – THE JULIAN ASSANGE STORY, HAWKE, SECRETS & LIES, MR & MRS MURDER, A MODEL DAUGHTER, REEF DOCTORS, WONDERLAND, MARY: THE MAKING OF A PRINCESS, PARTY TRICKS and BROCK. Claire is an Australian Writers’ Guild Award winner and received the 2009 Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award from the International Emmy Foundation.

Claire joins CJZ at an exciting time of expansion in the scripted space, with multiple series currently in funded development for local and overseas networks. Last year they produced The EX-PM with Shaun Micallef for ABC One, Nine’s No.1 ratings success HOUSE OF HANCOCK staring Mandy McElhinney, Peta Sergeant and Sam Neill.

CJZ are currently delivering HOUSE OF BOND starring Rachel Taylor, Adrienne Pickering and Ben Mingay to the Nine Network Australia. The New Zealand arm of the group, Greenstone, produced CUL DE SAC for TVNZ and currently shooting a second series.

CJZ CEO Matt Campbell said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Claire join our talented team. We have a diverse slate of fantastic scripted projects and it will be fabulous to have Claire on board to steer those and others through to production. There has never been a more exciting time to be producing drama, as our client base expands to multiple territories and the bar is set so high. We welcome Claire to the CJZ family.”

Claire Tonkin said: “After many wonderful years working at TEN the time has come for me to embark on a new challenge. CJZ is a fantastic bunch of people who are rightly known for making bold, original and thought-provoking television. I’m delighted to be joining this clever and passionate team.”

Claire will commence work at CJZ’s Sydney office in January 2017.


Airs Sunday, 31 July at 8.35pm on SBS

Premiering on Sunday, 31 July at 8.35pm, SBS will air Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!, a documentary exploring the newly elected Senator’s impact on multicultural Australia since her maiden speech in 1996.

“I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians”, Pauline Hanson said in her 1996 maiden speech to the House of Representatives.

Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!, produced for SBS by Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder and directed by Anna Broinowski (Forbidden Lies, Aim High in Creation), explores how Pauline Hanson’s speech and the decades of debate that followed has influenced Australia today; and with her election to the Senate at the recent Federal Election, she is set to be a force in Australia yet again.

“I’m still here. They haven’t got rid of me. Last person they want to see on the floor of Parliament is me”, she says in Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!

The feature-length documentary examines the impact of Pauline Hanson’s political career on modern multicultural Australia, and the people who have helped her transition from a local fish shop owner, to the Member for Oxley and the creation of the One Nation party; and now a seat in the Senate.

The documentary features many of Pauline Hanson’s critics, opponents, advisors and commentators, from former Prime Minister Hon. John Howard OM AC; former advisor to Ms Hanson and Tony Abbott, David Oldfield; current media advisor and former Peter Slipper staffer, James Ashby, former and current federal MPs, including the first Indigenous female MP, Hon. Linda Burney and former NSW Liberal MP (1988-2003), Hon. Helen Sham Ho OAM; current members of the media, including Margo Kingston and Alan Jones AO; and leading Indigenous commentator, Prof. Marcia Langton AM.

For more media information, previews and images please contact: Natalie Dubois T: 0447 305 934 E: [email protected]

A preview copy of Pauline Hanson: Please Explain! is available on http://www.sbs.com.au/mediacentre/ – Search ‘Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!’


On June 13th, the Banff World Media Festival (BWMF) announced winners of the annual Rockie Awards, celebrating excellence in TV and digital content from around the world.

Over 40 countries participated in this year’s competition. The Awards honour excellence in 23 categories across drama, comedy, children’s, documentary, factual, digital and more.

Among this year’s winners was our own Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail (Genepool Productions) which won Best Science & Technology Program.

For more, go to http://banffmediafestival.com/2016-rockie-award-program-competition-winners-announced/

Genepool Productions, Australia’s only science focused television production company, partnered with CJZ in 2011.


In her most recent What’s on: TV highlights for Tuesday, June 14, the Sydney Morning Herald‘s TV Critic, Melinda Houston said,

I cannot stop watching this show. It is absolutely fascinating. The characters – both in the staff room and the classroom – are utterly engaging. The dissection of the everyday problems faced by our state schoolteachers is enlightening, while their attitude to dealing with them is genuinely uplifting. Following the progress of the various students is as engrossing as any drama. And for anyone interested in public education – and that should be all of us – there’s plenty of food for thought in the obvious successes of what’s a pretty humble school, and how they’ve been achieved.

Read more at http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-guide/whats-on-tv-highlights-for-tuesday-june-14-20160602-gp5b1x.html#ixzz4BXFNEm14


John Barnett, New Zealand’s most prolific producer and one of its most respected, has teamed-up with Australian super-indie CJZ as a consultant producer to develop and produce drama out of Australia.

John had a long career as an independent producer before joining South Pacific Pictures, which he built into NZ’s largest production house before retiring late last year.

John’s credentials are without peer – these New Zealand productions were all made under his leadership: ‘Shortland Street’ (25 years on screen), ‘Outrageous Fortune’, ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’, ‘Go Girls’, ‘Sione’s Wedding’ and ‘Sione’s 2‘ and Academy Award nominated film, ‘Whale Rider’.  John also created recent TV hit ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries’.

CJZ is now Australia’s largest locally owned independent production company and is home to enduring franchises such as ‘Gruen’, ‘Bondi Rescue’ and ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’. CJZ also produced ‘House of Hancock’, one of the highest rating dramas of 2015.

John is without question one of the most experienced producers in the business in Australia and New Zealand”, says Nick Murray, MD at CJZ.

He’s a brilliant storyteller and to top that off, he’s a quality human being and we are excited and honoured to be working across a range of projects with him”.

John Barnett said “I began in this business as an independent producer looking for projects that connected with audiences, projects that I loved and where I was intimately involved in every aspect of the production. I’m really looking forward to working with the team at CJZ. I have enormous respect for their personal integrity, for the business they have built, and the programmes they make.

Matt Campbell, CJZ CEO added, “John lives to tell stories and has a wonderful nose for audience and market demand. He is a great fit for our company and we can’t wait to get started. Rarely has there been such an exciting time to be a content producer, which is reflected in CJZ’s very large and diverse production slate.

The JV is effective immediately.

Contact: Matt Campbell [email protected], +61 2 9217 2228


ABC TV, 8.30pm – May 31, June 7, 14, 21

In an Australian TV first, CJZ has produced a landmark series for the ABC that was filmed over an entire year inside a public secondary school in Victoria.

REVOLUTION SCHOOL, a four-part documentary series that investigates how to improve education in Australia, starts Tuesday May 31 at 8.30pm on the ABC.

The series follows Kambrya College, a typical high school in the outer Melbourne suburb of Berwick, and gives unprecedented insight into the challenges and complexities of improving outcomes for Australian school children.

The series was filmed with roving cameras, as well as two fixed rig cameras in the offices of senior members of the teaching staff.

The CJZ crew of four, who were at Kambrya every day of the 2015 school year, were allowed extraordinary access by Kambrya College principal Michael Muscat and became embedded in the school community.

The series gives an honest, raw portrayal of life in an Australian school and captures the daily dramas and triumphs in a way not seen before.

The series is timely, screening over four weeks during the Federal election campaign where education policy is a major issue.

Overall, Australian school children are falling behind their overseas counterparts on international testing scores, so Kambrya’s story holds lessons for schools and teachers, parents and students, across the nation.

CJZ was commissioned to make the series after winning a tender process conducted by the ABC in 2014. The ABC wanted a nationally significant series on the state of Australian education as seen through the prism of a typical Australian school.

Executive producer Michael Cordell says CJZ is proud to have made a series that illustrates in graphic detail how hard teachers work to improve the lives and educational outcomes of students.

“We hope it will spark a national debate about the best way to educate our children,’’ Cordell says.

“It was a privilege to be allowed such unprecedented access into a school and we’re thankful to Kambrya College, its teachers and students, for trusting us to make this film about their journey of improvement.’’

Series producer Alex West says it was a challenging but rewarding series to make. “As filmmakers our job was to begin as outsiders, and maintain that sense of distance and objectivity, whilst becoming a very familiar and intimate part of the school community,’’ West says.

“That meant a huge focus on building and maintaining trusting relationships with students and teachers alike.’’

Kambrya is a large school, with more than 1100 students from 42 different nationalities. There are high achievers who aim to get into the toughest university courses, but also kids at risk of dropping out and others with serious behavioural and learning difficulties.

Kambrya College was chosen because, under the leadership of Michael Muscat, it has been working hard for several years to transform itself from a school that was at the bottom of the academic rung in 2008.

In 2015 the school received support from leading education academics from the University of Melbourne, including internationally renowned Professor John Hattie, who understand what works best to improve student outcomes.

Production credits: Executive Producer, Michael Cordell; Series Producer, Alex West; CJZ Director of Production, Toni Malone; ABC Commissioning Editor, Anita Brown. Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria and Screen Australia.

For further information and interviews contact Jenny McAsey on Ph 0413 678 299 or [email protected]

Preview episodes are available for viewing on request.

For images visit abc.net.au/tvpublicity.


Congratulations to the Gruen team on their win at the 2016 TV Week Logies! Gruen beat fellow nominees Have You Been Paying Attention?, The Voice, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering and The X Factor to win the award for Most Outstanding Entertainment Program.


CJZ welcome the appointment of Andrew Farrell to the newly created position of Head Of Factual.

“Our factual programs have helped shape the reputation of the company so it was time to dedicate a senior role within CJZ for this genre. Andrew comes with a bucket load of experience and passion for factual programming and is a perfect fit for CJZ. He has an impressive list of credits both in Australia and particularly the USA over the past 8 years.” Matt Campbell, CEO.

An experienced Executive Producer, Writer, Field Producer and Show Runner. Starting his career as a regional TV news reporter, then producer for Beyond 2000 he then went on to reality TV with programs like the original Big Brother, My Restaurant Rules and live events such as the AFI’s. He has spent the past 8 years at Beyond Productions, recently in the position of Executive Producer. Some of his success at Beyond and Discovery Channels include, Still Alive, Shark Island, Behind Mansion Walls, Deadly Women, Dark Minds and Mythbusters.

“CJZ is a vibrant, creative company that has an enviable reputation for nailing a magic TV mix. They produce compelling series that are entertaining and successful – but also have something to say. I’m looking forward to joining their strong team and helping to deliver more of that magic.” Andrew Farrell

“I’m confident Andrew will enhance our already strong slate. He’ll hit the ground running from January 2016 with some soon to be announced freshly commissioned shows.” – Matt Campbell, CEO CJZ.

Media enquiries, contact Georgina Harrop, [email protected], Mob: +61 419 508 531


Uranium – Twisting The Dragon’s Tail produced by Emmy Award-winning Genepool Productions, won three prizes at the 2015 ATOM Awards, presented last night in Melbourne. The documentary which aired on SBS August 2015, was lauded as:

Best Documentary
TV Factual

Best Documentary
TV History

Best Documentary
TV science,technology and environment

Held annually for more than 30 years, the ATOM Awards recognize film and media excellence in the education and screen industry sectors. This year there were more than 500 entries from Australian and New Zealand media producers for 28 categories.

The series was filmed in 2014-2015 across England, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, the United States, Japan and Australia.

Genepool Productions, Australia’s only science focused television production company, partnered with CJZ in 2011


Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery has been nominated for ‘Best Direction In A Television Light Entertainment or Reality Series’ & ‘Best Light Entertainment Television Series’.

House Of Hancock has received nominations for ‘Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama’ and ‘Best Costume Design in Television’ and our colleagues at Genepool have received nominations for Uranium – Twisiting The Dragon’s Tail ‘Best Direction in a Documentary’ and ‘Best Orginial Music Score’.

The 5th AACTA Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday 9 December 2015, and broadcast on Channel 7.