High-Octane Fantasy Follows Two Indigenous Australians on Quest to Battle Last Colony of Vampires in South Australia
NEW YORK, NY, June 8, 2021 – AMC Studios today announced that it has greenlit a new original series called Firebite. A co-production with See-Saw Films, the series will be filmed in Australia this summer and is expected to appear on AMC+ later this year.
Firebite is a high-octane, highly original spin on the Vampire genre and fantasy series that follows two Indigenous Australian hunters, Tyson and Shanika, on their quest to battle the last colony of vampires in the middle of the South Australian desert.
Created, written and to be directed by Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous auteur voice, Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah, Sweet Country) together with Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards), the series is set in a remote desert mining town, a hive for the last vampire stronghold shipped from Britain to Australia in 1788 by the colonial superpower to eradicate the Indigenous populations.
Sheltering from the sun in the underground mines and tunnels that surround the town until the present day, the colony’s numbers and hunger is growing. War is coming. Tyson and Shanika stand vanguard to the war. But what hope does an expertly reckless man full of bravado and a 17-year-old orphan possibly have to defeat these vicious blood-thirsty parasites, when legions of warriors before them have failed?
Executive Producers for See-Saw Films are Rachel Gardner, Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, alongside Thornton and Fletcher. See-Saw’s Simon Gillis serves as Co-Executive Producer.
Paul Ranford (Stateless, True History of the Kelly Gang) will produce the series alongside Indigenous filmmaker Dena Curtis (Elements, Grace Beside Me), who is co-producing. The writing team include Kodie Bedford and newcomers Devi Telfer and Josh Sambono.
The season will be comprised of eight, one-hour episodes and will be filmed on the traditional Country of the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara people of the Western Desert and Kaurna People of the Adelaide Plains in and around Adelaide, the regional town of Coober Pedy and at the Adelaide Studios in South Australia.
The deal was negotiated by Rebecca Hardman for See-Saw Films and Scott Stein for AMC. The series has received major funding from the South Australian Film Corporation. The production is providing employment opportunities for First Nations practitioners.
“This is an original and highly entertaining series we can’t wait to bring to AMC+, and one that expands our already fruitful creative partnership with See-Saw Films after very successful collaborations on the wildly original State of the Union and the rare gem that was Top of the Lake,” said Dan McDermott, president of original programming for AMC Networks and co-head of AMC Studios. “We are excited to tell this story authentically, in Australia with Indigenous storytellers, cast and crew and on Indigenous lands.”
Warwick Thornton and Brendan Fletcher said, “We are really proud of the worthy and important stories we’ve brought to the screen over the last twenty years. Now it’s time for some rock and roll.”
Rachel Gardner, See-Saw Films’ Head of Drama Australia and Executive Producer said, “It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing Warwick and Brendan’s unique vision to the screen with a high-octane explosive story that draws on the complex themes of colonisation and racial prejudice, driven by Indigenous storytellers.”
See-Saw’s Managing Directors, and Executive Producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning said, “We are thrilled to be working with Warwick Thornton and Brendan Fletcher, who are such formidable storytellers, on this hugely original, action packed new show, headlined by so many wonderfully talented Indigenous voices. It’s fantastic to be collaborating once again with our friends at AMC who champion such original programming, and continually back great talent.”
Warwick Thornton is one of Australia’s most notable directors and Indigenous voices. Thornton (Samson and Deliah, Sweet Country) and Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) are both known for their powerful and gritty feature films. Samson and Delilah won the Camera D’Or at Cannes and Sweet Country won the Special Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival as well as the Platform Prize at the Toronto Film Festival. Mad Bastards was nominated for the Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival. Together Brendan and Warwick were commissioned by the Australian Government to co-direct the first ever International TV campaign to promote Aboriginal Tourism. The campaign was seen by over 30 million people worldwide. They collaborated again on the Award-Winning documentary We Don’t Need A Map, which opened the 2017 Sydney Film Festival. Firebite is their first television series as Creators – their goal was to create something they want to watch – fast paced, highly imagined and entertaining.
Warwick and Brendan are repped by UTA and by attorney Darren Tratter.
About See-Saw Films
See-Saw Films is a world leading film and television production house, founded in 2008 by Academy Award®, BAFTA and Emmy winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, with offices in London and Sydney.
See-Saw’s first television series was the multi-award winning first season of Jane Campion’s ‘Top of the Lake’. Campion returned with ‘Top of The Lake: China Girl’ starring Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe. ‘State of the Union’, written by Nick Hornby, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2019 and won three Emmy Awards. Recent projects include Samantha Strauss’ ‘The End’ for Foxtel, Sky Atlantic and Showtime, starring Harriet Walter and Frances O’Connor. Upcoming projects include ‘The North Water’ for BBC Two written and directed by Andrew Haigh, starring Colin Farrell, Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham; ‘Slow Horses’ for Apple TV+, starring Gary Oldman; a second season of ‘State of the Union’ written by Nick Hornby, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Brendan Gleeson, Patricia Clarkson and Esco Jouléy; ‘The Essex Serpent’ for Apple TV+ to be directed by Clio Barnard, starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston; and ‘Heartstopper’ for Netflix, to be directed by Euros Lyn.
See-Saw produced the six-time Academy Award® nominated Lion, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, as well as The King’s Speech, which was nominated for twelve and won four Academy Awards® in 2011 including Best Motion Picture. Recent projects include Widows directed by Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis and Ammonite, written and directed by Francis Lee, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. Upcoming film projects include Operation Mincemeat, directed by John Madden and starring Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and Kelly Macdonald; The Unknown Man starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris; and The Power Of The Dog, written and directed by Jane Campion, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons;
About AMC Networks Inc.
AMC Networks is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically-acclaimed content. Its portfolio of brands includes AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films, and a number of fast-growing streaming services, including the AMC+ premium streaming bundle, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind award-winning owned series and franchises, including The Walking Dead, the highest-rated series in cable history. The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.