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Short Cuts (2001 - current)

Children's series
26 episodes x 30 minutes

Series synopsis:

Set in a year 9 media studies class, Short Cuts is a 26-part television series about a group of teenagers – Oscar (Damien Bodie), Fiona (Katie Barnes), Sophie (Gemma Bishop), Ruth (Leah De Niese), Ross (Alex Tsitsopoulos), Kurt (Alex Cappelli), Anna (Lucia Smyrk), the twins Tim (Dylan Gray) and Tom (Joel Gray) – making films with their media teacher Mr Long (Matthew Green). Through the process, they explore how the camera can be used – to express and communicate, but also to manipulate and lie.

They make diaries, short films, documentaries, comedies and some use the camera for spying and fabricating the truth. In so doing they learn about themselves and each other. They also face the challenge of running the school’s in-house television station in the later episodes.

Curator’s Notes:

Energetic, busy, fast paced and youthful, Short Cuts is an adventurous television series. It has a novel format, mixing the scripted drama shot on super 16 mm film, with hand-held digital video camera pieces, and a not always predictable narrative structure. Compelling, funny and intelligent, this series appeals to a wide audience.

Following the success of The Wayne Manifesto, Burberry executive producer Ewan Burnett was asked by Elaine Sperber of Disney UK to come up with a show ‘…that will break some rules’. Burnett knew that being given such a mandate by a broadcaster was a very rare opportunity to take a chance and try another new and untested scriptwriter.

Describing himself as a ‘serial monogamist’ when it comes to writers, after working successfully with sole script writer David McRobbie on The Wayne Manifesto and Eugenie Sandler PI, Burnett decided to have 20-year-old Marieke Hardy write the scripts for the entire 26-episode series. This was a highly unusual proposition. (Burnett had first met Marieke Hardy, daughter of Alan Hardy and Galia Hardy, when she was eight years old acting in The Henderson Kids.)

Production partner Disney vetoed the idea, saying Hardy was too young and inexperienced, but when another scriptwriter wrote a sample script, it didn’t work. Ewan Burnett then sent Disney the Short Cuts series bible and one episode under his name which was in fact written by Hardy. Disney loved it, telling him he was a great writer. When the subterfuge was revealed, Disney, now convinced of her talent, was happy to proceed with Marieke Hardy as the writer.

The rest is history. Short Cuts was a remarkable achievement by Hardy with the award-winning series consuming her life for almost five years. In 2002 the series won an ATOM Award for Best Children’s TV series; and an AFI Award for Best Children’s Drama Series. In 2003 Hardy won an Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Award for Best Children’s Screen & Radio (Original). Hardy then went on to co-produce and co-write Last Man Standing with Burberry Productions, an adult drama series for the Seven Network in 2005.

Titles in this series

Short Cuts – Wheels on Fire 2001

This is episode two and the students are thinking about their three minute films. Straight 'A’ student Anna (Lucia Smyrk) is concerned that she will have to make films she doesn’t believe in and is further upset when Oscar (Damien ...