‘Beef’ Creator Lee Sung Jin, ‘The Bear’s Joanna Calo & Bruna Papandrea Set For Australian TV Summit Future Vision

EXCLUSIVE: Australia is set to welcome some of the biggest names in Hollywood to a new industry conference, Future Vision.

Beef creator Lee Sung Jin, The Bear co-showrunner Joanna Calo and Big Little Lies producer Bruna Papandrea will feature at the event, which will be held in Melbourne on July 15-17. The summit is the latest globally-focused TV event on the crowded international calendar.

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More speakers are set to be announced shortly, with the event streaming live around the world. Future Vision has been created with support from Australians in Film, Screen Australia and VicScreen, with Papandrea and The Slap showrunner Tony Ayres the co-chairs and Rebecca Yeldham (The Gift, Motorcycle Diaries), who led the content team at MasterClass, the Creative Director.

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Lee created, wrote, executive produced and directed Netflix miniseries Beef, which starred Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, who also won acting prizes for the series. He was also a writer on comedy series Dave. Calo, along with with creator Christopher Storer, showruns FX and Hulu comedy-drama The Bear, whose third season trailer dropped today. She has also worked with Lee on Beef and Prime Video’s Undone and has co-exec producer credits on shows such as Hacks, BoJack Horseman and Lost Ollie.

They touch down in Australia for Future Vision, which will attempt to bring establish local TV professionals together with leading international creative talent and execs to foster creative exchanges and commercial opportunities.

Future Vision is the first such event for scripted TV in Australia and will comprise two components – an invite-only series of workshops and a broader industry-facing conference. It is billing itself as “A think tank and industry conference for courageous ideas.”

The focus will be on premium episodic television coming out of Australia, which has been something of a hotbed of creativity in recent years thanks to shows such as Colin From Accounts, The Twelve and Black Snow. It has also attracted investment from the likes of The CW, Sundance Now, Peacock and Fox, and numerous international shoots thanks to several strong regional production rebate systems.

“Australia, like so many other places over recent years, saw the boom of streaming really open up the world to people, and not just for English-language content,” said Papandrea in an exclusive interview with Deadline over Zoom from Sydney. “What I’m learning is that — and you hear this from commissioners here in Australia, is that you have to think globally, but also be very authentic to your place and voice. That’s what ultimately travels.”

With Korean-American writer Lee and Calo providing an international flavor, the event is being designed to attract a global audience. “I can say hand on heart my two favorite shows last year were Beef and The Bear, and so the fact Sung and Joanna are coming and can talk about their collaborations is really going to be exciting for people,” said Papandrea, whose Australian production house Made Up Stories is behind the likes of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Nine Perfect Strangers and Anatomy of a Scandal.

In a statement, Lee and Calo said: “We are thrilled to be a part of Future Vision, as we are both very near-sighted. From Talk to Me, to The Slap, to all things George Miller, Baz Luhrmann and countless other incredible filmmakers, we have long been fans of Australia’s film and television community and look forward to learning more and discussing the future of storytelling, both locally and beyond.”

Papandrea, co-chair Ayres and Yeldham were equally as enthusiastic in their joint statement, adding: “We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Lee Sung Jin and Joanna Calo to the inaugural Future Vision in Melbourne. Their award-winning and highly acclaimed work, while uniquely grounded and bold, is universally enjoyed. The theme of this year’s Future Vision is ‘Courage,’ and we could not think of two better TV creators in the world that represent this in their work.”

Papandrea said the conference would seek to highlight the fact that original, authentic stories were the one ones that cut through, and that this was a more important lesson than hearing what might get commissioned at any single point. She pointed to The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, a Prime Video miniseries starring Sigourney Weaver and Alycia Debnam-Carey out of Australia, which been an unexpected global success on the streamer.

“I don’t know if anyone would make that show today,” added Papandrea. “I knew it was unique, distinctive and heartfelt and it did transcend and it did very well globally. I think about that whenever I get despondent about the business — not one person would have said that a show about inter-generational trauma would have worked.”

Beyond Australia, she listed shows such as Netflix’s headline-grabbing miniseries Baby Reindeer, French cop series The Bureau and the swathe of Korean shows such as Squid Game as further evidence on how local stories had emerged as global hits. “That’s also true for Australia,” she said. “We’ve had a renaissance in Australian film, with the films of Jane Campion and others. Even better times are ahead for us with premium TV.

“We saw it with Colin From Accounts. Even though I’m a drama fanatic and I don’t really watch comedy, it was delightful, fresh and surprising. It wasn’t a plot-driven story but it was just so beautiful told. I’m really excited about what’s coming for Australia and I hope people are reminded of that by these smaller shows and take heart in them.

“I’m a perpetual optimist, and that’s why I said I would be co-chair of Future Vision,” added Papandrea. “People can be so negative, but I’m not — I see that the industry ebbs and flows, so one of the reasons I wanted to do this was to just put a really positive creative focus on it and talk about that, not what commissioners want or don’t want. I want to put a more positive message out there.”

The ABC, Binge, Netflix and Stan are supporting the event, with ACMI being the venue partner in Melbourne.

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks said: “Victoria has a long and celebrated history of creating premium TV series that have taken the world by storm. We’re proud to support Future Vision, which will bring Australia’s television leaders together with the creators and decision makers behind some of the most popular, and talked about, series.

“The summit will build on Melbourne’s position as a global screen powerhouse and a home to sought-after creative talent that is ready to do business and entertain audiences across the globe.”

Screen Australia Chief Operating Officer Grainne Brunsdon said the summit would provide “an unrivaled opportunity to nurture and celebrate Australian screen talent on a global platform – ensuring our stories continue to travel well and resonate with audiences around the world.”

Executive Director of Australians in Film Peter Ritchie added: “Australian television stories are now being consumed around the world, more than ever before, but the actual commissioning of our stories has never been more competitive. Future Vision, created with the incredible support of Screen Australia and VicScreen under the leadership of three acclaimed Australians – Bruna Papandrea, Tony Ayres and Rebecca Yeldham – is designed to inspire courage in both creation and commissioning, and expand the international audiences for Australian premium television and narrative comedy.

“We also hope to arm Australian creatives with the knowledge and skills to adapt to the massive changes and shifting economics happening internationally.”

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