Double Trouble: articles

Aaron Pedersen

Alice-born actor Aaron Pedersen will star in the new series

Children's TV series takes NT to world

A TERRITORY television series starring local stars Aaron Pedersen and Tom E. Lewis is set to be pitched to a world market.

Arnhem Land actor Lewis (The Proposition) and Alice Springs born-and-bred Pedersen (City Homicide) feature in Double Trouble — the 13-part children's series set to make its Australian TV debut next year.

Executives from the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) and the Australian Children's Television Foundation will launch the program at the MIPCOM entertainment conference in Cannes, France this week.

The children's drama, produced by CAAMA at Alice Springs, tells the story of two Aboriginal twins who were separated at birth.

One grows up in Central Australia and the other in Sydney.

When they meet as 16-year-olds in Alice Springs they decide to secretly trade places, exposing each girl to a new culture.

The cast features the acting debuts of Aboriginal twins Chrissie and Cassie Glenn and also includes Myles Pollard (McLeod's Daughters) and Lillian Crombie (Australia, The Secret Life of Us).

Writer Danielle MacLean has already won an Australian Writers' Guild award for her script for episode seven of the series.

Double Trouble is set to screen on the Nine Network and the Disney Channel early next year.

Producers hope it will also attract interest from the global market.

CAAMA executive producer Rachel Clements and actress Trisha Morton-Thomas are pushing the series to TV executives from around the globe at the MIPCOM conference.

"Everyone's pretty excited about it,'' CAAMA production manager Liz Warning said.

CAAMA will also float other pilots it has in pre-production including Time Glitch, the story of two Aboriginal boys born 100 years apart who swap places.

By Matt Cunningham
October 09, 2007
The Northern Territory News

NT govt slow to back local TV drama series

The NT Government poured $330,000 into the flop TV series The Alice but is slow to confirm it will give money to an Alice Springs production getting strong interstate support.

Double Trouble, CAAMA’s big first in Indigenous and Territory film-making, began pre-production on Monday.

It’s the first TV drama series for a mainstream network by an Indigenous production company, as well as the first such for a Territory company.

The 13 half hour episodes have been presold to the Nine Network for free to air Australian broadcast and to Disney for Australian, New Zealand and PNG distribution.

The Australian Children’s Television Fund will look after other international distribution, with positive interest expected from Germany, France and Canada.

The Film Finance Corporation has backed the series with investment of over $1m, while the NSW Government film office has put in $243,000.

“All we’re waiting for now is for the NT Government to match NSW,” says executive producer Rachel Clements.

The series, the brainchild of longtime CAAMA producer Priscilla Collins, takes its cue from the Hollywood film, The Parent Trap. It tells the story of identical twin Aboriginal girls brought up separately in Sydney and a remote Central Australian community, who meet and agree to exchange places.

“It’s about the fun, colour and adventure of Aboriginal childhood,” says Ms Clements, “only the good stuff, the kind of publicity and cultural awareness the Territory needs like never before.

“It’s going to make local kids stronger, make them walk a little bit taller.

“There’s never been a break for a Territory production company like this and CAAMA is the only one big enough to bring it off.

“We desperately need the extra funding although we’ll make this series and it’ll be brilliant no matter what.”

Ms Clements, who was trained at the Australian Film Television and Radio School and whose experience includes stints with Miramax and MTV in London, has already begun to pare her budget back, line by line to cover overages, particularly in airfares.

Despite a strong showing of local talent, including award-winning cinematographer Allan Collins who will shoot the series, inevitably some personnel and cast will need to be flown in. Disappointingly, Qantas has declined a sponsorship deal and meanwhile, airfares have gone up.

Initially CAAMA asked the Territory Government for $330,000 — the same as their contribution to flop series, The Alice.

CAAMA was asked to resubmit and did so, requesting a reduced amount, the same as allocated from NSW.

In other states, such submissions get allocated a project officer within the state film office, who remains the point of contact and conduit for information throughout the process. And funding decisions are made by film office boards, whereas in the Territory any request for funding over $15,000 has to go before Cabinet which makes for an agonisingly slow process.

Frustratingly, there has been no information from Arts Minister Marion Scrymgour’s office about the progress of CAAMA’s submission. At the eleventh hour “we are still clock watching”, says Ms Clements.

Ms Clements says a recent three day workshop at Hamilton Downs, run by the NT Film Office, focussed on Aboriginal film-making in the Territory and how it could reach a mainstream audience.

“And here’s Double Trouble being handed to them on a silver platter. If not this production, then what?” she asks.

Most of the series will be shot in the Centre. Even the Sydney interiors are planned to be shot here. The production will go to Sydney only for the city exteriors and then for post-production, part of the deal they made with the NSW film office.

While the lead roles have gone to South Australian girls after a nationwide search, most of the cast and about 12 of the 20 person crew are expected to be locals.

“The production will provide fantastic training and career development for many people. There’ll be hundreds of thousands of dollars spent at local businesses and a fantastic knock-on effect for local tourism,” says Ms Clements.

“We’re really hopeful that the Territory Government will realise this and give us their support but it’s frightening to start pre-production without knowing for sure.”

Minister Scrymgour did not reply to a request for comment.

By Kieran Finnane
July 27, 2006
Alice Spring News

Big break for twins

Rehearsals began this week for Double Trouble, the 13 part television series which is an Aboriginal version of the Hayley Mills film, The Parent Trap.

Made by CAAMA, it’s the first time a Territory or an Indigenous production company has ever made a series for mainstream television.

It’s been sold to the Nine Network and Disney to be released in Australia, New Zealand and PNG.

Stunning sisters Chrissy and Cassie Glenn, 18, arrived in Alice Springs last Monday to start work with budding local actors Letitia Bartlett from OLSH, 16, and Tyrone Wallace from Centralian College who is 17.

“I’m very excited about it,” says Cassie who is five minutes older than Chrissy.

“The show will be fabulous: the script is very good, it’s something I would watch.”

Near-identical sister Chrissy agrees.

“The writers have done a really good job on the comedy and characters. It’s sad and funny. The story is not too far fetched.”

 “It shows Indigenous culture which I’m very interested in,” says Cassie.

“I think there should be more Indigenous programs for younger people. It gives youth more confidence in themselves: they see what people like them can do and it will give them the confidence to do it.” 

Chrissy says she still can’t believe how she was found from nowhere to star in the show which promises to be a hit. 

“I was excited but I was pretty calm when I found out.

“Our cousin heard about Double Trouble and gave our names to the producer.

“Then our teacher talked to the people making the film and we met the producer and the camera man and that was sort of our audition.”

Double Trouble is about twin Aboriginal girls, one who is brought up in Sydney and the other in a community in Central Australia who meet and swap lives. 

Cassie, who plays Yuma, says: “We’ve never done any acting before.

“Rehearsals are something completely new and bizarre. We had to crawl on the floor and bark like a dog the other day!”

Tall and slim with long dark shiny hair and deep brown eyes, the girls are studying hard for year 12. 

“Alice Springs is nice,” says Chrissy, who plays Kyanna.

“It’s hot! We haven’t had much time to look around yet. By the time we finish rehearsals everything is closed. And we have a school tutor every day.

“Would I like to be an actress? I have never thought about it. I always wanted to be a youth worker but I’m open to anything.” 

Watching rehearsals, the girls are applying themselves to the roles with enthusiasm and humour, working well with locals Tyrone Wallace who plays Aaron and Letitia Bartlett who is Iona.

“It’s fun doing rehearsals,” says Tyrone who has recently done commercial work for Imparja.

“When I found out I’d been chosen, man, I was more excited than anything else.”

Letitia has had a little more experience. “I’m in UsMob [to be shown at the Alice Festival], playing a teenager in a town camp.”

By Elizabeth Attwood
June 22, 2006
Alice Springs News