The Strays Emily BittoA UK/Australian co-production will see Emily Bitto’s Stella Prize winning novel, The Strays, become a six-part TV series.

See Pictures and Apogee Pictures have attracted an award-winning team for the production.

Beatrix Christian of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Jindabyne fame is lead writer of the series.

Shannon Murphy will be part of the directing team, fresh off the set of her critically acclaimed debut feature lm Babyteeth (Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis, Eliza Scanlen), which premiered in competition at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this year. She is currently shooting the third season of Emmy Award-winning series Killing Eve.

The co-production will be produced by Sonia Borella (Go!, Long Story Short) for See Pictures and Jo Monk (Hampstead, Kodachrome) for Apogee Pictures.

Inspired by the Heide Circle, The Strays explores what happens when a violent act in the past of a subversive group of artists is linked to the death of a young woman in the present. One of those involved must decide whether to expose a now in influential member of the establishment, in order to prevent further tragedy.

Of the story, Beatrix Christian said, ‘The Strays is an incendiary device beautifully disguised as a girl’s memoir and it is absolutely current. It explores a frightening blind-spot in the worldview of people who are otherwise progressive.’

Sonia Borella and Jo Monk said, ‘We’re thrilled to be collaborating in adapting Emily Bitto’s brilliant and timely novel. To be working with some of Australia’s most formidable and exciting talent is a testament to the strength of the material.’

Author Emily Bitto said she was delighted the screen adaptation was in motion: ‘I couldn’t be more excited about the brilliant group of creatives who will be working on it!’

The Strays won 2015 The Stella Prize, was shortlisted for several other major awards, went on to sell 25,000 copies in two formats in Australia, and was published in the UK ad USA.

Clare Forster of Curtis Brown represents Emily Bitto and has brokered all deals.

Established in 2010, and home to producers Jamie Hilton, Sonia Borella and Michael Pontin, See Pictures is an Australian-based company that develops, nuances and produces ambitious, quality film and television projects. See Pictures credits include Simon Baker’s Breath (Simon Baker, Elizabeth Debicki), Stephan Elliott’s Swinging Safari (Guy Pearce, Kylie Minogue), Michael Petroni’s Backtrack (Adrien Brody, Sam Neill), Stephen McCallum’s 1% (aka Outlaws) (Ryan Corr, Abbey Lee, Matt Nable), Ben C. Lucas’s OtherLife (Jessica De Gouw), Josh Lawson’s The Little Death and Claire McCarthy’s The Waiting City (Joel Edgerton, Radha Mitchell). 2020 releases include Go! (William Lodder, Anastasia Bampos, Richard Roxburgh, Frances O’Connor, Dan Wyllie), Long Story Short (Rafe Spall, Zahra Newman, Ronny Chieng), June Again (Noni Hazlehurst, Claudia Karvan, Stephen Curry) and Standing Up for Sunny (RJ Mitte).

Apogee Pictures is a UK-based feature film and television production company specialising in original, prestige drama. Prior to setting up Apogee Pictures in 2017, founder Jo Monk, worked at Motion Picture Capital, part of the Reliance Entertainment Group, where she oversaw the acquisition of all film and TV projects that the company nuanced and produced, including Hampstead (Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleason, James Norton); Kodachrome, (Ed Harris, Elizabeth Olsen and Jason Suideikis); The Titan (Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling); Come and Find Me (Aaron Paul and Annabelle Wallis), and The Boy Downstairs (Zosia Mamet, Deirdre O’Connell).

Emily Bitto lives in Melbourne. She has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including Meanjin, Island, HEAT, The Age, The Saturday Paper, and The Sydney Morning Herald. The manuscript of her debut novel, The Strays was shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award and the published novel went on to win the 2015 Stella Prize. It was also shortlisted for The Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, the NSW Premier’s Prize for New Writing, and the Dobbie Literary Award, and longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC prize. Emily is an obsessive reader, music fan, cook and dog-carer (having fostered 11 rescue dogs in one year). She also co-owns and runs Carlton wine-bar, Heartattack and Vine.

Emily Bitto