18 MAR 2024

BBC Studios Australia acquired Werner Film Productions

Joanna Werner and Stuart Menzies will continue to lead Werner Film Productions, operating alongside BBC Studios’ local production arm as an independent label.

18 MAR 2024

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BBC Studios Productions Australia has acquired independent Werner Film Productions, who specialises in the development and production of original drama series including "The Newsreader" for ABC, which was also broadcasted on the BBC, and "Surviving Summer" for Netflix. The deal marks a significant investment by BBC Studios Productions Australia in the local production industry and provides Werner Film Productions with the backing of a global distributor, as it continues to grow its production of drama series for Australian and global audiences.

Werner Film Productions will continue to be led by Company Director Joanna Werner and Managing Director Stuart Menzies and will operate alongside BBC Studios’ local production arm as an independent label, with both companies producing their own projects. This model replicates the way that BBC Studios works with many of its other production labels and invested indies in the UK and globally, supporting some of the world’s leading creative companies and talent.

Kylie Washington, General Manager and Creative Director of BBC Studios Productions Australia, said: “I’m excited to welcome Werner Film Productions into the family. Australia has an incredibly vibrant creative community and is producing shows that resonate around the world so it’s a great time to invest further to support our local production industry. Jo and Stuart are amongst the best in the business and have a great track record in producing smart, entertaining and engaging dramas that speak to international audiences while remaining quintessentially Aussie. Their commitment to growing a sustainable industry and nurturing new talent aligns exactly with our values making them a fantastic addition to BBC Studios’ stable of independent labels.”

Joanna Werner, Company Director, Werner Film Productions, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to join the global powerhouse BBC Studios and the brilliant team at BBC Studios Productions Australia. Working with BBC Studios will help us continue to tell Australian stories on a larger canvas for audiences here and around the world.”

Matt Forde, Managing Director, Global Entertainment, BBC Studios Productions said: “It has been great getting to know Jo, Stuart and the rest of the Werner Film Productions team over the last couple of years. Their passion and creativity has seen them carve out a place as one of the most talented and interesting scripted companies in the world. The Newsreader has been a massive hit on the BBC in the UK with viewers and critics alike, as well as internationally. I’m excited by the projects they have in development and the opportunity for BBC Studios to support the slate that Jo is building.”

Werner Film Productions is currently in production on the third series of "The Newsreader" which has won multiple awards, including 10 AACTAs and two Logies, and became one of the BBC’s most watched dramas when it launched in the UK, as well as ranking fourth in Variety’s list of the best international tv shows of 2022. Teen surfing drama "Surviving Summer" picked up a cult audience around the world with this year’s second series spending two weeks in Netflix’s global Top 10.