This document is part of the Ocean Girl Archive — Last update: 2009-02-16 — sourcemeta

Author:Michael Idato (The Sunday Telegraph, p. 54)

Ocean movie

The hit Australian television series Ocean Girl is to be made into a big-budget feature film, producer Jonathan M. Shiff revealed this week.

Mr Shiff told The Sunday Telegraph a firm offer was on the table from a global distribution company to turn the show, which airs on Channel Ten, into a blockbuster film.

The series, about the adventures of a modern-day mermaid played by actress Marzena Godecki, is already a huge international hit in 115 countries.

The series has netted $20 million in export sales for Australia and was last month awarded a BAFTA – the British version of the Logie – for excellence in television.

“We’re definitely going ahead into a feature film,” Mr Shiff confirmed at the industry SPAA conference in Sydney.

His Melbourne-based production company is currently deciding whether to produce the film themselves, or to sell the licence to a third party.

“The question is, should we keep control and do it as an Australian project or should we, having been wooed by bigger powers and major players, think of it as something weve developed l to this point and cannot capitalise on as a small Australian producer,” he said.

“It’s an interesting fork in the road.”

It is unlikely Ms Godecki would return to the role – the Melbourne-based star of the TV show, now 19, is pursuing a career in veterinary science.

Mr Shift will make a decision on whether the film is produced locally or abroad by early next year, as his company is being re-structured.

Those changes are expected to see the introduction of new production partners, most likely international ones, with better access to foreign distribution.

Mr Shiff also said the company was considering a broader range of feature films.