Circle of Confusion Television Studios, a joint venture between Circle of Confusion and ITV Studios America, is working with ITV Studios’ Big Talk Productions on the television adaptation of award-winning author Paul McAuley’s AUSTRAL, with award-winning screenwriter Elise McCredie (STATELESS) set to write and director Erik Skjoldbjaerg (OCCUPIED) set to direct the epic futuristic sci-fi series.

Both will also serve as executive producers, alongside Kenton Allen, Luke Alkin and Matthew Justice from Big Talk, and Lawrence Mattis and Russ Buchholz from Circle of Confusion TV Studios.

“AUSTRAL truly is a story for our times. It tackles climate change, prejudice and the abuse of power in a boldly compelling vision of the future.  We’re incredibly excited to be working with two world-class talents, Elise McCredie and Erik Skjoldbjaerg, to bring Paul McAuley’s thrilling book to the screen.” said Luke Alkin, Executive Producer, Big Talk Productions.

“Under ITV Studio’s global umbrella, we’ve been able to assemble a truly international team of storytellers to bring Paul McAuley’s brilliant novel to television. AUSTRAL will captivate audiences worldwide as we follow her adrenaline-fueled journey and uncover this powerful story of survival, family legacy, and the cost of freedom,” said Russ Buchholz, EVP and Head of Creative Affairs, Circle of Confusion Television Studios.

AUSTRAL is an expansive drama set in Antarctica during the year 2098, decades after the melting glaciers have given way to a new frontier of resource-rich land, and a generation of settlers from all around the dying world have converged there. But for Austral Ferrado, one of a number of “huskies,” or people who have been gene-edited to better withstand the still-unforgiving climate of the far south, this new Antarctica is no paradise. Trapped in a society that has imprisoned her and treated her kind more as animals than humans, Austral will stop at nothing to gain her freedom. But when her escape plan quickly goes awry, she finds herself desperate and on the run… not just for her life, but for the future of this entire new and perilous land.

Production will be based in Norway, with locations in the far north of the country providing the dramatic landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.

McAuley is the author of more than twenty books, including science-fiction, thriller, and crime novels. His fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.

McCredie is a multi-award-winning director and screenwriter. She has been nominated for 5 Australian Writers Guild Awards (winning twice). Her credits include the Emmy-winning series NOWHERE BOYS and she was writer and co-creator of the AACTA winning best mini-series SUNSHINE and JACK IRISH. She has also written for SECRET CITY and was recently the writer, co-creator and showrunner of STATELESS, which she executive produced with Cate Blanchett and Tony Ayres for ABC in Australia and Netflix, which subsequently acquired global rights. 

Skjoldbjaerg first gained international buzz for his chillingly dark crime thriller INSOMNIA. He directed his first US production with the psychological drama PROZAC NATION. After returning to his native Norway, he directed the series SKOLEN and STÖRST AV ALLT, wrote and directed the film PIONEER and co-created, wrote, and directed OCCUPIED. He is currently directing NARVIK, an epic World War II drama film. 

The deal was negotiated by James Grant, former Head of Business Affairs at Big Talk Productions and Tom Lane, Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs at ITV Studios America for Circle of Confusion Television Studio.

Circle of Confusion TV Studios is repped by CAA and Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson Levy.

Jon Creamer

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