Surf’s up: Netflix and ZDFE co-order Werner Film Productions’ ‘Surviving Summer’

January 17 2021

Netflix and Germany’s ZDFE have co-commissioned a 10-episode teen surfing drama from Werner Film Productions, set to get underway in Victoria later this month.

Titled Surviving Summer, the series has been created by Joanna Werner and Josh Mapleston.

Sky Katz (Raven’s Home) stars as the titular character of Summer, a fierce Brooklyn teen who is sent Down Under to live with family friends in a tiny coastal town on the Great Ocean Road.

Starring alongside are Brazilian rising star João Gabriel Marinho (Malhação), Kai Lewins, Savannah La Rain and in her first foray into acting, five-time Queensland Junior State Surf Champion Lilliana Bowrey.

Surviving Summer is Werner Film Productions first young adult drama since Dance Academy, which screened in 165 countries, after producing a range of adult dramas including upcoming series The Newsreader and Riot.

Werner, who will both produce and EP with Stuart Menzies, said: “Surviving Summer has been a passion project for a long time and I am thrilled that we will be shooting on the Great Ocean Road very soon. Our supremely talented teen cast come from New York, Rio, Noosa, Brisbane and Sydney and are an exciting mix of acting and surfing talent. They have been training hard and will be ably supported by our brilliant crew, fantastic scripts and fingers crossed, great surf.”

The scripts have been penned by Mapleston, Marieke Hardy, Magda Wozniak, Keir Wilkins, Gemma Crofts and Kirsty Fisher, and the set-up director is Ben Chessell, with Sian Davies and Charlotte George also to direct.

The DOP is Katie Milwright, with surfing cinematography by Rick Rifici. The production designer is Paddy Reardon, and costume design by Shauna Lovisetto. Nathan Lloyd is the casting director, and editors Rodrigo Ballart and Amelia Ford.

Surviving Summer is yet another Australian young adult commission in recent months for Netflix, with the streamer announcing late last year it in intends to reboot beloved ’90s drama Heartbreak High, and ordering Steve Jaggi’s Dive Club with Network 10.

Film Victoria has supported the production, which will shoot throughout regional Victoria until April.