Pop Family Entertainment has secured the rights to Peter Greste’s THE FIRST CASUALTY, signing multi award winning creative Peter Duncan to translate the best seller to the screen as a feature film.
Australian-born foreign correspondent Peter Greste made news himself in December 2013, when he and two colleagues were arrested in Cairo on terrorism charges. They were convicted and given a prison sentence of between seven and ten years in a case that drew international condemnation as an attack on press freedom. Under enormous pressure, and after more than four hundred days in a cell, Peter was released and he went on to become a champion of press freedom around the world. He wrote about his experience as a foreign correspondent and prisoner in The First Casualty, published in 2017. His stance has earned him numerous international awards, including the Australian Human Rights Commission Medal, the RSL’s 2016 ANZAC Peace Prize, and the Australian Press Council’s 2018 Press Freedom Award.
“It has long been our intention to develop projects across the breadth of film and television production, and we are very pleased that The First Casualty can be brought to the screen,” said Pop Family Entertainment’s Carmel Travers. “It is a joy and privilege to be working with two great storytellers - Peter Greste, whose passion for truth-telling knows no bounds, and Peter Duncan, who writes with flair, imagination and wit,” she continued.
Peter Duncan said: “I’m thrilled to be able to be part of Peter’s Greste’s story. The true events he writes about as an innocent prisoner of the Egyptian judicial system are intense in their personal drama, their cinematic potential and their political consequences. The myriad threats to journalists and journalism around the world have clearly hit a crisis point and stories such as Peter’s are needed to buttress in the public’s mind the essential role journalists play in the promotion and maintenance of freedom. Truth and liberty are meant to be indivisible.”
Peter Greste said: “As someone who has consumed Peter Duncan’s work, I am incredibly excited that he’s now a part of the project to translate The First Casualty for the screen. Peter’s work on series like Rake and Operation Buffalo shows he knows how to bring human drama and contemporary issues together in a way that is perfect for this project. I’m also delighted – and relieved – that the issue of media freedom is making it to the screen.
“When I wrote my book about how journalism had become a casualty in the War on Terror, I was worried that it would get out of date fairly quickly. The book was about how journalists were being criminalized, imprisoned and murdered at shocking rates, simply for witnessing the truth. But it turns out that politics has a way of keeping those problems both current and urgent. I’m excited to see Peter work his magic on the universal issues of truth, politics and power, that I both covered and experienced as a reporter,” he continued.
The feature is currently in the early stages of writing and development.
About PETER GRESTE
Professor Peter Greste is an Australian-born journalist, author, media freedom activist and academic at the University of Queensland. Before joining the university in 2018, he spent 25 years as a foreign correspondent, starting with the civil war in Yugoslavia and elections in South Africa, before joining the BBC as its Afghanistan correspondent in 1995. He went on to cover Latin America, the Middle East and Africa for the BBC.
About PETER DUNCAN
One of Australia’s most celebrated creatives, Peter Duncan most recently co-created, wrote, directed and co-produced the critically acclaimed Operation Buffalo - recipient of this year’s Best Comedy Award at the Berlin International TV Series Festival. Co-creator, a writer, director and co-producer of five seasons of one of Australia’s most loved and multi-award winning dramas, Rake starring Richard Roxburgh, Peter also showran the US version of Rake for Sony Pictures Television and Fox starring Greg Kinnear and directed by Sam Raimi, as well as being a series writer and executive producer on the production. His feature credits include Children of the Revolution, A Little Bit of Soul, Passion, Unfinished Sky, and his other television credits include Valentine’s Day and Hell Has Harbour Views.
About POP FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
Established in 2017 by one of Australia’s foremost creatives and executive producers Carmel Travers, Pop Family Entertainment is a multi-genre Australian based screen production and financing company with a worldwide focus. From factual to scripted, animation, VFX and live action, Pop Family’s production and development slate includes The First Casualty, Alien TV, Weirdo, the animated family feature Being Betty Flood, The Timeshifters, and factual series World Record Science.