The life and career of Michael Gudinski – the late founder and head of one of Australia’s largest indie label houses, Mushroom Group, as well as a revered music mogul – will be honoured with a new documentary, simply titled Gudinski, announced in the latest round of Screen Australia funding.
The film will be helmed by director and co-writer Paul Goldman – who’d previously steered the Ben Cousins documentary Such Is Life – as well as co-writer Toby Creswell (former editor for Rolling Stone) and producer Bethany Jones (Molly: The Real Thing). It’s yet to receive a release date, but will enter production via Madman Entertainment in the coming months.
Per a synopsis for Gudinski, the film “follows the real life events of Gudinski’s life spanning a 50-year period, from starting his own independent record company to becoming a major international player and household name in Australia – a rollercoaster ride of iconic artists, classic albums and mega tours”.
Last week, it was announced that Gudinski would be remembered with a statue of his likeness outside of Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. Matt Gudinski, Michael’s son and current CEO of Mushroom Group, honoured his father during the unveiling: “My family and I are humbled by this great tribute and recognition of my late father that acknowledges his contribution to the Australian music scene and the city of Melbourne.”
Gudinski, who launched Mushroom Group in 1972 and was at its helm for nearly 50 years, died during his sleep in March 2021. He was 68 years of age. His death prompted an outpouring of tribute from Bruce Springsteen, Molly Meldrum, Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, the Foo Fighters, Midnight Oil, Barnes and many, many more.
The same month, Sheeran, Minogue and more performed at a state memorial for Gudinski at Rod Laver Arena. “The Big G took this little scrawny girl from Melbourne to the world and back home again,” Minogue said during her tribute. “He believed in you when you couldn’t believe in yourself.”
Gudinski is one of nine documentaries announced this week as part of a $2.7million initiative by Screen Australia. In a statement shared on Wednesday (March 30), the government body’s head of documentary production, Alex West, said the slate will aim to “explore stories of human resilience, challenging prejudice and the lives of some of Australia’s biggest music icons”.
One of the two other music-centric films announced was an as-yet-untitled documentary based on The Wiggles. Helmed by Sally Aitken, Aline Jacques, Cass Avery, Daniel Story and Fraser Grut (their respective roles undisclosed at the present), the film will detail “the band’s improbable origins, meteoric global rise, and reinventions in a story about authenticity, inculcating self-belief, love and trust in what you do”.
Rounding out the trio is Finding Yeezus, a feature film sequel to the podcast series Finding Drago and Finding Desperado. Hosting duo Cameron James and Alexei Toliopoulos will return for the project, with the comedians and “pop-culture detectives” mounting it as writers and producers. Aunty Donna crew member Max Miller will co-direct with Anna Broinowski, and the film will be released through Aunty Donna’s YouTube channel Grouse House.
According to Screen Australia, Finding Yeezus will see James and Toliopoulos “embark on an all new investigation into a world of re-imagined realities, hip hop heads, new age cults and the very nature of belief, all through the lens of a barely remembered online video game”.