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Image 1 for Netflix surf-based teen drama series to be filmed down the Great Ocean Road

From the surf to the screen, Noosa’s Lilliana Bowrey. Pic: Noosa Festival of Surfing / surfshotsnoosa

Image 2 for Netflix surf-based teen drama series to be filmed down the Great Ocean Road

Surviving Summer cast at Urbnsurf: João Gabriel Marinho, Lilliana Bowrey, Kai Lewins, Sky Katz, Savannah La Rain. Pic: Vicki Forna

Netflix surf-based teen drama series to be filmed down the Great Ocean Road

17 February 21

“Surviving Summer” featuring a bunch of celebrated international teen actors (we’ve never heard of) and Noosa ripper and multiple Queensland long and shortboard champ Lilliana Bowrey (in her first acting roll) is all set to begin filming in Victoria.

A 10-part series, it seems it’s going to be a major production for worldwide streaming, beyond that though . . . let’s just throw to the Werner Film Productions press release from February 17:


Cameras set to roll on Werner Film Production’s new series for Netflix and ZDFE:

Melbourne: Principal photography on Werner Film Productions’ (WFP) new 10-episode teen surfing drama, Surviving Summer, will commence this month, as production wraps on WFP’s six-part premium news drama for the ABC The Newsreader

The three time Emmy®-nominated, and multi AFI, AACTA and Logie award winning television production company has been in back to back production since the beginning of 2020, and has a rich and diverse advanced development slate.

Surviving Summer was created by Joanna Werner and Josh Mapleston (Ready For This, Beat Bugs, Dance Academy) written by Mapleston, Marieke Hardy, Magda Wozniak, Keir Wilkins, Gemma Crofts and Kirsty Fisher and will be shot on location at some of Australia’s most iconic surf beaches in Victoria and is supported by Film Victoria.  

Sky Katz (Disney Channel’s Raven's Home) stars as the titular character 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. Katz stars alongside Brazilian rising star João Gabriel Marinho (Malhação), Australia’s Kai Lewins (Wild Boys) and Savannah La Rain (Content) and in her first foray into acting, five-time Queensland Junior State Surf Champion Lilliana Bowrey.

Set up director is Ben Chessell (The Great, Giri/Haji), with Sian Davies (Bloom, The Gloaming) and Charlotte George (Big Smoke) also directing. DOP is Katie Milwright (Upright, Please Like Me) with water and surfing cinematography by Rick Rifici (Breath, Dirt Music). Production design by Paddy Reardon (Glitch, Underbelly) and costume design by Shauna Lovisetto (Five Bedrooms, Get Krack!n). Joanna Werner is Producing with Executive Producers Werner and Stuart Menzies. 

Joanna Werner 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.”

Surviving Summer marks a return to WFP’s young adult genre roots (Dance Academy) after a run of high-end prime time drama which includes The Newsreader, a compelling six-episode drama series created by Michael Lucas and starring Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Fringe), Sam Reid (The Hunting, Belle) and Robert Taylor (Longmire), and Riot, the multi-award winning story of Australia’s first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras starring Damon Herriman (Mindhunter), Kate Box (Wentworth, Stateless) and Xavier Samuel (Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse).

In 2020 Joanna produced, along with Tom Hoffie, the eight-episode US-Australia series created by Tony Ayres, Clickbait, for Matchbox Pictures, Tony Ayres Productions, Heyday and NETFLIX, shot in Melbourne during the global pandemic. 

WFP is internationally celebrated for the global success of three award-winning seasons of Dance Academy, created by Samantha Strauss, which screened in over 165 countries.  Dance Academy’s three seasons (65 episodes) culminated in a feature film, Dance Academy: The Movie, written by Samantha Strauss and directed by Jeffrey Walker which was shot in Sydney and New York.  WFP is also known for the ground-breaking 13-part series in collaboration with Blackfella Films, Ready For This.


Summer Torres is a fierce and fearless Brooklyn teen who’s just been sent Down Under to live with family friends the Gibsons, in a tiny coastal town on the Great Ocean Road. Ari Gibson is an introverted but ambitious young surfer returning to competition after a life-threatening injury. Summer’s about to spend the next three months falling in love with surfing, driving Ari crazy… and upending everyone’s lives.


After pushing her high-flying Australian mother to the brink, irrepressible Brooklyn teen Summer Torres is sent to live with family friends The Gibsons, in the tiny town of Shorehaven on the Great Ocean Road. Supposedly she lived there until she was six but as far as she’s concerned, this quirky Aussie family is a bunch of strangers. In a word, she’s furious. So is Ari Gibson, an introverted but ambitious young surfer coming back to competition after a life-threatening injury and months of rehab. He didn’t ask for this impulsive and unpredictable American to steal his room and completely disrupt his plans.

Those plans being: To make the Victorian Junior Surf Team and reconnect with his old buddies - Marlon, Bodhi and Poppy - who drifted away after the surfing accident that put Ari in hospital. Over the next three months of Summer’s exile, she’s going to be introduced to the fun and thrilling world of competitive surfing… and discover a talent and a drive she never knew she had… as well as an extended family to support her. At the same time, as Ari competes against his friends and awesomely talented kids up and down the coast in an effort to make the State Team, he’ll also battle a secret anxiety that threatens to derail his dreams. Polar opposites in so many ways, Ari and Summer will drive each other crazy, share amazing experiences, and change each others’ lives.

Surviving Summer is a Werner Films Production in association with Netflix and ZDF Enterprises and Film Victoria. Developed with the assistance of Screen NSW.

 The Newsreader is produced by Werner Film Productions, for the ABC, with major investment from Screen Australia and the ABC, financed with support from Film Victoria and in association with Hats Off Media.  International sales by eOne International Distribution. 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Cathy Gallagher -

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