Sunshine is a vibrant, kinetic and compelling high-stakes fictional crime drama that explores a world of contrasts - truth and reconstruction, past and present, hope and heartbreak – felt by those forging a new life in a foreign land.
The four-part series is set in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine. The story follows Jacob Garang (Wally Elnour) -a young, aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player who is on the cusp of being picked up by scouts for the US College league. But Jacob’s team is not up to his standard and so he angles to bring in a new coach to help with the team’s performance. His pick is Eddie Grattan (Anthony LaPaglia), a local who once played for a US college team, but has long since retired and operates a small sports store in Sunshine. Almost against his best instincts, Eddie accepts an approach by Jacob to coach his underperforming team, the Sunshine Kings.
In the midst of his aspirations, Jacob finds himself answering to Sunshine-raised lawyer Zara Skelton (Melanie Lynskey) when he is caught up in a police investigation involving a young teenage girl who has been violently assaulted and is now in a coma fighting for her life.
Anthony will next be seen in the upcoming drama series Riviera with Julia Stiles (coming soon to SBS), Walter Hill’s The Assignment alongside Sigourney Weaver, Marco Serafini’s Toy Gun, David Sandberg’s horror Annabelle 2, and the limited series, Bad Blood. Anthony recently starred in Matthew Saville’s A Month of Sundays, and The Code.
Anthony received widespread critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jack Malone in Without a Trace, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. He also won a Tony Award for his performance in the Arthur Miller classic A View from the Bridge, and was the 2014 recipient of the Virgin Australia Orry Kelly International Award presented by Australians in Film.
His other credits include Neil Armfield’s Holding the Man, Newcomer, Big Stone Gap, The Eichmann Show alongside Martin Freeman, A Good Marriage, PJ Hogan’s Mental, Robert Connolly’s Balibo, for which he earned the AFI Award and Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, Lantana, for which he was awarded the AFI Award, IF Award and Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, Betsy’s Wedding, The House of Mirth, Sweet and Lowdown, The Client, Company Man, Summer of Sam, Autumn in New York, Brilliant Lies, Winter Solstice, and The Architect.
New Zealand born Melanie Lynskey's first role came in 1994 with her award winning performance in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures opposite Kate Winslet.
Since then, she has amassed a number of credits both in features and television. Her credits include Steven Soderbergh's The Informant, Tom McCarthy's Win Win, Billy Ray's Shattered Glass, Sam Mendes' Away We Go, Jason Reitman's Up In The Air, Andy Tennant's Ever After and Sweet Home Alabama, Clint Eastwood's Flags Of Our Fathers, and Angus MacLachlan's Goodbye To All That, which premiered at Tribeca in 2014. In 2012, Lynskey played the lead role in Todd Louiso's film Hello I Must Be Going. The film opened the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was rated one of the “Top Ten Independent Films” of the year by the National Board of Review. Lynskey’s performance in the film earned her critical praise and a nomination for a 2012 Gotham Independent Film Award in the category of 'Breakthrough Actor'.
In 2014 Lynskey starred in Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas, which also premiered in Competition at Sundance. At Sundance 2016, Lynskey won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance for her role in Clea DuVall’s The Intervention.
On the small screen, she was last seen in the Duplass brothers' critically acclaimed HBO show, Togetherness, for which she was nominated for a Critic's Choice Award. She also voiced the character Beatrice in Cartoon Network's Over The Garden Wall, which won the 2015 Emmy for Best Animated Program. Up next, she can be seen in Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer and Girlboss. Lynskey’s next movie I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore opposite Elijah Wood and directed by Macon Blair is currently available on Netflix. It won the Grand Jury Price at Sundance in 2017.
She recently completed Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt's The Changeover, opposite Timothy Spall, and Megan Griffiths’ Sadie opposite John Gallagher Jr.
Wally Elnour was born in South Sudan. He immigrated to Australia in 2002 with his family when he was five, with his three sisters and three brothers. His friends got him into basketball, and he quickly excelled. He was recruited to popular Melbourne-based team the Longhorns five years ago; his team have won three championships since then.
In 2016, Wally had the opportunity to go the U.S. and play high school basketball at Montebello, Denver. He finished high school in Oklahoma, playing for the Redemption Life team. In 2016 he competed in the Summer SSANBA (national South Sudanese Basketball Tournament in Australia); the top teams from around Australia compete together in a three-day tournament, and the Longhorns were undefeated until the finals. Wally looks forward to pursuing basketball and acting following his role on Sunshine.
Ror da Poet
Ror is a 20-year-old hip hop artist and poet born in South Sudan. In 2005, he immigrated to Australia with his mother, brothers and sisters. Ror’s music speaks of the hardships and triumphs he has experienced in his young life. His music is continually growing and evolving through his powerful lyrics and live performances. As well as performing extensively for his local community, Ror has also performed at Peace Pallet, a benefit for South Sudan; ‘Bring It’ Festival, Melbourne Arts Centre; and the Boston Leadership Course, U.S.A. In addition to this, Ror is a talented basketball player; his role on Sunshine is his first professional acting appearance.
Autiak Aweteek is from South Sudan and came to Australia with his grandmother in 2005. For many years he found it difficult to cope with a new way of life in Australia; he used spoken word and rap to find his way and connect with the wider community. In 2012 he performed in “Our Dream”, a community event run through Co-Health Arts Generator. He found support and links to the community through this initiative and he records every Friday through the Benchmark initiative (Co-Health). Now that Autiak feels comfortable in expressing himself, he wants to expand his art and pursue his storytelling and one of these many avenues is acting.
Nick first became interested in the arts from an early age performing in school productions through his teenage years. Nick is an avid athlete who has participated in sports his whole life such as; football, basketball, rowing, athletics, and performed exceedingly in school. He has worked on productions such as Winners and Losers, Barracuda, ‘AFL’ TVC and a featured role in The Secret River. Sunshine will be Nick’s first lead role in a drama series.
Kim Gyngell’s illustrious career in theatre, television and film, has given us memorable performances across multiple genres. From Col’n Carpenter to gritty M (Macbeth) to theatre productions like Art, Kim’s range is inspiring.
Kim’s theatre credits are too numerous to list but some of the highlights include The Pillowman, Ninety, Art, Festen, The Hypocrite, and Twelfth Night for Melbourne Theatre Company, and It Just Stopped for Belvoir Street as well as Sylvia, Metamorphisis and The Caucasian Chalk Circle for Sydney Theatre Company.
On television Kim has constantly proven his versatility, from programs such as Jack Irish, Underbelly, The Games, Backberner, Full Frontal, The Librarians, Wilfred, Very Small Business, Lowdown 2, The Straits, to his most recent appearance in No Activity and Top Of The Lake season 2.
Kim’s film credits include Nightmares and Dreamscapes, The Hard Word, The Wogboy, Love and Other Catastrophes, Evil Angels, and most recently The Little Death and Bleeding Steel.
Vince Colosimo is one of Australia’s most recognised actors with an extensive and successful career across theatre, television and film. With an AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2002 for his performance in the highly successful feature film Lantana and a featured role in the internationally acclaimed Chopper, he naturally attracted attention from the US earning guest starring roles in the top rating US series Without A Trace and the final series of The Practice.
Vince is currently shooting The Ex PM Season 2 with Shaun Micallef and will next be seen in The Warriors. Vince’s feature film credits include Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, Ridley Scott’s Body Of Lies alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and in 2010 he appeared opposite Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, and Claudia Karvan in the Spierig Brothers’ Daybreakers and reunited with Nick Giannopoulos in the sequel to The Wogboy – The Kings of Mykonos, Swerve directed by Craig Lahiff and Face to Face, directed by Michael Rymer.
Vince has also worked extensively in television. His unforgettable performance as Alphonse Gangitano in Underbelly earned him nominations for an AFI Award and a Logie award.
Tiarnie Coupland is one of Australia’s most intriguing young actresses who started out at the age of eight before breaking through in the lead role of Maddy in the acclaimed series Worst Year Of My Life, Again!, which was nominated for Most Outstanding Children’s Drama at the AACTA Awards and the TV Week Logie Awards. More recently, Tiarnie co-starred as Maggie on the third series of Logie Award winning, Love Child. Tiarnie’s other television credits include Underbelly: Razor, Double Take, Neighbours and The Upside Down Show.
Tiarnie made her film debut in Brian Andrews and Jane Forrest’s film The Final Winter and appeared in the feature film The Kiss of the Damned directed by Xan Cassavetes. More recently Tiarnie co-starred in Killing Ground directed by Damien Power, which had its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Also in 2017 Tiarnie will be seen in the feature film The Half Dead directed by Timothy Boyle. On stage Tiarnie has appeared in Burnt By the Sun for the New Theatre and BFG - Big Friendly Giant for Black Box Theatre.
Ana Boal is from a small town called Aweil in South Sudan. She was married at a young age; during the civil war in 1988, she escaped to North Sudan and worked as a banker, and a registered nurse: but life was still difficult. She made her way to Egypt and spent six years there before immigrating to Australia with her family. She completed her Certificate III in Aged Care Work from Victoria University in 2006, the same year she became an Australian Citizen. Throughout her childhood, acting was her passion, but she never had the time or opportunity; now, she’s making her dream come true in Sunshine.
Jufia Ajobong was born in Australia and comes from a South Sudanese family. She is 9 years old and currently completing Year 5 at St Mary's Primary School, Thornbury in Melbourne. Jufia loves all things creative including dancing, singing, gymnastics, writing, and drawing. She was inspired to audition for Sunshine after her older sister Celine’s success on the upcoming series, Mustangs F.C.
A graduate of WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts), Leah has worked extensively in stage and screen for the past two decades. Her film and television credits include Jewboy, The Lowdown, Tangle, Catching Milat, The Murray Whelan Series, Wentworth, Hyde and Seek, The Letdown, and Adam Zwar’s AACTA award winning series, Agony Aunts.
Leah won critical plaudits for her dry comic role in TV series, Stupid, Stupid Man, for which she received an ASTRA AWARD nomination for Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor – Female. Most recently, Leah has appeared as a supporting cast member on the popular TV series, The Wrong Girl. But Leah’s face is perhaps most familiar to children and adults as a result of her ongoing appearance on the iconic children’s program, Playschool, a program in which she has been a presenter for over 15 years.
Outside of the acting area, Leah has completed her Graduate Certificate in Documentary from AFTRS (Australian Film, Television and Radio School). Leah has a special interest in how communities can become more cohesive, equitable and ultimately happier. She is currently completing her Masters in International and Community Development at Deakin University in order to explore this and make it happen.
Paul Ireland is a Scottish born actor who worked extensively in the UK for 15 years before moving to Australia eight years ago. In that time he has appeared in numerous television, stage and film roles. These include leading roles in Underbelly: Squizzy, Rush, Devil’s Dust, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, Neighbours, Outland, Jack Irish TV movie and The Slap. Feature films include The Young Messiah, The Turning and the soon to be released The King’s Daughter where he stars alongside Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt and Kaya Scodelario. He recently made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed feature film Pawno, which he also produced.
Daina Reid - Director
Daina Reid began her film career as a comedy writer and actor, before making the move behind the camera. Over the past fifteen years, she has cemented her position as one of Australia’s most sought-after directors. Most recently, Daina directed Jessica Marais in The Wrong Girl and Hunters, an alien conspiracy series produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) based on the best-selling novel Alien Hunter, which aired on Syfy in the US. In 2015, she directed and co-produced the mini-series adaptation of The Secret River by Kate Grenville, which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival, and screened at the FIPA (Festival International De Programmes Audiovisuels) in Biarritz, France.
Daina is a frequent collaborator of award-winning producer John Edwards, and has worked on projects including Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo and Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, both of which received AACTA award nominations for Best Direction. Following the success of The Birth of Cleo, Daina directed the follow-up Paper Giants: Magazine Wars. In 2013, she directed the multi-award winning Nowhere Boys, an action-adventure series for Matchbox Pictures/NBCU. Daina’s other television credits include: Offspring; The Dr Blake Mysteries; Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS; Ready for This; Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries; Rush and City Homicide to name a few. Her first feature film, I Love You Too, about a friendship between a commitment-phobe and a new ager, starred Yvonne Strahovski and Peter Dinklage.
Matt Cameron - Writer
An award-winning screenwriter and playwright, Matt’s screen credits include the six-part Jack Irish series as well as two telemovies – Black Tide and Dead Point – starring Guy Pearce; the political thriller Secret City starring Jacki Weaver; the mini-series Molly starring Samuel Johnson as Molly Meldrum; dramas Seachange and Old School as well as Crashburn; Newstopia; the AWGIE award-winning comedy Introducing Gary Petty and script editor for Kath & Kim. He has also written numerous award-winning plays for the theatre, which have been produced throughout Australia and overseas.
Elsie McCredie - Writer
Elise McCredie is an award-winning film director and screenwriter. Her first feature Strange Fits Of Passion (writer/director) was selected for the Cannes Film Festival and received three AFI nominations. Elise has written and directed extensively for TV. She has been nominated for three AWGIEs (winning one). She has written seasons one and two of the AACTA and Emmy winning Matchbox series Nowhere Boys.
Elise is currently writing the new Matchbox TV series: Stateless, (co created with Tony Ayres and Cate Blanchett), her original crime mystery series Overflow (produced by Claudia Karvan), and the new season of Jack Irish. She also has two features in development: Ride Like a Girl (co-written with Andrew Knight and to be directed by Rachel Griffiths) and Dysmorphia, produced by Andrew Knight.
Sunshine will air over two big weeks, premiering Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 October at 8.30pm on SBS. You can watch an encore screening on SBS VICELAND at 9.30pm or stream it online on SBS On Demand.