Sitch, Rob 1962-

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SITCH, Rob 1962-

PERSONAL:

Born March 17, 1962, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; children: (with Jane Kennedy) three. Education: Attended St. Kevin's College; University of Melbourne, M.D.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Humorist, screenwriter, and author. Cofounder of Working Dog Productions; producer, The Campaign, 1996. Former D Generation cast member; has also performed on recordings, including The D Generation: Thanks for Being You, 1987, The D Generation: The Satanic Sketches, 1989, The D Generation: The Breakfast Tapes, 1990, and Martin/Molloy: The Brown Album, 1995. Creator, with Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Jane Kennedy, of television show Funky Squad, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1995.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Australian Film Institute awards, 1995, 1996, 1997, all for Frontline; Australian Box Office Achievement Award, Australian Movie Convention, 1998, for The Castle; Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for best original screenplay, 2001, for The Dish.

WRITINGS:

(With Tom Fleisner, Santo Cilauro, John Alsop, Andrew Knight, and Magda Szubanski) The D Generation Bumper Book of Aussie Heroes, 1987.

(With Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Jane Kennedy) Frontline: The Story behind the Story—behind the Stories, Viking (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

(With Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Jane Kennedy; and director) The Castle (screenplay), Miramax, 1997.

(With Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Jane Kennedy; and director and producer) The Dish (screenplay), Warner Brothers, 2000.

(With Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner) Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry (humor), Hardie Grant Books (South Yarra, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

(With Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner) Phaic Tan: Sunstroke on a Shoestring (humor), Hardie Grant Books (Prahran, Victoria, Australia), 2004.

(With Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner) San Sombrero (humor), Hardie Grant Books (Prahran, Victoria, Australia), 2006.

Former columnist for Business Review Monthly.

TELEVISION PLAYS

(Coauthor) The D Generation (series), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1986–87.

(Coauthor) The D Generation Goes Commercial, Channel 7, 1988.

(Coauthor) The Late Show (series), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1992–93.

(And actor and producer) Frontline (series; broadcast in the United States on Public Broadcasting System as Breaking News), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1994–97.

(With Tom Gleisner; and actor) A River Somewhere (documentary), 1997–98.

(With Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and others) Degenocide (parody), 1997.

Contributor to Russell Coight's All Aussie Adventures, 2001, Russell Coight's Celebrity Challenge, 2004, and Thank God You're Here, 2006

SIDELIGHTS:

Australian screenwriter Rob Sitch has built an international reputation as one of the finest humorists working in television and motion pictures today. He is known to television audiences for his role in the creation of such classics as The D Generation, The Late Show, and Frontline. He has also written and directed the award-winning films The Castle and The Dish.

Sitch, along with partners Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and others, was the guiding force behind The D Generation—still remembered today as one of the most innovative sketch comedy shows ever broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Critics have favorably compared it to Saturday Night Live in the United States. The same group, with the addition of former newsreader Jane Kennedy, later formed Working Dog Productions, which has produced many of the team's works, including the television classic Frontline, which was broadcast as Breaking News on PBS stations in the United States to avoid confusion with the news program of the same title. "Only thirty-nine episodes of Frontline were made," explained Sarah Knight on ABC Online, "and yet it remains fond in the hearts of media watchers around Australia."

It is, however, the films The Castle and The Dish that have won Sitch international attention. The Castle tells the story of the eccentric Kerrigans, a working-class Australian family whose home is threatened with foreclosure. The film is "a feel-good comic fairy tale that flashes its family values like an oversize rhinestone bracelet," stated New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden, and it "finds Darryl enlisting his neighbors in a campaign to save their homes from demolition when the airport decides to expand." "This modest little comedy, tossed off in eleven days by director Rob Sitch," declared David Ansen in Newsweek, "became the country's biggest-grossing film of 1997."

Australians have acknowledged The Castle as a reflection of their own unique culture. "Not surprisingly…," remarked Justine Lloyd in Australian Screen Education, "The Castle and the Kerrigan family have often been referred to in news stories as a shorthand way of denoting the profound effects of city development in the age of globalization. The mention of the fictional character of Darryl Kerrigan … in a 'hard' news story on the front page of a national newspaper demonstrates how close to 'real' political events the story of the film actually was." "Similar in spirit to Muriel's Wedding and Strictly Ballroom, "declared Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat in Spirituality and Practice, "this Australian gem shines with its offbeat charm and comic zest."

Sitch takes on a broader subject in The Dish, a story about the role played by an Australian radio telescope in a distant corner of the Outback in the successful Apollo 11 moon landing. "During the Apollo 11 mission, NASA used the dish as a backup to its prime receiver in Goldstone, California," explained Stephen Holden in his New York Times review of the movie. "But when a change in Apollo 11's flight schedule rendered the Goldstone telescopes ineffective, the Australian dish became NASA's only hope for giving the world live images of mankind's first steps on the moon." "This is a comedy that knows when to cut up and when to shut up and share hemisphere-uniting awe," Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwartzbaum declared. "It's the comedy Tom Hanks might produce if he were an Ozzie."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Australian Screen Education, summer, 2003, Justine Lloyd, "The Castle: A Cinema of Dislocation," p. 125.

Entertainment Weekly, March 23, 2001, Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Shoot the Moon: Gently Humorous and Genuinely Moving, The Dish Depicts a Group of Aussies Who Enabled Us All to Witness One Giant Leap for Mankind," p. 80.

International Travel News, November, 2005, Chris Springer, review of Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry, p. 103.

Interview, March, 2001, Kenneth M. Chanko, review of The Dish, p. 86.

Journeys, June-December, 2005, Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, review of Molvania, p. 146.

New Statesman, May 17, 2004, Arthur Smith, review of Molvania, p. 54.

Newsweek, May 10, 1999, David Ansen, "Aggressively Aussie," p. 85.

New York Times, May 7, 1999, Stephen Holden, "Rhinestone That's Worth Fighting For"; March 14, 2001, Stephen Holden, "A Weak Link, but You Still Want to Cheer."

Spectator, April 10, 2004, John Shaw, "A Backward Nowhere," p. 34.

USA Today, June 9, 2006, Jayne Clark, "These Offbeat Travel Guides Will Send You on Your Way with a Chortle," p. 11D.

Variety, October 2, 2000, Dennis Harvey, review of The Dish, p. 23.

ONLINE

ABC Online,http://www.abc.net.au/ (October 4, 2006), Sarah Knight, "Rob Sitch on the 10th Anniversary of Frontline."

Cinephobia Reviews,http://home.mira.net/ (October 4, 2006), Stephen Rowley, review of The Dish.

Kamera.co.uk, http://www.kamera.co.uk/ (October 4, 2006), Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc, review of The Dish.

PopMatters Film Critics,http://www.popmatters.com/ (October 4, 2006), Mike Ward and Cynthia Fuchs, interview with Rob Sitch"; Cynthia Fuchs, review of The Dish.

Spirituality & Practice,http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ (October 4, 2006), Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, reviews of The Dish and The Castle. *