Executive Producer and Head of Production at Zapruder's Other Films, Anita has worked in the industry for 30 years. Having produced across lots of genres from news and current affairs to light entertainment and everything in between, Anita has worked on 60 Minutes
, Enough Rope
and more. We caught up with Anita to talk about the making of Nine's new series AFP
How did the idea for the AFP series come up?
The idea for the series came up after we met the then AFP Commissioner, Mick Keelty about five years ago. We felt the stories of the men and women of the AFP were the great untold story of Australian policing.
You ask Australians who the AFP are or what they do and most will give you a blank stare.
What makes AFP different from other shows of a similar genre?
From an organization in 1979 with just 600 officers based largely in Australia, the AFP has grown to one with over 6500 men and women based in more than thirty countries. Unlike local policing, the AFP’s role is to protect Australia from crime entering in to Australia from counter terrorism to people smuggling, peace keeping to major drug smuggling.
Beyond the scope of the operations, beyond the fact it has been shot in eight different countries and has involved the co-operation, not just of the AFP, but of their partner agencies in all those countries, this series takes us behind the often stoic masks of police officers doing their duty, and shows some of the human cost of working under extreme pressure in often terrible circumstances.
How do you find stories to shoot for the series? Are you guided by the Australian Federal Police or is it a matter of shooting everything until you find a story?
All story ideas including major operations were generated by the AFP. We would often get a call anytime of the day or night that a big operation was about to get underway and to come to what’s known as the MIR or Major Incident Room in either Sydney or Canberra. Here one of our video journalists would receive a top secret briefing on the operation that was about to unfold. I should mention here that everyone who has worked on the show has been given Top Secret Security clearance.
After receiving the briefing our video journalist would then follow the story of a Federal Agent and the work they were about to undertake.
The stories presented in AFP are complex and seem to roll out over long periods of time.
Just how long did it take to create and film the series?
It took almost a year before the AFP gave the go-ahead for this series. We then started filming in July 2008 and finished in December 2010.
What were the biggest challenges in putting together AFP?
This series was a long time coming. The legalities have been so complex, not just around major operations, but investigations taking place across different countries, we often felt it would be years before it would see the light of day! In fact, for this reason some of the biggest cases haven’t even made it in to this series.
What story has intrigued you the most?
Now that a suppression order on notorious drug king, Tony Mokbel has just been lifted by the Victorian courts, we hope to be able to show you the story of the chase to bring Mokbel back from Greece after he fled Australia. It features the work of one AFP agent, who working closely with Victoria Police, was able to track Mokbel down and bring him home after years on the run. For the first time this officer talks about his eight year struggle to bring down the drug lord and features surveillance footage never before seen. It’s a great yarn!
You can learn more about Anita and Zapruder's Other Films at their website: www.zof.com.au
About the AFP
AFP: Series One