Location Spotlight

The Dressmaker, Victoria

View of Molly's House from the street

Principal photography for upcoming Australian feature film The Dressmaker took place late last year at Docklands Studios Melbourne and various locations in Victoria. 

The Dressmaker follows Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage as she returns to her hometown, an Australian country town named Dungatar, to take care of her ill mother, Molly, from which she was sent away at the age of ten because of false accusations of murder. Tilly, an expert dressmaker trained by Madeleine Vionnet in Paris, transforms the locals with her couture creations and in the process, exacts revenge on the people who wrongly accused her of murder all those years ago.

The image above depicts the scene of the town looking up at Molly’s house. The set build was erected at the Mount Rothwell Conservation and Research Centre in Victoria located only 45 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD. 

For location inquiries in Victoria please contact daniel.may@film.vic.gov.au or vist the Film Victoria website www.film.vic.gov.au

Truth Filming in Sydney

Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elizabeth Moss lead the cast in Truth, a US political drama now shooting in Sydney.

The NSW government confirmed its financial support via the State Investment Attraction Scheme and said the film would inject more than $11 million in direct production expenditure into the State’s economy, creating 208 jobs. Most of the post will happen in Sydney.

Redford plays former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and Blanchett is his producer Mary Mapes in the tale of the scandal that ensued after Rather reported on 60 Minutes in 2004 that George W. Bush’s father arranged for him to serve in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft.

The film marks the directing debut of screenwriter James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, White House Down, Zodiac), adapted from Mapes’ 2005 memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, And the Privilege of Power.  Roadshow pre-bought the Australian rights.

Truth is produced by Brad Fischer (Zodiac, Shutter Island), Vanderbilt and William Sherak of Mythology Entertainment, Brett Ratner of RatPac Entertainment and Doug Mankoff and Andy Spaulding of Echo Lake Entertainment. The major financiers are Blue Lake Media Fund and RatPac Entertainment.

The NSW support was pivotal as the production does not qualify for the location offset because the budget is below the $15 million minimum Australian spend.

Australian Film and TV Industry to Develop Co-Production Partnerships at Ausfilm Week London

The 3rd annual Ausfilm Week London (20 -23 October) commenced in Soho, London on Monday – the targeted event aims to develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for feature film and high-end drama television.

Graeme Mason, CEO Screen Australia; Andrew Eaton, Revolution Films, UK;  award winning producer Liz Trubridge (Downton Abbey);and Peter Buckingham, SampoMedia will give keynote presentations across the four day event.

Ausfilm Week London includes panel and roundtable sessions on the current state of the industry including tax incentives, the role broadcasters, financing, distribution, and the sales and legal framework for co-production between the UK & Australia, chaired by UK industry expert Clare Wise.

Fifteen top Australian producing companies will engage in targeted 1-2-1 meetings with their UK counterparts focusing on specific co-production projects of international appeal. Over fifty UK companies will take part in Ausfilm Week London.

Among the number of networking events the welcome reception will be hosted by the Western Australia Agent-General, Kevin Skipworth CVO at Australia House and the closing night reception will be attended by the Australian High Commissioner, the Hon. Alexander Downer AC.

The Australian delegation includes Ausfilm members  Screen Australia, Screen New South Wales, Screen Queensland, South Australian Film Corporation, Film Victoria, Fox Studios Australia, Show Group and Banana Farm. Screen Producers Australia will also be in attendance.

Ausfilm is charged with marketing Australia’s screen incentives internationally and is therefore uniquely placed to promote, with forums such as this one, the benefits of producing international films in Australia in partnership with Australians.

Ausfilm Week London provides the platform to present Australia as a world-class film destination with its diverse locations near sound stages, Oscar®-winning talent & crew and attractive tax incentives available to UK producers in partnership with the Australian film industry.


Deluxe Australia has launched the Deluxe Heartbeat Fund, which encompasses and extends the company’s industry support programs.

The Heartbeat Fund, announced at the Australian International Movie Convention, aims to foster excellence and growth in Australia’s screen industry by promoting Australian screen talent and audience engagement.

Deluxe’s industry support programmes have contributed more than $4 million in cash and services during the last two years, providing vital sponsorship for the major industry guilds, film festivals and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA). The company also has provided direct financial support to more than 20 Australian feature films and feature documentaries, including The Sapphires, Tracks, The Railway Man, Son of a Gun,  and most recently, Backtrack,  starring Adrien Brody and written and directed by Michael Petroni ( The Book Thief,  The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).

The Heartbeat Fund also focuses on programs that enhance the public profile of Australian screen content and talent, and which seek to connect Australian stories with local audiences.

“Australia has a rich and diverse storytelling culture,” said Alaric McAusland, Managing Director of Deluxe Australia. “It has extraordinary on-screen and off-screen talent which is in high demand both here and overseas. Importantly, this talent is backed by a strong and effective suite of federal and state government assistance programs.”
“At Deluxe, we’ve been fortunate to have collaborated with these great filmmakers and helped them tell their incredible stories,” McAusland added. “But all too often these stories are received much better overseas than they are at home. All too often, great Australian stories do not succeed in reaching Australian audiences. This has to change. I am committing, through our Heartbeat Fund, to playing our part in affecting this change.”

One of the first recipients from the new fund was the Josh Lawson-directed motion picture,  The Little Death.  The film, which recently opened in Australia, was a breakout film at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, where it secured deals in the U.S, U.K., France, Germany and other major territories.

For more information about the Deluxe Heartbeat Fund, send queries to info@deluxeheartbeat.com.au



Ausfilm today announced Kate Marks has been appointed as the new Executive Vice President, International Production.

Ms Marks has over 10 years’ experience in senior and executive management roles within the film industry most recently as General Manager, Incentives Locations & Production Services, Film Victoria. She is highly regarded by industry and has been responsible for driving inward investments (over AU$260 million), advocating policy issues, fostering relationships and facilitating opportunities for screen practitioners.
Ausfilm received a high level of interest for the role with interviews taking place in both US and Australia.

Ausfilm CEO Debra Richards said of the appointment, “We are delighted to have secured Kate to take on this pivotal role for the organisation. Kate has an excellent understanding of our industry, our competition and the international market place; she has very relevant experience with her previous role at Film Victoria; she has an established high level network and respect in North America; and has proven ability in chasing down production (studio & independent, Post & VFX work); all of which makes her an ideal choice for this position. She will be a valuable asset to the Ausfilm team.”

“I am excited to be joining the Ausfilm team and look forward to working with the Ausfilm membership and broader industry to showcase our country’s talents to the international production community,” said Ms. Marks.

Ms Marks commences her new role in late September and will be based at Ausfilm’s Los Angeles office.

Ausfilm promotes Australia’s incentive schemes, locations and capabilities to assist international screen producers to make their productions in Australia. Ausfilm is an Australian industry-government partnership. It comprises Australia’s Federal and State Governments, the major studios and the leading post and digital effects facilities and production service providers.

Media enquiries:
Kristy Officer, Head of Marketing & Business Development, Ausfilm
T: + 61 2 9383 4191 M: +61424 714 957


Ausfilm is pleased to announce 15 Australian producers have been selected to participate in Ausfilm Week London – to be held from October 20th to 23rd, 2014.

Ausfilm is hosting this targeted event to create and develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for feature film and high-end drama television. The event schedule will feature meetings for Australian producers with UK counterparts for specific co-production projects that hold international appeal.

Following a call out for submissions, the following Australian production companies and representatives have been selected to participate.

Australian attendees – Ausfilm Week London 2014:

  • Aidan O’Bryan – WBMC
  • Amanda Higgs – Amanda Higgs Pty Ltd
  • Bridget Callow-Wright – Midwinter Films
  • Heather Ogilvie – Galvanized Film Group
  • Jamie Hilton – See Pictures
  • Joanna Werner – Werner Film Productions Pty Ltd
  • Martha Coleman -  Goalpost Pictures
  • Melissa Kelly – Factor 30 Films
  • Meredith Garlick – Thomas Street Productions
  • Patrick McDonald – Wolfhound Pictures Pty Ltd
  • Stephen Luby – Ruby Entertainment Pty Ltd
  • Sue Taylor – Taylor Media
  • Tania Chambers – Feisty Dame Productions Pty Ltd
  • Tanya Phegan – Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
  • Trish Lake & Ben McNeill – Freshwater Pictures

Debra Richards, Ausfilm CEO commented, “It’s a very diverse offering with a great variety of projects ranging from comedy, drama, sci-fi, animation and mystery features to high end TV drama. I feel confident the group will offer strong opportunities for development with UK partners”.

Other events in the programme include industry roundtables, incentive panel sessions, finance and broadcasting workshops and networking events to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK film and television industries.

CinéfestOZ announces star line-up for 2014 festival

A host of actors, filmmakers and industry luminaries will head to the South West of Western Australia later this month for the seventh annual CinéfestOZ.

More than 30 actors, directors and producers will attend the prestigious festival – among them top names such as actors Marta Dusseldorp, Joel and his brother Nash Edgerton, Myles Pollard, David Wenham, Viva Bianca, Alex Williams, Harrison Gilbertson, directors Bruce Beresford and Robert Connolly and industry representatives including ABC’s At the Movies host Margaret Pomeranz.

This year’s CinéfestOZ will feature more than 60 films, including 13 Australian, 10 French and one “Aussies Abroad”, 13 community screenings and 29 short films, over the five-day event.  Across the festival there will be three world premieres, five Australian premieres and 11 WA premieres.

This year will also see the introduction of the $100,000 Film Prize – Australia’s richest film prize – awarded to the producer of an Australian feature film or feature-length documentary. The Prize will be presented at CinéfestOZ’s gala event on August 23rd.

Felony, Son of a Gun, The Reckoning, The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse and MIFF@CinéfestOZ films My Mistress and Paper Planes have all been shortlisted for the award and representatives from each will attend CinéfestOZ to present their film:

  • FELONY  – Joel Edgerton, Matthew Saville (director), Rosemary Blight (producer)
  • MY MISTRESS – Harrison Gilbertson, Stephen Lance (director), Leanne Tonkes (producer)
  • PAPER PLANES – David Wenham, Robert Connolly (director), Liz Kearney (producer)
  • SON OF A GUN – Julius Avery (director), Tim White (producer), Janelle Landers (co-producer)
  • THE RECKONING – Alex Williams, Viva Bianca, John V Soto (director), Deidre Kitcher (producer)
  • THE WALER – AUSTRALIA’S GREAT WAR HORSE: Marian Bartsch (producer), Barry Strickland (writer),Brad Manera (presenter) Professor Roland Perry (presenter).  

Also in attendance at the festival will be the Film Prize jury – Marta Dusseldorp, Benjamin Illos, Sue Milliken, Margaret Pomeranz and chair Bruce Beresford.

As well as enjoying the more than 200 public screenings of Australian and French feature films, documentaries and shorts at this year’s festival, CinéfestOZ guests will also be invited to enjoy other aspects of the festival, including the Directors’ Lunch at Aravina Estate, Cine-snaps schools program, script workshops, filmmaker Q&A sessions and Side Bar (short film) screenings.

“We feel so privileged to have so many people we know and respect heading our way later this month and we look forward to spending what promises to be a truly wonderful five days with them in our beautiful neck of the woods,” Shervington added.

CinéfestOZ is supported by the State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, which is funded by Royalties for Regions. The festival acknowledges its strong partnership with ScreenWest, Western Australia’s screen funding and development agency.

ScreenWest will also have in attendance at the festival several industry guests including managing director of Roadshow films Joel Pearlman, head of production at Roadshow Film Seph McKenna, festival organiser Chen Jie, Variety Asia bureau chief Patrick Frater and investment banking and media expert Joseph Newton Cohen.

The full program and ticket sales are now available online at www.cinefestoz.com

Australian Screen Industry Shines with Record Presence at the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival

Media Release – Australian Embassy Beijing

The Australian screen industry is poised to impress in China, the world’s second biggest box office, with a record Australian attendance at the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), running in Shanghai from Saturday 14th June – Sunday 22nd June.

Australia will have a broad-ranging representation at the festival. Australia will be present at SIFFMART. High-level Australian and Chinese delegations will attend the fourth Australia-China Film Industry Forum jointly hosted by Ausfilm and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Six Australian films have been selected to screen in the festival – two of these will run in competition for the Festival’s top prize, “The Golden Goblet Award.”

Co-hosted by the Australian Embassy Beijing, the Australian Consulate-General Shanghai, Ausfilm and Austrade, the fourth Australia-China Film Industry Forum will present an opportunity for directors, producers, government and industry representatives from both countries to hold high-level discussions on opportunities and industry developments in co-production, animation, 3D, post-production and emerging digital platforms in Shanghai. The Forum will take place in Shanghai on Tuesday 17 June.

Two of Australia’s world class studios will be represented in Shanghai, as will Australia’s best-in-industry post, digital and visual effects production companies including Animal Logic (The Lego Movie (2014), Walking with Dinosaurs 3D and The Great Gatsby).

“The incentives, facilities and talent of Australia’s screen industry are attracting increasing interest in China. I am confident that the growing Australian presence at the Shanghai International Film Festival, as well as the fourth Australia-China Film Industry Forum, will facilitate new opportunities for collaboration in this exciting industry,” said Australia’s Ambassador to China, HE Ms Frances Adamson.

The Embassy also congratulates the six Australian films selected to screen at this year’s Festival.  Canopy and Predestination  have been selected to run in competition for the Festival’s top prize, “The Golden Goblet Award”, while Tracks, Galore and Nerve  have all been selected to screen in the International Film Panorama in the Spectrum category. Two SIFF favourites – Finding Nemo, Pixar’s Oscar winning animation feature “set” in Australia, and the big wave surfing documentary Storm Surfers 3D, will screen in the FEEL 3D category.  Screening details for these films can be found on the Festival’s website, http://www.siff.com/

Embassy Media Contact: Zhang Naihong: naihong.zhang@dfat.gov.au


Ausfilm is pleased to announce the annual international events Ausfilm Week London – to be held 20th to 23rd October and Ausfilm Week Los Angeles – to be held 27th to 31st October, 2014.  

Ausfilm is charged with marketing Australia’s screen production Incentives internationally and is uniquely placed to promote the benefits of filming and producing in Australia and in partnership with the Australian industry.

Ausfilm Week aims to create, build upon and develop international relationships between Ausfilm member companies and Australian producers with key industry representatives in London and Los Angeles to encourage international film and television production to Australia.

In 2014, each Ausfilm Week will comprise a series of interactive panel sessions highlighting Australia’s production incentives schemes, post production and filmmaking talent, networking opportunities, Producer Collaboration Sessions and business opportunities between the Australian-UK and Australian-US film and television industries.

For Australian Producers:

Producer Collaboration Sessions are 1-2-1 style meetings that provide the opportunity for Australian producers to showcase projects to the international marketplace.  A limited number of Australian producers will be selected to participate in London and Los Angeles.  Please note that Ausfilm Week London and Ausfilm Week Los Angeles are two separate events targeting different markets and producers wanting to attend both will be required to submit separate applications.  A call out to apply to London and Los Angeles will be issued shortly.


Position available in Ausfilm Los Angeles Office

Executive Vice President, International Production

Ausfilm’s Executive Vice President, International Production, is a key position in promoting Australia as a leading film, television and post, digital and visual effects (PDV) location to attract and retain international production spend to Australia. The role is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles (LA) office including managing Los Angeles based staff and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) based in Sydney.

Further details on the role and the application process are available on the Austrade website here.


Director Angelina Jolie and her cast and crew have arrived in Sydney to begin filming the international feature film Unbroken, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner announced today.

Mr Stoner said that the NSW Government has secured production of Unbroken for the State, injecting millions of dollars into the NSW economy and creating more than 300 full-time equivalent jobs for NSW-based crew alone, and more for cast and extras.

Unbroken is backed by major Hollywood studio Universal Pictures. Mr Stoner said that, from this week, scenes from the film are to be shot in and around Sydney as well as in the Hunter Valley. The production company is also based in Sydney where much of the film’s post-production will also take place.


Ausfilm is pleased to announce Ausfilm Television Week London – to be held from October 14th to 16th, 2013. The London event is designed to develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for high-end television drama and animation productions.

Key highlights include a co-production panel session detailing the new UK tax relief incentive for such production and the recently announced Screen Australia High-end Television Development Program. There will also be a case study on the highly awarded BBC UK-Australian co-production Top of the Lake.

“This Ausfilm Television Week builds on previous co-production events and is an excellent opportunity to explore the new incentive and program for high-end TV drama from both our countries,” said Debra Richards, CEO, Ausfilm.

The event schedule will feature meetings for Australian producers with UK counterparts for specific television co-production projects that hold international appeal along with television incentive panel sessions, finance workshops and networking events to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK television and film industries.

Australia’s High-end Television Development Program is a new initiative to support the development of internationally driven high-end television drama. The program will identify inventive high-end TV series ideas with an international key market, enabling Australian producers to work within the international broadcasting environment.

It has been set up in recognition of the unprecedented audience and market growth for high-end television, and the ambitious, authorial and emotionally engaging storytelling that has connected with high-end global audiences, who flocked to shows such as Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Top of the Lake, House of Cards and The Bridge.

Following a call out for submissions, the following Australian producers have been selected to attend Ausfilm Television Week London to meet with leading UK production partners.

  • Alan Harris, Keshet Australia
  • David Taft & Michael Harvey, Harvey Taft Productions
  • Jason Stephens, Fremantle Media Australia
  • Joe Connor & Jen Livingston, Renegade Films
  • Leanne Tonkes, Mini Studios & Dust Bunny Productions
  • Linda Klejus, Circa Media
  • Lisa Gray & Lizzy Nash, The Feds
  • Paul Barron, Sandpiper Entertainment
  • Paul Walton, Princess Pictures
  • Rosemary Blight & Kylie du Fresne, Goalpost Pictures
  • Susan Bower, Bower Bird Productions
  • Tanya Phegan, Porchlight Films  Pty Ltd
  • Troy Zafer, Zac Toons


For media enquires contact:

Kristy Officer – Head of Marketing and Business Development, Ausfilm


M: +61 424 174 957

Ausfilm Week Los Angeles – Australia Summit






AUSTRALIA SUMMIT- Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meet and mingle with Australia’s rising filmmakers and Ausfilm’s prominent members during this exciting and informative day about everything film, television and visual effects in Australia.  Highlighting the attractive federal incentives with an emphasis on ground-breaking visual effects work,  join Ausfilm on Tuesday, October 22 in West Hollywood for a full-day look at the incredible benefits of shooting and posting your next production in Australia.  For more information, email AustraliaSummit2013@ausfilm.com.au.

9:00AM – Australian Incentives Update - Representatives from the Australian Government and Screen Australia will provide an overview of the current status of the production landscape and updates on Australian screen incentives.

11:00AM – Meet the New Australian Filmmakers - Panel session with emerging Australian filmmakers including Kieran Darcy-Smith, Phil Lloyd, Trent O’Donnell and Sean Byrne.

12:00PM – Q & A with director David MichÔ

6:30PM – Australian Visual Effects Showcase – A presentation and networking dinner with Ausfilm post, digital & visual effects members including Animal Logic, Cutting Edge, Fuel VFX, Iloura, Luma Pictures and Rising Sun Pictures. The presentation will include an overview of Australia’s attractive 30% Post, Digital and Visual Effects Offset and Ausfilm members will showcase a project they have worked on.



Ausfilm is pleased to announce Ausfilm Television Week London – to be held from October 13th to 16th, 2013.  Ausfilm is hosting this targeted event, post MIPCOM, to develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for high-end television drama and animation productions.

The event schedule will feature meetings for Australian producers with UK counterparts for specific television co-production projects that hold international appeal. Other events in the programme include television incentive panel sessions, finance workshops and networking events to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK television and film industries.

Following a call out for submissions, Ausfilm is pleased to announce that the following Australian producers and companies have been selected to participate.

Australian attendees – Ausfilm Television Week London 2013:

  • Alan Harris, Keshet Australia
  • David Taft & Michael Harvey, Harvey Taft Productions
  • Jason Stephens, Freemantle Media Australia
  • Joe Connor & Jen Livingston, Renegade Films
  • Leanne Tonkes, Mini Studios & Dust Bunny Productions
  • Linda Klejus, Circa Media
  • Lisa Gray & Lizzy Nash, The Feds
  • Paul Barron, Sandpiper Entertainment
  • Paul Walton, Princess Pictures
  • Rosemary Blight & Kylie du Fresne, Goalpost Pictures
  • Susan Bower, Bower Bird Productions
  • Tanya Phegan, Porchlight Films  Pty Ltd
  • Troy Zafer, Zac Toons


For media and event enquires contact:

Kristy Officer – Head of Marketing and Business Development, Ausfilm


T: + 61 2 9383 4191 M: +61 424 174 957

Ausfilm Television Week London – Call out to Producers





Ausfilm is pleased to announce Ausfilm Television Week – to be held in London from October 13th to 16th, 2013.

Ausfilm is hosting this targeted event, post MIPCOM, to develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for high-end television drama and animation productions.

The event schedule will feature meetings for Australian producers with UK counterparts for specific co-production projects that hold international appeal. These meetings will focus on the development of current projects with a view of co-production/finance/sales and will be established through in-depth profiling and matchmaking.

Ausfilm Television Week London 2013 will also comprise networking experiences and learning opportunities to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK television and film industries.

Application process:
To apply to participate in Ausfilm Television Week London please complete the form attached below and return to Kristy Officer (kristy.officer@ausfilm.com.au) along with your state screen agency in copy.

The deadline for applications is Friday 16th August 2013.


Any questions can be directed to Kristy Officer, Head of Marketing – Ausfilm:

kristy.officer@ausfilm.com.au  or Phone 02 9383 4191


Application Form- Ausfilm Television Week London

Note: for a word document version of the form please email Caroline.Raffan@ausfilm.com.au


Arts Minister Tony Burke has announced new awards to celebrate the important role Australian artists and arts organisations play in enhancing our relationship with Asian countries. 

The Australian Arts in Asia Awards open for applications today and will recognise, celebrate and promote the significant number of Australian artists engaging in Asia, contributing to stronger, deeper and broader cultural links with Asian nations. 

“The engagement in Asia isn’t simply an exposition of Australian creativity. The work of our artists is being affected by Asia just as artists who have moved here from parts of Asia are seeing their art affected by Australia,” Mr Burke said.

“This artistic influence is now at the cutting edge of much of Australian creativity.

“On my recent trip to China and India, I was impressed by the range of Australian artists and arts organisations working there in strong collaborative partnerships with Asian arts organisations.

“The Sydney Symphony Orchestra for example, is working with China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and the National Library of Australia with the National Library of China.

“I was also impressed by the number of Australian film makers exploring new creative opportunities with their Indian and Chinese counterparts.

“These are just some examples of the cultural links Australian artists are establishing in Asia, and they are the sorts of initiatives the Australian Arts in Asia Awards will recognise.”

Australian artists, arts organisations and collecting institutions that have engaged in Asia between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013 are eligible to nominate themselves for the awards. The nominated project must have been performed, exhibited, toured, produced or developed in an Asian country or with an Asian partner during this time. 

Awards will be presented in 14 categories: partnerships, philanthropy, Indigenous, community engagement, innovation, individual artist, small to medium arts organisations, major arts organisations, visual art, literature, theatre, music, and digital and film.

Winners of the awards will form a showcase, promoting the value of engaging with Asia and encouraging other Australian artists to engage in Asia. 

The Awards will help promote the Australian Government’s commitment in Creative Australia, the national cultural policy, to the increasing engagement of artists and arts organisations in cultural exchanges and to build collaborative partnerships with their international counterparts. 

Nominations open Monday 17 June 2013 and close at 5pm Sunday 30 June 2013.

Award guidelines and nomination forms are available at www.arts.gov.au/asiaawards


The Australian Embassy in Beijing is pleased to announce the third Australia-China Film Industry Forum (ACFIF) will be held in Shanghai on 13-14 June, immediately prior to the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) held on 15-23 June. The ACFIF is part of the ongoing promotion of the Australian film industry in China and continues to build on the success of the two previous Australia-China Film Industry Forums in 2010 and 2012.

The Forum will be organised by the Australian Embassy, Beijing and co-hosted by the Australian Consulate, Shanghai, drawing on assistance from a wide variety of related Australian agencies and organisations, including Screen Australia, Ausfilm, the Screen Producers’ Association of Australia and the Australia-China Screen Alliance.

In 2013, as well as maintaining a focus on the development and expansion of producer relationships with China co-production partners, the ACFIF will additionally focus on 3D, post, digital and visual production to capitalise on the growing interest and increasing demand for 3D films and digital technologies in China, and to highlight the strengths of the Australian post-production and visual effects industries.

Following a call out for submissions, the following Australian producers have been selected to attend ACFIF to meet with leading Chinese production partners for the development of specific co-production projects that hold international appeal.

Australian Producer & Post Production Delegation – ACFIF 2013:

Alan Erson Essential Media and Entertainment, NSW
Alan Lindsay VUE Group, WA
Alaric McAusland Deluxe Australia, NSW
Carmelo Musca CM Films, WA
Chris Brown Pictures In Paradise, QLD
David Parker Cascade Films, VIC
Ivan Sen BUNYA Productions, NSW
Janelle Landers WBMC, WA
Kerri Schwarze Complete Post, VIC
Marcus Gillezeau Firelight Productions, NSW
Mario Andreacchio AMPCO Films, SA
Michael Tear Bearcage Films, ACT
Paul He Mayblossum Productions, NSW
Paul Sullivan Benchmark Films, NSW
Paul Willey Soundfirm, NSW
Ross Hutchens Media World Pictures, WA
Tim White Southern Light Films, NSW
Todd Fellman Story Bridge Films, QLD
Troy Zafer ZAC Toons, WA
Yan Zhao SeaLight Pictures, NSW

“With many outstanding Australian and Chinese film and production companies present, the 3
rd Australia-China Film Industry Forum will offer an unprecedented opportunity to develop and expand co-production and film industry collaboration between our two countries. ”, said Ms Frances Adamson, Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of ChinaACFIF will also feature panel sessions with leading Australian and Chinese industry representatives, networking events and presentations showcasing Australia’s 3D and post production capabilities.

The full schedule for ACFIF including details of speakers and presenters will be announced shortly.


For event enquires contact:

Katie Tian – Senior Cultural Relations Project Officer, Australian Embassy, Beijing


T: +8610-5140-4225    M: +86-137 0123 0637

For media enquiries contact:

Kristy Officer – Head of Marketing and Business Development, Ausfilm


T: + 61 2 9383 4191 M: +61 424 174 957


EXTENDED:Expressions of Interest for Australia-China Film Industry Forum – Australian delegation

Australia-China Film Industry Forum 2013 - Australian delegation

EXTENDED: Expressions of Interest sought by MONDAY, 6 MAY 2013 

Submissions for the 2013 Australia-China Film Industry Forum (ACFIF) have been extended until Monday, 6 May 2013.

The forum will be held in Shanghai on 14-15 June, immediately prior to the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) held on 15-23 June.

The ACFIF is intended to provide a gateway for all Australia-China co-productions and feature-length film and documentary collaborations, thus welcoming producers with projects and an interest in the China market.

In 2013, as well as maintaining this broad approach, the ACFIF will in part focus on 3D, post-, digital and visual production aspects to capitalise on the growing interest and increasing demand for 3D films and digital technologies in China.

Funding support is available to a limited number of film industry delegates to attend. If you wish to access this funding, you are requested to submit an expression of interest to the Australian Embassy with a copy to Ausfilm, no later than Monday, 6 May 2013 .

Applications will be assessed by a panel which includes Screen Australia, Ausfilm, Screen Producers Association of Australia and Australian Embassy Beijing representatives. All applicants will be notified of the outcomes of the process by Friday, 10 May.

For more information and application details please click here.


Ausfilm Partner with Australia applications now open





Ausfilm is pleased to announce that Ausfilm Partner with Australia will take place June 5th-9th in Los Angeles.

Ausfilm Partner with Australia aims to create, build upon and develop international relationships between Australian producers with key clients in Los Angeles to encourage international production to Australia.

The Producer Collaboration Sessions provide the opportunity for Australian producers to showcase projects that might attract US executives and claim the Producer Offset for Australian production. The goal of the initiative is to present some of Australia’s most commercially viable feature and television projects to potential partners.

Expressions of Interest

To express your interest in participating please complete the application form (attached below) and return by email directly to Ausfilm’s Los Angeles office care of Michelle Sandoval, Client Liaison Executive, at michelle.sandoval@ausfilm.com.au with your state screen agency in copy by Friday, April 19th, 2013.

Producers confirmed to attend Ausfilm Partner with Australia will be notified via email in early May, 2013.  Further details will be provided to attending producers once confirmed.

Any questions relating to producer involvement in Ausfilm Partner with Australia should be directed to Michelle Sandoval.

Ausfilm Partner with Australia Application Form


2 April 2013 – Ausfilm today welcomes the Gillard Government announcement of funding to bring The Walt Disney Studios film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Australia.

The Federal Government has committed an additional one-off payment in adition to the current Location Offset to attract the film to Australia. The project is expected to create up to 2,000 jobs and substantial investment in Australian businesses which will service such a major production.   

The additional funding is similar to the one-off payment given to The Wolverine, which created over 1750 jobs, used more than 1,000 Australian companies and generated over $80 million of investment right across Australia.

“There has been renewed interest in Australia as a preferred location following the one-off grant provided by the Federal Government to The Wolverine, and the substantial benefits such a production brings.” said Debra Richards, CEO, Ausfilm.

 “The announcement of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to film in Australia will result in meaningful benefits for the industry and the economy; including jobs, skills and training, and investment back into the local industry. This one-off payment highlights the importance of an attractive Location Offset which can successfully compete for large scale international production to shoot in Australia,” said Debra Richards.

 “Today’s announcement along with the additional $20 million announced in Creative Australia as part of the national cultural policy to attract international production, will be an excellent boost to the Australian film industry and as we have seen most recently with The Wolverine, to the wider Australian economy.” said Debra Richards

 Ausfilm supports a permanent increase to the Location Offset, to ensure Australia’s long term competitiveness for major international production.

 “Ausfilm wishes to thank and acknowledge the Federal Government for this initiative and its support of the Australian film industry to ensure Australia can still compete for international screen production,” said Debra Richards.


Media enquiries:
Caroline Raffan, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Ausfilm
T: + 61 2 9383 4124    E: caroline.raffan@ausfilm.com.au

‘The Wolverine’ first look teaser

Director James Mangold has revealed a taste of the upcoming trailer for The Wolverine, the film is set to be released July 26 2013 and the official  full-length trailer will be released online on March 27.



13 March, 2013 – Ausfilm today welcomed the announcement by Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, of an additional incentive to the Location Offset as part of the National Cultural Policy to help keep the Australian film industry competitive internationally.

The additional $20 million fund to encourage major international production will provide a significant boost to the Australian film industry and the wider Australian economy.

“Encouraging major international production will deliver meaningful benefits for the industry and the economy, including direct and indirect employment; skills development and training; innovations in technology; infrastructure maintenance and renewal; along with direct benefits to a range of businesses across Australia,” said Debra Richards, CEO, Ausfilm.

“We have already seen a renewed interest in Australia as a preferred location following the one-off grant provided by the Federal Government to The Wolverine, and the substantial benefits such a production brings,” said Debra Richards.

Ausfilm supports a permanent increase to the Location Offset, to ensure Australia’s long term competitiveness for major international production.

The increasing number of production incentives now offered worldwide and the strong Australian dollar have made it very difficult to attract major international production, which can locate anywhere in the world. An attractive Location Offset together with what Australia has to offer with world class crew, locations, state of the art studios and award winning post and visual effects houses, will make us extremely competitive internationally and will also bring the offset in line with the post and digital and visual effects (PDV) offset already increased to 30% by the Federal Government in 2011,” said Debra Richards.

“Ausfilm wishes to thank and acknowledge the Federal Government and particularly Simon Crean for his support of the Australian film industry with this interim measure to ensure Australia can still compete for international screen production,” said Hon. Bob McMullan, Chairman, Ausfilm.

“Ausfilm also acknowledges the ‘tri-partisan’ support for incentives to attract major international production, with support for the Location Offset increase by Senator Christine Milne and The Australian Greens, and the original introduction of incentives for international production, by the Coalition,” said Debra Richards.

Ausfilm will continue to work with its industry members to ensure international film studios, particularly in the US, are again budgeting Australia as a foremost location for their big budget productions and post-production work.


Australian premiere of ‘Drift’ announced for WA’s South-west

A red-carpet, star-studded event has been confirmed for the Australian Premiere of surfing feature film Drift on Thursday, 21 March 2013. The premiere will take the film back to its roots in WA’s rugged and beautiful South-west region, with a large outdoor screening for over 1,000 people being held in the historic gardens at Caves House in Yallingup. A story of passion, corruption, friendship and loyalty, deadly addictions and fractured relationships, Drift tells a tale of courage and the will to survive at all odds.

Drift was shot over six weeks during winter of 2011 in and around the breathtaking and epic setting of the remote Western Australia coastline in locations from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, including Margaret River, Augusta, Gracetown and Nannup, with over 700 local crew employed for the shoot.

The story of the two Kelly Brothers is played by Myles Pollard (Wolverine, McLeod’s Daughters) and Xavier Samuel (Twilight Eclipse, A Few Best Men), alongside international Australian star Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans, Terminator Salvation) as a travelling surf photographer and filmmaker. Lesley-Ann Brandt (Memphis Beat, CSI: NY) plays his Hawaiian surfer companion.

Drift is co-directed by Morgan O’Neill (Solo, upcoming feature The Factory) and Ben Nott in his feature film debut. The screenplay is written by Morgan O’Neill from an original story by Morgan and Tim Duffy (Let’s Talk About Sex) and produced by Tim Duffy, Michele Bennett (Chopper) and Myles Pollard.

Following the Australian premiere in March, Hopscotch Entertainment One Films have slated Drift for a wide theatrical release in May 2012.

Drift is a production of World Wide Mind Films and is funded by Screen Australia, South West Development Commission, ScreenWest and Screen NSW. Regional funding partners include the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, Shire of Busselton and Tourism Western Australia and Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association.

Drift Trailer


View original release here.

Call out for Australians attending Asian Side of the Doc

Screen Australia will be publishing an Australia at Asian Side of the Doc booklet which will include a directory of Australian companies attending the market this year. The booklet will be inserted in all delegate bags as well as published online and emailed to international executives before the market.

Australia at Asian Side of the Doc 2013 is designed to give an overview of Australian companies attending the market, including information about project slates and company contact details. It will be a valuable tool to help international contacts find out about the Australian line-up at the market and meet potential Australian co-producers.

If you’re heading to the market and would like to include your details in this booklet please contact Sally Walker in Screen Australia’s Marketing Department via email sally.walker@screenaustralia.gov.au or on             +61 2 8113 5846       before Friday 22 February.

Screen Australia, through the Enterprise Asia program, will fund up to 10 companies with suitable factual projects to attend Asian Side of the Doc. Applications closed on Tuesday 29 January and successful applicants will be announced on Monday 18 February.

Asian Side of the Doc is the most important co-production meeting for documentary professionals in Asia. Bringing together producers, distributors and broadcasters, Asian Side of the Doc offers a platform to build strong professional and international networks, to promote deals and presales for programs in production and to initiate new co-production projects.

Asian Side of the Doc will take place 19–22 March 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More information about Asian Side of the Doc can be found on their website.

View original article here.

Cannes Directors’ Fortnight selector in Australia

Benjamin Illos, a member of the Selection Committee for Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors’ Fortnight), will be visiting Australia in February to view new Australian feature films for possible selection.

Every year the Directors’ Fortnight (16–26 May 2013) programs a selection of films from around the world for screening during the Cannes Film Festival.

Created by the SRF (French Directors’ Society) in 1969, the Directors’ Fortnight is about highlighting new talent in world cinema and the directors of tomorrow. It also supports talented filmmakers whose work has not been shown in the major international festivals. The Directors’ Fortnight runs alongside the Cannes Official Selection.

In recent years, Australian films that have screened at the Directors’ Fortnight include short film Cicada in 2009 and features Jindabyne in 2006 and Wolf Creek in 2005.

The festival requires that films be made in the 12 months preceding the festival. The film should not have been screened outside Australia at any international festival or film event except an international market screening. Please see www.quinzaine-realisateurs.com for full details.

Filmmakers with eligible feature films should contact Lucy Burne at Screen Australia on lucy.burne@screenaustralia.gov.au or telephone (02) 8113 1086,  toll free 1800 213 .

Submission deadline is Wednesday 20 February 2013.

Australian line-up at Berlin International Film Festival

More Australian stories have been announced for the 2013 Berlinale, adding to an exciting and diverse Australian line-up.

The feature documentaries Make Hummus Not War and Red Obsession have been selected to screen in the Culinary Cinema program, which presents films dedicated to food, pleasure and the environment.

Red Obsession, directed by David Roach and Warwick Ross, who is also the producer, looks at the new relationship between the famous châteaux from the Bordeaux vineyards, and the new and affluent wine collectors in China. The screening will be followed by a dinner inspired by Bordelais and China by VAU chef chef Kolja Kleeberg. The Berlinale screening will mark Red Obsession’s world premiere.

Make Hummus Not War, directed by Trevor Graham and produced by Trevor with Ned Lander, documents a conflict waged passionately in the kitchens of the Middle East, fought over chickpeas.

Following its recent international premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the mini-series Top of the Lake will also screen as part of the Berlinale Special program, which presents recent works by contemporary filmmakers. Top of the Lake is written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, directed by Jane Campion and Garth Davis, and produced by Philippa Campbell with executive producers Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Jane Campion.

Three Indigenous features and four Indigenous short films have been selected as part of the inaugural NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema at Berlinale 2013.

Features selected for this program are Ivan Sen’s Beneath Clouds produced by Teresa-Jayne Hanlon; Warwick Thornton’s Samson & Delilah produced by Kath Shelper, and Ten Canoes, written and directed by Rolf de Heer with the people of Ramingining, co-directed by Peter Djigirr and produced by Julie Ryan and Rolf de Heer. Three short films from writer/director Warwick Thornton – Greenbush, Nana and Payback – will also screen, along with writer/director Erica Glynn’s short, Ngangkari.

The program will introduce audiences to the milestones of Indigenous filmmaking and includes features, documentaries and short films from New Zealand/Oceania, Canada and the United States as well as Australia. Discussions between experts, filmmakers and audiences before and after the films will give greater insight into the culturally diverse and politically, economically and artistically charged history of Indigenous cinema and its creators.

A number of Indigenous Australian filmmakers will travel to the festival to participate in the special program, including Erica Glynn, who is also Head of the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia.

The Berlin International Film Festival will take place 7–17 February 2013.

ScreenWest in world first crowdfunding project

Western Australia Government Media Release

12 December 2012

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day today announced the State Government’s world-first crowdfunding initiative – called 3 to 1 – had gone live and attracted the support of Hugh Jackman.

Mr Day said ScreenWest was leading the country with its innovative ways of supporting digital content by showing Western Australia’s talented creative people to the world.

“The 3 to 1 project will allow the public to voice their opinion on what films, web series and interactive projects should be made in Western Australia and I encourage everyone to support our artists and have their say in what gets made in our State,” he said

“More than 25 WA projects have been loaded on the Pozible website for the public to view and pledge money towards; ScreenWest will contribute triple the funds pledged, effectively quadrupling the project’s budget, once a team meets their nominated target

“Teams must raise between $5,000 and $50,000 to trigger $15,000 through to a maximum of $150,000 contribution from ScreenWest.

The Minister thanked high profile WAAPA graduate Hugh Jackman who has endorsed the initiative and released a video urging the public to visit the site and pledge to 3 to 1.

“Each project will have a set time frame – up to a maximum of 90 days – to reach their funding target, although the $250,000 will be allocated on a ‘first past the post’ basis,” Mr Day said.

“Some projects will also proceed in a scaled-down version, using crowd-funded pledges once the pool is exhausted. The result will be more creative work, all chosen by audiences.”

These projects have been through a ScreenWest assessment process to ensure that the teams have the capacity to deliver. To access the ScreenWest funds, a project must be delivered on a digital platform and have a minimum of 40 pledges.

      Fact File

Minister’s office – 6552 6200

Ausfilm Week Los Angeles 2012 in Review

Ausfilm Week Los Angeles

Ausfilm, together with representatives of the Australian film industry converged in Los Angeles from 24-31 October for Ausfilm Week 2012.

The week-long event comprised of a series of interactive panel sessions highlighting Australia’s production incentives schemes, post production and filmmaking talent, networking experiences, producer collaboration meetings and learning opportunities between the Australian and US film industries to encourage access to Australia’s Screen Production Incentives.

Targeted one-on-one meetings were held between leading Australian filmmakers, US studios, development executives, production companies and packaging agents took to discuss collaboration for the development of Producer Offset projects.  Seventeen Australian producers participated in Ausfilm Week 2012, these producers were:

  • Jamie Hilton, See Pictures
  • Michael Robertson, Prodigy Movies
  • Steve Jaggi, Jaggi.Shute
  • Chris Brown, Pictures in Paradise
  • Mark Overett, New Holland Pictures
  • Todd Fellman, Story Bridge Films
  • Tracey Robertson & Nathan Mayfield, Hoodlum
  • Trish Lake & Dan Lake, Freshwater Pictures
  • Dee McLachlan, The Picture Tank
  • Leanne Tonkes, Ministudios & Circus Productions
  • Michael Adante, Source Collective
  • Pete Ford, Resolution Independent
  • Aidan O’Bryan, WBMC
  • Alan Lindsay, Vue Group
  • John V. Soto & Deidre Kitcher, Filmscope Entertainment
  • Josh Wakely, Grace Films
  • Melanie Ansley & Sam Voutas, Scopofile

Ausfilm Week Los Angeles is an annual event which provides the platform to present Australia as a world-class film destination with its diverse locations near sound stages, Oscar-winning talent & crew and attractive tax incentives available to American producers in partnership with the Australian film industry.

See below some images from Ausfilm Week 2012.


Ten Australian animation companies head to Malaysian summit

Screen Australia, in conjunction with DFAT, has provided travel assistance for 10 Australian children’s animation companies to attend the inaugural Asian Animation Summit (AAS) in order to seek finance and co-production partnerships with the Asian region. Support is also being provided for one-on-one mentoring from international children’s animation presentation expert, Joan Lofts, so that each team may refine their pitch prior to the summit.

Instigated by ABC Television, the AAS will be held 10–11 December 2012 in Malaysia. It is being run by Canadian publishing and event-organising company, Brunico, which manages other international events such as Kidscreen and Realscreen.

Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, “We are delighted to assist Australian animation producers to be part of the inaugural AAS. It is where they can actively engage with the screen agencies, government authorities and other producers from the region to facilitate screen business and cultural exchange, all aims of the government’s recently released Asian Century white paper.”

The Australian projects and participants are:
• Cate McQuillen of mememe Productions with Babyccino
• Patrick Egerton and David Webster of Ambience Entertainment with Bottersnikes and Gumbles
• Jessica Beirne of Lemonade Digital Productions with Evie & Tom’s Mad Hair Days
• Dan Fill and Luke Jurevicius from Chocolate Liberation Front with Fantastic Forest
• Stu Connolly and Donna Andrews from Sticky Pictures with Herb & Ray’s Yum
• Austen Atkinson and Yvonne Wilcox from Planet 55 Studios with Prisoner Zero
• Stephen Viner from Liquid Animation with Ramiro: The Imagination Hero
• Ron Saunders from Beyond Screen Production with Skyrunner
• Barbara Stephen from Flying Bark Productions with Super Mega Hyper Pets
• Jim Ballantine from RE Productions Pty Ltd with The Eggsperts.

Screen Australia selected the 10 Australian projects, which will be presented in sessions over the two days. They include partially financed projects seeking investment and projects in development seeking market feedback and financing interest.

The AAS is an initiative of four countries: Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Producers, broadcasters and government agencies from these four countries will be participating. In addition, broadcasters from around the world will also be in Kuala Lumpur for the summit.
Screen Australia’s Tim Phillips and Elena Guest will also be in Kuala Lumpur for the summit in support of the delegation. They will be joined by executives from the ABC and other Australian organisations.

Media Enquires
Teri Calder, Screen Australia
T +612 8113 5833
E teri.calder@screenaustralia.gov.au

Sydney Film Festival 2013: Open For Entries

Entries are now open for the 60th Sydney Film Festival, which will take place from 5 -16 June 2013. Full details of how to submit a film, including our 2013 regulations and an online submission form, are available on our website: www.sff.org.au

Entries are open to features, documentaries or short films (under 40 minutes) in all sections of the festival program including:

- The FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize (cash prize $5,000),

- The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films Live Action Award and Best Director Overall – both cash prizes of $5000 sponsored by Dendy Cinemas,

- The Yoram Gross Animation Award (cash prize $4,000).

The Sydney Film Festival is recognised on the Academy®’s Short Film Awards Festival List so winners of the Live Action and Animation Awards become eligible for Academy Awards® consideration (see www.oscars.org for info).

Entries close 5pm Wednesday 27 February 2013.

AUSFILM WEEK Los Angeles – October 24th to 31st 2012








Ausfilm Week LA aims to create, build upon and develop international relationships between Ausfilm members and Australian producers with key clients in LA to encourage international production to Australia.

The event will comprise a series of interactive panel sessions highlighting Australia’s production incentives schemes, post production and filmmaking talent, networking experiences, producer collaboration meetings and learning opportunities between the Australian and US film industries.

Targeted one-on-one meetings between leading Australian filmmakers, US studios, development executives, production companies and packaging agents will take place during Ausfilm Week 2012 to discuss collaboration for the development of Producer Offset projects.  

Seventeen Australian producers are participating in Ausfilm Week 2012, these producers are:
Jamie Hilton, See Pictures 
Michael Robertson, Prodigy Movies 
Steve Jaggi, Jaggi.Shute 
Chris Brown, Pictures in Paradise 
Mark Overett, New Holland Pictures 
Todd Fellman, Story Bridge Films 
Tracey Robertson & Nathan Mayfield, Hoodlum 
Trish Lake & Dan Lake, Freshwater Pictures 
Dee McLachlan, The Picture Tank 
Leanne Tonkes, Ministudios & Circus Productions 
Michael Adante, Source Collective 
Pete Ford, Resolution Independent 
Aidan O’Bryan, WBMC 
Alan Lindsay, Vue Group 
John V. Soto & Deidre Kitcher, Filmscope Entertainment 
Josh Wakely, Grace Films 
Melanie Ansley & Sam Voutas, Scopofile  

We will also be joined by over twenty members participating in Ausfilm Week LA including OFTA Screen Australia, State Screen Agencies and corporate members.

The response from the US industry has been very strong.  A wide range of companies representing distribution/production/broadcasting/post production/talent agents/sales agents/financiers will be in attendance at events from October 24th to 31st.

This year Ausfilm will also be exhibiting at AFM following Ausfilm Week from November 1st to 7th. AFM is the premiere global marketplace for motion picture production and distribution and the largest gathering of film industry professionals in North America with over 8000 attendees.

Ausfilm’s purpose for participating in AFM is to enhance opportunities for co-production markets and promote Australia’s Screen Production Incentives via networking events and 1-2-1 meetings for Australian producers and potential co-production market partners.


Fuel VFX, RSP and Animal Logic contribute to 7 films on Academy VFX shortlist

Australian VFX companies have worked on seven of the 15 feature films in consideration for this year’s Academy Award for achievement in visual effects.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences VFX shortlist included four films which featured Fuel VFX’s work (Captain America: The First Avenger, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Cowboys & Aliens and Thor), two films which featured RSP’s effects (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), and one film which featured Animal Logic’s work (Sucker Punch).

Among those films, Captain America: The First Avenger represented Fuel VFX’s biggest job: the company created 120 shots across six sequences. One of its most ambitious scenes was the bike chase scene where Captain America was chased back to base by enemy ‘hydrobikers’, requiring 70 shots and complex plate manipulation for compositing and integration.

Adelaide-based RSP contributed 63 shots to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (it also worked on Part 1). Creating the evil dementors was a core part of its work as well as the title sequence which opened the film. Other effects included an ‘apparate’ effect to turn Severus Snape into a dark, shadowed creature of cloth and smoke.

Animal Logic created the dragon fantasy sequence in Sucker Punch, which included 164 shots over 12 minutes. The company built all the characters, a mother dragon, a baby dragon, orcs, knights and digital doubles for all the cast.

The full list of films on the Academy shortlist are:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Cowboys & Aliens
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  • Sucker Punch
  • Super 8
  • Thor
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • The Tree of Life
  • X-Men: First Class

The list will be cut to 10 films in early-January, 2012, by the Academy’s visual effects branch executive committee before the final five films are selected on January 19. The final Academy Awards nominations will be announced on January 24 and presented on February 26.

 For article source click here


Last night in Sydney – Iloura was awarded Production House of the Year at the Mumbrella/Encore Awards.

This is a fantastic acknowledgement of Iloura’s achievements in 2012.

Iloura is a collective of artists and technologists that make and enhance creative content for film and television productions, commercials and the ever-evolving world of experiential and interactive media.

The studio’s specialties lie in 3D and character animation, 2D VFX, on-set VFX supervision and motion design with Iloura’s advertising services further extending to colour; experiential ideation, events and immersive experiences; offline/online editing, and sound and music design.

Iloura has a combined team of 120 people including animators, designers, editors, producers, technologists and interactive experts. It has honed its visual effects crafts on international feature films like Ted, Emperor, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Pacific, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Charlotte’s Web. These great projects have provided an extraordinary opportunity to build talent, expertise, and R&D that assists us to make any idea possible across any screen.

Iloura’s film division has grown its team from 40 to 90 people in the last year. It has won and completed VFX and animation work on three major Hollywood feature films – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Emperor and Ted. The studio is currently undertaking VFX and animation work on M.Night Shyamalan’s After Earth starring Will Smith and I, Frankenstein directed by Stuart Beattie for Lakeshore Entertainment. 

Additionally, Iloura’s commercials team has just completed work on Honda’s Game On for Draft FCB and Birdseye’s Dinner’s Done for BWM.

Iloura was recently acquired by Deluxe Entertainment Services Group – the leading provider of entertainment industry services and technologies to the worldwide entertainment industry including Hollywood studios, broadcast/cable/satellite providers, digital distribution, gaming as well as content owners and creators.

Ausfilm Week LA: Producer Expression of Interest







Ausfilm Week Los Angeles

October 24th – 31st 2012

The fourth annual Ausfilm Week LA will take place in Los Angeles from October 24 – 31, 2012.
Ausfilm Week aims to create, build upon and develop international relationships between Ausfilm members and
Australian producers with key clients in LA to encourage international production to Australia.


Ausfilm Week provides the opportunity for Australian producers to tout films that might attract US investors and claim the
40% producer offset for Australian production. The goal of the initiative is to present some of our most commercially
viable projects to potential partners.

Producer Expressions of Interest:


To express your interest in participating please download and complete the project summary document here and
return by email directly to Ausfilm (return email address on form) by September 12th 2012 (NB: Attendee numbers are limited).


To download the Producer Expressions of Interest form click here.


Media Release

Tuesday 28 August, 2012


Minister for the Arts, George Souris, has congratulated NSW film and television script writers who have been recognised with major awards from the Australian Writers’ Guild known as the AWGIE Awards.

The writers of The Sapphires, Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson, won the Major Award for the Most Outstanding Script and also the AWGIE Award for Feature Film Adaptation.

“The Sapphires is a wonderful showcase of NSW creative talent – including the producers, Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne, director Wayne Blair, writers Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs and lead cast members Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell, who are all based in NSW,” Mr Souris said.

“The NSW Government supported the production of The Sapphires through the Screen NSW Production Finance Fund and with a grant from the Regional Filming Fund and I am delighted to see the film so enthusiastically embraced by audiences. I’m told it reached $7.8 million at the box office yesterday, which is a stunning result.”

The other NSW Government-funded AWGIE Award winners were: Michael Lucas for the Award for Feature Film – Original for Not Suitable for Children: Susan Smith for her screenplay for Mabo which won the Telemovie – Original Award; Blake Ayshford, Jaime Browne, Kristen Dunphy and Nicholas Parsons with Louis Nowra for The Straits which won the award for Television Mini-Series – Original and Samantha Strauss for Dance Academy which won the Children’s Television Award.

“My congratulations to all these winners from NSW who have been recognised by their writer peers for outstanding achievements in writing for the screen,” Minister Souris said.


“The NSW Government has provided almost $10 million in funding for Screen NSW in 2012/13, to boost creative excellence and commercial growth in the local screen industry.

“Last year, $6.5 million was committed towards attracting 32 new screen productions including major feature films and television series, to be made in NSW. These productions alone are expected to generate more than $99 million in investment for the State’s economy and create more than 4,300 local jobs”.

Mr Souris said NSW is now home to 46 per cent of the national film industry.


Media enquires: Norm Lipson: 0467 734 679

SPAA Holding Redlich Business Class

Official Co-Productions: Getting Your Ducks In A Row


SPAA will be hosting a co-production business class session in Sydney on the 21st August and in Melbourne on the 30th of August.

The session will examine what producers can do to prepare for a successful and mutually beneficial official co-production partnership, recent changes to Screen Australia’s guidelines, what is on the horizon and where there may be potential for new productions.

In this session key Australian producers will share their lessons learnt from official co-productions and we will hear from the people who assist you in getting your ducks in a row – the lawyers, accountants and government representatives.



Mario Andreacchio Executive Director, AMPCO Films

Sonia Borella Partner, Holding Redlich

Jane Carter A/g Director, Screen Industry Section, Office For The Arts

Jane Corden Managing Director, Moneypenny Services Group

Chris Hilton Executive Producer & CEO, Essential Media and Entertainment    

Alex Sangston Senior Manager, Producer Offset and Co-production Unit, Screen Australia


Chaired by:

Ian Robertson Manager Partner, Holding Redlich (SYD)

Dan Pearce Partner, Holding Redlich (MELB)


Sydney Tuesday 21 August 9.30-12.30pm | Melbourne Thursday 30 August 2.00-5.00pm

SPAA Member $70 | Non-member $120


Click here for more information



Screen NSW

Media Release

 31 Jul 12


Screen NSW announces that applications are now open for the new rounds of Aurora and the Emerging Filmmakers Fund (EFF).

Aurora is Screen NSW’s premium feature film development program. Since its inception in 2002, Aurora has attracted acclaimed Australian and international filmmakers as advisors and participants in the program, and has identified major new Australian filmmaking talent. Films developed through Aurora include Animal Kingdom, The Black Balloon, Somersault, Little Fish and Wish You Were Here.

Following consultation with the industry, this year Aurora has some new features. The program is now open to projects at both draft and treatment stage. Teams with an experienced writer can apply with a treatment only, allowing them to use the expertise on offer at Aurora during the crucial architectural stage of their project’s development.

The main workshop will move to the summer, at the beginning of February 2013, with the follow up workshop scheduled for mid-year, providing an accelerated time frame for Aurora. Teams will deliver a draft and a polish in between the two workshops, for which they will be provided with a draft investment of $30,000. And, for the first time, one of the two international Aurora advisors will act as the Guest Creative Director of Aurora for the year.

Applications for Aurora are now open, and will close on 21 September 2012.

The Emerging Filmmakers Fund supports talented new and emerging filmmakers in NSW by funding the production and post-production of short films.

There is one round of EFF a year and, this year, funding will be provided to three projects with grants of up to $30,000 for production and/or post-production.

Respected producer Kath Shelper (Samson and Delilah) will act as the mentor and Executive Producer for the EFF shorts for this round.

Applications for EFF are now open, and will close on 28 September 2012.

Successful teams for both programs will be announced in November 2012.

For more information, see:

Screen NSW Aurora webpage
Screen NSW Emergining Filmmakers Fund webpage

More than 6,000 jobs created and $152 million spent in Victoria’s robust film industry

Media Release

The Hon Louise Asher MP
Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business
Minister for Tourism and Major Events


Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher today announced that screen projects supported in 2011/12 financial year by the Victorian Coalition Government through Film Victoria have leveraged total production expenditure of $152.7 million for the state, an increase of 89 per cent on the previous year.

Ms Asher said it has been a robust year for the Victorian screen industry marked by significant local and footloose production activity.“In the 2011/12 financial year, Film Victoria supported film, television and digital media projects that created 6,662 jobs for practitioners, supporting the local industry and providing many opportunities for small businesses and individuals,” Ms Asher said.“These strong figures can be attributed to the Coalition Government securing projects like feature film I, Frankenstein that filmed at Docklands Studios Melbourne and various locations around the city; TV pilot Frontier, which shot in regional Victoria; adult comedy feature Ted, which completed its visual effects here; and the mini-series Howzat! The Kerry Packer Story, among others.”

Ms Asher said local production is thriving and there has been a buzz of activity throughout Victoria.“More than $5.8 million was committed to 33 local projects through Film Victoria’s Screen Production – Investment program,” Ms Asher said.“Local television productions such as Offspring Season 3, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Dr Blake Mysteries and Jack Irish have created a real hype of activity in Victoria.“Eight regional projects were supported that commenced production in 2011/12 through the Regional Locations Assistance Fund, spending an estimated $2.3 million in regional Victoria.”

A summary of productions commencing in 2011/12, supported by Film Victoria include: 13 film projects, leveraging $59 million; 28 television projects, leveraging $90.1 million; and 13 games projects and one interactive project beginning development in 2011/12, which leveraged $3.6 million.

Film Victoria CEO Jenni Tosi said it had been a strong year for the Victorian screen industry despite the high Australian dollar and competitive environment.“In 2011/12 Film Victoria delivered significant support to local screen practitioners, businesses and projects through our programs and services,” Ms Tosi said.“The results we’ve been able to achieve reflect the talent, creativity and responsiveness of Victoria’s screen professionals, and their ability to tell stories that resonate with audiences.”
Media enquiries: Bronwyn Perry 0408 221 963 bronwyn.perry@minstaff.vic.gov.au


Visit www.premier.vic.gov.au for more news


Ted’s unreal adventure, from Melbourne to Hollywood


Source: The Age

Date: July 22, 2012

Stroy By: Michael Lallo


MELBOURNE’S contribution to Hollywood has been great in recent years: Guy Pearce, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush spring to mind. So too – albeit in a slightly different way – has Ted, the pot-smoking bear with a penchant for prostitutes, who has hit the big time in his eponymous film Ted.

Ted is a Melburnian, the animated creation of the South Melbourne production studio Iloura.

In 2010, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane received an email with a clip of the animated teddy attached, rang the Melbourne office and said that was how he would like his bear to look. And so Ted’s star was born: for eight months, 70 artists toiled full-time to bring him to life.

When it opened in the US last month, it grossed $US54 million ($A52 million) in its first weekend: a record for an original R-rated comedy. The company is now working on I, Frankenstein and the Will Smith blockbuster 1000 A.E. It also has several other Hollywood films to its name, including Where the Wild Things Are, The Bank Job, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and the Steven Spielberg mini-series The Pacific.

 Advertisement It’s a long way from the mid-noughties, when Iloura was a boutique post-production company specialising in TV commercials. Lured by government incentives, Paramount Pictures came to Melbourne in 2004 to shoot Charlotte’s Web – and Iloura got the animation contract.

 ”John Berton, the film’s visual effects supervisor, took a huge leap of faith on us,” says Iloura’s executive film producer, Simon Rosenthal. ”We were in our infancy when it came to film.” Berton’s gamble paid off: Iloura’s animated pigs were indistinguishable from the real ones used in some scenes.

 While Iloura does standard visual effects such as backgrounds, it forged its reputation with lifelike character animations.

 ”We got Ted because we don’t overanimate like a lot of studios do,” says visual effects supervisor Glenn Melenhorst. ”We didn’t make a wide-eyed, Pixar-style, overly expressive bear. Seth wanted a ‘real’ aesthetic.”

 Over the past decade, Iloura’s staff has tripled to 90. ”We had 500 shots for Ted and each one required separate tasks,” explains Iloura’s head of visual effects, Ineke Majoor. Her 70 artists were assigned painstakingly specialised jobs. One created the glass Ted drinks from, another the beer inside and someone else did the foam.

 To viewers, it appears Ted is the only animated component of the live action film. But the scene in which he climbs a stadium tower is entirely fake. ”You should not be able to detect what’s real and what’s animated,” Melenhorst says.

 Rosenthal is confident Ted will lead to bigger projects. ”The industry is now geographically agnostic,” he says. ”We’ve been around for 30 years,” adds business development director Caroline Pitcher. ”It feels like we’ve only just begun. We’re hungry for the next challenge.”


 View original article here



Ausfilm Week London 2012 in review

Ausfilm Week London comprised of 3 days of targeted co-production meetings, networking experiences, learning opportunities and consistent promotion of Australia’s Production incentives (Producer Offset, PDV and Location offset) to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK film and television industries.

We were also be joined by representatives from Screen Australia and the state screen agencies.

The response from the UK industry for Ausfilm Week London was excellent. A total of 145 UK companies (representing distribution/production/broadcasting/ post production/talent agents/sales agents/financiers) were in attendance at events from May 13th to 15th.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s event or know Australian producers who you think would be interested in attending, make sure you put it in your calendar for next year, it’s not one that you want to miss!

Don’t just take our word for it on how successful this year’s event was, see testimonials below.

The Picture tank: ‘I think it was one of the best ventures for our business – and potentially most encouraging.’

Galvanized Film Group: ‘Congratulations to everyone involved ‐ it was a worthwhile productive event. It’s particularly good to see Ausfilm supporting those of us going out to the world market and not just focusing on productions coming to Oz. Thank you including me and my project.’

Ruby Entertainment: ‘Fantastic meetings, great array of guests’.

SC Films International: ‘I forged new relationships with Australian producers. There is a real possibility to collaborate on some of the projects pitched.’

Academy Awards

Congratulations to Australian Editor Kirk Baxter who won the Academy Award for his work on ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’

Recent Productions

The Railway Man

Australia/ UK Co-production directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and staring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård. Filmed in Scotland, Thailand and Queensland, Australia in 2012.

The Grandmothers

Australia/France Co-production directed by Anne Fontaine and starring Naomi Watts, Robin Wright and Xavier Samuel, filmed in NSW in 2012

The Great Gatsby

Warner Bros. production, directed by Baz Lurhmann and starring Leonard DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, filmed in Sydney in 2011.

Now Filming

The Wolverine

Directed by James Mangold and Staring Hugh Jackman, Filming in Sydney, NSW.

I, Frankenstein

Directed by Stuart Beattie and starring Aaron Eckhart, filming in Victoria.

Producer Daniel Dubiecki opens production office in Melbourne

The Academy Award-nominated producer behind Up In the Air and Juno has set up an Australian production office and acquired the film rights to two crime autobiographies.

Daniel Dubiecki’s The Allegiance Theater production company, based in the US, has opened a Melbourne branch, which will be led by his Australian partner, Torus Tammer. Dubiecki’s father was Australian and he holds dual Australian-US citizenship.

The Allegiance Theater has already acquired the film rights to Damian Marrett’s best-selling true crime autobiographies, Undercover and White Lies, which Dubiecki and Tammer will produce. Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) is attached to direct and Justin Monjo (Farscape, Bait) will adapt Undercover.

“The new Australian division of The Allegiance Theater makes movies for audiences around the world, putting the Australian artists at its centre and drawing from the deep pool of vibrant talent and rich stories that exist in there,” Dubiecki said in a statement…

Click here for the complete article

Ausfilm Week – London – May 13th to 15th 2012

Press Release
5th April 2012

Ausfilm is pleased to announce Ausfilm Week London – to be held from May 13th to 15th, 2012. Ausfilm is hosting this targeted event, pre-Cannes, to develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for both feature film and high-end television series.

The event schedule will feature meetings for Australian producers with UK counterparts for specific co-production projects that hold international appeal. Following a call out for submissions, the following Australian producers have been selected to attend Ausfilm Week London to meet with leading UK production partners.

Mario Andreacchio – AMPCO Films
Angie Fielder – Aquarius Films
Karen Radzyner – Dragonet Films
Trish Lake – Freshwater Pictures
Heather Ogilvie – Galvanized Film Group
Cathy Overett – New Holland Pictures
Vincent Sheehan – Porchlight Films
Mark Ruse – Ruby Entertainment
Timothy White – Southern Light Films
Dee McLachlan – The Picture Tank
Sue Taylor – Taylor Media
Janelle Landers – WBMC

Ausfilm Week London 2012 will also comprise publisher pitching events with literary agents, networking experiences and learning opportunities to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK film and television industries.

About Ausfilm:
Ausfilm is an industry-government partnership which promotes Australia as a destination for international screen production. It comprises Australia’s Federal, State and Territory Governments and around 25 private-sector companies. Ausfilm provides the international film community with direct access to Australia’s screen incentives, talent and facilities. Ausfilm’s objective is to connect international filmmakers worldwide with Australia.

For more information on Ausfilm Week and filming in Australia visit www.ausfilm.com

For media enquires contact:
Kristy Officer – Head of Marketing and Business Development, Ausfilm
T: + 61 2 9383 4191 M: +61 424 174 957

Ausfilm Week London – May 2012 – Producers Expression of Interest

Ausfilm is pleased to announce the Ausfilm Week London – Co-Production Forum – May 13th to 15th, 2012.

Ausfilm is hosting this targeted event, pre-Cannes, to develop co-production opportunities between Australian and UK producers for both feature film and high-end television series.

The Forum will feature meetings for Australian producers with UK counterparts for specific co-production projects that hold international appeal. These meetings will focus on the development of current projects with a view to co-production/finance/sales and will be established through in-depth profiling and matchmaking.

Ausfilm Week London 2012 will also comprise networking experiences and learning opportunities to develop and foster strong growth between the Australian and UK film and television industries.

To express your interest in participating please complete this form Ausfilm Week London – Producer expression of interest and return directly to Ausfilm info@ausfilm.com.au. The deadline for applications is March 19th 2012.

Any questions can be directed to Kristy Officer, Head of Marketing – Ausfilm:

Thirteen new feature projects to receive development support from Screen Australia

Thursday 1 March 2012
Screen Australia today announced over $350,000 to support 13 filmmaking teams develop their feature film projects, taking them to the next level on the path towards production readiness. Five new projects have been added to the development slate while eight teams will receive continued support to develop their projects. Genres include horror, comedy, romantic comedy, drama, adventure and children’s animation.

Among the new projects to receive support for development is The Tunnel: Dead End, the sequel to the successful crowd-funded online horror feature film The Tunnel from producer/writers Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey and director Carlo Ledesma.

Harry Cripps will develop the romantic comedy script Addition, based on the novel of the same name, with producers Bruna Papandrea and Cristina Pozzan, and writer Jules Duncan will be supported to develop the comedy script Bogan Wedding.

Writer Pip Karmel and Porchlight Films’ producer Vincent Sheehan will receive support to develop their new comedy drama script What Alice Forgot, and Out West is a new comedy to be developed by writer/director Alister Grierson (Sanctum) and producers Catriona Hughes, Leesa Kahn and Terry Jennings.

Projects to receive continued development support include writer Mark Herman and producers Marian Macgowan and Sarah Radclyffe’s Julian Corkle Is a Filthy Liar, and writer/director Jocelyn Moorhouse and producer Sue Maslin’s The Dressmaker.

The Outrageous Barry Rush is an adventure feature project in development by writer Andy Cox with director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog) and producer Alan Harris, and writer Shaun Grant (Snowtown) is continuing to develop his comedy script Bad Angel about a New York hit man who is unwittingly embraced by a rural Australian community. Nicholas Cole and Antonia Barnard are on board as producers.

Last Cab to Darwin is a drama in development about a Broken Hill cab driver who learns that it’s never too late to change his life from writer/director/producer Jeremy Sims, writer Reg Cribb, producer Greg Duffy and executive producer Ian Darling.

Plates Day is an animated black comedy in development from writer/director Bruce Petty and producer Jenny Day about the certainties we search for and the fantasies we can’t live without.

Black Echoes is a horror feature script in development by writers Shayne Armstrong and Shane Krause with director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and producers Murray Pope and Michael Robertson.

Producer Mary Minas will also be supported by Screen Australia with a six-month professional internship, receiving bespoke training in development, production and distribution from producer and distributor John Maynard (Balibo, An Angel at My Table, Romulus, My Father, The Bank) at Felix Media and Footprint Films in Melbourne.

Fuel VFX introduces new commercial producers team

Fuel VFX has bolstered its Commercials team with the addition of senior producers Kate Stenhouse and Samantha Daley who join Erica Ford, Lauren Rosen and Head of Production Dave Kelly. With the recent appointments of Ben Eagleton as Head of Colour and Jenna Burlace as Facilities Producer, the new look Commercials team is focused on promoting Fuel’s full-service studio that caters for grade and online projects as well as the VFX-intensive work its renowned for.

Kate Stenhouse is experienced in all aspects of production and post. She was most recently at production house Collider and has worked with Sydney’s Animal Logic and The Mill in London for premium brands including Coca-Cola, Guinness and Dyson, and on award-winning campaigns such as Comcast ‘Rabbit’.

Samantha Daley brings a strong background in animation, design, post-production and 3D stereoscopic for commercials, series animation and film and has worked at studios as diverse as a.k.a. Cartoon and Pork & Beans in Canada, and at Sydney’s Animal Logic and Kapow Pictures. Sam has worked on international campaigns including Lego Star Wars and Lifelock, and locally for Bird’s Eye (3D), Qantas and Foxtel.

Fuel Managing Director and Co-founder, Andrew Hellen: “We’re very excited to have formed this new team. Fuel’s business was born from commercials production and our focus remains delivering the best work possible at a competitive price and to ensure that our clients receive uncompromised attention. We’re confident that we have a strong, focused and positive team, and we’re very much looking forward to the year.”

Congratulations to Australia’s Academy Award nominees

Ausfilm would like to congratulate film editor Kirk Baxter (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), producer Grant Hill (The Tree of Life) and sound mixer Andy Nelson (War Horse) for their 2012 Academy Award nominations.

The winners will be announced in Los Angeles on February 26th.

Sullivan Stapleton gets lead role in the 300 prequel

Sourced at deadline.com

Warner Bros has set Sullivan Stapleton to star in 300: The Battle of Artemisia, which will be directed by Noam Murro for Warner Bros. He’ll play Themistokles…. Stapleton was one of the terrific ensemble of Animal Kingdom, and he just completed a supporting role for the studio in Gangster Squad, the Ruben Fleischer-directed period crime film that stars Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin. Stapleton, who stars on the Cinemax series Strike Back, is repped by WME. ICM reps Santoro.

For more visit: deadline.com

Joel Edgerton officially signs on for Bin Laden film

Sourced: variety.com

Joel Edgerton’s name has long been linked to the untitled Osama Bin Laden pic from Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, and now the Warrior thesp has officially signed on to star.

Reports had Edgerton in the project as early as May, but insiders said at the time that he was merely the unofficial top choice, as the script was unfinished. By the time a script was done and casting began in October, it looked like Edgerton’s schedule would clash with shooting; he’d been mulling an offer to star in the 300 prequel. But Edgerton passed on the Warner Bros.’ project, freeing him up to join the Bin Laden pic cast that already includes Jason Clarke.

Sony is distributing with Bigelow attached to direct from Boal’s script. Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures will finance.

For the complete article click here: Joel Edgerton

Academy announces Oscars VFX shortlist

Ausfilm would like to congratulate the following Ausfilm members for their work being shortlisted for Oscar nomination in 2012. This highlights the exceptional VFX work coming out of Australia and the first-class post, digital and visual effects talent Australia has on offer.

Fuel VFX for Captain America: The First Avenger

Rising Sun Pictures for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

December Client Newsletter

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December 2011
The Great Gatsby

Lego movie win caps a busy year for Sydney and New South Wales, with 2012 looking bright

Penguins, Flappers, Angels, Dinosaurs and assorted Superheroes have been keeping Sydney’s film crews, animators and VFX artists busy in 2011, and already 2012 is looking like another strong year for international productions in Australia’s harbour city.

Of the “7 Hot Movies/Series Coming out of Australia” featured in The Hollywood Reporter October focus on Australia, six have been shot (or will shoot or do post-production) in Sydney or the state of New South Wales (NSW). These include Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby – currently shooting and due for release in December 2012, Alex Proyas’ Paradise Lost – to shoot in 2012, George Miller’s Happy Feet 2 – currently in cinemas, Stephan Elliot’s A Few Best Men – due for release in January 2012, P.J. Hogan’s Mental – currently in post-production and Jane Campion’s mini-series Top of the Lake, which will do post-production in Sydney.

Sydney’s visual effects houses have also been busy. In particular, the Fuel VFX team found themselves immersed in Marvel’s superhero universe on Thor and Captain America and are currently continuing that journey on The Avengers, while at the same time exploring the outer reaches of far more frightening universe for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Animal Logic worked its own magic when converting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 into 3D for Warner Bros, and is helping bring the Triassic era to life for the BBC and Los Angeles-based Evergreen Films on Walking with Dinosaurs 3D.

While it has been fuelled by the Australian Government’s screen industry incentives (the 40% Producer Offset for Australian projects, a 30% rebate on Post/Digital/Visual Effects, and a 16.5 % Location Rebate), the boom in production and post-production in Sydney has been underpinned by the NSW Government’s competitive production attraction incentives that are in addition to the national rebates.

In November, just as Happy Feet 2 hit screens in the US, the NSW Government announced that Warner Bros and Animal Logic would be booking a play-date in 2012 for the new Lego family movie, a project secured with assistance from the Government’s Investment Attraction Scheme. Steve Papazian, President of Worldwide Physical Production for Warner Bros. Pictures, who has had a long history of making movies in Sydney, said at the time of the announcement, “I want to extend my appreciation to the NSW Government for its continued support. We look forward to building upon our valued relationship.”

Through its screen agency Screen NSW and its Trade and Investment division, the NSW Government has for many years been working to develop strong relationships with Warner Bros and other major US studios and production companies to attract productions to Sydney, and to ensure that once here, they find a ‘Film Friendly’ state in which to shoot. That work has obviously paid off, with international producers full of praise for Sydney.

“Working here has been a dream experience. The crew is fantastic and everything about the whole situation has run smoothly. We would recommend it wholeheartedly,” said Lucy Fisher (Memoirs of a Geisha) of Red Wagon Productions, which is producing The Great Gatsby with Luhrmann’s Bazmark Films for Warner Bros.

Stephan Elliot’s international producers Larry Maulkin and Share Stallings (Death at a Funeral) were equally impressed. “Starting with the ever-present support of Screen Australia and Screen NSW, our shoot in Sydney and NSW was amazing. The Blue Mountains were spectacular and we even used Sydney as a double for some of our London locations.”

Official co-productions also benefit from the 40% Producer Offset. London-based producer Andy Paterson (Girl with the Pearl Earring) had been warned that shooting the UK/Australian co-production Burning Man in Sydney would be very difficult. “I found the opposite was true. I knew that Screen NSW and the government had been working hard to make the city more film-friendly and we had a wonderful locations team, and the effect was to allow us to really get the best out of it. We shot in the National Park down at Wattamolla, all over the Eastern suburbs at Bondi, Clovelly, Bronte Park, found hospitals in Northern Sydney and couldn’t be happier with the overall look of the film.”

With those ringing endorsements and a growing list of confirmed projects, Sydney looks set to continue to shine as a hot-spot for international film production and post-production work in 2012.

For information on how you can Shoot/Post/VFX your next project in Sydney, visit the Screen NSW website at www.FilmInSydney.com or email Paul de Carvalho, Director of Production Attraction at Production@FilmInSydney.com

Happy Feet 2

The Great Gatsby – Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


Happy Feet 2 – Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


South Australia shines with award season domination and the opening of the Adelaide Studios

South Australia shone at the recent IF Awards with filmmaker and new SAFC Board Member, Anthony Maras, winning the AFTRS IF Award for Rising Talent. Another local talent Geoff Hall, won the IF Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Red Dog.

Australian box office hit Red Dog (Producers Nelson Woss (WA) and Julie Ryan (SA) Director, Kriv Stenders and Writer Dan Taplitz) was the big winner on the night. Supported by the SAFC and shot partially in South Australia with a strong component of SA crew, Red Dog took out seven awards including the IF Award for Best Script, the Event Cinemas IF Award for Best Box Office Achievement, IF Award for Best Cinematography, IF Award for Best Music and the coveted Showtime IF Award for Best Feature Film. Kriv Stenders took out the IF Award for Best Direction whilst Josh Lucas won the IF Award for Best Actor.

The SAFC supported film Oranges and Sunshine was also a winner. The film won the Dyson IF Award for Best Production Design for Melinda Doring and the Dinosaur Designs IF Award for Best Actress for Emily Watson. Veronika Jenet took out the Avid IF Award for Best Editing for her work on Snowtown, also made in South Australia.

The South Australian Film Corporation sponsored the IF Award for Best Sound which was won by Wayne Pashley, Polly McKimm, Derryn Pasquill and Fabian Sanjurjo for their work on Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

While South Australia continues to enjoy this onscreen success the big news is the new Adelaide Studios which were formally opened in October at a gala event for 700 guests by special guest Premier Mike Rann, marking what was his last official duty as Premier.

The Gala Opening was the final event in a suite of tailored launch events for the new studios including a media launch, industry orientation day and community open day which attracted 4,500 SA patrons keen to explore the new facilities.

A spectacular 3D architectural projection was created specially for the gala launch by South Australian artist Cindi Drennan (Illuminart): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D0SphLvNJ8

For more information about Adelaide Studios including images and a description of the facilities click here ausfilm.com.au/production-resources/studios/adelaide-studios/ or visit www.adelaidestudios.com.au

*Red Dog was also supported by Screen Australia and ScreenWest

Award winning Crawl a low budget blockbuster


Australia’s Gold Coast has long been a big budget movie making paradise for US studios, with big screen successes including, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Fools Gold, Nim’s Island and Scooby Doo.

Now the Gold Coast has shown that low budget, local productions can also make it big. Australian film Crawl, written and directed by Paul China, has catapulted onto cinema screens across the globe after having its world premiere at the Screamfest Festival in Los Angeles.

The low budget suspense thriller made such an impact at the festival, the Gold Coast-based production company won three awards, including Best Director (Paul China), Best Actress (Georgina Haig), and Best Cinematography awarded to Brian Breheny who also produced the film.

The film recently screened at the Tuscon Terrorfest in Arizona and the Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival in Italy. Its Australian premiere was held at the Brisbane International Film Festival to a sold out audience. Interest in the local production was so strong at the Gold Coast Film Festival that a second cinema was required after the first sold out a week before the screening.

Writer and director Paul China said, “It has been a fantastic response to a little film made in the northern suburbs of the Gold Coast”.

“Working creatively with a small budget, it was important that we filmed in a city that could rise to the challenge of integrating all the production pieces at a low price, whilst still providing a successful screen experience for the audience. The crews, the locations and local council were all fantastic, clever and supportive”.

Twin brother and one of the film’s producers, Benjamin China, said, “The Gold Coast is a great place to make movies. The local Village Roadshow Studios has a long history of attracting international and domestic productions. The cumulative benefit of this are the smart, diverse and experienced film professionals living locally, that have a wealth of technical expertise, who can contribute to the whole film process.”

Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Chair Councillor Susie Douglas said, “The Gold Coast has a genuine and professional film production culture that is important to the city and its future. The Council is committed to supporting productions of all sizes and we encourage producers and directors scouting the world for potential locations, to take a closer look at our film-friendly city”.

Shot on the digital RED camera with the new MX censor and upgrade, Crawl is a character-driven thriller set in an unknown rural town. A suspenseful, yet darkly humorous chain of events builds to a blood-curdling and unforgettable climax. For more information and interviews, visit: www.crawlthemovie.net

I Frankenstein at home in Melbourne

Docklands Studios Melbourne is the production base for the new gothic thriller, I Frankenstein, produced by Hopscotch Features in partnership with Lakeshore Entertainment.

The film, based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux is written and directed by Stuart Beattie and will star Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy.

I Frankenstein commenced pre-production in November and principal photography is scheduled for late February 2012. The film will shoot at Docklands Studios Melbourne and on locations in Victoria.

Ausfilm’s offices will be closed for the Holidays from 23rd December 2011 and will reopen on the 4th January 2012
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Fuel VFX, RSP and Animal Logic contribute to 7 films on Academy VFX shortlist

Sourced: if.com.au

Australian VFX companies have worked on seven of the 15 feature films in consideration for this year’s Academy Award for achievement in visual effects.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences VFX shortlist included four films which featured Fuel VFX’s work (Captain America: The First Avenger, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Cowboys & Aliens and Thor), two films which featured RSP’s effects (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), and one film which featured Animal Logic’s work (Sucker Punch).

Click here for the complete article

Screen Australia investment triggers $97 million in production

Media Release: Screen Australia

Monday 5 December 2011

Screen Australia has announced almost $17 million investment in a diverse slate of feature films, adult television drama projects and children’s television series. The investment in 14 projects will trigger over $97 million in production.

Features approved for investment include, The Grandmothers, an erotic tale of misguided love based on a Doris Lessing novel, adapted for the screen by Oscar® winner Christopher Hampton. The film features a powerhouse cast including Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville. The Grandmothers will be produced by Andrew Mason and Philippe Carcassonne and will be directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Avant Chanel).

Other feature projects include 2:22, a high-concept psychological thriller set in New York (p: Jackie O’Sullivan, Paul Currie, w: Paul Currie, Todd Stein, d: Paul Currie) and Patrick (p: Antony I Ginnane, w: Justin King, d: Mark Hartley), a gothic horror re-working of the 1978 classic of the same name.

The Mule, a black comedy co-written and co-produced by one of Australia’s most successful international screenwriter/actor/producers Leigh Whannell (Saw franchise), was also approved for investment. Whannell will star in the film with co-writer and co-producer Angus Sampson. The film will be directed by Tony Mahony and be produced by Paul Clarke…

Click here for the complete media release

Wish You Were Here selected for the opening night of Sundance

Screen Australia: Media Release

Thursday 1 December 2011: The feature film Wish You Were Here, produced by Angie Fielder, co-written by Kieran Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price and directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith, has been selected for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Wish You Were Here will have its world premiere on the opening night of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. A showcase of exceptional works from across the globe, the Dramatic Competition is described by the festival as ‘a way to honour the independent spirit in filmmakers’.

The film tells the story of four friends who travel to South-East Asia on a holiday, but only three of them return home. The film reveals what happened on that fateful night when they were dancing under a full moon in Cambodia.

“Kieran and I are immensely proud and honoured that Wish You Were Here has been selected to have its world premiere at Sundance. It’s exciting to see our film open the prestigious World Cinema Dramatic Competition at a festival which celebrates independent filmmaking,” said producer Angie Fielder.

“Sundance’s international competition program is one of the most sought-after premiere slots in the world. Thousands of films are submitted; only 16 are chosen. Established by Robert Redford in 1984, the festival is a mecca for the independent film community and, like Animal Kingdom and others before, it offers Australian cinema an outstanding debut platform,” said Screen Australia’s Head of Marketing, Kathleen Drumm.

Click here for the complete Media Release

16 years old and one of Hollywood’s most sought after actors

Sourced: collider.com

Emerging as one of Hollywood most sought-after young actors, 16-year-old Aussie Callan McAuliffe is currently preparing to start his work as Young Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s 3D telling of the classic American story The Great Gatsby, due out in theaters on Christmas Day 2012, amidst sword fighting training, martial arts and ballet work for his role as archangel Uriel in Paradise Lost, adapted from the epic Biblical poem and shooting in January 2012 for a scheduled 2013 release.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, from Australia where he is going to shoot both films, Callan McAuliffe talked about what appealed to him about both projects, some changes in The Great Gatsby that could surprise audiences but that he thinks they will appreciate, that even though he’s playing a younger version of Leonardo DiCaprio he doesn’t think he looks like him at all, and what he thinks the 3D will add to the experience for audiences. He also talked about how he’s relying on director Alex Proyas’ vision for Paradise Lost when it comes to playing an archangel, that he’s looking forward to his scenes with Djimon Hounsou, and how he’d like to model his character after Johnny Depp, playing more alternative types of characters. Check out what he had to say after the jump:..

Click here for the complete article: Callan McAuliffe

Changes to Australia’s Producer Offset

Press Release from Screen Australia

The Australian Government’s 2011/12 Budget included a number of proposed reforms to the Producer Offset.

On Monday 21 November 2011, legislation enacting the reforms was passed by the Australian Parliament.

The Bill, the Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 7) Bill 2011, will be presented to the Governor-General for Royal Assent in the coming weeks. Following that, the amendments will be in force, taking effect for:

Projects with Screen Australia production funding (investment or grant), where funding approval was given (ie a Letter of Approval was issued) on or after 1 July 2011.
All other cases (ie projects without Screen Australia production funding), where pre-production commenced on or after 1 July 2011.

The Bill also includes amendments to the Location and PDV Offsets in line with the Budget Announcement.

The Bill and its Explanatory Memorandum are both available here. Schedule 9 is the relevant part of the Bill.

Victorian feature film to woo Indian audiences

The Hon Louise Asher MP
Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business
Minister for Tourism and Major Events

Media release
Thursday 24 November 2011

A feature film to be shot in India and Melbourne has won Victorian Coalition Government support as part of the Government’s commitment to building ties with Bollywood. Louise Asher, responsible for the Victorian film industry as Minister for Innovation, today announced support for Save Your Legs, a Victorian film about a suburban Melbourne cricket team and their tour of India. Ms Asher said the film would showcase Victoria’s key landmarks, such as the MCG, as well as reaffirm the state’s film industry connection to Indian film-goers. “Save Your Legs is a unique Victorian story celebrating Australia’s and India’s shared love of cricket,” Ms Asher said.
“The Coalition Government is pleased to be supporting a film which will be able to further strengthen our ties with the Bollywood industry, and at the same time promote Victoria on the big
screen.” Confirmed Australian cast members include Stephen Curry, Brendan Cowell and Damon Gameau. The film will be directed by Boyd Hicklin and produced by Nick Batzias and Robyn
Kershaw. “The Coalition Government’s support for Save Your Legs is just one of the many initiatives in 2012 associated with the Government’s Trade Engagement Program for India – a dedicated program to increase two-way trade with one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” Ms Asher said. “Victoria’s trade and investment relationship with India has grown steadily over the past decade and greater ties with the film industry can only open up more diverse business opportunities for Victorian companies. “The Victorian Government is committed to building better links with Bollywood, which includes a commitment of $500,000 over four years to develop the Bollywood Film Festival.”

Save Your Legs will premiere as part of the 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival, followed by a theatrical release in summer 2012-13.

Media contact: Bronwyn Perry 0408 221 963

Visit www.premier.vic.gov.au for more news

Red Dog wins at the IF Awards

Red Dog‘s star continues to rise as last Wednesday it took out Best Picture at the 2011 IF Awards held at Luna Park in Sydney. Red Dog also won for Best Director (Kriv Stenders) and Best Actor (Josh Lucas) as well as taking home Best Script and Best Box office Achievement. Red Dog’s star Koko was on hand to receive the award alongside Producer and owner Nelson Woss.

Red Dog is now the eighth most popular Australian film of all time and has grossed over $21 million at the Australian box office.

Gatsby exchanges New York for Sydney

With Baz and Co having been spotted around various New South Wales locations whilst filming The Great Gatsby it seems appropriate to touch on where the fabulous 1920′s Long Island and New York scenes are actually being shot in Sydney, Australia.

Over the past few weeks photos have emerged from the garage where Myrtle Wilson lives set up in Rozelle, Centennial Park right next to Fox Studios in Sydney and the International College of Management overlooking Manly where one of Jay Gatsby’s elaborate 1920′s parties were staged.

Sydney has been a dynamic and more than adequate stand in for the decadence spoken of in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best seller. Sadly we will have to wait over a year to see the film. We can’t wait!

LEGO film to be produced in Sydney

The Hon Andrew Stoner MP
Acting Premier of NSW
Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services


Wednesday 16 November 2011


Acting NSW Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner has announced NSW will be the production base for a new animated feature film based on the popular children’s construction toy LEGO®.

Warner Bros. has contracted Academy Award-winning Sydney animation studio Animal Logic to make the family entertainment comedy at Fox Studios Australia, where Mr Stoner made the announcement today alongside Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian.

The NSW Government has helped secure the production for the State’s film industry with assistance from NSW Trade & Investment’s State Investment Attraction Scheme.

“Congratulations to Animal Logic for beating strong international competition from the US and Canada to secure this major animated film production,” Mr Stoner said.

“The production of LEGO will see up to $48 million spent in NSW, which will include commitments to industry research, development and training.

“The film will employ over 200 people during its peak.

“The LEGO film will be based on the popular children’s LEGO building blocks and include licensed LEGO characters.

“Originally designed in the 1940’s in Denmark, LEGO has achieved international appeal and this film is sure to be a hit with children around the world,” Mr Stoner said.

“The film’s directors will be Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who co-directed the 3D animated comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) which grossed $239 million worldwide.

“LEGO will be an innovative film incorporating the latest animation and photo-real techniques which will demonstrate the strength of NSW creative technology skills and enhance the international reputation of Sydney as a film location.

“Not only will the securing of LEGO enable Animal Logic to retain staff through an ongoing work schedule but it will also place Sydney in a strong position to secure further work should sequels be planned later.

Mr Nalbandian said “LEGO is further testament that Sydney is now established as one of the world’s great digital animation centres.

“With LEGO, Animal Logic continues to develop and produce ground breaking digital entertainment and to build a talent base that’s second to none anywhere in the world.”

Steve Papazian, President of Worldwide Physical Production for Warner Bros. Pictures, said “I want to extend my appreciation to the NSW Government for its continued support.”

“We look forward to building upon our valued relationship.”

LEGO is due for release in 2014 with Warner Bros. both producing and distributing the film internationally.

The LEGO film is being written and directed by Lord and Miller, with Chris McKay serving as co-director. Dan Lin and Roy Lee are producing. LEGO Company’s Jill Wilfert will executive produce and Lin Pictures’ Seanne Winslow will co-produce.

LEGO and its logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2011 The LEGO Group.

MEDIA: Office of the Acting NSW Premier 9228 5209

See you in Melbourne Aaron Eckhart

Today we learnt that Melbourne will be the production location for Stuart Beattie’s new film I, Frankenstein. Fabulous news for the Victorian film industry as pre-production, production and post-production will all be completed in Melbourne. The gothic thriller which will have Aaron Eckhart in the lead will be based out of Docklands Studios with other locations around Melbourne yet to be confirmed. Congratulations to Film Victoria for securing this project – exciting news!Will keep you updated with any other I, Frankenstein developments as they happen.

Josh Lawson & Isabel Lucas named Best Hollywood Newcomers


Actors Josh Lawson and Isabel Lucas have been named Best Hollywood Newcomers at the Beverly Hills Film, TV and New Media Festival for their roles in an Australian film which is yet to get distribution two years after being made.

Despite gaining recognition at a number of festivals, it now looks like The Wedding Party will not get a release this year.

Directed by Amanda Jane and produced by Nicole Minchin, the romantic comedy opened MIFF last year.

Click here for the complete article on Josh Lawson and Isabel Lucas or see the trailer below

Ausfilm Week 2011 in review

Sourced: encoremagazine.com.au

LA’s Ausfilm Week: “Like speed dating without the alcohol”

Eleven Australian producer teams from across the Australia met with American producers and studio executives at the Ausfilm Week in last week.

Ausfilm’s Deb Richards told Encore the sessions were, “like speed dating without the alcohol, with seven meetings one after another.”

The one-to-one sessions were project-specific, the filmmakers pitching a feature script they looked to receive funding and create co-productions on.

Australian producers included Bill Leimback (Beneath Hill 60), Jamie Hilton (Sleeping Beauty, The Waiting City), Stephen Amis (The 25th Reich), Robert Galinsky & Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman (Prey), Pam Collis (Singularity), Craig Lahiff & Helen Leake (Swerve), Sonya Armstrong (Seduction in the City), Lessa Khan and Marissa Goodhill, Jodea Bloomfield and Pippa Hinchley (The Live Sex Girls), Anthony Maras (The Palace) and Michelle McDonald of Screen Australia.

The selection of US production companies included; The Weinstein Company, Arclight Films, Smoke House Pictures, Artists International, Michael de Luca productions, Fox Searchlight and more.

Click here for the complete article on Ausfilm Week

Joel Edgerton’s star is on the rise

Take a look at this article about Joel Edgerton and his burgeoning career

Sourced: theaustralian.com.au

JOEL Edgerton didn’t appreciate how good his new film Warrior might be until well into filming.

He had his hopes that director Gavin O’Connor might pull something out of the hat but this was a film about mixed martial arts, or cage-fighting. It needed something special to elevate it beyond being a movie about a sport with a brutal reputation.

“Getting involved with any movie is a risk,” Edgerton says from the set of The Great Gatsby in Sydney. “One of the things I love about filmmaking is everybody involved in it can help make it better and also everybody involved can make it worse. You really have no control over a lot of it. The one thing you do have control over is the decision to jump on board the project.”…

Click here for the complete article on Joel Edgerton

Australian Screen Industry News – October 2011

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October 2011

Ausfilm Week 24-28 October, 2011

Ausfilm and representatives of the Australian film industry come together in Los Angeles this week (24-28 October) for Ausfilm Week 2011. Ausfilm Week aims to build and maintain relationships between the Australian and US film industries to encourage co-production of international film and television with Australia.

Ausfilm Week features a series of events covering all aspects of production including film screenings, breakfast seminars, development lunches, a gala dinner and cocktail events where Australian filmmakers and industry professionals discuss filmmaking in Australia with their US colleagues and encourage them to access Australia’s Screen Production Incentives which includes the Producer Offset – a 40% incentive for films with significant Australian content.

Ausfilm Week provides the platform to present Australia as a world-class film destination with its diverse locations near sound stages, Oscar-winning talent & crew and attractive tax incentives available to American producers in partnership with the Australian film industry.

The incentives available include the 40% Producer Offset, 30% Post, Digital and Visual Effects incentive and 16.5% Locations incentive.

Targeted one-on-one meetings between leading Australian filmmakers, US studios, development executives, production companies and packaging agents will take place during Ausfilm Week 2011 to discuss collaboration for the development of Producer Offset projects.

Australian director Shane Abbess (Gabriel) commented “As an Australian filmmaker living in Los Angeles, I’ve found Ausfilm to be that often crucial link between our industry at home and here. Their events are a must for anyone looking to bridge the gap between two of the strongest film communities on the planet”.

Australian projects currently include Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby which is filming at Fox Studios, Director Alex Proyas is prepping his motion capture for the film Paradise Lost and Happy Feet 2 is close to wrapping, ready for its November launch.

Australian Post, Digital and Visual Effects houses have proven their capabilities and secured significant work for blockbuster international features including Captain America, Thor, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 & 2.

The third annual Ausfilm Week programme opened on Monday night with a preview screening of the upcoming Australian feature A Few Best Men, with cast including Olivia Newton-John walking the red carpet at the Linwood Dunn Theatre.

A great year for Australian films

Australian films have featured in all six premiere international film festivals this year. Key examples include Red Dog’s world premiere screening at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sleeping Beauty’s world premiere selected for In Competition at Cannes and The Hunter’s recent world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival.

Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, “Selection into an A-List festival provides a platform to launch Australian films in the international marketplace and profiles our talent and our stories on the world stage”.


Ausfilm member Trackdown has been busy working on a number of productions including Music Editing and Score/Mix for ‘The Killer Elite’, Music Editing/Score Programming/Score and Mix for ‘Bait 3D’, Dialogue record for ‘Family Guy’, Dialogue Recording/ADR/Music Editing/Score for ‘Happy Feet 2’ and Script Read Recording for ‘The Great Gatsby’. Ausfilm also had the pleasure of working with Trackdown on our Post, Digital and Visual Effects showreel with a high production value score produced to complement the calibre of the post, digital and visual effects work on display. For more information visit www.trackdown.com.au


Seth McFarlane’s Ted, a comedy mixing live action and digital animation, will undertake significant visual effects work with Melbourne based company, Iloura. Ted was secured for Victoria through film Victoria’s PIAF PDV incentive.

Fox Lighting

Fox now owns the largest range of lighting equipment in Australia for motion pictures, television productions, commercials, photo shoots and more. Fox Lighting is located at Fox Studios Australia in New South Wales and Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland to service your lighting needs.

For more information visit foxstudiosaustralia.com/lighting or call +61 2 9383 4200

Film Victoria Locations Gallery

Film Victoria’s online Locations Gallery has helped attract extraordinary productions to Victoria such as Killer Elite, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and The Pacific. The gallery contains more than 37,000 images and some new perks include video content and a more powerful search engine. The improved Gallery will ensure we continue to provide you with the best locations – all viewable with the click of your mouse.

Image courtesy of Sheridan Nilsson & Tourism QLD
Ausfilm Members
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Ausfilm Week, 24-28 2011

Ausfilm Week 2011 will commence on Monday 24th October 2011 with a VIP Preview Screening of A Few Best Men, with stars including Olivia Newton-John (Grease) and Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) walking the red carpet.

For the most up to date information on Ausfilm Week 2011 click Ausfilm Week 2011

Ausfilm Week 2011

Ausfilm Week 2011 will commence on Monday 24th October 2011 with a VIP Preview Screening of A Few Best Men, with stars including Olivia Newton-John (Grease) and Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) walking the red carpet.

Ausfilm Week promotes Australia’s production locations, oscar-winning talent and crew, and Australia’s competitive production incentives.

Stay tuned for the latest pictures out of Ausfilm Week 2011 as well as coverage from the events.

Highlights of Ausfilm Week 2011 will be the Gala Dinner and the Monster Bash Cocktail Party to honor Troy Nixey and his film Don’t be Afraid of the Dark which was filmed in Melbourne.

DAY 1 – MONDAY 24th OCTOBER, 2011

Ausfilm Week 2011 opened on Monday night with a VIP screening of A Few Best Men. Ausfilm and Australians in Film teamed up for the preview screening with Olivia Newton John, Rebel Wilson and director Stephan Elliot all walking the red carpet at the Linwood Dunn Theater.

It was a great start to the week with lots of laughs had by all.

Stephan and Olivia also held a Q&A at the conclusion of the screening.

For more information contact ausfilm at info@ausfilm.com.au

Screen Australia supports development of 17 feature projects

Sourced screenaustralia.gov.au

Screen Australia

Media Release

Thursday 13 October 2011

Screen Australia today announced over $500,000 in support for the development of 17 feature films.

Emile Sherman and Iain Canning (The King’s Speech) will develop a biopic by writer Luke Davies (Candy) called Life, and actor/producer Simon Baker will work with producers Jamie Hilton (The Waiting City) and Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia) and writer Peter Duncan (Unfinished Sky) to develop the adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel Breath.

Four comedy feature scripts are among the 17 supported projects including the romantic comedy Almost French from writer/director Kate Dennis and producer Sonja Armstrong, and Ali’s Wedding from producers Michael McMahon and Helen Pankhurst, written by Osamah Sami and Andrew Knight.

The team behind the highly anticipated Wish You Were Here will work together again to develop writer/director Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Memorial Day, produced by Angie Fielder.

Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man) is attached to direct Choir of Hard Knocks, to be written by Pip Karmel and produced by Marian Macgowan.

Producers Craig Somers and Brian Mooney have brought on board the rapidly emerging talent of Shanti Gudgeon to write their musical Bdazl…

For the complete article: Screen Australia supports development of 17 feature projects

‘I, Frankenstein’ to be filmed in Australia

Australia will be home to Lakeshore Entertainment, Hopscotch Features and Lionsgate’s production of I, Frankenstein. The film, written and to be directed by Australian Stuart Beattie will commence production in January. Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) will take on the role of Adam Frankenstein.

Callan McAuliffe joins Paradise Lost

Sourced if.com.au

Callan McAuliffe has become the first Australian to join the cast of Alex Proyas’ epic Paradise Lost, as reported by Variety.

The 16-year-old actor, who was recently seen in cloudstreet and Hollywood action flick I Am Number Four, will play the archangel Uriel after beating out a number of internationally-based actors for the role.

Following Lucifer’s (Bradley Cooper) rebellion against God, Uriel steps up as second in command of Heaven’s army, under the archangel Michael (Ben Walker).

Paradise Lost is based on the 17th century poem by John Milton and details Lucifer’s war on Heaven and the fall of mankind.

Click here for the complete article

Pre-modern family: ‘Terra Nova’

Sourced watoday.com.au

Terra Nova may have dinosaur-sized ambition but its heart is closer to home.

THERE were several moments in the tortured development of Terra Nova – the epic series launching on Sunday on Channel Ten – that shaped just what sort of show it would become. The most expensive new show to air this year, the question the high-level team developing the program wrestled with was whether Terra Nova should be a science-fiction series or a family drama.

The series begins with a double episode set 138 years in the future. Earth is at breaking point. The planet is seemingly a lost cause, rendered almost uninhabitable.

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/premodern-family-20110928-1kvu4.html#ixzz1ZJCJGITJ

‘Terra Nova’ US Premiere

‘Terra Nova’, the Steven Spielberg Sci-fi TV series premiered in the US on Monday. The TV show was filmed in Queensland, Australia. What did everyone think of the 2 hour premiere??

‘Terra Nova’ will premiere in Australia on Sunday 2nd October on Channel 10.

Strategic Partners, Halifax

Ausfilm attended the Strategic Partners conference in Halifax, Canada from September 15th, 2011 to September 18th, 2011.  The conference runs in conjunction with the Atlantic Film Festival.  With well over 180 delegates in attendance, the event focused on co-production and co-venture opportunities for producers seeking international co-production training and professional development.  Prior to the conference, many delegates were at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The sessions, panels, and scheduled social events provided the perfect networking opportunity for both film territories and producers to further discuss partnerships.  South Africa and Australia had a strong presence of producers in attendance.  Because of the recent Australia/South Africa co-production treaty going into effect, the venue allowed for Ausfilm to establish relationships with both South African producers and its’ film offices in addition to Canadian producers and production companies in attendance.

Screen Australia announces investment in three feature projects

Screen Australia Media Release

Wednesday 21 September 2011
Screen Australia today announced $3 million worth of production investment in three feature film projects triggering almost $21 million in production.

Oscar®-winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) will star in director Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, an emotionally charged true story based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling account of confronting his World War II torturer 30 years on. The film will be produced by Andy Paterson and Chris Brown and is written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson.

Rekindling Venus is a groundbreaking feature project written and directed by renowned Australian installation artist Lynette Wallworth and produced by John Maynard. It will be an immersive fulldome film experience and multi-platform work to be screened exclusively in dome cinemas and planetariums around the world.

Writer/director brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes’ debut comedy/horror feature film 100 Bloody Acres,to be produced by Julie Ryan and Kate Croser and executive produced by Jonathan Page, also received investment.

Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, “It’s exciting for Screen Australia to invest in these three very different projects. They all provide opportunities for Australian talent to take their storytelling to the next level.

The Railway Man is a compelling story that will be satisfying to both Australian and international audiences. This is a wonderful opportunity for one of our country’s rising directors, Jonathan Teplitzky, to work with one of the world’s finest actors, Colin Firth. The film will also provide great exposure for Australian talent on the world stage.

“The film experience Rekindling Venus is of high commercial and cultural merit and it’s great to be able to support an artist of the calibre of Lynette Wallworth to work on such a grand scale using the immersive fulldome cinema experience.

“The comedy/horror 100 Bloody Acres will be a talent escalator for debut feature writer/directors Colin and Cameron Cairnes, backed by a great producing team with Julie Ryan, Kate Croser and Jonathan Page.

“These three projects contribute to Screen Australia’s goal of investing in a high-quality, diverse slate of feature films,” concluded Dr Harley.

Cyan Films Pty Ltd
Producers Julie Ryan, Kate Croser
Executive Producer Jonathan Page
Writer/Directors Colin Cairnes, Cameron Cairnes
International Sales The Works
Australian Distributor Hopscotch
Synopsis They’re not psycho killers… they’re small business operators.

Archer Street and Pictures in Paradise
Producers Andy Paterson, Chris Brown
Writers Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson
Director Jonathan Teplitzky
International Sales Lionsgate International
Australian Distributor Transmission/Paramount
Synopsis An extraordinary true story of heroism, inhumanity and the redeeming power of love based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling account of confronting his WWII torturer 30 years on, starring Oscar®-award winning actor Colin Firth.

Felix Media
Producer John Maynard
Writer/Director Lynette Wallworth
International Sales Maze/Sky Skan (co-venture)
Australian & UK Distributor Footprint
Synopsis A fulldome film experience and multi-platform work immersing the viewer in the spectacle of fluorescent coral reefs and marine life as the pivot point for global co-operation in the face of climate change.

Iloura Undertakes Character Animation on Seth MacFarlane’s Feature Film: Ted

Media Release

Today Iloura announced that it has been appointed as a major VFX vendor for Media
Rights Capital and Seth MacFarlane’s (Family Guy) – live action/ CG-animated feature
comedy Ted.

Iloura’s Executive Producer, Simon Rosenthal said, “We’re very excited to be working
with Media Rights Capital, distributors Universal Pictures and Seth MacFarlane on
such a creative and unique project. Ted enables us to continue to expand our skills
and capacity and allows us to undertake some highly complex character animation
work on over 250 shots”.

Iloura’s Creative Director, Glenn Melenhorst adds, “Our extensive efforts early on in
the R&D of ‘Ted’ were instrumental in establishing the overall look and nuances of the
character. This included development and testing of facial expressions and body
movement, all the way down to the matted and worn texture of his fur. All this work
formulated our pitch which assisted us to win a significant package of shots on the

This announcement comes on the back of Iloura completing Guillermo Del Toro’s
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Omnilab Media’s Killer Elite and undertaking visual effects
on Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and featuring the voice of Seth MacFarlane
as the title character, focuses on the story of John Bennett (Wahlberg) – a grown man
who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who comes to life as a result of a
childhood wish. The film also stars Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi and Patrick
Warburton. Written by Seth MacFarlane and his Family Guy co-writers Alec Sulkin
and Wellesley Wild, the film is produced by Jason Clark, John Jacobs, Scott Stuber,
Macfarlane and Wellesley and is set for a July 2012 release.

Ted was attracted to Iloura with the assistance of the Australian Government’s 30%
Post Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) offset and Film Victoria’s Production Investment
Attraction Fund (PIAF).


Australian faces to watch in 2011

Sourced encore.com

11 out of 10 – That’s the score that all of these screen industry professionals will get this year with their work, as their profiles rise to new heights. These are Encore’s 11 faces to watch in 2011:

ANDREW McINALLY (Producer) & GARETH CALVERLEY (Producer/writer)



BECK COLE, Director/writer/producer

BEN BRIAND, Writer/director

BRENDAN FLETCHER, Writer/director/producer


DARIO RUSSO (Writer/director/producer) & DAVID ASHBY (Writer/actor)


KIERAN DARCY-SMITH, Writer/director/actor

LUKE JUREVICIUS, Writer/director/producer

Click here for the complete article

Elizabeth Debicki

With Baz’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ in the throws of production at Fox Studios in Sydney, it seems timely to discuss young Aussie actress Elizabeth Debicki and her accomplishment in landing the role of Jordan Baker. Her character is the love interest of Tobey Maguire’s character Nick Carraway. Miss Baker is also a glamorous golfer in the film and friend to Carey Mulligan’s character Daisy Buchanan.

I am really looking forward to seeing how Elizabeth, a graduate from the Victoria College of Arts, works with seasoned and Academy Award nominated actors. She could just be the ‘next big thing’!

Indigenous Filmmakers unearthed

Screen Australia

Media Release

Thursday 8 September 2011

The Indigenous Department of Screen Australia, in association with the ABC, is pleased to announce the five participants selected for Call to Country, a new initiative to unearth Indigenous Australian documentary makers.

Victor Steffensen (Queensland), Ella Bancroft (New South Wales), John Harvey (Victoria), Dylan McDonald (Northern Territory) and Kelli Cross (Western Australia) will each make a film documenting aspects of Australian life from an Indigenous perspective to be broadcast on ABC TV.

The five participants will first take part in a week-long documentary making workshop in October 2011. Following the workshop they will be allocated surprise Australian locations and funded to research and develop stories from these locations for production as broadcast half-hour ABC TV documentaries.

Led by award-winning documentary filmmaker Pat Fiske, Call to Country is the latest initiative of the National Indigenous Documentary Fund (NIDF), which has produced 12 successful series to date.

Head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department Erica Glynn said, “These filmmakers will not only have the opportunity to develop their screen storytelling skills; they will also be uncovering a slice of Indigenous life rarely represented on Australian screens.”

Head of ABC’s Indigenous Department Sally Riley said, “The NIDF has a long history of unearthing Indigenous filmmaking talent and the ABC is looking forward to broadcasting this exciting new work and partnering with Screen Australia on this innovative new approach.”


Victor Steffensen – Cairns, Queensland
Victor has worked on film projects for several years in communities throughout the Gulf Country in Far North Queensland and across Australia. With previous experience in land and cultural management, Victor began using his interest in filmmaking with his work, creating the Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways program in 1999 which saw him produce several corporate films on revival of land management practices and traditional knowledge specifically in relation to fire and water management.

Ella Bancroft – Sydney, New South Wales
Ella completed the Foundation Course at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) this year. With an initial interest in photography and the arts, Ella began pursuing a career in filmmaking in 2010 when she completed short courses in directing at Metro Screen and Shooting on HD at AFTRS. In 2010, Ella undertook an attachment in the camera department on the feature film Here I Am. Call to Country will be Ella’s introduction to documentary filmmaking.

John Harvey – Melbourne, Victoria
John is an emerging filmmaker with a strong background in arts management. In 2009, John made his first short film producing writer/director Romaine Moreton’s short drama The Farm through Screen Australia’s The New Black short drama initiative. John is currently developing several projects through his production company Brown Cab Productions including two short drama projects as producer and a documentary project as writer/director. He is also currently undertaking a part-time Producer Internship with Rob Connolly’s company Arena Media. Call to Country will be John’s introduction to documentary filmmaking as a director.

Dylan McDonald – Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Dylan currently works as Production Assistant at CAAMA Productions in Central Australia.
He has made several short films, documentaries and advertisements. In 2010, Dylan’s collaborative film Pop Goes the Weasel was shortlisted for Tropfest. In 2011, his advertisement Alcohol Can Effect Anyone won first prize in the Tell ‘Em That’s Enough Grog Campaign competition.

Kelli Cross – Perth, Western Australia
Kelli made her first short drama film Turtle through the Australian Film Commission’s Bit of Black Business short drama initiative in 2006, followed by You’re Not Playing That (2007) and Bingo (2010) through the ABC/FTI/ScreenWest Deadly Yarns initiative. Call to Country will be Kelli’s introduction to documentary filmmaking

A new Method emerges in Australia

Sydney and Melbourne add to Method Studio’s Global Footprint

Santa Monica, CA – Sept. 6, 2011 – Method Studios, the visual effects group within the Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, announced today the addition of three facilities in Australia, further expanding Method’s already established network of studios in Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York and London.

Joining the award-winning group under the Method banner is a brand new commercial facility in Sydney’s fashionable waterside district of Walsh Bay, and the Deluxe owned and operated commercial post-production business in Melbourne previously known as MRPPP and Sydney-based feature visual effects studio at Lane Cove previously operating as CIS-Postmodern.

“Uniting our Australian visual effects businesses under the Method Studios brand paves the way for those creative facilities to work together even more synergistically,” says Stefan Sonnenfeld, President of Deluxe Creative Services. “It’s our plan to continue to increase the level of collaboration among all the creative facilities within Deluxe’s global network to further benefit our clients both creatively and financially wherever they may be.”

“Method Studios in Australia launches with a team that is already well known in the local Australian and Asian markets,” said Dan Glass, Method Studios’ Executive Vice President, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor.  “We share the same goals of a strong creatively driven brand and will be working together to build on our creative and technical resources for both commercials and feature films.”

“Being part of Method’s international network means we can really raise the bar creatively for local clients,” said Alaric McAusland, Head of Deluxe in Australia.  “With the recent increase in the tax rebates for feature film production, our international clients will also be able to get their visual effects done locally.  This is a win-win situation for the creative community of Australia.”

Feature work being completed across the Method brand includes “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Fox, directed by Timur Bekmambetov), “Dark Shadows” (Warner Bros., directed by Tim Burton), “Clash of the Titans 2: Wrath of the Titans” (Warner Bros., directed by Jonathan Liebesman) and “J. Edgar” (Warner Bros., directed by Clint Eastwood).

The Method Australia feature visual effects facility will include a dedicated software team under Paul Ryan, Vice President of Technology and former CTO of WETA, the goal being the ability to share tools, assets and shots across the facilities.  The feature division also includes VFX supervisor James Rogers who has enjoyed close collaborations with filmakers such as Alex Proyas and Baz Luhrmann.

On the commercial front, the Method Australia group will also share resources with the Method facilities in the U.S. who have recently won VES and AICP awards for “Halo Reach: Deliver Hope” (VES award winner for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial and AICP Visual Effects award winner) directed by Noam Murro.  Across Method, recent commercial work includes Kia “Share Some Soul” directed by Mark Romanek and Verizon “Arena” for director Noam Murro.

In addition to visual effects, the Walsh Bay and Melbourne commercial facilities offer high-quality end-to-end creative solutions including editing, color grading, 3D & 2D design, and finishing.  Deluxe Australia, along with Deluxe companies EFILM and Stage One, are co-located within the Sydney visual effects facility.

About Method Studios
Method Studios is an award-winning international visual effects group with facilities in Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, London and Australia.  As an artist-driven company known for its creativity, the company services high-end feature film, commercial, television, games and motion graphics clients in the global marketplace.  Built around an exceptional team of visual effects professionals, Method’s international facilities provide a full range of visual effects services including conceptual design, look development, on-set supervision, 3D animation/CGI, matte painting, compositing and finishing, and full stereoscopic workflow.  With its global reach accented by its boutique accessibility, the company has the capacity to service its clientele wherever production is situated. Method Studios is wholly-owned by Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. www.methodstudios.com

About Deluxe
Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., is a leading provider of a broad range of entertainment industry services and technologies to the worldwide entertainment industry including the Hollywood studios, broadcast/cable/satellite providers, digital distribution, gaming as well as content owners and creators. Services for content creation in features, television and commercials are offered in production, post production, digital distribution, multi-platform development, marketing services and asset management. They include motion picture film processing and printing; EFILM® and Company 3® digital intermediates; post production and subtitling services; titles design and digital VFX; DVD compression, encoding and authoring; advertising distribution and syndication services; digital cinema services, and 2D to 3D conversioning. Laboratory and post production facilities are located in North America, Europe, and Australia. Deluxe Digital Studios offer home entertainment services in North America, Europe and India. For more information, please visit www.bydeluxe.com.

Gail Laguna
Director of Marketing
Deluxe Entertainment Services Group

Filming Begins on ‘The Great Gatsby’ in Sydney

The Hon Andrew Stoner MP
Deputy Premier of NSW
Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services

Media Release

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Filming has started in Sydney on The Great Gatsby, which will inject more than $120 million into the NSW economy, Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner said.

Mr Stoner welcomed the start of principal photography on Baz Luhrmann’s 3D film, based on the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan.

“Pre-production on The Great Gatsby has been completed and 17 weeks of filming is now underway, which will be followed by 30 weeks of post-production work in Sydney,” Mr Stoner said.

“While Fox Studios at Moore Park is the production base for The Great Gatsby, location shoots are also expected to occur in other parts of our State.

“This major international film production is supporting many jobs for our screen industry and injecting valuable spending into our local economy.

“Over 400 cast and crew are being employed during principal photography as well as many extras, and about 150 crew will be employed for post-production and visual effects.

“Importantly, The Great Gatsby is helping maintain Sydney’s reputation as an international film-making destination at a time when the high Australian dollar exacerbates global competition for major productions such as this.

“NSW will remain on the edge of the latest 3D film techniques thanks to the envelope-pushing nature of Baz Luhrmann and his creative vision for this latest adaptation of a classic story.”

“I thank director Baz Luhrmann for his support of NSW on this valuable endeavour.”

Mr Stoner said the high-powered cast of The Great Gatsby has drawn global attention to Sydney and its lifestyle at the peak of its spring-time beauty.

The cast includes Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio who is playing Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan as Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke as Myrtle and George Wilson, and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.

When complete, The Great Gatsby will be distributed in 3D and 2D by Warner Bros. Pictures and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

MEDIA: Lis Davies 0414 780 288

SAFC appoints new General Manager Industry Development & Production

Media Release

The South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Viron Papadopoulos as its new General Manager of Industry Development and Production.

Mr Papadopoulos has been acting in this position since late July. Prior to this he managed The FACTory, a joint initiative between the ABC and SAFC aimed at developing original ideas for factual programs, to be produced out of South Australia and air on ABC1 in prime time.

SAFC’s CEO Richard Harris said “Viron’s appointment comes at an exciting time for the SAFC, in its new home at the Adelaide Studios, and with a new generation of local talent beginning to really take on the world.”

“Viron is an award-winning filmmaker who brings not only a strong filmmaking background to the position, but a good working knowledge of the local industry which will serve the SAFC well as it continues to develop its local sector, and continuing initiatives such as FilmLab. He has provided real leadership during what has been a time of dramatic change for the SAFC, and has strong and fresh ideas about the future direction of the organisation.”

Mr Papadopoulos was a production accountant with Moneypenny Services for five years before running his own production house, Plexus Films. His critically acclaimed shorts include The Mystery of Flying Kicks (2010, Best Documentary, Melbourne International Film Festival and Best Film, South Australian Screen Awards) and Bad Language (2010, Flickerfest SBS Award and Best Foreign Film Award, NYC Downtown Film Festival.)

Mr Papadopoulos has served as a Board Member at the Media Resource Centre since 2007, Deputy Chair, Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) and as Treasurer for the South Australia Screen Industry Council from 2007-2009.


Mia Wasikowska: Interview

Sourced guardian.co.uk

The star of Alice in Wonderland on her new role as Jane Eyre, why she turned her back on ballet and how her love of photography allows her to focus the lens away from her

I arrive for my interview with Mia Wasikowska 45 minutes early, barrelling into the hotel corridor as she leaps gawkily, girlishly through a door. We lock eyes, I recognise her, she smiles shyly, as if trying to remember who I am, then realises she has no idea. This 21-year-old, the highest-grossing female film star of 2010, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, is clearly entirely unused to being recognised. Her expression shifts to friendly confusion, and she bounds off through another door.

Even when she’s completely silent, stories whisper over Wasikowska’s face, which explains her latest casting as Jane Eyre, a woman whose inner monologue bubbles with wit and defiance. The film opens with Eyre’s stricken flight from Thornfield Hall, after a betrayal by her great love, Rochester, and the camera focuses on Wasikowska’s stripped-bare face as she runs across sodden woodland, down wet paths, and lies on a rock in the hammering rain. The scene could easily veer into parody – the sort of watery, weepy cape-and-bonnet moment French and Saunders might once have sent up. But Wasikowska never teeters into histrionics, she is always completely believable…

Click here for the complete article

CinéfestOZ Closes With ‘Eye of The Storm

Sourced hollywoodreporter.com

Australian director Fred Schepisi given award as his film adaptation of Patrick White’s novel gathers momentum in advance of an anticipated TIFF screening.

West Australia’s up-and-coming film festival, CinéfestOZ, wrapped over the weekend with a closing night gala in honor of director Fred Schepisi after a screening of his hotly tipped film adaptation of Patrick White’s novel, The Eye of the Storm. The Australian-born producer/director, well received in Hollywood after successfully helming numerous known films the past few decades such as Six Degrees of Separation, The Devil’s Playground and Roxanne, was given an achievement award Saturday evening after The Eye Of The Storm screened in the small town of Busselton, just south of Perth.

“I’m happy for the films I get to make,” Schepisi said at the closing party after being given the award (and name checking a few notable films with top talent attached that never made it to production for various reasons over the years).

The Eye Of The Storm has so far made critics who have seen it happy, with more critical reaction expected at TIFF in Toronto after it screens September 11th at the Winter Garden Theater…

Click here for the complete article

Sam Worthington: What’s Next for the Australian Actor

Sourced hollywoodreporter.com

With “The Debt” and “Texas Killing Fields” opening in theaters, the “Avatar” star is keeping busy with numerous projects.

Sam Worthington has several films on the docket after starring in several films last year, including Clash of the Titans and Last Night. But it was 2009′s blockbuster Avatar that catapulted him to notoreity.

With several films set to make screen at festivals and be released in theaters for moviegoers, what is next for the Australian actor? One of his upcoming projects is the drama-thriller The Debt, co-starring Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain.

The Debt, a remake of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and was originally set to be in theaters by the end of 2010, but its opening was pushed to the following year. Worthington stars as a young David, who is a former Mossad agent. The Debt was directed by John Madden and written by Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Peter Staughan…

Click here for the complete article

Fred Schepisi scouts locations in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia for new film ‘The Drowner’

Sourced au.news.yahoo.com

Internationally acclaimed Australian film director Fred Schepisi will arrive in Kalgoorlie-Boulder tomorrow for a whirlwind tour to “get a feel” for the history and landscape of the area, as well as identify suitable film locations for the movie The Drowner.

The multi-million dollar film production, to be shot on location on the Goldfields, looks set to bring a tidal wave of tourism and economic benefits to the region.

Based on West Australian author Robert Drew’s award-winning novel The Drowner, about engineer CY O’Connor’s determined quest to build a water pipeline at the turn of the last century to supply fresh water to Kalgoorlie, there are high hopes the film will also bring an image change to Kalgoorlie-Boulder along with increased tourism.

The multi-award-winning Mr Schepisi, who whose film achievements include The Eye Of The Storm, The Russia House, Evil Angels and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, will take a helicopter along the pipeline from Mundaring to Kalgoorlie-Boulder with producer Stephen Van Mil and there are hopes of a similar flight to Leonora on Wednesday…

Click here for the complete article

Wenham hits Busselton’s red carpet

Sourced perthnow.com.au

HIS famously laid-back character Diver Dan would be perfectly at home in Busselton’s peaceful Geographe Bay but last night David Wenham led a cast of some of the year’s most exciting Australian cinema players down the red carpet at Busselton’s Orana Cinemas.

The Lord Of The Rings actor, iconic Australian director Fred Schepisi and his actress daughter Alexandra were among Mad Bastards star Dean Daley-Jones and Drift producer Tim Duffy at the WA premiere of Schepisi’s new film The Eye Of The Storm.

There was no sign on the red carpet of elusive Avatar star and Rockingham boy Sam Worthington who Duffy said had been filming scenes out deep in the surf all day. It was hoped he would make an appearance at the gala party.

Now in its fourth year, CinefestOZ is intended to bring the best new Australian and French films to the region and to connect audiences with the filmmakers behind them…

Click here for the complete article

Australian talent to work with the world’s best

Screen Australia – Media Release

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Screen Australia is proud to announce that six Australian producers and one Australian director have been awarded internships through Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator program. The internships are with highly regarded international production companies and the experience will provide the practitioners with invaluable professional development opportunities to enhance their skills.
The details of the selected internships are:

•    Producer Zyra McAuliffe will work closely for six months with renowned producer William Horberg (The Talented Mr Ripley, The Kite Runner, Sliding Doors, Cold Mountain) at Wonderful Films in Los Angeles to enhance her script development skills and gain valuable insight into the creative and financial aspects of movie making.

•    Producer Sheila Jayadev will spend six months in the development department at Ridley and Tony Scott’s London-based Scott Free Productions (Robin Hood, The A-Team, Unstoppable), working closely with Head of Development Jack Arbuthnott on their expanding film and television slate.

•    Producer Adam Bishop will spend six months in the development department at London-based Film4 (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Four Lions), working across the breadth of projects on their film slate and reporting to Head of Development Sam Lavender.

•    Melissa Kelly, producer of the feature film Blame, will work directly with the Head of International Sales at Magnolia Pictures in New York for four months, gaining valuable insight into the international marketplace from a sales perspective.

•    Michelle Sahayan will receive training as a Development Executive from London-based producer Andy Paterson, whose various films (Hilary and Jackie, Girl with a Pearl Earring) have received multiple Oscar® and BAFTA nominations, working with him for six months on the finance and development of his diverse slate of upcoming projects.

•    Benjamin Gilovitz, producer of multi-award winning short film Deeper Than Yesterday, will be attached to producer/director Roman Coppola for six months on a variety of projects at The Directors Bureau in Los Angeles, a film, commercial and music video production company working with directors such as Sofia Coppola.

•    Director Leonie Savvides will be attached for eight months to director Jane Campion on her mini-series Top of the Lake based in Sydney and New Zealand.

Screen Australia’s Head of Development Martha Coleman said, “These internships are an important part of Screen Australia’s professional development support of filmmakers. Each of these ambitious placements will expose Australian producers or directors to the international production landscape, helping to broaden outlook, hone specific skills and advance marketplace awareness, which will directly benefit the Australian industry more broadly.”

For more information about internships through Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator program visit: www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding/talent_escalator/internships.aspx

Gracey to helm Hugh Jackman’s Barnum pic

Sourced variety.com

Fox’s ‘Greatest Showman on Earth’ features Jackman as the circus icon

Just weeks after signing on to direct Disney’s revisionist Snow White pic “The Order of the Seven,” commercials helmer and vfx veteran Michael Gracey has become attached to direct Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox’s P.T. Barnum pic “The Greatest Showman on Earth.”

Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City”) wrote the original contemporary musical, which Jackman is producing with his former producing partner John Palermo and Laurence Mark (“Dreamgirls”). Project came about after Jackman, Mark and Bicks worked together on the 81st Academy Awards, which Jackman hosted, Mark exec produced and Bicks helped write.

Click here for the complete article

Sleeping Beauty joins the Australian line-up at Toronto

Screen Australia Media Release

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty was announced overnight to join an outstanding line-up of Australian films screening at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
Completing the Australian line-up at the festival, Sleeping Beauty will join five other feature films screening at Toronto – The Tall Man, Snowtown, The Eye of the Storm, Burning Man and The Hunter.

Sleeping Beauty, written and directed by Julia Leigh, produced by Jessica Brentnall and starring Emily Browning, Michael Dorman and Mirrah Foulkes, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011. The Toronto screening will be the film’s North American premiere.

Sleeping Beauty will screen in the prestigious Special Presentations program joining Burning Man directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, The Eye of the Storm directed by Fred Schepisi and The Hunter directed by Daniel Nettheim. Burning Man and The Hunter will have their world premieres and The Eye of the Storm will have its international premiere at the festival.

The Tall Man, directed by Tony Krawitz, will screen in the Real to Reel program at the festival, marking the film’s international premiere. Snowtown, directed by Justin Kurzel, will screen in the festival’s Vanguard program which will be the film’s North American premiere.

Screen Australia has a program to support filmmakers whose films are having their international or world premieres to travel to the festival and launch their film.

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place 8–18 September 2011.


Sleeping Beauty
Production Company Magic Films Pty Ltd
Writer/Director Julia Leigh
Producer Jessica Brentnall
Executive Producers Timothy White, Jamie Hilton
Cast Emily Browning, Michael Dorman, Mirrah Foulkes
Sales and Distribution Transmission Films, E1 Films and UTA

Synopsis “You will go to sleep: you will wake up. It will be as if those hours never existed.” Death-haunted, quietly reckless Lucy is a young university student who takes a job as a Sleeping Beauty. In the Sleeping Beauty Chamber old men seek an erotic experience that requires Lucy’s absolute submission. This unsettling task starts to bleed into Lucy’s daily life and she develops an increasing need to know what happens to her when she is asleep.

2011 Cine Sparks providing education through film

Finance, Natural Resources and The Arts
The Honourable Rachel Nolan

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Media Release

Cine Sparks, the International Film Festival for young people, will bring new cinematic experiences to South East Queensland schools and students this year, announced Arts Minister Rachel Nolan.

Ms Nolan said the event is a prelude to the Brisbane International Film Festival and provides children with the chance to experience and engage in the city’s celebration of screen.

“Cine Sparks, 10-14 October, will showcase a mix of foreign language documentaries and feature films from countries as diverse as Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, Japan, Norway, France and China,” Ms Nolan said.

“This year the festival will deliver 11 world cinema titles over 20 sessions for secondary school students, all taking place during school hours.

“A particular highlight is the Norwegian film The Liverpool Goalie, winner of the Crystal Bear Award at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival and voted by the Children’s Jury.

“Arild Andresen’s heart-warming comedy delves into the suburban world of 13-year-old Jo, a world of madcap adventures, growing pains, and all the complications of teenage life in high school.”

Education Minister Cameron Dick said the program gives young Australians a window into other cultures and provides an opportunity to explore experiences of youth through humour, drama and documentary stories.

“The stories align with Queensland’s secondary school curriculum, combining media and visual literacy education, with foreign languages, as well as the study of social and community studies, drama, film, new media, geography and history.

“I encourage all students and teachers to participate in the 2011 program and be inspired by another world in your very own backyard,” he said.

“The Bligh Government is a proud supporter of Cine Sparks and will send four thousand programs directly to teachers and educators across South East Queensland.”

A partnership between Cine Sparks and the Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) provides ATOM study guides for a selection of the films, emphasising the educational component of the festival for teachers and students.

The State Government through Screen Queensland and Education Queensland will invest $60,000 in Cine Sparks.

Cine Sparks will be held at Palace Barracks cinema in Brisbane. The program is available online at www.biff.com.au/cinesparks Bookings can be made through ATOM’s Metro Magazine website at www.metromagazine.com.au/cinesparks

Australian Producer Shane Brennan named a ‘Primetime Driver’ by Variety

Sourced variety.com

Shane Brennan
“NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS)

Impact: After running the mothership “NCIS” for four seasons, Brennan created and successfully spun off “NCIS: Los Angeles,” using the same character quirkiness and injection of humor in an entirely different setting where the NCIS agents are undercover. Benefiting from the brand and the lead-in, he and his team keep auds hooked with character-driven storylines.

Partners in crime: “NCIS” showrunner Gary Glasberg, writer and exec producer R. Scott Gemmill, co-executive producer John Kousakis and Brennan’s wife, Cathryn.

Biggest challenge: “?’NCIS’ in its ninth year is still fresh,” Brennan says. “One reason people still watch is that it’s new and exciting. In ‘L.A.,’ that’s what we’re trying to do, keep it fresh, contemporary and relevant for the audience so it’s not another tired procedural.” Adds Glasberg: “The biggest challenge is continuing to tell stories that people are attracted to and that entertain and keep our characters growing.”

What’s ahead: The next season of “Los Angeles” and several shows in development with the Eye. “CBS is my partner in crime from the get-go,” Brennan says. “We’ve got a great relationship, and we’re looking forward to developing new projects.”

Click here for the complete list of ‘Primetime Drivers’

Russell Crowe Signs On For Mayoral Run In ‘Broken City’

Sourced deadline.com

Russell Crowe is set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Allen Hughes-directed independently financed noir drama Broken City. Production begins in November. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor (the role Crowe will play) to see if his wife is cheating on him. The private eye confirms those suspicions, and when the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves the pol dealing himself choice city-owned properties. The script by Brian Tucker made the 2008 Black List script. The $60 million film will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films.

Click here for the complete article

Screen Australia invest $2.7 million in eight new documentaries

Sourced screenaustralia.gov.au

Monday 8 August 2011

Screen Australia today announced investment of $2.7 million in eight documentaries. The investment will trigger production worth almost $10 million.

Five international documentaries were announced including the SBS documentary The Network, produced, directed and written by Academy Award®–winning documentary filmmaker Eva Orner. The Network takes place behind the scenes at a new television network in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Also announced is the ABC documentary The Australian Wine Revolution, written and directed by Stephen Oliver, about the recent history of the Australian wine industry. It is produced by Andrew Ogilvie and executive produced by Andrew Ogilvie and Phil Craig.

Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Ruth Harley said, “The latest funding round will produce a substantial slate of culturally significant and original documentaries for Australian and international audiences.”

Click here for the complete release

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ – VFX by Fuel VFX

Media Release from Fuel VFX: Sourced fuelvfx.com

Sydney’s Fuel VFX delivered 120 shots in six sequences for the latest Marvel superhero blockbuster CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.

Fuel’s VFX Supervisor Dave Morley led a team of more than 50 artists and technicians through production, ensuring that the team’s work was in line with the vision of director Joe Johnston and VFX Supervisor Christopher Townsend. “This is an effects-heavy film that’s set in the 1940s and stars a mythical superhero, but Joe and Chris never wanted the effects to be over-the-top or gratuitous. All the effects do in this movie is help to tell the story, so that’s the brief we worked to,” said Morley.

Much of the work that Fuel delivered for the film involved building full CG environments such as the Hydra Base in the German Alps and reconstruction of the famous Radio City Music Hall, as well as delivery of various CG elements such as the Stark Industries bathysphere, motorbikes, the Hydra tank, digital doubles and the signature ‘cube’. A lot of CG effects work such as energy lasers, explosions, fire, smoke, snow, and water -  including a sequence involving Captain America chasing a mini submarine in the murky water of New York harbour – were part of a varied, complex package of work completed by Fuel, starting with the opening sequence.

A fully CG opening shot of headlights resolving out of a blizzard introduces the audience to an Arctic excavation site where scientists have discovered a huge aircraft buried in the ice.  Shot on stage at Shepperton in the UK, Fuel took a locked off shot of the aircraft wingtip and creating a moving camera shot that depicts a digitally-created frozen wasteland complete with digital doubles and CG snowcats; the extent of the buried craft mapped out with marker lights. A few laser effects and face replacements later and the scientific team has entered the aircraft and found a certain shield frozen in the ice.

The largest of the sequences undertaken by Fuel was a James Bond-style motorcycle chase where Captain America is being pursued by the enemy as he heads towards the Hydra base. The sequence required a seamless intercutting of location and green screen plates, enhanced with various elements such as digital doubles, CG flame-throwers, explosions, ‘blue bolt’ laser effects and tree extensions as Cap dispatches his pursuers before attacking the entrance to the Hydra base – in reality, the outskirts of Shepperton Studios redressed as the foothills of the Alps by the Fuel crew.

After Cap leaps his motorcycle over the base walls, the digital environment extensions were required for almost every camera angle while further CG fire, smoke, debris and blue bolt effects work fleshed out the ensuing action.  A detailed CG build of iron doors embedded into mountain rock was required for the shot when Cap uses his motorbike as an explosive to blast a hole in the doors and glimpse the cavern beyond. This build was later re-used when the Allied commandoes storm the Hydra base – much of that action created from many layers of separate elements of extras, vehicles and explosions.

Another challenge was the underwater chase, where Cap swims at a super-human pace to catch the character of Heinz Kruger in his one-man submarine. Filmed wet-for-wet in a tank, Fuel VFX Supervisor Dave Morley explains, “the trick was to get the timing of these shots right as Cap should be swimming at about 40km an hour to catch the sub. To do this, we moved either the digital camera or the submarine in comp. Particulates added to the water help sell the speed they are travelling at.”  The underwater particulate sims also made the water appear suitably murky with the look of the sequence completed by a hint of the wharf pylons in the background, the giant rudder of a container ship, cavitation bubbles from the sub, and even a few fish.

“The body of work we delivered played to our strengths in digital environmental builds, seamless effects and complex plate integration,” says Executive Producer Jason Bath. “Working on this film was a great experience for our team and we’d like to thank Chris Townsend, Mark Soper, Joe Johnston, Victoria Alonso and all at Marvel – we very much enjoy working on the Marvel projects and appreciate being regular contributors for their VFX.”

Captain America: The First Avenger opened in cinemas in the US on July 22 and in Australia on July 28 and reached #1 at the box office on its opening weekends in both territories.

On Set With ‘Terra Nova’: 8 Secrets Revealed From TV’s Most Ambitious Fall Show

Sourced hollywoodreporter.com

Which cast member did Steven Spielberg insist on? What is the truth behind its delayed launch? The new issue of The Hollywood Reporter goes exclusively on-set with Fox’s epic dino series.

Fox’s Terra Nova follows the Shannon family and other settlers who, threatened with extinction in the year 2149, travel back 85 million years in time to join a prehistoric Earth colony.

The Hollywood Reporter visited the Queensland, Australia set to get a behind the scenes glimpse of Fox’s highly anticipated —and heavily scrutinized—show ahead the series’ Sept. 26 premiere.

Among the revelations from this week’s cover story:

Executive producer Steven Spielberg made his first choice very clear on who he wanted to play paramilitary guy Nathaniel Taylor — the first to travel to Terra Nova: Avatar’s Stephen Lang. “He was always an advocate of Stephen Lang — and he was right,” says Brannon Braga. Another Spielberg note: add oxygen masks. He was responsible for the “rebreathers,” masks inhabitants of 2149 wear as there’s no longer fresh air on the overcrowded earth. That people from the overpopulated future nearly choke to death when they arrive in the oxygen-rich Terra Nova was an ironic twist that also came directly from him. “It was such a cool detail,” Braga notes. “A lot of the ‘Here’s what would really happen if…’ came out of Spielberg’s brain.”

Click here for more

Alex Proyas Setting Benjamin Walker To Play Archangel Michael In ‘Paradise Lost’

Sourced deadline.com

Legendary Pictures is negotiating with Benjamin Walker to play the archangel Michael in Paradise Lost, the action epic battle between good and evil that is inspired by the John Milton poem. Walker, who just wrapped the title role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, will go mano a mano against Bradley Cooper’s Lucifer in what I’m told is the war that began all wars. After being cast out of Heaven, Lucifer mounts an army that battles the forces of good, and the film will have cutting-edge visual effects that will make these battles resemble 300 meets Lord of the Rings — but with winged warriors. While Warner Bros is finalizing a release date, I’m told Paradise Lost is likely to reach theaters in fourth-quarter 2013.

Production will begin in January in Sydney, which will give Cooper time to star alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the David O Russell-directed The Silver Linings Playbook for The Weinstein Company.

Click here for the complete article

Welcome to Our Blog


I am very excited to be writing the first post for Ausfilm’s blog. My name is Laura Sierakowski and I am the Marketing and Operations Coordinator at Ausfilm in Sydney.

Welcome to our blog. Here you will be able to find all the latest news with regards to filming in Australia. This includes discussions about Australian incentives, our hot new talent, intriguing locations and facilities as well as all the latest production news.

Joining me as bloggers will be Debra Richards (Ausfilm CEO) as well as Tracey Vieira (Executive Vice President, International Production) and Michelle Sandoval (Client Liaison Officer) who are both based in Los Angeles.

We are very much looking forward to our dialogue with you. Hope you enjoy!

Exciting new Australian talent in ‘Black & White & Sex’

Sourced http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117945541/

Black & White & Sex

There is nothing black or white about the sex worker under the spotlight in “Black & White & Sex,” an experimental Aussie drama that reps the helming debut of producer John Winter (“Rabbit Proof Fence”). Filmed on a single set with eight actresses playing Angie, a prostitute being interviewed by a largely unseen documaker, pic offers a full-tilt examination of the sex-for-sale biz that effectively challenges stereotypes and is well served by dashes of droll humor. Scheduled for domestic release later this year, this talkfest faces a tough commercial future. Fest programmers should check it out.

Considering Australia rarely produces movies about the sex industry, it’s a strange coincidence that Julia Leigh’s Cannes competition entry “Sleeping Beauty” and “Black & White & Sex” appeared within a few weeks of each other. Unlike Leigh’s artsy take on an esoteric corner of the trade, Winter’s script zeroes in on an unashamed working girl who’s seen and done it all and is ready to give her filmmaker “client” his money’s worth.

The sole location is a movie studio where the unnamed director (Matthew Holmes) has paid Angie to appear in his docu about sex. With four cameras trained on his subject, he commences inquiries with Angie 1 (Katharine Hicks), a confident Marilyn Monroe type who talks disparagingly about how sex workers are usually portrayed as victims in mainstream movies.

At around the 10-minute mark, this first Angie is replaced via a jump cut to Angie 2 (Anya Beyersdorf). Following a short sequence cutting back and forth between the two actors, Angie 2 assumes sole occupancy of the screen. Employed at each transition point, this device proves highly successful in maintaining narrative momentum while introducing auds to the many potential ages and faces of a single character.

Concept never gets tired due to questions from the filmmaker that represent what many people would probably want to ask a sex worker, given the chance. Despite a couple of flat dialogue stretches, pic holds the attention with extremely frank descriptions of paid sexual encounters and a gradual shift in the power balance as Angie, who has a science degree, throws her own highly provocative questions at the interviewer.

Thesping by the well cast femmes is uniformly excellent. While it seems unfair to single anyone out, Valerie Bader is dynamite as the mature and sassy Angie 3, and Saskia Burmeister (“Hating Alison Ashley”) manipulates her sweet girl-next-door persona to telling effect as her Angie 7 discusses sex and submission.

Outstanding black-and-white HD widescreen imagery by lenser Nicola Daley subtly evokes everything from the high key-light portraiture of film noir to glamour model photography of the 1950s and the stark realism of direct cinema. Rest of the tech package is topnotch.

Australian Features Boosted by New Funding, Festival Selection

Sourced hollywoodreporter.com

Sam Worthington, Toni Colette, Baz Luhrmann head home for new projects

SYDNEY — There was a dizzying number of announcements from Australian producers and national agency Screen Australia this week, with the agency committing production and development funding to a raft of features with some major names attached, as well as the selection of three Australian films in the Toronto Film Festival and a fourth chosen for the Venice Film Festival.

At the same time two new local features headlined by Sam Worthington and Toni Collette go into production, while Baz Luhrmann has returned home to finish prepping The Great Gatsby in 3D ahead of the start of production, now set for mid-September at Fox Studios Australia.

Screen Australia announced AUD$18 million ($19.6 million) in production funding for six features and eight TV projects, triggering AUD$85 million in production, while development funding has been given to another eight features by the agency.

Click here for the complete article

Red Dog gives VIP travel new meaning

Ausfilm member, Stage and Screen Travel Services, managed travel for film VIPs of a canine kind when they worked on RED DOG, set for release on 4 August.

The entertainment travel specialists moved four spirited kelpies to remote parts of Australia for filming of the movie, which tells the true story of a dog renowned for his travels through WA’s Pilbara region.

Stage and Screen arranged for the four canine stars to be flown from Melbourne and Adelaide to Karratha to star in the production. The task included organising flight permits and crates, and coordinating pick-ups and transfers for the animals. On their arrival in Perth, the dogs were also given a ‘comfort stop’ before they were flown to Karratha.

RED DOG took film travel logistics to a whole new level for us,” said Stage and Screen Travel Manager Lyndal Hunt. “We loved working with the dogs and it really was a case of booking travel for A-Listers with special requests!”

Screen Australia announces $3 million for Enterpise Program

On Wednesday 22 June Screen Australia launched the third annual funding round of its Enterprise Program (EP). The EP provides up to $3 million in support for screen businesses over the next three years. The program to now has provided 17 companies with almost $12million to support the development and expansion of their business which is anticipated to flow through to increased production levels.

Screen Australia’s CEO Ruth Harley commented that “enhanced capacity through Enterprise funding has enabled company producers to recruit key creative and managerial personnel to oversee development and production”.

This program aims to provide long term sustainability for the Australian film industry; “ They’re building alliances with complementary domestic production companies and international partners, attracting private investment, developing new revenue streams and demonstrating innovation in the online environment” Harley said.

SAFC says goodbye to Hendon and welcomes Adelaide Studios

The Hendon Studios, South Australia Film Commission’s home of filmmaking for more than 27 years officially closed its doors on Friday 22 July. The closing was bitter sweet as SAFC prepares to open its new home of film, Adelaide Studios, a $43 million new development to be opened in August.

The state-of-the art Adelaide Studios feature ‘two soundstages, production facilities, a 96-seat screening theatre and Dolby Premiere Mixing theatre’. The Adelaide Studios will provide exciting times ahead according to SAFC Chair Cheryl Bart who stated that ‘the future looks bright – very bright’.

Hendon Studios produced such Australian titles as GALLIPOLI, BREAKER MORANT, THE CLUBTHE LIGHTHORSEMEN and MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME as well as helping to launch the careers of acclaimed Australian artists Peter Weir, Jack Thompson, Scott Hicks, Rolf de Heer, Bryan Brown, Geoffrey Rush and Bruce Beresford.

We look forward to witnessing the films produced and careers launched by the new Adelaide Studios.

Rebel Wilson: Oz star gets ‘Bridesmaids’ boost

Sourced variety.com

Rebel Wilson may not yet be a household name in the States, but thanks to her scene-stealing role as Kristen Wiig’s roommate in the smash hit “Bridesmaids,” her career has gone turbo-charged almost overnight.

“It was my first job since moving to L.A., and there’s already talk of a sequel,” reports Wilson, who reteams with “Bridesmaids” co-star Matt Lucas in indie comedy “Small Apartments.”

Audiences will soon be seeing much more of her. She’s already wrapped two other features, “This Means War” (with Reese Witherspoon) and “A Few Best Men” — a big step for the Australian-born standup/writer.

Click here for the complete article

Investment in feature development announced – Screen Australia

Sourced www.screenaustralia.gov.au

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Screen Australia today announced investment in the development of eight feature films.

Writer/director Adam Elliot’s (Mary and Max) new script Ernee, an animated adventure romance, is among projects to receive single-draft development funding. The project is set to be produced by Peter Kaufman and executive producers Brian Rosen and Bryce Menzies.

Other new feature projects to receive development support include Julian Corkle Is a Filthy Liar, a coming-of-age story based on the best-selling novel from DJ Connell. Writer Mark Herman will adapt the screenplay with producers Marian Macgowan (Two Hands, The Rage in Placid Lake) and Sarah Radclyffe. Writer Tony Morphett will also develop an adaptation of the novel The Diary of Jimmy Porter, with director Nadia Tess and producers Lisa McCune and Gus Howard.

Click here for the complete media release

Screen Australia announce $18mil in new productions

Sourced encoremagazine.com.au

Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley this evening announced production investment of $18million in 13 projects.

Announced at Melbourne International Film Festival’s 37 degree South Market, Harley said ““I’m thrilled to announce a compelling slate of quality screen productions that promise to engage audiences of all ages and tastes.”

The investment will trigger $85million in production over six feature films, five adult tv programs, a children’s series and a documentary series.

Click here for the complete article

Filmmakers delve into business at 37º South Market

The Hon Louise Asher MP
Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business
Minister for Tourism and Major Events

Media release

Friday 22 July 2011

Australia’s only film co-financing market 37º South Market opened in Melbourne last night as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), providing film practitioners with a platform to do business.

Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher said 37º South Market enabled producers to pitch film projects to financiers.

“This year 37º South Market will give 100 Australian and New Zealand producers the opportunity to meet with 45 key international film co-financiers, with the aim of deepening marketplace relationships and generating financier interest,” Ms Asher said.

37º South Market also includes private buyer screenings of completed films and a books-to-film event to encourage screen adaptations.

“The Melbourne International Film Festival is not just about watching films, it’s about the business of making films happen,” Ms Asher said.

This year MIFF celebrates its 60th year, firmly cementing its place as Australia’s largest and oldest film festival.

“Melbourne International Film Festival makes a truly outstanding contribution to Melbourne’s cultural life, and its industry programs,” Ms Asher said.

“The Festival and 37º South Market underline Melbourne’s position as a leader in the creative industries, and a great place to do business,” Ms Asher said.

37º South Market is now well connected with a network of overseas markets in Europe and North America, including exclusive alliances with London’s Production Finance Market and Canada’s Strategic Partners.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is pleased to support the Melbourne International Film Festival and 37º South Market. Our government is committed to supporting local screen businesses to grow by providing opportunities for film makers to engage with the global industry,” Ms Asher said.

For further information visit www.miff37degreesSouth.com

Central Australia Filmmakers Get Valuable Funding Boost

Karl Hampton

22 July 2011

Media Release

Central Australian film producers and film lovers are big winners in the latest rounds of Territory
Government’s Screen Grants Funding Program, Minister for Central Australia Karl Hampton
announced today.

Mr Hampton said almost $90,000 has been granted to seven local filmmakers and film groups
to develop, produce and screen short films and documentaries.

“Alice Springs and Central Australia is home to some of Australia’s most powerful story tellers
and the Territory Government is proud to get behind them,” Minister Hampton said.

“This year Territorians will have access to more locally produced films and documentaries as a
result of funding through the Territory Government’s Screen Grants Funding Program.

“Past recipients have gone on to win national and international awards including AFIs and the
prestigious Camera d’Or at Cannes and have their films screened at national and international
film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, and on national and international TV.

“We want to continue to stimulate industry and help our films reach bigger national and
international audiences.

“Film provides an important medium to help us tell our story, and help contribute to the
Territory’s unique identity.

“The Henderson Government is committed to continue to provide opportunities for Territory film
makers to break into the film industry, and more opportunities for Territorians to enjoy our local

2011 Northern Territory Screen Grants Funding Program recipients include:

  • $20,000 to PAW Media and Communications in Yuendumu to produce documentary
    Coniston: Telling it True which tells the stories of those who survived the brutal Coniston
    Massacre of 1928. The documentary is being co-written and co-directed by Francis Kelly
    and David Batty of Bush Mechanics fame.
  • $20 000 to GRB Special Projects, producers Dr Lisa Watts and Ms Rachel Clements to
    produce GRB the story of George Rrurrambu Burarrawanga, former lead singer of the
    Warumpi Band, and his extraordinary contribution to Indigenous contemporary music and
    to Australian reconciliation.
  • $20,000 to David Curl Pty Ltd in Alice Springs to continue developing documentary The
    Kangaroo, the Kingfisher and the Cuckoo. This grant will support the development of a
    draft script and additional principal photography.
  • $5,000 to Fringe Dweller Films Pty Ltd in Alice Springs to continue to develop the
    documentary Lucky Country, about an Arrernte man and his horse. Lucky Country
    gained national interest when presented to broadcasters at the Australian International
    Documentary Conference in Adelaide this year.
  • $13,900 to Red Hot Arts Central Australia for Cinema by the River (previously Cinema in
    the River) a vibrant and well loved element of the Alice Desert Festival which provides
    audiences with the rare opportunity to see locally made content alongside films of
    national and international standard and profile. Cinema by the River also includes Lens
    Flair, a local short film competition which ran for the first time in 2010.
  • $5, 000 to CAAMA Productions Pty Ltd for the 21st anniversary screenings of Nganampa
    Anwernekenhe which will took place at the Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival in
    Alice Springs recently.
  • $4, 206 to Katherine Regional Arts towards Feast Your Eyes on This – A Cultural Feast of
    Movies, Bushfoods, Damper and Popcorn which is being held as part of the inaugural
    Moon Dreaming Cultural Festival in the Bulman-Weemol community.

“In 2010-11 more there$300,000 was provided through our Screen Grants Funding Program to
help bring 20 new stories to the screen,” Mr Hampton said.

60 years of cinematic wonders at Melbourne International Film Festival

The Hon Ted Baillieu MP
Minister for the Arts

Friday 22 July 2011

Media Release

The red carpet has been rolled out this week to celebrate 60 years of cinematic gems at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), opened by Premier Ted Baillieu at Greater Union Cinemas in Russell St Melbourne last night.

“MIFF has been a key feature of the Victorian major events calendar for the past 60 years and is the oldest, largest and most successful film festival in the Southern Hemisphere,” Mr Baillieu said.

“The festival makes an outstanding contribution to Melbourne’s rich creative culture and its industry programs are particularly important to Australian screen businesses.

“The Victorian screen industry is an important contributor to our State’s economy because events like MIFF help attract international filmmakers, producers and crew to Victoria.”

The festival showcases the last 60 years including a graphic art display at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, film features and the revitalised talking pictures program.

The Victorian Coalition Government supports the MIFF Premiere Fund for new Australian theatrical films and feature-length documentaries. This year will see MIFF world premieres for six films from the Premiere Fund:

  • Curse of the Gothic Symphony
  • Ben Lee: Catch My Disease
  • Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard
  • Swerve
  • The Triangle Wars
  • Falling for Sahara

The Coalition Government, through Film Victoria, has supported 22 film and TV productions expected to generate more than $100 million in production expenditure for the State.

“With a thriving independent arts community, internationally acclaimed arts organisations and institutions, rich cultural collections and well-established cultural infrastructure, Victoria has a sound reputation as Australia’s cultural heartland,” Mr Baillieu said.

For further information visit www.miff.com.au

James McTeigue directing ‘Message From the King’

Sourced at: deadline.com

V For Vendetta helmer James McTeigue has been set to direct Message From the King for FilmNation Entertainment. Scripted by Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell (Unknown), the thriller centers on Jacob King, an enigmatic outsider who comes to LA to investigate the sudden disappearance of his sister. FilmNation Entertainment production head Aaron Ryder will produce with Rhodri Thomas of The Ink Factory and Ash Shah and production will begin in late fall with FilmNation handling international sales.

McTeigue just completed the John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe thriller The Raven for FilmNation and Intrepid Pictures. Relativity Media releasing the film March 9 and McTeigue and Ryder will do a little tub-thumping for the film at Comic-Con. “After working with James on The Raven and then seeing a cut of the film, it was very clear to us that we needed to make his next movie,” Ryder said…

Click here for the complete article

Feature film ‘Paradise Lost’ to shoot in NSW

The Hon Andrew Stoner MP
Acting Premier of NSW
Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services

Press Release

Acting NSW Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner today announced that the multimillion dollar film Paradise Lost will be produced in Sydney.

Mr Stoner made the announcement at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, alongside the film’s director Alex Proyas.

Paradise Lost will bring an estimated $88 million in production expenditure and an estimated 1,300 jobs to NSW, including over $20 million expenditure and 200 jobs in the visual effects area. The film involves more than 20 weeks of pre-production, eight weeks of principal photography and motion capture, and 72 weeks of post-production and visual effects work.

Mr Stoner said securing the production of Paradise Lost, a fantasy epic based on the John Milton poem, strengthens Sydney’s reputation as a global visual effects and filmmaking hub.

“I am delighted to announce the visionary Australian director Alex Proyas, who has directed films including I, Robot and Knowing, will bring his next film to Sydney,” Mr Stoner said.

“With fierce competition from rival locations in the United States and Canada, there is no doubt securing Paradise Lost is a major win for the NSW film industry.

“When in Los Angeles recently, I met the team at Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, and encouraged them to produce Paradise Lost in Sydney.

“The NSW Government was determined to secure the production of Paradise Lost for the NSW film industry.

“To filmmakers and producers around the world I say, NSW is open for business once more – we are determined to make NSW Number One Again.

Paradise Lost will see the next generation of post-Avatar motion capture work undertaken right here in Sydney.”

The film is produced by Proyas, Legendary Pictures and Vincent Newman. Legendary’s long-time partner Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute the film worldwide. The film will star Bradley Cooper as Lucifer and is targeted for a late 2013 release.

“The NSW Government has also secured a commitment from Digital Domain, a California-based digital production and visual effects company, to establish a base in Sydney that will continue beyond the production of Paradise Lost,” Mr Stoner said.

“The latest Federal Budget doubled incentives for visual effects films to be produced in Australia – the NSW Government has ensured subsequent growth in this sector comes to Sydney.

“The production of Paradise Lost and Digital Domain’s local presence will expose NSW visual effects and film professionals to unique and cutting edge film technologies and methods as well as to work on US studio-financed film projects.”

Past films directed by Alex Proyas include Knowing (2009), I, Robot (2004), Dark City (1998), and The Crow (1994).

Mr Proyas said “I’m delighted to have found such overwhelming support here in NSW for such a unique film offering unparalleled exposure for NSW cast and crew to the cutting edge technology that will be used in the making of Paradise Lost.”

Legendary Pictures recently wrote to Mr Stoner to say they appreciate the support of the NSW Government. The final agreement will be negotiated between Triune Productions Pty. Ltd. and the Department of Trade and Investment.

Australian actor Guy Pearce nominated for Emmy

Australian actor Guy Pearce has been nominated for a 2011 Primetime Emmy award for his role in the TV miniseries Mildred Pierce. He was nominated in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.

Pearce stars as Monty Beragon in HBO’s melodramatic TV miniseries alongside Kate Winslet (also nominated).

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 18 2011 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Congratulations to Ausfilm members Rising Sun Pictures and Warner Bros for the 7th and final installment of the Harry Potter franchise; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The film, based on J.K Rowling’s final Harry Potter novel had the biggest Australian opening weekend of all time.

Click here for the trailer

The rise and rise of Xavier Samuel

Sourced at theaustralian.com.au

ACTOR Xavier Samuel is in demand. Tudor earl, vampire, shopper beset by man-eating sharks … he has been all these and more. But whatever his role, he is a man with innate style

Xavier Samuel has a face that you might not immediately recognise – unless you’re a teenage girl or an aficionado of the Twilight movies – and it could be argued that this is what has set him on a sure path to superstardom. This year Samuel has three feature films due for release. And at just 27 years old, his CV is pretty impressive, with roles in movies such as September, Newcastle, The Loved Ones and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

There’s no doubt the Adelaide-raised actor has the right looks to be a Hollywood leading man but, unlike some other rising Aussie stars, he hasn’t had the pressure of being labelled the next Mel Gibson or the next Russell Crowe. Samuel has just been getting on with the job and, as his hectic work schedule attests, Hollywood’s power players have sat up and noticed…

Click here for the complete article

‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’ closes LA Film Festival

Guillermo del Toro’s Don’t be afraid of the Dark closed the Los Angeles Film Festival on Sunday 26th June in Downtown Los Angeles. The horror film, directed by Troy Nixey was filmed in Melbourne, Victoria and stars Katie Holmes and Australian actor Guy Pearce. The Australian high-end VFX and animation company iloura worked on the Miramax film as did Australian audio and music post-production facility Trackdown. The music for Don’t be Afraid of the Dark was recorded and mixed at Trackdown and Tim Ryan and Craig Becket were music editors on the film which will be released in the US on August 26, 2011.

Director John Polson announces Sydney I Love You

Sourced at encoremagazine.com.au

Following in line with features, Paris Je T’Aime and New York, I Love You, John Polson has announced he, with Gary Hamilton (Arclight Films), will produce Sydney, I Love You – a collection of short films by some of Australia’s finest established and up and coming feature directors.

Speaking to Encore from New York, Polson said “the film will involve 12 films, each eight to ten minutes long put together as one feature project.”

“With some of the best talent Australia has to offer,” said Polson, “the plan is to put together some of the best Australian directors and build the stories and from there find the best actors, shooting it in 2012 with a late 2012 – early 2013 release date. We haven’t got anyone yet but I’ve had some phone calls from very interested people – I know a number of directors who have had a short film idea for some years now but never had the chance to make it.

Click here for the complete article

Two new feature films to be shot on the Gold Coast

Sourced at www.goldcoast.com.au

The Gold Coast film industry is welcoming some Deception and Bad Karma.

The two multimillion-dollar feature films start production at Village Roadshow Studios, Movie World next month and will bring some much-needed life back into the Gold Coast industry.

Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr (Jerry Maguire) will arrive in mid-July to begin filming Deception with Australian director Brian Trenchard-Smith (BMX Bandits).

The thriller will be shot entirely at Village Roadshow Studios and is an Australian-Canadian co-production.

Brisbane production house Limelight International Media Entertainment, owned by Grant and Dale Bradley, is producing both films…

Click here for the complete article

Guy Pearce promotes Aust/China co-production ’33 Postcards’

Sourced at china.org.cn

Hollywood actor Guy Pearce comes to China to promote the film, “33 Postcards” starring this veteran actor and Chinese newcomer, Zhu Lin, according to Chinese media reports.

The film premiered in Shanghai last Saturday and is slated for a release nationwide this fall.

Guy Pearce showed up for the closing ceremony of the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival Sunday night.

The low-profile Hollywood star made a good impression to locals when he landed in the city without a big entourage and looked as accessible as any other foreign traveler.

It marks Pearce’s first visit to China and he hopes Chinese would watch his movie.

Directed by Australian Chinese Pauline Chan, the film tells a story about a Chinese orphan Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) who sets out to find her Australian sponsor and pen friend, Dean Randall (Pearce) when their orphanage travels to Australia for a choir festival. However what she finds is far from what he depicted. Initially mismatched and disconnected the two begin a journey in search of belonging and acceptance.

This is the second official co-production film between Australia and China.

Guy Pearce is known for his roles in Christopher Nolan’s “Memento,” and 2008 film “The Hurt Locker” as well as 2010 Best Picture Oscar winner “The King’s Speech.”

He gave a nuanced performance in this small-budget film featured no other big stars. Pearce said, he was just captivated by the story and moved by the script by Pauline Chan.

33 Postcards premieres at Sydney & Shanghai Film Festivals

33 Postcards, the first official film co-production between Australia and China to film in Sydney, has had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival and its international premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Chinese star of the film, Zhu Lin, won the Rising Talent Award at Shanghai Film Festival and the film also received the Community Relations Commission Award at the Sydney Film Festival.
33 Postcards is the second official co-production between Australia and China to be filmed in Australia.  The film was written and directed by Pauline Chan and stars Guy Pearce and Claudia Karvan alongside Zhu Lin.

The film was produced by Portal Pictures and Zhejiang Hengdian Film Productions in association with IFS Capital Limited and Screen NSW.

Zhejiang Hengdian Film Productions is the third major component of China’s industrial giant Hengdian Group Holdings (after Electric & Electronics, Pharmaceutical and Chemical).  The Group was established in 1975, and their Film and Entertainment business was established in 1996.  It is now the biggest filming base in the world, and one of the fastest growing entertainment groups in China, owning cinema chains, theme parks, sound stages, extensive film locations, comprehensive production servicing, training centres, film development and financing.

33 Postcards was filmed over four weeks in Sydney last year with one week of filming in China at the Hengdian Chinese Film Industrial Park, Zhejiang.    All post-production was undertaken in NSW.
The film was produced by Penny Carl-Nelson, Pauline Chan, Lesley Stevens and Zhijiang Liu. Writers, with Pauline Chan, were Martin Edmond and Philip Dalkin.

33 Postcards tells the story of Chinese orphan, Mei Mei, who arrives in Australia to meet her Australian sponsor Dean Randall and his beautiful family. Instead she finds him behind bars for manslaughter. Mismatched and unloved, both are lost souls but over a roller coaster ride of three weeks each helps the other to grasp their chance at life.

Chief Executive of Screen NSW, Tania Chambers, said:  “33 Postcards is an excellent example of how film can illuminate the shared experiences between the peoples of China and Australia and build on our mutual understanding. Co-productions are a powerful vehicle to strengthen ties between our arts communities and societies more broadly. NSW is proud to be an investor in this film.”

‘Oranges and Sunshine’ posts big numbers at Australian Box Office

Sourced at if.com.au

By Sam Dallas

The Jim Loach film, which stars Emily Watson, David Wenham and Hugo Weaving, took in $906,232 over the long weekend, showing on 103 screens, giving it a healthy screen average of $8798.

This is the second Australian film of the year to open on more than 100 screens after 3D flick Sanctum opened on 252 screens in early February.

Distributed by Icon, the highly-emotional film stars Watson as Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys, who uncovers one of our country’s biggest secrets – the deportation of thousands of British children who were sent to Australia.

The story was largely unknown for many years and has come to life with the film, which saw both Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Gordon Brown apologise to their respective people back in 2009-10.

The Sixteen Films/See-Saw Films co-production was shot in both Nottingham and South Australia.

Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech) told IF earlier this year he was immensely proud of the film, which was penned by Rona Munro.

“It just had such authenticity and truth to it and so many really touching moments as well as being about something that needs to be told,” the Sydney-based Sherman said.

“Having been involved with films from Rabbit Proof Fence to even The King’s Speech, I definitely have an imperative to try and tell stories that are meaningful and need to get out there and Oranges and Sunshine is absolutely one of those.”

Click here for the complete article

Fuel’s fantastic voyage on ‘Thor’

Following Fuel’s work on Iron Man 2, we were once again invited by Marvel Studios to work with them on the big-screen adaptation of THOR.

When Thor is banished to Earth by his father Odin for reigniting an ancient war with the Frost Giants, he must traverse the bifrost – a burning rainbow bridge that in Norse mythology allowed the gods to move between the human world and the world of the gods. Fuel created the travelling shots inside the bifrost tunnel.

“Thor’s banishment is marked by a chaotic and dangerous fall through bifrost,” said Fuel’s VFX supervisor Paul Butterworth. “Director Kenneth Branagh and VFX supervisor Wes Sewell wanted to have a scientific basis to the look development so it was an exciting challenge creatively to interpret what bifrost journeys might look like.”

Paul and Head of Design Brendan Savage gathered a lot of reference based on natural phenomena, such as the polar auroras and imagery from the Hubble telescope. An extensive design process ensued with several iterations of concepts and testing done to achieve an organic look. CG Supervisor Roy Malhi spent many months programming a detailed fluid system to help the CG artists interpret the energy ribbons and nebula in the 3D space and digital doubles of Thor and his fellow Asgardians were created in order to animate them through the CG wormhole. The compositing team led by Tim Walker pieced all elements together to ensure a smooth transition between these fast-paced and complex shots.

Fuel also designed and created the ‘sleep effects’ within Odin’s chamber on Asgard. Odin can sleep for up to 1000 years beneath a surface of energy that covers his bed.
“The sleep effect is in the form of a dome of energy over Odin that seals to the edges of his elaborate bed,” Paul explains. “We took a lot of reference from the corona of the sun and gave the sleep effect plenty of volume and space. Above the dome is a curtain of light rays that add to the sense of moving energy and harnessed power.” The look of the sleep effect was developed by CG Supervisor Pawel Olas using both fluid and particle simulations in shifting shades of gold and bronze that reference the sun and compliment the majestic set.

Perth film Blame premieres following strong international and national response

John Day
Minister for Planning; Culture and the Arts; Science and Innovation

Wed 08 June, 2011

Locally-made and supported feature film Blame has already received a strong reception internationally and nationally ahead of its Australian cinema release on June 16.

Ahead of its Perth premiere this evening, Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the thriller received $750,000 from ScreenWest’s West Coast Visions, an initiative designed to develop promising local filmmakers.

Blame attracted strong international marketplace interest last month following its successful screenings at the Cannes International Film Festival in the Cannes Cinephiles program as part of the Cinema des Antipodes section, securing sales in North America, France, UK and China,” Mr Day said.

“The success of Blame is a testament to the importance of continuing to provide these stepping-stone opportunities to support our talented local filmmakers.

“Congratulations to Perth producers Ryan Hodgson and Melissa Kelly who have really maximised this opportunity and encapsulated the ethos of the West Coast Visions initiative.”

The film has achieved a number of prestigious accolades on the festival circuit being officially selected for the Melbourne, Toronto and Chicago International film festivals as well as having the honour of screening as part of the closing gala at last year’s CinéfestOZ Film Festival.

The Minister said it was pleasing to see local talent receiving such a warm reception from critics and audiences alike.

“The film’s reception proves there is a definite place for powerful, well-crafted Western Australian stories,” he said.

“I am confident Blame will continue its strong engagement with audiences when it is released in cinemas next week.”

Blame is the first feature film for producers Ryan Hodgson and Melissa Kelly (Factor 30 Films) and co-producer Michael Robinson (3monkeysfilms) and writer-director Michael Henry.

Blame was filmed entirely in the Perth Hills with an ensemble cast of Australia’s rising talent, including Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate, Blessed), Simon Stone (Balibo, Kokoda, Jindabyne), Kestie Morassi (Wolf Creek, Underbelly), Mark Winter (Balibo, Van Diemen’s Land), Ashley Zukerman (Rush) and Damian de Montenas (Underbelly, Secret Life of Us).

Minister’s office  – 9213 6600

A breath of fresh air for Tasmanian screens

The Premier, Lara Giddings, today launched the 2011 Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA).
In its second year, the festival will take place in and around the Inveresk Precinct in Launceston over five days from 23 to 27 November 2011, with support from Screen Tasmania and Events Tasmania.

“It is really exciting that Tasmania has its own, dedicated film festival,” Ms Giddings said.

“BOFA looks set to become another wonderful event on an increasingly busy calendar that includes festivals with a global reach, such as Festival of Voices and MONA FOMA.

“The best of Tasmania will be on show to the world over the five day event, which is much more than a traditional film festival.

“The Festivale of Film is a day-long party of food, wine and cinema, showing off some of Tasmania’s finest produce against the backdrop of food and drink related films in an outdoor setting.

“The Big Ideas Series will see debates on contemporary issues and how these are both reflected as well as influenced by filmmakers.

“Master classes on writing, producing, acting and the business of film making will encourage our local screen industry and provide many networking opportunities with the invited local, national and international speakers and presenters.

“And there will be prizes for films entered in competition, including a Best Tasmanian Short Film award which I am certain local film-makers will be very excited about.”

Festival Director, Owen Tilbury, said he was excited to see the festival move from its humble beginnings in 2010 to become one of the big ticket Tasmanian events.

“This all began when I retired and wondered why Tasmania had Australia’s largest film society but no film festival to call its own,” Mr Tilbury said.

“I realised that the only reason why not was because nobody had set one up, and from that came last year’s small but very successful festival.

“This year, with the support of the State Government and other partners and sponsors, the festival will be much larger and really show the world what Tasmania has to offer.

“BOFA is Australia’s newest and freshest film festival.

“The festival will showcase shorts, features and documentaries that provide fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to screen based storytelling.

“It will feature a strong programme of films that will be entertaining, insightful and hopefully provocative, because BOFA is about provoking and stimulating positive thought and change.

“There is a lot of talent in the Tasmanian screen industry and BOFA will be a great opportunity for that talent to be seen by a very large number of guests.

“It was vitally important to me that we have a Best Tasmanian category in competition for this very reason.

“BOFA is about the power of film, both to entertain and inform, but is also about showing the world just how extraordinary Tasmania is.”

BOFA will run from 23 to 27 November 2011. Program details will be finalised and available at www.bofa.com.au in the coming weeks.

Press Release from Lara Giddings, Premier of Tasmania.

Further information: Tasmanian Government Communications Unit
Phone: (03) 6233 6573

Bill Hunter – a great Australian actor

The Hon Simon Crean MP
Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
Minister for the Arts

26 May 2011

Bill Hunter – a great Australian actor

Arts Minister Simon Crean said actor Bill Hunter had made an outstanding contribution to the Australian film and television industry.

A memorial service for the well-known and much loved actor will be held today at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre.

“Bill Hunter was a true giant of Australian screen industry. In entertaining generations of Australians through his numerous film, television and stage roles, Bill was a popular and respected figure both with the public and within the industry,” Mr Crean said.

“I well remember in the 1990s he was an enthusiastic supporter of our initiative to encourage the long term unemployed back into the workforce and played an active role in promoting Government’s ‘Working Nation’ television campaign.

“As one of Australia’s most recognisable screen faces of the last 30 years, he will be best remembered for his portrayal of the archetypal gruff but lovable Aussie bloke but he gave life to a range of Australian characters.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” Mr Crean said.

Some of his notable roles include Newsfront, Gallipoli, Scales of Justice, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Hunter won the 1978 AFI award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Newsfront, the 1981 Best Supporting Actor award for Gallipoli and he also won a Best Lead Actor in a Telefeature AFI Award in 1989 for Police State. In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to acting.

Epic big-budget international television production TERRA NOVA returns to Queensland

Screen Queensland Press Release May 20, 2011

Screen Queensland CEO Maureen Barron today welcomed the return of the cast and crew of the major international television production Terra Nova to Queensland to re-commence filming on 25 May 2011.

“Executive produced by Steve Spielberg and Peter Chernin, Terra Nova is an ambitious big-budget television series that Queensland and international audiences are impatient to see. We are thrilled to welcome back the production to complete filming of season one,” Ms Barron said.

The 13-part science fiction series travels from Earth in 2149 – a society plagued by overdevelopment, overcrowding and pollution – to the pristine, prehistoric era of dinosaurs as time-travelling scientists and an ordinary family try to save humanity.

Filming began in November 2010 in south east Queensland, with locations in Brisbane’s CBD, Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, and the Gold Coast’s hinterland including the small town of Bonogin.

“In addition to the lush Queensland rainforests that evoke the age of dinosaurs, the production involves cutting-edge visual effects to bring those primeval creatures to life.”

“This entire production is massive in scale, and we are privileged to be a part of it through our talent and locations, with over 1,000 Queenslanders engaged comprising crew, cast and extras,” Ms Barron said.

Terra Nova is very important to the Queensland production community at a time when there has been a drop in international production throughout Australia due to currency fluctuations and increased competition from international locations. It is the only international production currently in production in Australia.”

“Its return reflects how much Terra Nova’s producers value the excellence and professionalism of Queensland facilities, casts and crews.”

Terra Nova is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Chernin Entertainment, DreamWorks Television and Kapital Entertainment. The team selected Queensland as the location of Terra Nova because it has the right look, climate and terrain, a vibrant production community and attractive economic incentives.

It is the second major TV series from Steven Spielberg to be filmed in the state.

Edgerton confirmed for Gatsby role

Sourced at smh.com.au

Australian actor Joel Edgerton has been confirmed for the role of Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D adaptation of The Great Gatsby, an online report says.

Luhrmann admits that finding the right actor to play the part took a long time.

“In casting Tom one had to find an actor who could credibly be (as F. Scott Fitzgerald describes him) ‘one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven’, had five-star acting chops and in the big dramatic showdown scenes between Gatsby and Tom, hold the screen against Leonardo DiCaprio, in the appropriate age group,” Luhrmann says on Deadline.com of the decision to cast Edgerton…

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Mia Wasikowska in movie wonderland

Sourced at theaustralian.com.au

AUSTRALIAN actress Mia Wasikowska continues to build a heady list of credits after a strong 12 months in which she starred in films as disparate as Alice in Wonderland and The Kids are All Right.

It is anticipated she will appear in two films generating interest among buyers at the Cannes film festival. The first is Australian John Hillcoat’s follow-up to The Road, The Wettest County in the World. Shia La Beouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Wasikowska are set to star in the tale of Depression-era bootleggers in the US south. She will also star in Jim Jarmusch’s untitled “crypto-vampire love story” (his words) early next year opposite Tilda Swinton, Michael Fassbender, and John Hurt. Her latest film, Gus Van Sant’s Restless, has screened in competition at Cannes to wan reviews, and her performance as Jane Eyre will feature in the upcoming Sydney Film Festival. It’s been reported Wasikowska will appear opposite Anthony LaPaglia, Sam Neill and Vera Farmiga in Marion Pilowsky’s film production of the play A View From the Bridge, to be directed by Robert Connolly. It is expected to film in Victoria and New York this year…

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Geoffrey Rush Interview

Sourced at telegraph.co.uk

He gives digital aliens personality, holds his own against Johnny Depp and fought to get a small film about stuttering made. Just three reasons why the star of ‘The King’s Speech‘ still shines

If you walked in on my conversation with Geoffrey Rush without hearing the start of it, you would be forgiven for thinking he was talking about his role as the therapist in The King’s Speech, the film that won all those Oscars this year.

“You see, the director had included a charming cover note with the script saying how much he admired the work of Sir Alec Guinness, that style of acting where what you see on the outside is in total contradiction to what you suspect is going on in the inside. He said that he thought my acting had that same quality and that he’d like me to read this script with that in mind.” Actually, he’s talking about his role in Pirates of the Caribbean, the one in which he plays a pirate with brown teeth, a false beard and a monkey on his shoulder.

But you see his point. Not since Guinness has there been an actor who can carry off serious drama and blockbuster frivolity with such deftness. Guinness could convince as the stiff colonel in Bridge on the River Kwai in one film and Obi-Wan Kenobi in another. Rush can take on the subtlety of a character such as Lionel Logue in The King’s Speech and yet also be plausible as the cutlass-wielding Captain Barbossa in Pirates 4, as the latest instalment in the multi-billion dollar franchise has become known in advance of its release this month.

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Dishonorable – But Brilliant “Bridesmaids”

Sourced at articlesbase.com Bridesmaids - Rose Byrne

It probably is easier to describe “Bridesmaids” as a “female ‘Hangover,’” but it’s so much more.  SNL’s Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, a woman who’s just about hit rock bottom. She lost her life savings when her bakery recently failed, was abandoned by her business partner/boyfriend, and is forced to move back in with her mother. At this less-than-ideal time in Annie’s life, her beloved and best childhood friend, Lillian (Maya Rudoph), asks her to be her maid of honor in her pending nuptials to long-time boyfriend Doug.

When Annie drives up to the seriously fancy country club setting for Lillian’s engagement party, she immediately feels out of her element, in her decrepit Honda. She’s still dressing in the short flirty dresses of a singlet, while she’s surrounded by peers wearing Lily Pulitzer and Burberry. Lillian immediately introduces Annie to her bridesmaid colleagues, who include “The Office’s” Ellie Kemper as Lillian’s demure co-worker; “Mike & Molly’s” Melissa McCarthy as Megan, Doug’s unrepentant sister; “Reno 911′s” Wendi McLendon-Covy as Lillian’s randy cousin Rita, and Australian film actress Rose Byrne as Helen, Doug’s boss’ wife, and the epitome of wealthy perfection…

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Edgerton eyeing Gatsby role

Sourced at au.ibtimes.com

He may no longer have a chance to protect Snow White as the Huntsman for Snow White and the Huntsman, but Joel Edgerton may have what it takes to play Tom Buchanan in Gatsby.

Edgerton who was among the top Hollywood hunks to be considered for the Huntsman role landed by fellow Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth, has reportedly tested for the film’s key character

Citing a report by The Hollywood Reporter, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Edgerton and Welsh actor, Luke Evans participated in readings last week.

Gatsby is a film based on the highly acclaimed novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel is set in Long Island, New York with the story line’s context developed in the 1920s.

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Spellbound Cannes delights to a love letter from the Australian Heartland

Sourced at smh.com.au

”THIS is a special Australian film,” Ivan Sen said as he stood on the Cannes stage. ”It shows aspects of Australia that haven’t been seen in the cinema before.”

Sen’s film Toomelah, showing in the festival’s section for innovative auteurs Un Certain Regard, is named for the Aboriginal community near the NSW-Queensland border where his mother grew up. Sen used to go there a lot as a child. It’s like the Wild West, he says, laughing, but he still feels more comfortable in Toomelah than anywhere else.

It is almost 10 years since Sen’s first feature about two indigenous teenagers heading for the city, Beneath Clouds, won multiple awards at the Berlin Film Festival.

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17th London Australian Film Festival – ‘Red Hill’ Review

Sourced at soundonsight.org

Considering the similar historical trajectory to the United States I’ve always wondered why Australian film-makers didn’t produce more Westerns. The obvious answer of course is that as a genre the Western is not in vogue as it once was but the miniscule volume of braves that have stampeded down under over the years contain a modest list of intriguing, intelligent and gripping films – from the brutal The Proposition (2005) to the angry The Chant Of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978) or the cultish Mad Dog Morgan (1976) you’d think that some enterprising antipodean producers would be anxious to exploit their countries history for the chtonic dollar. Similarly potent themes are ripe for exploration whether they are framed by Monument Valley or Ayers Rock, from the settlers uncertain relationship with the indigenous people, the birth of a new civilisation amidst a savage and inhospitable wilderness, how the human animal conducts itself in a lawless and morally void environment, or just an excuse to photograph some gorgeous sunsets whilst grappling with notions of revenge and duty, progress and power. Many of these lodestones are touched upon in the new neo-western Red Hill, whilst it’s not quite the equal of it’s kin it is serviceable enough thriller that marks the arrival of a new stranger in town, in the guise of debut director Patrick Hughes.

Marshall Shane Cooper (Tru Blood’s Ryan Kwanten) arrives for his first day on the job in his new posting at the remote (almost frontier) town of Red Hill. Shane has requested the re-assignment from the big bad city following doctor’s orders concerning his wife, at the eighth month of her pregnancy she has been instructed to move to a locale with a less stressed, more relaxed climate after she miscarried a year ago during the same trimester. In a classic case of bad timing Shane’s arrival coincides with the jailbreak of the feared Jimmy Conway, a native Australian whom was captured and incarcerated by Shane’s boss Bill fifteen years ago, and everyone knows that Jimmy will be returning to town to seek his revenge. As the storm clouds gather at the edge of town Shane is dispatched with all able bodied men to hunt down his primeval nemesis but the lawman’s curious reluctance to seek succor from the neighbouring townships may just cloak an ulterior motive and obscured history…..

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From Avatar to indie: Sam Worthington’s blue man regroup

Sourced at arts.nationalpost.com

Sam Worthington is a former bricklayer, and he still has a rough-and-tumble demeanour: close-cropped hair, square jaw, solid build, no-nonsense attitude. He looks less like a movie star and more like the guy who lived in his car for a while before James Cameron discovered him and made him the biggest action hero on the planet. The grosses from his last three films — Terminator Salvation (US$491-million), Clash of the Titans (US$246-million) and Avatar (US$2-billion and change) — could finance a fairly sizable war, and Worthington looks like just the guy to fight in it.

Yet here he is, dressed in blue jeans and a leather jacket, talking about relationships.

The occasion is a drama called Last Night, a four-sided love story in which Worthington plays a man married to Keira Knightley, but who has begun to take her for granted and finds himself attracted to a co-worker, played by Eva Mendes. Meanwhile, his wife’s old lover, played by Guillaume Canet, has resurfaced in her life.

It’s a small movie by Hollywood standards — written and directed by first-time filmmaker Massy Tadjedin — but Worthington says its themes hit home.

“There were things in it that I’ve kind of done,” he said, lounging with a sort of casual intensity in a hotel room during the Toronto Film Festival. “I’ve been every one of those people. So I kind of went, ‘Count me in.’ ”

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Meet Lucas Pittaway, our new Heath Ledger

HE’S been dubbed Australia’s new Heath Ledger and Lucas Pittaway, 18, is determined to live up to the hype.
It’s not just his uncanny resemblance to the late actor but also his gritty performance in the new Australian film Snowtown that has attracted the comparison.

“I hear that quite a bit and it’s quite a compliment,” said Pittaway of the Ledger comments, before flying out to France to represent the movie at the Cannes International Film Festival.

“I would love to go to Hollywood and try something out, see what I can do and almost discover a different me while I’m there.”

Snowtown is based on the horrific “body in the barrel” murders by serial killer John Bunting (played by Dan Henschall) and his young accomplice Jamie Vlassakis (played by Pittaway).

Tommelah: Cannes Review

Sourced from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com

A boy strikes up a relationship with a drug dealer in writer-director Ivan Sen’s Un Certain Regard selection set in an impoverished Australian Aboriginal community.

CANNES — An observational study as much as a dramatic story, Toomelah successfully conveys a 10-year-old boy’s perspective on the miserable limitations of life in an Aboriginal Australian community but doesn’t really have much new to say about the plight of the have-nots. An estimable display of the talents of writer-director-cinematographer-composer Ivan Sen, who gained attention with his debut feature Beneath Clouds in 2002 and whose documentary Yellow Fella showed in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2005, the new film will spark sympathetic reactions on the international festival circuit but have trouble getting much traction theatrically off its home turf.

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Producers show Optimism for new UK/Australian venture

Sourced at http://www.screendaily.com/

The new production company, Optimism, is being officially launched in Cannes.

Producers Mish Armstrong, Alicia Brown and Melanie Coombs [pictured] have joined forces to create a new UK and Australian film production company, Optimism.

The new company is being officially launched in Cannes, with a slate including girls caper movie XLR8, family action adventure The Road Home, period revenge drama By Any Other Name and The Sleeper about the psychology of a suicide bomber.

Coombs is a Melbourne and London based producer for Melodrama Pictures, which was behind the award winning animation Mary And Max.

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A cane toad’s eye view of the world

Sourced at http://www.theaustralian.com.au

AFTER more than two decades, it is difficult to tell which has been the more invasive: the ubiquitous cane toad or filmmaker Mark Lewis’s documentary charting the botched introduction of the pest to Australia’s sugar fields.

The filmmaker’s documentary has charted the botched introduction of the pest to Australia’s sugar fields.

Since the original Cane Toads: An Unnatural History documentary was released in 1988, the alien amphibians have spread from coastal Queensland to waterholes across the top half of the continent. Lewis’s film, meanwhile, has colonised the world.

In terms of numbers, while each female toad may lay more than 30,000 eggs at a time, it has taken Lewis a quarter of a century to spawn one toad-focused, 3D cinematic offspring.

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U.S film rights acquired for Australian film ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Sourced at http://wearemoviegeeks.com

IFC’s Sundance Selects has acquired the U.S. rights to SLEEPING BEAUTY, the Julia Leigh-directed Cannes Film Festival which premiered May 11th. The film stars Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie, Peter Carroll, Chris Haywood, and was produced by Jessica Brentnall.

“You will go to sleep: you will wake up. It will be as if those hours never existed.” Death-haunted, quietly reckless, Lucy is a young university student who takes a job as a Sleeping Beauty. In the Sleeping Beauty Chamber old men seek an erotic experience that requires Lucy’s absolute submission. This unsettling task starts to bleed into Lucy’s daily life and she develops an increasing need to know what happens to her when she is asleep.

Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects, said: “For the last 5 days, people throughout Cannes have been discussing SLEEPING BEAUTY. We are thrilled to introduce Julia Leigh and her arresting debut to American audiences, and to continuing the discussion.”

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Matching Jack wins at Milan International Film Festival

Sourced at if.com.au

Australian film Matching Jack has received two awards at the Milan International Film Festival this week.

Nadia Tass was awarded Best Director while Lynne Renew and David Parker walked away with Best Screenplay.

The film, shot over six weeks in Melbourne, stars James Nesbitt, Jacinda Barrett and Richard Roxburgh. The story centres around Marisa (Barrett) and the unshakable bond she has with her seriously ill son Jack (Tom Russell). Desperate to save Jack’s life, Marisa must sift through her husband’s (Roxburgh) serial affairs in hope of finding an illegitimate child who will be a biological match to her son…

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Open Road Films captures the U.S release of Omnilab Media’s Killer Elite

Action Thriller Starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro will be the Debut Movie from Newly Launched Open Road FilmsKiller Elite

Sydney May 12, 2011 – Open Road Films has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Omnilab Media’s film Killer Elite, an action thriller starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro and directed by Gary McKendry.  Financed by Omnilab Media, the film was produced by Michael Boughen through Omnilab’s Australian production arm, Ambience Entertainment alongside Steve Chasman, Sigurjon Sighvatsson and Tony Winley.  Killer Elite is slated for a fall 2011 release nationwide and will be the first film for the newly launched U.S. distribution venture Open Road Films.

Inspired by true events, Killer Elite is an action adventure spy film following Danny (Jason Statham), one of the world’s most skilled special-ops agents.  Lured out of self-imposed exile to execute a near-impossible feat of retribution and personal salvation, Danny reassembles his old team of operatives to help rescue his former mentor (Robert DeNiro), and to penetrate the highly feared and respected military unit, the British Special Air Service (SAS). Facing off against a covert group of ex-SAS soldiers known as “The Feather Men,” who, under their leader Spike (Clive Owen),  provide a deadly cloak of security around all SAS members, Danny and his team must take down a rogue cell of solider assassins before their actions result in a global political meltdown.

Killer Elite’s whirlwind action crosses the globe from Australia to Paris, Wales, London, Dubai and Oman.  The story is based on Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ controversial non-fiction novel “The Feather Men.”

Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg stated,  “Killer Elite is a fantastic, adrenaline-rush movie with a stellar cast. As one of the highest profile, big budget independent films available for the US, I am thrilled to have Killer Elite as Open Road’s premiere release and to extend my long-standing relationship with the team at Omnilab.”

Killer Elite will be released nationwide in fall 2011 in over 2000 theatres, supported by over $25 million in P&A.  The project will be overseen at Open Road Films by Ortenberg and newly minted President of Marketing, Jason Cassidy.  The acquisition nearly completes all worldwide sales for the title following the initial strong pre-sales closed by the film’s sales agent, Inferno Entertainment.

Omnilab’s Managing Director Christopher Mapp said, “In Open Road Films we’ve found a fantastic partner to bring Killer Elite to American audiences.  Their distribution model is one of the most exciting in the marketplace and we are looking forward to an incredibly productive partnership with Tom and his team.”

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road by Ortenberg, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Operations and Business Affairs Elliott Kleinberg and Senior Vice President of Acquistions Ben Cotner, and by Executive Producers Matthew Street and Peter D. Graves on behalf of Omnilab Media.

Founded earlier this year by AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC) and Regal Entertainment Group (Regal), the two largest theatrical exhibition and entertainment companies in the United States, Open Road Films is a dynamic, acquisition-based domestic theatrical distribution company.

Omnilab Media is a leading Australian and New Zealand integrated media and technology company. Amongst its broad range of sixteen businesses it specialises in film and television content development and production, finance, P&A finance and distribution, visual effects and post production, software and technology IP and development, broadcast channel playout, media asset management and distribution.

Omnilab Media has co-financed, produced and executive produced numerous high profile international and Australian film and television productions.   Amongst the funding deals recently concluded by Omnilab Media are the production and/or P&A financing for numerous films, including Oliver Stone’s W, THE BANK JOB, BRAN NUE DAE, THE MESSENGER, TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN and KILLER ELITE.

Omnilab Media and Kennedy Miller Mitchell (KMM) developed the Australian-owned digital film company, Dr. D Studio, which is currently working on the production HAPPY FEET 2.

Media Contacts:

Open Road Films
Liz Biber

Omnilab Media
Samantha Hately
+612 9478 5000

Dana Archer


10 May, 2011 – Ausfilm welcomes the Federal Government budget announcement today to double the Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offsets from 15% to 30%. This increase will provide a significant boost to the Australian post-production industry.

“With a 30% PDV Offset, Australia’s post production companies will be able to attract multi-million dollar contracts on big-budget international projects, which in turn helps to build Australia’s filmmaking infrastructure and expertise. The high Australian dollar is dramatically impacting the competitiveness of Australian post production companies for large scale work on offshore productions. This incentive increase will allow for the continued growth and development of Australia’s post production industry,” said Debra Richards, CEO, Ausfilm.

“Offshore post production projects inject considerable foreign investment into the industry which generates jobs, develops specialised skills and innovation and allows for the sustainability of the post production industry in Australia,” said Alaric McAusland, Chairman, Ausfilm.

“Ausfilm wishes to thank the Federal Government and particularly Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean for his support of the Australian film industry as seen by this announcement,” said McAusland.

“Whilst this is a win for the industry, Ausfilm is disappointed that the Location Offset was not increased at the same time to 30%. Large budget international productions that are filmed in Australia, provide vast economic and employment benefits to the country. At 15%, the Location Offset is no longer competitive due to the high Australian dollar and competition from higher incentives offered by other national governments and US state governments,” said Richards.

Ausfilm will continue to advocate for an increase to the Location Offset from 15 to 30%.

Media enquiries:
Anita Nelving, Head of Marketing, Ausfilm
T: + 61 2 9383 4191 M: +61 449831313

About Ausfilm
Ausfilm is a unique partnership organisation between private industry and government. It comprises Australia’s Federal, State and Territory Governments around 30 private-sector companies. Ausfilm provides the international film community with direct access to Australia’s screen incentives, talent and facilities. It markets the Australia’s Screen Production Incentive Scheme which comprises the Location, PDV (post, digital and visual effects) and Producer Offsets. Ausfilm has offices in Los Angeles and Sydney.

Screen Australia announces investment in TWO TELEVISION projects

Sourced at http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au

Screen Australia today announced investment of $2.4 million in two television projects. The investment will trigger production worth over $17.5 million.

The two projects include Resistance, a 26-part live action sci-fi children’s series for the ABC produced by Andrew Dillon and directed by Andrew Dillon and Geoff Bennett. The series is an Australian-Canadian co-production written by Naomi Janzen and Sarah Lambert and aims to combine action, thrills and cutting-edge special effects with the challenges of ordinary childhood life.

Beaconsfield is a three-hour telemovie produced by John Edwards for the Nine Network and is based on the true story of the Beaconsfield Mine disaster that occurred on Anzac Day, 2006. The adult-television drama will be directed by Glendyn Ivin and written by Judi McCrossin…

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Thor: The Man; The Myths

Sourced at http://www.suntimes.com

The box office got hammered this weekend.

“Thor” was the big winner, which doesn’t surprise star Chris Hemsworth. The Aussie actor, a.k.a. The Next Big Thing, says, “The key to why ‘Thor’ connects is that it absolutely refuses to take itself too seriously.”

The same could be said of the down-to-earth hunk playing the would-be god with that big missing hammer, who is happy to separate Thor fact from fiction.

FACT: “Thor” is about getting over yourself and your issues. “Absolutely,” says Hemsworth. “All of a sudden his strength is taken away from him, and he has to deal with the fact that he isn’t quite as entitled when he lands on Earth.” Does that mean he has to wipe that attitude off his chiseled face? “He has to learn humanity, which isn’t easy because he has a huge ego and big attitude. He’s not exactly Mr. Good Time when we meet him.”…

Click here for the complete article from the Chicago Sun-Times

Flying Bark to bring Blinky Bill to cinemas in 3D

Sourced at http://if.com.auBlinky Bill

Animation house Flying Bark Productions plans to produce a 3D feature film of its iconic Blinky Bill series.

The company, which was founded by Yoram and Sandra Gross in 1968, is adding to its staff of about 40 people in preparation for the film, with animation due to start in early-2012.

It will mark a return to the big screen for the animated koala, who last graced cinemas in Blinky Bill: The Movie in the early-90s…

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Waking up Oz pics

Sourced at http://www.variety.comTomorrow When the War Began

The past 12 months have seen barely a single international production come to Aussie shores, but the locals have been anything but idle. It seems 2010 was a bumper year for rookie helmers Down Under with a platoon of directors getting kudos and plaudits.

The biggest local film of the year, with a haul of $A13.4 million ($13.9 million), was by a tyro helmer albeit one with a strong track record in other areas. With writing credits “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Australia,” Stuart Beattie is hardly a newcomer to the industry; however, when it came to shooting his first film, the teen action-drama “Tomorrow, When the War Began,” he took his time to pick the project…

Click here for the complete Variety article.

Oz pursues runaways

Sourced from http://www.variety.com

It has only been two months since Debra Richards has taken on the role as topper of Ausfilm — the org tasked with bringing runaway prods to Oz — yet she has faced a record slump in international prods and a government report that failed to lift subsidies as the industry requested.

But that has not stopped Richards, who came to Ausfilm from feevee org the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). She continues to lobby the government for more coin a skill learned fighting for feevee against Oz’s powerful free webs.

Although there is no concrete news and there is unlikely to be any until budget time mid-year, Richards says, “We know we’re not knocked out yet so were still in there.”

The industry is lobbying the government to double the existing 15% location offset and the post, digital and visual effects (PDV) offset, also set at 15%, and it is hoped the new figure of 30% will help bring Stateside and other international prods back…

Click here for the complete Variety article.

Cutting Edge & ScreenWest present 3D…

Cutting Edge Producer Bec Cubitt was invited to ScreenWest’s 3D Course to discuss the merits and challenges of this ‘comeback technology’. The course showcased Cutting Edge’s unique post production workflows which have been proven over the last 18 months. “Cane Toads: The Conquest” was the first stereo 3D project to be shot and completed in Australia and Cutting Edge were lucky enough to be involved with the film from development to completion. Cutting Edge partnered with the filmmakers in 2008, working together to develop equipment and workflows to finish the film to a world class standard.

Some of the topics covered in the seminar, presented alongside Brett Popplewell, Producer of Sanctum and Laura Sivis, included the importance of involving your post house early in the process, the increased time frame for 3D dailies and post production and some of potential pitfalls that sometimes come up during 3D production and post work.

The Western Australian filmmaking community is no exception to the growing enthusiasm and curiosity for stereoscopic 3D films all around Australia. There is a vibrant filmmaking community mainly based in Perth who are already producing world class film and television work such as “Cloudstreet” and “Drift” and a stereoscopic production may not be far away.

VFX: Thor

ThorEncore Magazine recently featured Australia’s contribution to Thor outside of Chris Hemsworth’s leading title role. Director Kenneth Branagh selected several VFX vendors including Australia’s FuelVFX. Fuel VFX was involved in the initial test phase of Thor in early 2009, and subsequently worked on Iron Man 2, another Marvel Studios project.

“Fuel were particularly adventurous in some of the work; they helped us conceptualise strange morphings and travels through space; the kind of very particular fantastical challenges that are in this movie. They’ve been producing excellent work,” said Branagh. “We had a terrific Australian VFX producer, Diana Giorgiutti (Australia, the Matrix trilogy, Babe); the Australian end of things worked wonderfully well and we had a very personal connection with that side of things.”

FuelVFX’s Jason bath spoke to Encore Magazine; “The great thing about working with Marvel is that they have confidence in Fuel’s ability to do lots of different types of visual effects, and they are happy to give us opportunities on a variety of work,” explained Bath. “As with any client it’s not just about doing good work but about building trust – that you can handle complicated problems without handholding; interpret the clients brief properly; workshop problems  collaboratively; and of course, that you’re cost competitive. We enjoy building these relationships with our clients, and Marvel like to get to know their vendors, so we are a good fit.”

Fuel VFX worked on some of the Bifröst shots. The Bifröst – the rainbow bridge used to travel between worlds – was interpreted in Thor as a wormhole that traverses the universe. Other sequences included Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) chamber, which features an energy field that the King of Asgard sleeps beneath.

Click here for the Encore article http://www.encoremagazine.com.au/vfx-thor-7866

London Australian Film Festival

The 17th London Australian Film Festival has announced its slate of features and documentaries for this year. This year’s line-up includes Red Dog as the opening night film, Mao’s Last Dancer, Animal Kingdom, Tomorrow, When the War Began, Little Sparrows, Oranges and Sunshine, Matching Jack, Beneath Hill 60, The Tree.
The Barbican’s popular film festival is an eagerly awaited annual landmark on both the London and UK wide film calendar. It has shown every major Australian feature film since 1984. Described as ‘one of the finest cinematic showcases in the UK calendar’, the festival provides UK audiences with a unique overview of Australian cinema today.

ACS to celebrate national awards

The Australian Cinematographers Society is celebrating four decades of award-winning work behind the camera in feature films, documentaries, television drama and much more at the 2011 ACS National Awards for Cinematography, to be presented at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hindley Street, Adelaide, on Saturday 30 April. The internationally recognized, Australian cinematographer, John Seale OAM ACS ASC will be Guest of Honour.

Australian documentary selected for Hot Docs

Sydney Film FestivalLocal Documentarian Robert Nugent has had his documentary Memoirs of a Plague selected for the prestigious Hot Docs Festival in the International Spectrum Selection.  Memoirs of a Plague received support from ScreenACT.  The film is a personal journey into the myth of the locust and a portrait of a war that can never be won. www.lookingglasspictures.com.au

Oranges and Sunshine to open Dungog

Oranges and SunshineJim Loach’s latest film, the UK/Australia co-production Oranges and Sunshine will open this year’s Dungog Film Festival.

The project was produced by the UK’s Camilla Bray, with Australia’s See-Saw Films (Emile Sherman and Iain Canning). It has been released in the UK to mostly positive reviews and a box office of £177,646 in its first two weeks.

Oranges and Sunshine tells the story of Margaret Humphreys, an inspirational social worker from Nottingham who uncovered one of the most significant social scandals of recent times: the deportation of thousands of children from the UK to Australia.The film stars Emily Watson as Humphreys, with Hugo Weaving and David Wenham rounding out this stellar cast.

The Dungog Film Festival will be held on May 26-29, 2011 in Dungog, (Hunter Valley), NSW, Australia.

Four Australian films selected for Cannes

Four Australian films have been selected for the prestigious Festival de Cannes 2011. Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty has been selected for Competition, Ivan Sen’s Toomelah has been selected for inclusion in the Un Certain Regard program, Snowtown, directed by rising talent Justin Kurzel, was selected to screen in Cannes at the International Critics’ Week and Nash Edgerton’s short film Bear has been selected for Competition.

Sleeping Beauty written and directed by Julia Leigh and starring Emily Browning, Michael Dorman and Mirrah Foulkes is a haunting erotic fairytale about Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of beauty and desire. It was produced by Jessica Brentnall, with executive producers Jamie Hilton and Timothy White.

Toomelah written and directed by Ivan Sen and starring Daniel Conners and Christopher Edwards, is the provocative and comic tale of a boy called Kiren who wants to be a gangster and his life growing up in a remote Aboriginal community. It was produced by David Jowsey.

Directed Justin Kurzel, Snowtown is a psychological thriller based on the notorious Snowtown murders in Adelaide and stars Lucas Pittaway and Daniel Henshall. Written by Shaun Grant and produced by Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw, the film recently premiered at the Bigpond Adelaide Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for Best Feature Film.

Produced by Lauren Edwards and John Polson and written by Nash Edgerton and David Michôd, Bear is an 11-minute short film about Jack, his new girlfriend and lessons he hasn’t quite learnt. The film was produced by Blue-Tongue Films, in association with Peachy Pictures, Tropfest and fxphd. The screening at Cannes will mark Bear’s world premiere.

Two Australian feature films confirmed for Victoria

Melbourne has secured two Australian feature films estimated to bring a combined $35 million in production expenditure to Victoria and employ around 430 Victorians.

Popbot, based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel series by Ashley Wood and TP Louise, will be produced by Resolution Independent’s Pete Ford and Media Funds Management’s James M. Vernon and Kristy Vernon. Finance has been arranged by MFM. The post-modern science fiction film, to be shot at Docklands Studios Melbourne, will combine live action with motion capture technology and 3D character animation. Production is scheduled for the second half of 2011.

John Doe, from John Doe Productions and Woodburn Sweitzer Management, will be produced by Kristy Vernon and Keith Sweitzer and directed by Kelly Dolen. James M. Vernon will executive produce, with MFM representing investors. The film follows, through a series of video diaries, an accused vigilante whose actions have divided communities worldwide. John Doe will be shot on location throughout Melbourne from May 2011.

Popbot and John Doe are two of several Australian productions that have recently chosen Melbourne, joining feature films Gary McKendry’s The Killer Elite and Fred Schepisi’s The Eye of the Storm, both coming soon to cinemas, and Robert Connolly’s A View From the Bridge, scheduled to start filming later this year.

Screen Australia announces investment in feature development, shorts and games

Screen Australia recently announced investment in the development of 13 feature films, two animated shorts, two games and the completion of two short films. The first two recipients of the new Director’s Acclaim Fund were also announced.

New feature projects to receive development investment include B Model, a young adult drama by writer Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy), director Rachel Griffiths and producers Louise Smith and Rachel Griffiths.

Jungle is a new project in development from the Spierig brothers (Daybreakers) based on the true story of Yossi Ghinsberg. Jungle is being developed by writers Michael and Peter Spierig and Justin Monjo, directors Michael and Peter Spierig and producers Emile Sherman and Chris Brown.

Set to be directed by Bruce Beresford, The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney is a new drama being developed with writers Chris Anastassiades and Andy Cox, producer Sue Milliken and executive producers Zelda Rosenbaum and Oscar Whitbread.

Writer Alexa Wyatt will develop Canterbury Tales, a romantic adventure drama with producer Damien Parer and executive producer James Michael Vernon, and the love story Five Spice is a new feature to be developed by writer/director Gregor Jordon with producer Bryan Brown.

Animated shorts approved include The Story of Percival Pilts written and directed by John Lewis and Janette Goodey and produced by Terri Dentry, and Waiting for Rusty produced by Nigel Christensen and written and directed by Nick Donkin.

Hannah Hilliard (Franswa Sharl) and Callum Cooper (Little Brother) were announced as the first recipients of the new Director’s Acclaim Fund. The Director’s Acclaim Fund was created to recognise the importance of directors maintaining momentum following critical acclaim of their short film. The fund specifically provides support for the next stage of professional development for directors whose short film was selected by an A list festival.

Development funding from the Innovation Program for two games, Peleda (p: Luke Jurevicius, w/d: Nathan Jurevicius) and Resistance (p: Andrew Dillon, ep: Catherine Nebauer, Gary Kurtz, d: Andrew Dillon), was also announced.

Oranges and Sunshine and Little Sparrows get picked up overseas

Australian/UK co-production Oranges and Sunshine and Aussie independent drama Little Sparrows have been picked up overseas.

Oranges and Sunshine, directed by first-time feature film director Jim Loach, has been acquired by distributor Cohen Media Group from Icon Entertainment for a North American run in the fall.

The deal was negotiated by Icon’s Anthony Buckner and Cohen Media Group’s Stephen Dembetzer.

Go to if.com.au for more

Bear joins the Australian line-up at Cannes

In another announcement overnight, the Australian  short film Bear directed by Nash Edgerton has been selected for Competition at the prestigious Festival de Cannes 2011. Bear joins an  exceptional line-up of Australian films announced to screen at Cannes this year.

Produced by Lauren Edwards and John Polson and written by Nash Edgerton and David Michôd, Bear is an 11-minute short film about Jack, his new girlfriend and lessons he hasn’t quite learnt. The film was produced by Blue-Tongue Films, in association with Peachy Pictures, Tropfest and fxphd. The screening at Cannes will mark Bear’s world premiere.

Bear is the fourth Australian film announced for Cannes this year. Over the past week, Julia Leigh’s debut feature Sleeping Beauty was selected to screen In Competition and writer and director Ivan Sen’s Toomelah was selected to screen in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. Snowtown, directed by rising talent Justin Kurzel, was also selected to screen in Cannes at the International Critics’ Week.

Go to Screen Australia’s website for more

Screen Australia announces investment in feature development, shorts and games

Screen AustraliaScreen Australia has announced investment in the development of 13 feature films, two animated shorts, two games and the completion of two short films. The first two recipients of the new Director’s Acclaim Fund were also announced. New feature projects to receive development investment include B Model, a young adult drama by writer Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy), director Rachel Griffiths and producers Louise Smith and Rachel Griffiths.

Jungle is a new project in development from the Spierig brothers (Daybreakers) based on the true story of Yossi Ghinsberg. Jungle is being developed by writers Michael and Peter Spierig and Justin Monjo, directors Michael and Peter Spierig and producers Emile Sherman and Chris Brown. Set to be directed by Bruce Beresford, The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney is a new drama being developed with writers Chris Anastassiades and Andy Cox, producer Sue Milliken and executive producers Zelda Rosenbaum and Oscar Whitbread.

Writer Alexa Wyatt will develop Canterbury Tales, a romantic adventure drama with producer Damien Parer and executive producer James Michael Vernon, and the love story Five Spice is a new feature to be developed by writer/director Gregor Jordon with producer Bryan Brown.

More on Screen Australia’s website

Hollywood beauty Abbie Cornish is on the cover of Esquire magazine

Sourced from isubscribe.co.uk

Esquire magazine subscription holders can read an interview with Hollywood beauty Abbie Cornish.The Australian is currently promoting her new film Sucker Punch, in cinemas now.

Abbie talked to Esquire magazine about her upcoming flick, telling the publication: “The action is top-notch new s*** you haven’t seen before.’

“It’s insane. In – sane,” she added. The actress admitted in her interview to being very confident, which she said pays off whenever she has to film intimate scenes with co-stars.

“They’re [her co-stars] all mates, that’s the thing. So I’m lucky. With friends, if someone’s pants don’t come off properly, or if something gets stuck, you just end up giggling.”

The actress discussed her off-screen exploits with Esquire magazine as well in the interview explaining she’s very into photography and loves to film things in a documentary style.

Abbie is very much the actress of the moment in Hollywood. Not only will Sucker Punch soon be in UK cinemas, but she also stars in recently-released flick Limitless, featuring alongside Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro.

Visit Esquire.

Screen Australia announces investment in nine documentaries

Screen Australia today announced investment of $2 million in nine documentaries. The investment will trigger production worth over $12 million.

Two domestic documentaries were announced, including Anatomy Series 3, which will explore art, sex and the body over three episodes. The series will be executive produced by Tony Ayres, produced by Michael McMahon and Polly Staniford and written and directed by Paolo Morabito, Alethea Jones and Kim Munro.

The observational documentary Running to America will also receive investment through the Domestic Documentary Program. From executive producer Michael Cordell, producer Juliet Bishop and writer/director Matt Long, it follows four Indigenous Australians competing in the famous New York Marathon.

Seven international documentaries were announced, including Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect, investigating how modern science might finally hold the key to cracking the case of the most infamous serial killer case in history. The film will be executive produced and produced by Julia Redwood and Ed Punchard, and directed by Franco di Chiera.

Go to Screen Australia’s website for more.

eOne enters Oz/Kiwi market

Sourced from Variety.com – By Diana Lodderhose

Entertainment One has acquired Australian and Kiwi distributor Hopscotch, marking the group’s first acquisition in the Australasian market.

“This acquisition is another momentous step forward in building our multi-territory content ownership and distribution infrastructure,” said Darren Throop, prexy and CEO of Entertainment One.

Go to Variety.com for more.

Bruce Beresford signs Killer Instinct development deal

Sourced from if.com.au – By Brendan Swift

Australian director Bruce Beresford has confirmed that he has signed a development deal for US thriller Killer Instinct.

The film is being adapted from Joseph Finder’s novel about young sales executive Jason Steadman who meets former special forces officer Kurt Semko. Good things soon start to happen for Jason until he discovers Kurt has been paving his way to the top by the most efficient means available.

“It might happen – the script, a melodrama, is pretty good,” Beresford told IF via email.

He is working with screenwriter David Murray on the project.

Beresford, who was nominated for an Oscar for the Breaker Morant screenplay in 1981, is often attached to several projects, including the comedy-drama A Woman of No Importance. However, Beresford said that film, which is based on an Oscar Wilde play, will never be made.

The director recently finished comedy-drama Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, starring Jane Fonda and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, which is scheduled for release in the US this year. His dance biopic Mao’s Last Dancer was the highest grossing local film in Australia in 2009.

Chockstone Pictures’ Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz are producing Killer Instinct with Barbara De Fina. Chockstone are also producing Cogan’s Trade, which is being directed by another Australian, Andrew Dominik.

Selection success for Australian filmmakers

Australian projects and filmmakers will enjoy success on the world stage following recent selection announcements for a variety of events.

The Annecy International Animation Festival, one of the most highly regarded animation festivals in the world, will screen three Australian shorts, one music video and episodes from two children’s TV series in competition. The shorts are Nullarbor, Aww Jeez and Collision; the music video is The Audreys ‘Sometimes the Stars’; and the episodes from TV series are Gasp! episode Fish Stick and Horace in Slow Motion episode The Belly Dance.

Two Australian documentaries will screen in competition and two projects will be pitched at the forum at Hot Docs. Held in Toronto, Canada, Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival. The documentaries in competition are Memoirs of a Plague and Something to Tell You. The projects selected for the forum are I Am a Girl and Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls.

Producers of four Australian television projects have been invited to present their projects at the prestigious INPUT conference, which this year will be held in Seoul, Korea. This unique event – held in a different country each year – encourages the development of public service television by screening and debating the most outstanding programs from around the world. The Australian programs are My Place episode 1968/SOFIA, Goa Hippy Tribe, Dirtgirlworld episode 52 and Immigration Nation: The Secret History of Us.

One Australian project was selected to the public pitch competition at Content 360 at MIPTV to compete for a €12,000 development prize as well as global recognition. The project is a smartphone app for ‘Sexy Inc’ by producers Kylee Ingram and Malinda Wink. Over four days in Cannes, the world’s leading device makers, network operators and media professionals will connect, interact and strike deals that define the future of connected entertainment during transversal knowledge exchanges, matchmaking sessions, a start-up competition, experiential labs, fully immersive demos and showcases featuring the most recent industry innovations.

Go to Screen Australia’s website for more

Aus-UK film Oranges and Sunshine has good opening in the UK

Sourced from if.com.au – By Sam Dallas

Australian/UK co-production Oranges and Sunshine has posted a good opening in the UK on the weekend.

The Jim Loach film, starring Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham, took in £82,922 ($130,839) from 44 screens, giving it an average of £1885 ($2974).

The Sixteen Films/See-Saw Films co-production tells the story of Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys who uncovers one of the most significant social scandals in recent time – the deportation of thousands of British children who were sent to Australia.

Click here for the full story

NBN to boost Aussie film industry

Sourced from computerworld.co.nz – By Tim Lohman

Australia’s film industry could dramatically increase its competitiveness through the National Broadband Network (NBN), according to Tony Clark, chairman at South Australian digital animation studio Rising Sun Pictures.

Speaking at the Federal Government’s inquiry into the role and potential of the NBN, Clark said high-speed broadband would enable animation studios to avoid high overheads required to source and relocate skills.

According to Clark, Rising Sun commonly relocated people from areas such as rural Tasmania and NSW to Adelaide at an average cost of $5000 per employee, but high-speed broadband would allow staff to work from anywhere in the country, avoiding this cost.

“We have pockets of artists all around Australia and rather than sticking them in aeroplanes and flying them here, we could be working with them as individuals or small clusters… in order to that you need mechanisms such as cineSync and affordable broadband… and reasonable speeds and predictable quality of service, predictable availability of bandwidth and predictable latency,” he said.

“That’s where fibre is important. You are either going to be pushing a 200GB data set… to a person to work on or you are going to be remoting a screen in our office to that person and both of those need high bandwidth.”

cineSync is a synchronised media player developed by Rising Sun which allows for remote collaboration on digital media.

Commenting on the ability of the Australian film production sector to compete internationally, Clark said high-speed broadband would provide “enormous opportunities” to work with people wherever they were.

“Having effective high-speed connectivity to people all around Australia [will precipitate] a whole new digital effects universe model where instead of having 140 people in our building we may have 90 people in our building and have 80 people splashed around the rest of the world or Australia,” he said.

The Lost Thing Wins at Bunnamagoo Mudfest 2011

The picturesque Bunnamagoo Estate vineyard was the perfect setting for this year’s Mudfest, the 7th Mudgee International Short Film Festival. As ever it was a beautiful, if somewhat colder, evening than recent years with the standard of all 13 finalists of the very highest order.

The Judges Choice and Fujifilm Best Australian Entry went to The Lost Thing (Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan) with the Peoples Choice Award also going to an Australian film Family Values (Matthew Jenkin). The judges also decided, with the support of Fujifilm and Deluxe, to award a special one off runners up prize to the third Australian prizewinner of the night, Bee Sting (Heath Davis).

Co-founder of Mudfest Peter Scott said, “Mudfest, now in its 7th year just keeps getting better and better. Bunnamagoo Estate was the perfect venue and we had over 1000 people to watch of some of the best short films not just from Australia but from around the globe. Mudfest would again like to thank Fujifilm for sponsoring the Best Australian Film award with their prize of $1,500 worth of Fujifilm recording media and Video-8 taking care of all the mastering, duplication and DVD replication of the entries. We couldn’t put on Mudfest without the invaluable support of our sponsors.”

Simon Murphy from Fujifilm Australia said, “The standard of this year’s entries was particularly high. Many congratulations to Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan for The Lost Thing, we will be presenting them with their $1,500 worth of recording media products in the near future. Congratulations also to Heath Davis for his excellent film Bee Sting. Fujifilm is a proud supporter of the Australian film industry and independent film festivals like Mudfest are a great showcase for our local filmmakers.”

Video-8 CEO Gareth Collins added, “As ever Video-8 is very pleased to be a supporter and sponsor of Mudfest. This year’s festival was excellent and we very much look forward to next year.”

TLG talks to Location Manager Carl Wood

Sourced from thelocationguide.com – By Murray Ashton

Carl Wood was born in the UK and was amongst other things a marine salvage boat captain and cow-herder in France before becoming a Location Manager in Australia.

He got his first taste of location filming on Polanski’s Macbeth on location in Northumberland where he worked as an extra for six weeks. In 1974 Carl bought a one way ticket to Australia where his film career started as a stage hand for ABC Television in Melbourne. He is married with a daughter and lives in Concord, New South Wales.
Do you principally work in NSW or have you shot elsewhere?

I am based in Sydney (pictured with Brandon Routh), however my work takes me all over Australia. On Baz Luhrmann’s movie Australia I was away for nine months in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. On a recent TVC for QANTAS I made 32 flights scouting Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

What was your luckiest career break so far?

Being offered the position of assistant location manager on The Matrix.

Do you have a type of production (features, TV, Commercials, stills) you prefer to work on and if so why?

In general I prefer to work on feature films. The jobs are longer and tend to break down into specific periods – research, scouting, consolidating ideas, refinement, permissioning, shooting, and wrapping. Whereas, in TV, these things are often all going on at once and can become something of a hum-drum melange.

In film, there is usually a lot more scope to contribute to the creative process. I also love travelling, and sooner or later most films end up taking me out somewhere into the amazing Australia countryside. Very large budget productions sometimes give one the chance to push the envelope in terms of organising massive location days, particularly in the city, and it always gives one a sense of achievement at the end of the day.

What tech gear and vehicle can you not do without and how many miles do you do a year?

In terms of tech gear, my main tools are, or course, a digital camera and a laptop. I have two compact cameras and a DSLR. I also make extensive use of a photo tracker and a hand-held sat-nav/radio unit.

For the last 10 years I’ve driven a Toyota Camry Wagon, which I’ve just traded in with 360,000 km on the clock. My new (secondhand) car is a Subaru Forester. ??Most of my driving mileage is fairly local – within a radius of 300km or so. Any further and it’s usually more efficient in Australia to take a plane and pick up a hire vehicle, otherwise you’re on the road for hours, and a remote breakdown could jeopardise the job in terms of meeting deadlines.

Broken Hill on the western side of NSW, for instance, is a 14 hour drive one-way. If I’m going to go off-road I hire a large Toyota, Nissan or Mistubishi 4WD.

What have been some of your most difficult location assignments to date and why?

The requirement on Superman Returns was not so much difficult as interesting. The young Superman had to run and jump through a field of tall maize with the Kent Farm in the background. There was a drought on, we were out of season, and we had a ten week deadline. We worked out that four hectares (approx 10 acres) would suffice with the rest being CG’d in.

So we found a hardy variety of maize used more for animal feed, and planted our four hectares. We laid in irrigation pipes, hitching them up to four or five 20,00 litre tanks and a pump, and we semi-trailered water up from a muddy waterhole in a creek some kilometres away.

An old couple, who were acting as informal security and living onsite in a small caravan, kept the pumps going 24 hours a day and the corn grew beautifully and on time. As I write this I have one of the cobs on a shelf in front of me, impaled on an old filing spike. Some say it was the most expensive corn ever grown. The landowner told me his wife cooked some but it was tough and tasteless – still, it looked the part.

From a location managers point of view what is the easiest locations you have shot at and why?

Rural areas are always the easiest to shoot in. Country Australia people are very welcoming and they will go out of their way to help. Local authorities like to see a film crew in town as they provide a big boost to the local economy. On Superman Returns we built the Kent Farm on a property about half an hour out of Tamworth, which itself was an hour’s flight from Sydney. At the other end of the budget scale, for the Tropfest inaugural feature film September, most of the film was shot in a patch of country north of Yass, which itself is about one hour north of Australia’s capital, Canberra.

On the other hand, the authorities in the Sydney metropolitan areas are also very supportive, and since the launch of the NSW Local Government Filming Protocol most filming requests are assumed to be possible, unless there are very specific reasons for a refusal. Also, most locations coming under the jurisdiction of local authorities are now costed on a cost-recovery basis, so fees are very much reduced. It has given filming in NSW a whole new feeling of freedom and acceptance.

What tips and advice would you give anyone considering filming in NSW for the first time?

Contact a local location manager and/or contact the Production Attraction Unit of Screen NSW – you never know, you may be eligible for some some budget incentives!

What specific locations truly capture the feel and mood of NSW?

For me it’s the bush, and in the local vernacular that word can take on many identities – it could be miles and miles of beautiful deserted beaches, dense rainforest, arid outback plains, massive fields of grain, rolling green hills, high mountains and even snowfields with snowgums in leaf.

The area of NSW is 802,000 sqkm  – that’s nearly ten times the area of Britain, so there is room for a massive amount of variation.?? Others might claim the iconic Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Bondi Beach, or even a dry and dusty outback town with one pub and a servo (petrol station) that doubles as shop, post office, food take-away, video shop, etc.

There’s plenty of choice!

What productions have you been working on in the past year?

I started last year of a NSW Tourism TVC which took me to dense rainforest in the north of the state at Dorrigo, the vinyards of the Hunter Valley about two hours north of Sydney, the pristine bays and beaches around Jervis Bay where the trees meet the sea (pictured below), and the extraordinary countryside about an hour SW of Canberra known as The Monaro, where giant, rounded boulders dot the rolling countryside (pictured above).

The TVC required permits from National Parks, vignerons, local councils, rural property owners, and even the Military, as we used a military airfield to base a helicopter for the beach scenes.

In March I started work on Fury Road (Mad Max 4). The location supervisor had been on for some months – we often work together on large productions – so a lot of the legwork had already been done.

Those familiar with the Mad Max genre will know the apocalyptic backdrops with no vegetation. Previous Mad Maxes have shot out in the west of the state, where there are vast areas of bare red soil plains with endless horizons, as well as rugged hilly countryside.

When the plains were originally scouted they were true to expectations as the area had been in drought for 10 years or so, however, the drought broke with heavy rainfalls and the plains slowly greened up from month to month – not really Mad Max scenery! Eventually the plains turned into a garden of Eden with wildflowers up to your knees and some to your waist – I have never seen anything like it. Now grass has filled in any red soil gaps in the green carpet.

I have since taken a job on a new long-form ABC TV drama series set in the offices of the NSW crown prosecution. We start filming 22 episodes from late January 2011 through to August. ??The previous two years I worked on two series of the very popular Underbelly, which deals with the Australian underworld. The drama is based on true stories.
What do you enjoy most about being a Location Manager?

The location manager/department is the only department on a production working on both sides of the fence – interfacing the production with the outside world. This creates many challenges, and when it goes right, the shoot has been a success, the location wants you back again and the producers too, then you know you’ve done your job well and it gives a sense of achievement.

Of course, travelling and meeting people is one of the job’s great perks, there are lot of Australians (or their ancestors) who have come here for a million different reasons and everyone has a story – but there is always a deadline eventually.

I also enjoy the responsibility – you’re often out there by yourself making decisions involving sometimes thousands of people and millions of dollars. Australia is an extraordinarily interesting country to travel in, and it constantly entices you on and on.

Food is another enjoyment – when I go to new areas I usually ask what the local specialty is. It might be yabbies (small freshwater crayfish), a particular cheese, salt-bush fed lamb, German pastries, and in one town that shall remain nameless, a cheese-slaw sandwich (grated cheese and carrot). I gave that one a miss!

What in your experience are the best crew and cast friendly hotels in NSW?

I have found that cast and crew are always welcome at hotels throughout Australia, but the best welcome would always be at an outback hotel, particularly in remote Parachilna in South Australia, where Ross and Jane Fargher have attained a special place in the Australian Film Industry’s hearts.

Of course, outback hotels don’t always have the latest technology, and technical communications can sometimes be a challenge, however, things are improving rapidly in that respect.

What do you do when you are not working?

I like to spend time with my wife and daughter, and I enjoy gardening. Ironically I also have a big interest in photography.

If you hadn’t become a Location Manager what would you have done instead?

When I was a child I wanted to be a farmer, but when I left school this somehow got forgotten. ?Since I’ve been in Australia I’ve had a lot of different work experiences, and apart from working in the camera and editing departments I have also worked outside the industry. I somehow fell into restaurant cooking for a couple of years, and landscape gardening, amongst other things, and I’ve had several freelance photo-journalist articles published in magazines and some very short fiction. Writing is something I’d like to develop.

For a year I worked as a video consultant with in the Aboriginal Development Division of the Northern Territory Government, and my job was to train two Aboriginal video crews and produce a two-monthly Aboriginal Video Magazine which was sent out to about 250 communities across the Territory. It was a great chance to work with indigenous Australians and to visit remote communities, and that’s something I would certainly do again if the opportunity came.

Though I never thought about it when I was younger, and if I had my time again and was not married, I feel I would like to work as a photographer in conflict areas – at least as long as I could handle it!

Vegan 101 cleans up at LA Web Series Festival

A highly-original sketch comedy series featuring “exaggerated parodies” of veganism has once again cleaned up in the US.

Vegan 101, created by former Melbourne talent Joanne Rose, took out Outstanding Sketch Comedy Series, Outstanding Guest Actress Louisa Kendrick and Actor Will Ryan (both in the Vegan Potluck episode) at the LA Web Series Festival earlier this week.

This follows awards and positive word-of-mouth the multi-platform series has collected since its launch in mid-2009.

Rose, a member of The International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV), also joined the Women of the Web panel at the festival to discuss the benefits and challenges of running your own show in cyberspace, and was also a guest on The Web Series: Global Phenomena panel, speaking as a producer from Australia.

Eventually moving to the US in 2004, Rose wrote the first sketch for the hilarious show in mid-2009 and it premiered in the US on Koldcast TV and Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die.

“I had been focused solely on acting in Los Angeles for several years at the time and I felt the increasing urge to take my career in a whole new direction,” Rose tells IF.

“As a dedicated vegan since 1994, I am very passionate about my project and wanted to use humor to educate, entertain and inspire others about the vegan lifestyle, rather than use traditional ways.”

Shot on the Panasonic AG-HVX200 for a budget of less than $5000, the first series featured six short episodes and series two – which stars Hollywood actor Eric Roberts (The Expendables, The Dark Knight) – begins production next week.

“Eric Roberts is an incredibly talented actor whose passion for the vegan lifestyle and animal rights [and] was the ultimate choice for the second season,” Rose says.

Roberts will play lead character Dr Eaton Wright, host of TV show Eating Right, who promotes “vegan awareness” inside and outside of the vegan community using “risqué and oddball antics”.

Second season episodes include: Vegano, Miso Soup For The Soul, The Book Signing, Vegan Fitness Coach, Vegan Hypnosis, Vegan of the Year and Vegan Holiday at Sea.

“I wanted to take the second season in a new direction and to feature regular characters. The running time for the episodes will vary from 2-6 minutes,” Rose says.

“I love every aspect of creating series for the web so I definitely want to continue this in the future.”

Marc Sadeghi Joins Rising Sun Pictures

Aiming to deepen its ties with Hollywood movie studios and assume a position among the top rank of global visual effects providers, Rising Sun Pictures has tapped Marc Sadeghi as Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development and Marketing. A former lead executive at The Orphanage, Sadeghi brings broad experience as a feature film executive and executive producer for visual effects, the latter including such landmark projects as Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean (2 & 3) and Sin City.

Sadeghi will give RSP a permanent presence in the U.S. for the first time. He will work closely with Rising Sun Pictures CEO Michael Taylor in forecasting, strategic planning and business development. He will also head the company’s worldwide sales effort and oversee studio relations.

“Marc is a visionary executive who has brought success to every company he has been associated with,” said Taylor. “He has been a strong and trusted partner to virtually every studio in Hollywood, and has an impressive track record for leading large teams of artists on complex and creatively demanding projects. We are very pleased to welcome him to the leadership team at RSP.”

For his part, Sadeghi said that he believes Rising Sun Pictures is well-positioned to prosper in a rapidly changing visual effects industry. “I have been an admirer of RSP’s artistry for years,” Sadeghi said. “I’ve been honored to work alongside them on several projects and was always impressed by their incredible work and determination to be the best.”

Sadeghi added that Rising Sun Pictures, which has been a key visual effects contributor to such films as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts I & II), X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Terminator: Salvation, is poised to take the next step and serve as the lead VFX house on such tent-pole projects.

In terms of long-term goals, Sadeghi said that he believes that Rising Sun Pictures’ future is as a developer of original content. “They have the physical resources to move into original productions, and, more importantly, they have the storytelling skills,” he said.

At The Orphanage, Sadeghi oversaw the development of a feature film visual effects division that became an industry front-runner and served as lead house on many blockbuster films. Additionally, Sadeghi served as Executive Producer for Orphanage Animation Studios, which developed original animation projects, and as Co-Producer on Sony Screen Gems thriller Legion. More recently, Sadeghi was co-founder and principal of Zero VFX, a Boston visual effects house specializing in commercials and features.

Queensland Film Industry Boosted By Deal With New York Heavyweights

The New York Film Academy (NYFA) will establish a Gold Coast campus for its screen acting and writing program in a massive boost to Queensland’s film and television industry.

Premier and Minister for Reconstruction Anna Bligh said the training facility in a yet-to-be-released Gold Coast location was a vote of confidence for the local film and television industry.

“The Gold Coast is Queensland’s home of film and television production and NYFA’s investment here on the Coast cements our standing as a location of choice for film and television producers right around the world,” Ms Bligh said.

“NYFA’s decision to establish itself in Queensland is testament to our success in film production over the past five years, with such films as Narnia and Sanctum providing more than $443 million in investment and 4,800 jobs to the Gold Coast economy,” Ms Bligh said.

“Queensland’s global reputation for film and television production is built on the diversity of our filming locations, leading production crews, acclaimed visual effects companies, and world-class production and post-production facilities.

“NYFA’s presence in Queensland will further raise our profile as a competitive location destination for the film, education and tourism industries.”

Ms Bligh said the NYFA would also establish a second campus at the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Creative Industries Precinct to offer students a behind-the-camera film training program.

“NYFA is a fully accredited film production and screen acting and writing college which attracts around 6,500 students each year,” she said.

“Securing investment from such a prestigious creative industries education provider is a major coup for Queensland and our world-class creative industries sector.

“Up to 15 new jobs will be created from the two new campuses, including locally employed lecturers, management and technicians.

“Direct capital expenditure of about $1.5 million is expected for state-of-the-art production equipment, while considerable flow-on benefits are also expected from the tourism and international student markets.

“NYFA already has two campuses in the United States and one in Abu Dhabi, and has decided to expand its facilities to Queensland to service the growing Asia-Pacific region.”

Ms Bligh said Trade and Investment Queensland, the Gold Coast City Council, and QUT had all played an integral role in securing NYFA’s investment in Queensland.

Australian Talent at SXSW

An array of Australian Screen talent was on display at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin Texas. Australian actress Rose Byrne stars in the upcoming comedy Bridesmaids (produced by Judd Apatow) which had a ‘work in progress’ screening on Sunday 13 March. Byrne also stars in Insidious, the new horror film from James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the team behind the Saw franchise.

Three Australian films also screened at the festival including LBF, a modern story of love, loss and desperation from writer/director Alex Munt, Caught Inside, a psychological thriller from writer/director/producer Adam Blaiklock and Wasted on the Young, a thriller from writer/director Ben C. Lucas.

Another Aussie for Hawaii Five-0 cast

Sourced from smh.com.au

Australian actress Claire van der Boom says her latest role as Danno’s ex-wife on Hawaii Five-O shows there’s always two sides to every relationship story.

Van der Boom made her first appearance in the US cop show on Sunday as Rachel, the ex-wife of Hawaii cop Danny “Danno” Williams, but it’s not the first time viewers of the series have heard of her.

Danno’s personal ringtone for Rachel on his mobile is the theme from Psycho, and he paints a less than flattering portrait of his ex-wife. But the actress, who starred in the Australian series Rush and the miniseries The Pacific, says you can never just take one person’s version of events as far as relationships go.
“There’s always two sides to a story with relationships,” she says.

“I think there’s a Psycho ringtone and a few other episodes where there’s mention of her being an out-and-out bitch of an ex-wife and over-protective mother.

“Then you meet her and the writers flesh out that Danno would perhaps be difficult himself, so there’s a reason why they were thrown together and there was a reason why they were thrown apart.”

Van der Boom says considering the former couple’s differences, the real mystery is how they ever ended up getting together at all. “She’s an upper class Brit and he’s a blue collar from New Jersey so it’s that thing of how they were together in the first place,” she says.

“It’s an interesting thing to try and discover.”

For the first time in her career, van der Boom didn’t have to audition to get the role of Rachel.

“The producer and Scott Caan who plays Danno saw The Pacific, they liked what I did in that and I was offered the role, which is a first for me,” she says.

“To be honest I was a little bit chuffed about that … I don’t know whether it will happen again but it’s nice to know that work is adding up and can help along the way.”

And unlike their on-screen relationship, van der Boom says she and Caan, who she describes as “fantastic” and “really naughty”, have become good friends.

“He’s become a very dear friend and I have a lot of time for him,” she says.

“He is incredibly bright. He grew up in this Hollywood scene but he’s not affected by that.”

Caan’s talents aren’t just confined to acting either, his co-star says.

“He’s an amazing photographer, he’s directed three or four films…,” she says.

“He’s incredibly smart and driven and on the flip side of that, he can also let it all go and be an absolute dag. He’s got a blue healer so what can I say,” she laughs.

Van der Boom will return to Hawaii next week to shoot more episodes and says the producers just give her a call whenever they need her character in a storyline. But, she says, considering it’s an action-packed cop show there’s only so much time that they will devote to the home lives of the main characters.

“At the end of the day there’s four leads in the show and I feel really lucky as it is that they’re exploring Danno’s private life but it’s not really character driven on the home front,” she says.

“It’s very much a cop show and action packed. It’s about the relationship between the four leads so they can’t really flesh out their private lives too much. It can’t take up too much screen time … I just really enjoy to be able to swan in and out I suppose.”

Besides, she says, that often means she gets more free time to spend on hobbies like scuba diving and surfing on the idyllic island.

“I get the half day off and they’re all exhausted,” she laughs.

“I’ve seen more of Hawaii than a couple of the (lead) guys I think.”

Van der Boom has also got more than enough work to keep her busy. The actress, who was raised in Broome and Perth, has been based in Los Angeles for the past two years but divides her time between Australia and the US for work.

“On and off (I’ve been in LA) for two years but I think most of last year I actually spent in Australia,” she says.

“I’m rolling where the auditions and the work is so who knows anymore.”

She says she’s about to do a film in Australia and is just waiting to hear when it will shoot, as well as still picking up work in the US.

“At the end of day I’m an Aussie girl at heart so that’s where I’m happiest working on Australian stories,” she says.

“But you do unfortunately have to go where the work is and there’s a lot of talented actors in Australia, which is why I walk down the street in Los Angeles and it’s pretty common to bump into an Australian actor.

“I’m keeping a hat in all sorts of rings.”

Film Victoria CEO Farewells the Industry After Nine Years at the Helm

After almost nine years leading Film Victoria Sandra Sdraulig is saying thank you, congratulations and farewell to the industry in her final week as CEO of the organisation.

“Working at Film Victoria and with Victoria’s outstanding screen practitioners has been a privilege and a pleasure,” Sandra said. For me this week is not about my farewell – it’s about thanking the industry for their passion, hard work and creative force, and for allowing me to support and be a part of their amazing achievements over the past nine years.”

“Though it’s with sadness that I leave my Film Victoria colleagues, I also feel great pride and confidence, knowing the organisation is on a solid path for the future.”

John Howie, Film Victoria President; Sigrid Thornton, actor and former Film Victoria Board member; and David Parker, producer all agreed that Ms Sdraulig had reinvigorated the industry since her appointment in 2002.

“Sandra has played an instrumental part in transforming the Victorian film, television and digital media industry, which under her leadership has increased yearly output from below $90 million per annum to record-high achievements above $260 million per annum,” said Mr Howie.

“Film Victoria is now recognised nationally for its innovative, forward-looking programs and initiatives and industry-first events. It is respected internationally for its world-class film commission services.”

Ms Thornton said Sandra and Film Victoria should be applauded for their terrific achievements in bringing enormous economic and cultural benefits to the state. “Sandra has set goals and achieved them, with a growing development slate alongside significantly increasing local and offshore production. This was all achieved in a highly competitive environment and it was done with efficiency, integrity and a large dose of charm.”

Mr Parker said it had been a joy to have a savvy, forward thinking, intelligent CEO steering the Victorian industry to its present strong position. “It’s rare to find a person who can work with government to create a climate and a budget that allows we film makers to do just that – make films. Sandra leaves Film Victoria at a time when her past work has cemented a solid foundation for our future industry.”

Under Sandra’s leadership, Film Victoria has developed and delivered benchmark programs, initiatives and events. The organisation was the first state screen agency to offer a program dedicated to TV production, which transformed the sector from critically low levels of production to the flourishing industry it is today.

Film Victoria was also the first to develop programs focusing on companies developing slates as well as individual projects, and brought the Enterprise program to Australia to strengthen Victorian screen businesses and partnerships.

Film Victoria adopted a new and different approach to script development, offering holistic support to writers from treatment stage through to production, to create an environment which encouraged writers to produce their best work and build the overall skills base. Critical to this was bringing the Arista series of workshops and lectures to Australia for the first time.

The agency has led the way in digital media, recognising opportunities, embracing new technology and creating the most innovative programs of any state or federal agency to support the sector. Victoria is now Australia’s strongest games sector, employing more than 400 fulltime developers in 44 studios.

The organisation was also the first state screen agency to establish a dedicated industry research and analysis unit.

Under Sandra’s guidance Film Victoria has positioned Melbourne as an important production destination globally, securing unprecedented levels of international production for the state. Film Victoria secured the largest television series ever made in the world, The Pacific, which generated around $180 million for Victoria’s economy.

THE PACIFIC producer Tony To described Sandra’s assistance in bringing the acclaimed HBO series to Victoria as invaluable.

“In the context of significant competition, Sandra and Film Victoria were critical in convincing us to locate our entire production in Melbourne. Sandra introduced us to some of the best crews I have ever worked with, and we had access to world-class facilities. Sandra and Film Victoria provide film commission services at the highest level, and supported us in practical ways throughout the production.”

Other international projects secured for Victoria during Sandra’s term include Where The Wild Things Are, Charlotte’s Web, Ghost Rider, Knowing and Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark.

Jordan Kerner, producer of Charlotte’s Web, said it was his contact with Sandra that proved to be the decisive factor in the decision to shoot the film in Australia. “Sandra is an immense creative force, an amazing collaborator, and a great proponent of the Australian film industry. The cooperation and intelligent assistance we received from her was outstanding.”

Producer Gary Foster said working with Sandra to film Ghost Rider in Melbourne had been a pleasure. “Her attention to detail, her willingness to advocate on our behalf with government, and her personal commitment to make the film a successful experience in Melbourne was outstanding.”

During Sandra’s term, total Victorian screen industry production expenditure has topped $1.5 billion dollars. Film Victoria’s programs and initiatives have leveraged more than $1 billion of this spend.

Reflecting on her nine years at Film Victoria, Sandra said, “I leave knowing the industry is in great shape, and ready to respond to all the changes, challenges and opportunities ahead. We have a tremendous depth of talent and experience in this state, which I know will keep Victoria at the forefront of producing great content that is successful in being recognised locally and internationally.”

Sandra thanked John Howie, the Film Victoria Board and staff and the Victorian Government for their support during her term as CEO.

She departs Film Victoria on Friday, 25 March 2011.

Fox Studios Australia to aquire Panalux Lighting Equipment

Fox Studios Australia has announced plans to purchase Panalux’s entire Australian lighting equipment inventory.

Panalux, Panavision’s lighting division based in New South Wales and Queensland, has serviced the film industry since 1999 supplying lighting equipment to a large number of local and international blockbusters shot at Fox and across the region.

The purchase of such a significant amount of lighting equipment sees Fox Studios Australia now become Australia’s only complete ‘one stop shop’ film studio, closely resembling Fox’s US studio model and moving away from the ‘dry hire’ model.

Fox Studios Australia CEO Nancy Romano said, “Purchasing and thus keeping, the lighting equipment that has serviced our industry so well over the last 12 years on Australian shores was the primary driver behind our decision. By adding the lighting equipment operation to our studio, it will be easier and more convenient for local and international productions to source lighting equipment whilst shooting on the Fox lot in Sydney, or in any other location in Australia and New Zealand. We see this as an investment in the future of the Australian film industry and know that keeping this equipment in Australia will help contribute to achieving a sustainable industry in the future.”

“Panavision is proud to have supplied lighting gear to the industry for the last 12 years and we will continue to serve our customers until the completion of this transaction,” says Panavision Asia Pacific Managing Director, Martin Cayzer.  “Keeping this key piece of lighting infrastructure in Australia is critical for the future of our industry. Our future focus will now be on camera and crane rentals for local and international movies, television series and commercials productions.  We also look forward to working on industry projects with Fox Studios Australia.”

Aussie film festival a winning platform

Sourced from theaustralian.com.au – By Simon Canning

The tiny town of Dungog has become the home of the little film festival that, with its annual showing of Australian films, is now being mentioned in the same breath as the famed Sundance and has major sponsors flocking to its doors.

The festival is the only dedicated expo of Australian film in the world and has moved from a cult following among aficionados to become a platform attracting backers that include Apple, Sony, Country Link, Mambo and DVD rental firm Oovie.

During the four-day festival, the population of the town doubles to more than 15,000, with people flocking to the Hunter Valley generating revenues of more than $2 million.

Allanah Zitserman, director of the Dungog Film Festival, has taken it from a concept to a fully fledged event that Australian film makers are keen to use as their debut springboard.

“In Australia, there are not many film festivals set outside the major cities and I think it is the first film festival anywhere that showcases only Australian content,” Ms Zitserman said, adding that despite the remote location of the festival, which runs from May 26-29, it had proven surprisingly popular with sponsors while state and federal government departments had also seen it as a fertile vehicle.

The festival is centred around the oldest continuously running cinema in the country, The James.

Sponsors get involved in a variety of ways, including Country Link, which lays on a special party train from Sydney direct to Dungog.

“I think that sponsorship for an arts organisation is always a challenge, but for 2011 we already have between 15 and 20 sponsors and usually end up with about 30,” she said.

“We are very specific about meeting their needs and we have sponsors telling us they are walking away with a 300 per cent return on their investment.”

This year, the festival is also holding a warm-up event in Sydney, where actresses Georgie Parker and and Susie Porter will join others as part of a public reading of the script for John Lonie’s movie The Savage Garden.

New Screen Tasmania Chair and Board Members

The Premier and Minister for the Arts, Lara Giddings, today congratulated Brian Rosen on his appointment as the new Chair of the Screen Tasmania Board.

The appointment coincides with the addition of Screen Tasmania to the Arts portfolio in recognition of the cultural, artistic and economic, contribution the Tasmanian screen industry makes to the state.

Ms Giddings also welcomed two new board members, Posie Graeme-Evans (Tasmania) and Simon Nasht (NSW).

“Brian Rosen’s appointment follows outgoing Chair Margaret Reynolds’ completion of the maximum 10 years in the position,” Ms Giddings said.

“Ms Reynolds had great success as the inaugural Chair and in her 10 years she has helped our screen industry grow into one we are rightly proud of.

“Mr Rosen has sat on the Board for two years and his experience as the former CEO of the Film Finance Corporation has already been invaluable.

“He has unparalleled experience and understanding of the Australian film industry as well as having high-level industry networks both nationally and internationally, which have been developed through his experience as an international feature film producer.”

Mr Rosen said he was proud to have been appointed as Chair and looked forward to continuing to work with Screen Tasmania to support the state’s many film practitioners.

“During my time on the Board, I have seen a number of high quality projects progress into production with Screen Tasmania’s support, including animation, online content, documentary and feature film,” Mr Rosen said.

“Tasmania has many gifted individuals and companies working in the industry and the Board is committed to seeing this number grow, further improving our sustainability.”

Ms Giddings said the two new board members brought a wealth of experience with them, particularly in the areas of television drama and documentary.

“Posie Graeme-Evans calls Tasmania home and has embraced writing, directing and producing as one of Australia’s pre-eminent television creator/producers,” Ms Giddings said.

“Amongst her many national and international awards are 16 Logies, including the most popular Australian Show (2004), for McLeod’s Daughters. Simon Nasht, a former political reporter and foreign correspondent for The Age and the ABC, ia now an internationally award winning documentary director producing work for many of the world’s leading networks including the ABC, BBC, National Geographic and America’s PBS.

“His work includes biopics on photographer Frank Hurley, Errol Flynn and most recently Dick’s Population Puzzle, a feature length documentary for the ABC examining the push to rapidly grow Australia’s population.

“Tasmania has a significant background in documentary filmmaking and will benefit from one of Australia’s most experienced documentary filmmakers being on the Board.

“Screen Tasmania has worked hard to grow our screen industry since it was established 10 years ago and will soon move into its next phase as it delivers its five-year strategic plan.

“I look forward to working with Screen Tasmania and the entire Board as they continue to build on the success of the last 10 years and support a quality and innovative Tasmanian screen culture.”

Thor Premiere to be held in Sydney, Australia

Sourced from moviehole.net

The World Premiere of the highly anticipated Marvel Studios film Thor will take place on Sunday April 17 at Event Cinemas George Street, Sydney. Walking the red carpet will be the film’s director Kenneth Branagh and Australian Chris Hemsworth in the title role of Thor, ‘The God of Thunder’ as well as Kat Dennings who stars as Darcy, Tom Hiddleston in the role of Thor’s brother Loki and Jaimie Alexander who plays Sif. The World Premiere will kick off a two-day promotional tour covering Sydney and Chris’ hometown of Melbourne.

Australian audiences will be the first in the world to experience Thor, four days after the World Premiere when it opens in cinemas on April 21.

Australian critics give 5 nods to Animal Kingdom

Sourced from encoremagazine.com.au

The Film Critics Circle of Australia has named Animal Kingdom the Best Film of 2010, taking 5 awards including best director, actor, actress, supporting actor and original screenplay.

Beneath Hill 60 took two awards, and South Solitary and The Waiting City took won one each.

These are the winners:

  • Best Film: Animal Kingdom
  • Best Director: David Michod, Animal Kingdom Best Actor: Ben Mendelsohn, Animal Kingdom
  • Best Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
  • Best Supporting Actress: Essie Davies, South Solitary
  • Best Supporting Actor: Joel Edgerton, Animal Kingdom
  • Best Original Screenplay: David Michod, Animal Kingdom
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: David Roach, Beneath Hill 60
  • Best Cinematography: Denson Baker, The Waiting City
  • Best Editor: Dany Cooper, Beneath Hill 60
  • Best Music Score: Cezary Skubiszewski, Bran Nue Dae – also SpecialAcknowledgement Award for his continued contribution to Australian cinema.
  • Best Foreign Film – English language: The Social Network
  • Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon
  • Special Mention: Lily Bell-Tindley (Lou) and Morgana Davies (The Tree)

Screen Australia announces investment in 15 projects

Screen Australia has announced production investment in 15 projects including four feature films, one low-budget television series and 10 documentaries. Screen Australia’s investment of $9 million in the 15 projects will trigger production worth almost $29 million.

Features supported include:

Sam Worthington (Avatar) will star in Drift (p: Michele Bennett, Tim Duffy, Myles Pollard, ep: Joan Peters, w: Morgan O’Neill), a character-driven action drama set in the surfing world directed by Morgan O’Neill and Ben Nott.

Satellite Boy (p: David Jowsey, Sue Seeary, w/d: Catriona McKenzie) is an Indigenous coming-of-age story set in the Kimberley region from rising talent Catriona McKenzie. McKenzie’s directorial feature debut is a heartfelt, moving and uplifting story about a young boy’s journey to save his home and ultimately himself.

Australia’s favourite mother and daughter comedy duo are set to hit the big screen in The Kath and Kim Filum (p: Rick McKenna, Jane Turner, Gina Riley, w: Jane Turner, Gina Riley, d: Ted Emery), which sees Kath and Kim head overseas on a whirlwind tour of love, lust and revolution.

Jeremy Hogarth’s The Last Great Apes (p: Norm Wilkinson, w: Norm Wilkinson, Jeremy Hogarth), a theatrical documentary for the IMAX platform, and Peter Templeman’s debut feature The 20-Something Survival Guide (p: Jodi Matterson, ep: Bruna Papandrea, Simon Bosanquet, Mark Huffam, w: Michael Lucas), a romantic comedy about a guy in his 20s who finds out his fertility runs out in a month.

Character driven drama Remarkable Creatures from writer Jan Sardi (Mao’s Last Dancer, Shine), producer Heather Ogilvie and co-producer Mark Gooder.

Two thriller genre features, A Murder of Crows and Black Echoes, from Shayne Armstrong and Shane Krause, the writing duo of Bait, with producers Michael Robertson and Murray Pope, will also receive development investment.

Omnilab Media Opens Digital Pictures and Iloura in Sydney

Omnilab has Media announced that it would further invest in its post-production and VFX businesses by opening both Digital Pictures and Iloura in Sydney.

Digital Pictures will be Omnilab Media’s one national, world-class, post-production business that will service the film, television and advertising industries from two primary locations in Sydney and Melbourne.

Iloura, already a highly successful international studio, will open new premises in Sydney and significantly expand its VFX and animation services to the global film and television market.

Christopher Mapp, Managing Director, Omnilab Media said, “We will increase our investment in both Digital Pictures and Iloura’s talent, infrastructure and services to provide both Australian and international clients with the very best, creative and technical services that can be tailored to the individual needs of a project, no matter where it is based.”

Iloura Melbourne is currently working on two large budget feature film projects, Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 3D and Omnilab Media’s The Killer Elite with recent credits including Sanctum 3D, Guillermo Del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Fred Schepisi’s Eye of the Storm, and HBO’s The Pacific.

Digital Pictures Melbourne has built up a strong international reputation for 3D post-production having undertaken Sanctum 3D with Iloura. Additionally, local feature films Snowtown, The Cup, and Tomorrow When the War Began and television productions including Winners and Losers, and City Homicide have all been undertaken by Digital Pictures.

The strong market presence achieved by The Lab Sydney in television, film and advertising will continue to grow under the Digital Pictures business.

The Lab Sydney’s recent credits include; Feature films - Tomorrow When the War Began, Burning Man, and South Solitary. Television – Underbelly Files and Underbelly series’ 2 and 3, Spirited series’ 1 & 2, Sea Patrol series 1 to 5, Rescue Special Ops series 1 – 3; and Advertising – ABC channels 1 and 2 (rebranding), Hyundai i20 – Going Places (TVC) and Foxtel’s 100 Days of Summer (ident).

The recent announcement by former Premier, Kristina Keneally of NSW Government funding for the sequel of Tomorrow When the War Began, tentatively titled Tomorrow 2 further solidified Omnilab Media’s commitment to the production industry in NSW. Tomorrow 2 will employ approximately 150 post-production and VFX practitioners in NSW.

“As Omnilab Media invests in and produces more local and global film and television projects, it will generate greater employment opportunities for technically and creatively skilled Australians. Those Australians will play a significant role in contributing to the screen industry’s vibrant and sustainable future,” said Mapp.?

Aussies expect more film success

Sourced from smh.com.au

After some huge blockbuster hits and a record Oscar haul, the Australian film industry deserves to pat itself on the back for a 2010 well done.

But as the Australian Film Festival gets underway in Sydney on Wednesday, it is clear 2011 is shaping up to be another good year.

In this year’s line up, Transformers star Isabel Lucas features in the opening and closing night films The Wedding Party and A Heartbeat Away, Summer Bay resident-turned-True Blood beefcake Ryan Kwanten releases his inner geek in the superhero tale Griff The Invisible, and Damian Walshe-Howling and Gyton Grantley are among a group of Aussies being hunted by a giant shark in The Reef.

Festival director Barry Watterson says if films like these are anything to go by, it should be another stellar year for the local industry.

“I have to say there are a lot of potentially great films coming,” Watterson tells AAP on Wednesday, hours before the opening night celebrations of the 12-day festival.

“Whereas in Hollywood you’re having the sequel, the prequel, the third, fourth, and you’ve got people dredging the bottom of cartoons and comics to try and make these blockbusters, there are a whole range of films coming out here in Australia this year.

“I think that our story-telling is actually going to prove to be our saviour in the end.”

The only downside is that, perhaps due to the minuscule marketing budget Australian productions have compared to their American cousins, Aussies still aren’t going out to watch their own countrymen’s films.

“Our only worry really is that the Australian audience for Australian films doesn’t seem to be growing as much as we’d like – it’s still trapped at around four per cent,” he says.

“We’re not making enough of our Australian filmmakers.

“Our heroes are really from the 80s still – our wonderful Jack Thompsons and Bruce Beresfords and Jane Campions and Jan Chapmans.

“But in the 90s and into this century we sort of lost that ability to make our stars stars in our own country.

“Part of the (aim of the) festival is to start doing that again.”

Having stars like Lucas and Kwanten – who are both making great inroads in the US – return to Australia to work on local productions is half the battle, Watterson says.

“It is part of the solution and I’m really happy that they’ve been able to bring them back and do that work. Eric Bana comes back and does things, Hugh Jackman does it, Nicole Kidman does it,” he says.

“The fact that they are still making films here is sensational.

“I would like not to see the day when we just become jobbers for bigger American films.”

Grantley, who co-stars in the shark thriller The Reef, which has already screened successfully at Cannes and Sundance, says it is a shame there isn’t enough work to keep actors busy in Australia.

“It’s a shame that there isn’t more work in Australia because we do tell fantastic stories and we’ve got such incredibly talented people there,” he tells AAP from LA, where he is attending auditions.

Beneath Hill 60, Balibo, Underbelly – some of the greatest jobs I’ve worked on are true Australian stories.

“Hopefully The Reef as well will continue to encourage more and more productions in our country because we do them so well.”

Aussies Rejoice Over Production, Animation Wins

Sourced from hollywoodreporter.com – By Pip Bulbeck

Australia goes four for nine at this year’s Oscars, winning the Asian region’s only trophies.

SYDNEY — British royalty might have ruled the Oscars but, as in The King’s Speech, there was a distinct Australian twang to this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, from the shout-outs to Hugh Jackman, David Elsey’s “crikey” when winning for best make-up, and Emile Sherman’s acceptance speech for Best Picture as co-producer on The King’s Speech.

With the Oscar ceremony broadcast live on both pay and free-to-air TV on Monday daytime here, Australians at various Oscar lunches around the country tweeted and cheered on their compatriots in Los Angeles, lauding the four of nine Aussie nominees who were successful in bringing home the gold statuettes.

Initial disappointment when hometown favorite Jackie Weaver was, not unexpectedly, edged out by Melissa Leo in the best supporting actress category, giving way to excitement when Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann won for best animated short, the same category won four years ago by Adam Elliot with Harvie Krumpet.

Tan, who is best known here as an award winning children’s book writer and illustrator, made his directorial debut with The Lost Thing, which was backed by agencies Film Victoria and Screen Australia.

“This is for you Perth and Melbourne,” Tan said in his acceptance speech.

That win was backed up by expats David Elsey, who shared the Oscar for best make up on The Wolfman with long-time collaborator Rick Baker, and editor Kirk Baxter, who with Angus Wall, won for their work on The Social Network.

Sherman, who with Iain Canning through their U.K.-Australian production shingle, See Saw Films and Garth Unwin won Best Picture, rounded out the Aussie foursome. He is believed to be the first Australian independent producer to win a Best Picture Oscar.

Bruce Davey, then Mel Gibson’s producing partner, won the Best Picture gong for Braveheart in 1996.

Some local pundits were also keen to include King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper as an Aussie – his mother is Australian and he holds dual Australian-British citizenship.

Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley congratulated all the Australian winners and gave special mention to Tan and Ruhemann’s The Lost Thing, which was produced by Sophie Byrne of Melbourne’s Passion Pictures.

“Winning an Oscar offers our Australian filmmakers fantastic recognition on the world stage. We are immensely proud of this remarkable achievement. Australian’s have a rich history in the short animation category at the Oscars. I think it demonstrates the incredible calibre of talent we have in the animation industry,” said Harley.

The Lost Thing was part funded under Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator program for short animation production, which supports leading emerging animation talent.

The Screen Producers Association of Australia meanwhile mentioned Sherman.

SPAA executive director Geoff Brown said the organization was “delighted by the Oscar win for Best Motion Picture for the See-Saw Films production, The King’s Speech.”  Emile Sherman, the 2009 SPAA Producer of The Year, along with Iain Canning and Gareth Unwin collected the Oscar at the 83rd Academy Awards Monday.

“I believe that this is the first time an independent Australian producer has been awarded the Oscar for Best Picture and we are just thrilled that Emile and his team have been recognized for this exceptional film. Not only has The King’s Speech received acknowledgment from the major international awards but it has commercially thrived in the Australian and international market. I look forward to Emile embracing this success back home with his upcoming projects.”

Indeed The King’s Speech has enjoyed significant commercial as well as critical success. Here it has taken AUS$25 million ($25.44 million) at the local box office to date after 10 weeks and is still going strong.

Local distributor Transmission Films, with whom See Saw has a first look deal here, said from Los Angeles, “Congratulations to the cast and crew of The King’s Speech. So much Oscars glory going on, it’s just too exciting. So proud to be a part of it.”

See Saw’s next release is an official Australian-U.K. co-production, Oranges And Sunshine, which is being distributed here by Icon Films. It’s Jim Loach’s directorial debut starring Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham.

And just to show how tight knit the Australian film pool is, See Saw Films’ Sherman and Canning are also partners in Fulcrum Media Finance, one of the backers of Animal Kingdom, the feature that has put best supporting actress nominee Jackie Weaver on a trajectory to a new Hollywood-based career at age 61.

Weaver has said she’s likely moving to Los Angeles after being offered numerous film and TV roles.

“I must have read 12 or 15 scripts the past five weeks and I have had some firm offers on quite a few things so I have to sort out my options and decide what to do,” Weaver told the Australian Associated Press.

NSW scores another film coup – Tomorrow 2

NSW has secured the production of the highly anticipated follow-up to Tomorrow When the War Began – 2010’s highest grossing Australian film.

The film – going by the working title of ‘Tomorrow 2’ – will be produced, edited and finished entirely in Australia, with the majority of the filming to take place in the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains. It is expected to generate more than 450 jobs and inject around $40 million into the NSW economy. Filming will commence in September.

Weir’s way: journey back to the screen offered no short cuts

Sourced from smh.com.au

Six Academy Award nominations – more than Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett – show how highly regarded Peter Weir is in Hollywood. For his last two movies, The Truman Show and Master and Commander, the Sydney filmmaker was nominated for best director.

In a career of almost 40 years, he has also been acclaimed for Picnic At Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, Witness, Dead Poet’s Society, Green Card and Fearless.

So why has it taken seven years to make The Way Back, an epic drama about escaped prisoners of war who trekked 10,000 kilometres from Siberia to India in 1940?
Partly it was Weir being choosy.

”I’m very selective,” he says.

”I look for things that really interest me – enough to spend a couple of years on.”

Like even the biggest names in Hollywood, Weir, 66, has had to navigate a shift in the movie business. When studios have wanted familiar stories that make buckets of money – if it’s from a comic book, all the better – he has stuck with intelligent, thoughtful, heartfelt films.

In those seven years, four such projects failed to get financed – adaptations of the novels Pattern Recognition and Shantaram and the military films War Magician and Shadow Divers. But as with the prison escapees in his latest film, persistence has paid off.

The Way Back stars Jim Sturgess as a Polish cavalry officer, Colin Farrell as a violent Russian criminal and Ed Harris as an enigmatic American engineer who join a party fleeing a brutal Siberian gulag during World War II. To get to safety, they have to trek through snow, desert and eventually over the Himalayas.

Weir says he has been interested in adventure stories from childhood. ”For me growing up, it was stories of escapes from prisons,” he says. ”Escape From Colditz, The Wooden Horse or Reach For The Sky: I read all of those.”

Later came learning about epic treks by explorers, including Shackleton and Burke and Wills.

”In reading this story and the background to it – and interviews with survivors of the gulag – I began to really think about the nature of the human spirit,” he says. ”What is it that you draw on that can make you take such a risk and drive you on over 10,000 kilometres?”

The film was inspired by the book The Long Walk by a former Polish soldier, Slavomir Rawicz. But with doubts over whether he actually did the walk himself, The Way Back draws on other accounts of the trek.

”The walk did take place,” Weir says. ”That’s why I dedicated it to the unknown survivors. Did the author of the book go on the walk? There seems a question mark on that. Possibly not. That’s why I re-titled it and fictionalised it and used … true events as my bedrock.”

The film was financed outside the Hollywood system for a modest $US30 million. Instead of creating the locations using computer graphics, Weir shot in snowy Bulgarian forests, the Sahara Desert and the Himalayas.

Getting the film distributed in the US was another challenge. Because of limited opportunities for an epic drama full of foreigners, the film company had to buy its own distribution outfit.

”I do feel for young filmmakers,” says Weir, reflecting on the huge box office takings for fantasy movies that are largely made for children. ”That has sparked a kind of gold rush in the film world, where people would rather gamble at the high table. If you take a drama on, you may if you’re lucky make a few million but you’re not going to make the kind of money those films make.”

After mentioning his admiration for the writer-performer Chris Lilley from Summer Heights High, Weir admits that if he was starting his career now, he would head for television rather than film ”because of the stranglehold of distribution and marketing on the film industry”.

”You get your idea as a filmmaker; hopefully it has some rough edges. It has a little bit of daring in it – some degree of risk – so that it pops out the other end fresh and strong. But you have to take that to this small group of people who have the keys to the gate that will lead you to the world audience.

”They say ‘it’s too unusual, we want to straighten it out. We want to make it a little more like films which have succeeded in the past’ …

”I fear that those directors who don’t have the power, their films will get, to some extent, shorn of their individuality.”

Weir hopes it will not take seven years to make another film.

”One part of me wants to go and enjoy all the meetings and surveys and casting sessions,” he says. ”The other part of me simply can’t move until I find that story that fits like a glove, that is something I was meant to do or that I can bring something to.”

Michael Burton appointed new CEO of Cutting Edge

Sourced from if.com.au – By Sam Dallas

With more than a quarter of a century experience in broadcast media, Michael Burton has been appointed the new CEO of Cutting Edge.

After starting out as the Brisbane-based company’s CTO and later moving onto managing director and head of outside broadcast and reality TV, Burton will enhance all areas of the company including post production, visual effects, and broadcast and digital media.

“Our clients need a broader range of services and products than ever before,” Burton said in a statement.

“From creation through to delivery, we’re focused on giving the most value to our clients – whether it’s through asset management and digital delivery efficiencies, or through a new range of services across the digital media space”.

Burton has been a key driving force at the company – which also has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, London and Tokyo – overseeing the provision of services for Big Brother Australia, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, as well as Fox Sports cricket and Network Ten’s AFL broadcasting.

Hopscotch sets Aus release date for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Sourced from if.com.au – By Brendan Swift

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark will be released in Australia in August following a long delay caused by the sale of Disney’s Miramax Films.

Hopscotch Films has acquired the local distribution rights for the Melbourne-shot horror film, originally held by Disney before it sold its Miramax Films division to private investors last year. In the US, the R-rated film will be released by FilmDistrict on August 12.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, is a remake of a 1970s TV horror film.

Hopscotch managed the local distribution of del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, which grossed more than $2.13 million across 52 screens at its widest release in early-2007.

“It’s great to be continuing our relationship with Del Toro after the remarkable success we had together with Pan’s Labyrinth,” Hopscotch managing director Troy Lum said in a statement.

“It’s also great to be involved with such a high-class film that has such significant local involvement. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a brilliantly realised dark fantasy and we are proud to be releasing it.”

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
follows Sally Hurst (Bailee Madison), a lonely, withdrawn child who moves in with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in a 19th century mansion. Sally discovers a hidden basement and unwittingly lets loose a race of ancient, dark-dwelling creatures who conspire to drag her down in the mysterious house’s bottomless depths.