Producer Marian Macgowan pitches Gillian Armstrong’s The Great, with Mia Wasikowska and Annette Bening attached.
Films by feature directors Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) and Leon Ford (Griff), and veteran Gillian Armstrong (Death Defying Acts), are among those pitched by five producers singled out for the quality of the projects they presented at 37º South in Melbourne.
“Guided by the votes of sales agents attending”, Marian Macgowan, Samantha Jennings and Nicole O’Donohue, all from Sydney, are going to the UK’s Production Finance Market (PFM) as a result, and Perth-based Liz Kearney and Brisbane-based Della Churchill are going to Canada’s Strategic Partners.
PFM and Strategic Partners have an on-going relationship with the four-day Australian event, which is part of the Melbourne International Film Festival. Forty-three financing guests and 100 producers from Australia and New Zealand attended and organisers say that 1,542 one-on-one meetings were scheduled.
The international guests were from Indomina, Studio Canal, eOne, Ealting Metro, Aver, Gaumont, Shoreline, MK2, FilmSharks, BAC, Visit, Revolver, Bankside, Bavaroa, Level K, Film Boutique, Le Pacte, Jinga and Le Pacte.
Macgowan will be going to PFM with Armstrong’s The Great, a post-modern take on Catherine the Great that has Mia Wasikowska and Annette Bening attached, and a fantasy comedy drama with the working title Morning Glory to be directed by Kokkinos. The film’s synopsis is: “when Dolly, 60, is mistakenly impregnated by Glory, a newbie angel, she decides to have the baby against the wishes of God and Glory.”
O’Donohue is delighted to be going to London as she’s hoping to set up her second film with Ford as a UK or European co-production. Titled The Mechancials, the adventurous love story is told between two worlds. Jan Chapman and Leah Churchill-Brown are the executive producers.
The third producer heading for PFM, Jennings, pitched The Winter Child, an emotional thriller to be directed by Kurzel, and Lonely Girl, a psychological thriller by Lynne Vincent McCarthy that has been developed at the Binger Filmlab.
Kurzel’s film is about a man, outcast by his wife and children, who becomes fixated with a grieving family’s search for their missing daughter as a way to redeem himself for his own earlier crime. Tony Ayres is the executive producer.
In McCarthy’s film a lonely, grieving woman thinks she has killed a man, then decides to keep him when she discovers that the body in her basement is still alive.
Kearney will be presenting Zak Hilditch’s These Final Hours when she heads to Halifax, Canada, for the co-production market Strategic Partners. Robert Connolly is executive producer on the character-driven apocalyptic thriller set during the last day of earth.
Hilditch has already made three self-funded features and 70 percent of the budget is already in hand for this one, courtesy of A$750,000 from West Coast Visions, an initiative for emerging producers run by the Western Australian film agency ScreenWest.
Actors Rachael Taylor, Adrienne Pickering and Veronika Sywak are attached to the erotic drama Melt, one of the two projects that Churchill will be taking on to Canada. Directed by Sofya Gollan, it is about how Stella’s life was on ice until Frosty came to town and the competition got hot.
Frances O’Connor is attached to the other film, The Witness Tree. In this supernatural thriller to be directed by Alex Chomicz, impoverished Faith enslaves herself to her viper-tongued grandmother for the sake of her sons, but their arrival in the creepy mansion stirs up a chilling secret past that must be put right.
Among the filmmakers at 37º South were husband-and-wife Syrian team Anas Khalaf and Rana Kazkaz, who won a place to come to Australia. They hope to set up their political thriller The Situation as an Australian/French co-production.