The Cup, an against-all-odds true story featuring Australia's most famous horse race, was one of four films that won investment from Screen Australia yesterday.
The others are Love And Mortar, a drama couched in comedy to be directed by Nadia Tass (Malcolm) and starring James Nesbitt; debut filmmaker Brendan Fletcher's Mad Bastards, an all-singing all-storytelling ride featuring the indigenous people of the spectacular Kimberley region, and Charlie & Boots, which is likely to star Paul Hogan.
Stephen Curry plays the pivotal character of Damien Oliver in The Cup. Despite losing his only brother in a tragic accident just days before the 2002 Melbourne Cup, Oliver rode Irish horse Media Puzzle home to win. Ray Winstone is playing the Irish trainer Dermot Weld. Four days of filming will take place in Ireland but the rest will happen in Melbourne from December.
Husband-and-wife team Jan Bladier and David Lee are producing alongside LA producer Lance Hool. All have previously worked with Wincer, who now lives back in Australia. His celebrated Australian equestrian films include The Lighthorsemen and Phar Lap.
'Everyone who has read this script has had tears in their eyes,' Bladier told screendaily.com. 'It is a universal story and a feel-good film.'
Mad Bastards is the second film in less than a year that Mushroom expected to have strong cross marketing
A fifth film, End Of Anxiety, received a letter signifying Screen Australia's intent to finance once conditions were met.
CHARLIE & BOOTS
Exec prods: Thomas Augsberger, Andrew Mackie, Richard Payten
Prods: Shana Levine, Dean Murphy, David Redman
Writers: Stewart Faichney, Dean Murphy
Director: Dean Murphy
Sales and distribution: Instinct Eden Rock International, Transmission
Boots McFarland and his estranged dad Charlie head off to Cape York Peninsula to drop a line off the northern most tip of Australia
The Cup Pty Ltd
Exec prods: Kirk D'Amico, Greg Sitch, Joel Pearlman, Omnilab
Prods: Jan Bladier, David Lee, Lance Hool
Producer/director: Simon Wincer
Writers: Eric O'Keefe, Wincer
Sales and distribution: Village Roadshow, Myriad
Few races have had a more extraordinary effect on the nation than the running of the 2002 Melbourne Cup. At the heart of this true story is young jockey Damien Oliver. He lost his only brother in a tragic racing accident just days before, suffers through a series of discouraging defeats, then triumphs in a thrilling finale.
LOVE AND MORTAR
Cascade Films Pty Ltd
Prods: David Parker, Richard Keddie, Nadia Tass
Writers: Lynne Renew, Parker
Director: Nadia Tass
Sales and distribution: Fox (Aust/NZ), Content
A woman struggles with her son's illness and her husband's infidelity, but after a chance encounter with an Irish sailor and his son, her life is turned upside down in a love story that defies explanation and breaks all the rules.
Bush Turkey Films Pty Ltd
Executive producer: Martin Fabinyi
Consultant producer: David Jowsey
Producers: Alan Pigram, Stephen Pigram
Director/producer: Brendan Fletcher
Sales and distribution: Mushroom Pictures, Hopscotch, Maximum
A drama set on Australia's last frontier, the vast and remote Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is a raw, gutsy character film, and a meditation on violence, community and the living spirit of contemporary Aboriginal people.
Letter of intent to finance:
END OF ANXIETY
Agenda Film Productions Pty Ltd
Executive producer: Michelle Harrison
Producer: Ian Iveson
Writer/director: Marty Murphy
An ironic comedy about life, love and the pursuit of happiness in a post 9/11 world.