Few feature films are made in Western Australia but producer Deidre Kitcher said that profits from the area's mining boom lead to the thriller Crush going into production yesterday.
She and co-directors John V Soto and Jeff Gerritsen convinced six investors to put up the $1.76m (A$2m) budget with the help of a three-minute trailer and a business plan that focused on the US teen market. Soto also wrote the script.
'Our major investors service the mining industry and would not have had the spare cash to put into the movie without the boom,' said Kitcher. 'The main factor is that China is so resource hungry that it can't get enough of our natural gas and iron ore.'
The trailer also convinced Michael Favelle to make Crush the first pre-production pick-up for his new sales agency Odin's Eye Entertainment. He has world rights, including Australia.
'Crush is a film that I hope will be indicative of the films OEE will handle in the future: genre, high concept, great talent in front of and behind the camera and a story that is full of great twists and turns,' said Favelle.
Crush centres on a young disgraced US Tae Kwon Do champion who goes to Australia to study architecture and get his life back on track, only to get mixed up in the aftermath of a family tragedy. The role is played by Australian-born LA-based actor Chris Egan, who has had parts in the features Resident Evil: Extinction and Eragon, and the US series Vanished and the upcoming Pretty Handsome. The young handsome cast also includes Brooke Harman, Christian Clark, Gemma Pranita and Jenna Lind.
The production company Nexus 6 Films is owned by the three key creators, all of whom are first-time feature makers although Soto also wrote the horror film Prey, which was directed by George Miller (The Man From Snowy River, The Never Ending Story II) and is now in post-production. Experienced editor Jason Ballantine (Wolf Creek, Rogue) recently completed Nelson McCormick's US teen thriller Prom Night for Screen Gems.
Gerritsen met Kitcher and Soto after being commissioned to make their wedding video about 20 years ago. The husband-and-wife team has experience as business and financial advisers and have chosen to make Crush under Division 10BA of the Tax Act, not under the new 40% rebate that will eventually replace 10BA, because of the uncertainties surrounding the rebate.