Amie Casey: Interfacing With the Indie Industry

March 2, 2018
Emerging producer and actor Amie Casey talks about founding her own production company, Red Empire, and their upcoming sci-fi series, Interface, starring Dan Ewing and Charles Terrier (Occupation).

When did you first realise you wanted to work in the film industry? What led you down this career path?

I’ve known that I’ve wanted to work in the film industry since I was about eleven when my father gave me my first video camera. I used to constantly gather up all the neighbourhood kids and have them reenact (badly) trending film scripts I’d downloaded off the internet. As an adult I found my way into the film industry in my early twenties after moving to Brisbane to pursue a career in acting. I quickly found that producing was also a strong calling of mine and that I could never be truly satisfied in this industry without prioritising it.

Did you undergo any formal study or training?

I actually never studied film and have studied acting privately with well reputed local teachers. I spent a lot of time working long hours on sets around south east Queensland in every capacity I could as both an actress and member of the crew so that I could study and learn on the job, directly from industry professionals. I was almost obsessive in my pursuit of knowledge and figuring out how everything fits together. I learned that a good production should run like a well oiled machine.

Did you initially want to be an actor, a producer, or both? What made you move into producing?

I did always want to be an actress and a producer, however for a long time becoming a producer in such a male saturated industry felt very unattainable, more unattainable than becoming an actress. During 2014 I spent almost a year learning and experimenting with different areas of producing and then in 2015 I felt confident enough to take on a producing role for the first season of the sci-fi/fantasy television series We Were Tomorrow, which is really what kicked everything off for my career in producing. That, along with the support of Blackmagic Design which has really allowed me to open many doors and fast track everything. I was also very blessed to be able to work with and be advised by my mentor, established female producer Kristijana Maric (Boar)

Tell us about your production company, Red Empire, and how that came to be formed.

My motivation to start Red Empire Productions came from a combination of working continuously and successfully as a freelance producer and the overwhelming support I received from the professionals in my immediate film circle; namely my mentor Kristijana Maric who really went above and beyond to lend her expertise and council and helped facilitate many learning opportunities for me. She inspired me to have the confidence to believe in myself and my vision and take the plunge to form Red Empire Productions.

Red Empire Productions was named as a reflection of my personal online brand with the initial word ‘Red” being a hint to the world that our productions are progressive and will not shy away from the exploration of boundary pushing-controversial and relevant topics.

Red Empire specialises in science fiction and fantasy content. What draws you to genre material?

I am most attracted to genre material which starts conversations about topics of controversy and forces the audience to question their own values and beliefs inside the story circumstances. For example, Red Empire Productions recently shot a digital series pilot in association with Short Stack Productions which explores the idea of exploiting polemic military technology for leisure in underground gaming communities.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing you in the Australian independent film space and how are you tackling them?

I think some of the biggest challenges I believe we all face in the Australian independent film industry have been things like the lack of support for upcoming film professionals – particularly women, difficulty in attaining funds for independent productions and a scarcity of professional film equipment available inside of an independent budget.

As a producer now with my own active production company I like to ensure that I give opportunity to many ‘upcoming professionals’, who desire more on-set experience. This allows me to help interweave newcomers with established industry professionals to allow further facilitation of opportunities.

In regards to helping the independent circle attain funding, I’m currently working closely with an executive producer who is developing an investment pool for independent Australian filmmakers, particularly Queensland filmmakers. It is common knowledge throughout our industry that Queensland has been playing a little ‘catch-up’ to Sydney and Melbourne in regards to the abundance of independent opportunity available and as such, it is integral to help support the local industry as much as possible.

Overall, by far my hardest challenge has been acquiring access to quality film equipment on an independent budget in an industry where your network, social media following and previous credentials seem to be what pave your way forward. I have been very blessed as a young female producer who is still very much paving her way in the Australian film industry to have the support of Blackmagic Design, who have allowed access to incredible equipment, to filmmakers like myself. Their support has certainly helped solidify and fast-track my career and as a consequence, also that of many other film professionals that I work with on a regular basis.

What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working through the post-production process on the sci-fi digital platform series previously mentioned, Interface, which I produced with David Aponas and Giuseppe Cassin and was shot locally here in Queensland exclusively on Blackmagic cameras and starred Dan Ewing (Home & Away), Charles Terrier (Neighbours, and interviewed here), Hugh Parker (Space/Time), Ellie Popov (Thicker Than Water) and Billy Bentley (Couch Time) to name a few.

Along with this, Red Empire Productions is currently shooting the first season of a renovation show with a twist on the Gold Coast and also developing a crime/drama television series called Society with production for the pilot beginning later this year, along with an upcoming feature film, King Of Ashes which although in early stages, we are pleased to have Christopher Kirby (Star Wars: Episode III), Dan Ewing and Charles Terrier already welcomed to our cast. I am also proud to mention that I am working closely with Kristijana Maric and the team at Ozpix Entertainment as a junior producer for Humphrey B. Bear.

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