by FilmInk Staff

“We were scheduled to start pre-production late April however despite the COVID-19 shutdown we are moving ahead with some of the non studio-based elements of the movie,” says producer Ross Howden.

The movie is Encircled, written by Shayne Armstrong and S. P. Krause (Bait, Acolytes), directed by Christian Debney and produced by Howden, Lawrence Lim, Michael Robertson, Josh Pomeranz and Patrick Ewald.

“Almost like making the film in reverse we will start with visual effects,” ScreenLaunch‘s Howden continues. “Interestingly, the techniques we were developing to create a virtual reality version of this film that were considered too avant-garde before COVID-19 will now allow us to complete the film regardless of social distancing. We also had to restructure the financing and cast. The budget had to be reduced and we will endeavour to accrue additional funds throughout production.”

“Supernatural thrillers and elevated horror have really stepped up lately with audiences and visual quality,” adds director Christian Debney, who also runs Stage 23 VFX. “With Encircled, it’s firstly a great story, but it’s going to look great with unique visual effects and strong theatrical like performances with the movie essentially running in real time. One advantage is that we have time to previsualize the whole production and determine exactly what we want, ready for when we start shooting. Stage 23 VFX is set up as a remote facility since conception, so we are kind of prepared for this change in working process. It’s about adapting and improvising, and the World still needs good content, perhaps now more than ever.”

“Many in the industry want to work and Encircled will give Australian creatives an opportunity to quickly return to production,” says Lawrence Lim of Tribal Apes. “We hope to tap into the wealth of acting talent currently within Australia and use every online technology available to get the best production team together with the intent to shoot as soon as we can.”

“COVID-19 is challenging the industry to rethink many of the boxes that traditionally had to be ticked before film production commenced,” says Howden. “It’s a new world and post-pandemic all content creators will have to think creatively. As Australians, we have all the resources and interest available to make great local content, we just need the government to quickly adapt to assist new ideas being financed. We will be calling out for remote cast and crew over the next few months.”

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