“RELIC was inspired by the experience of Alzheimer’s within my own family and the shift in family dynamics as we slowly have to parent our parents. At its core, it explores the fear and heartbreak of dementia and ageing through a horror lens,” says co-writer/director James, whose 2017 short film Creswick was much buzzed about in the film industry and film festival circuit.
In RELIC, Australian veteran of stage and screen Robyn Nevin will play the grandmother, who is visited by her daughter and grand-daughter played by Emily Mortimer and Bella Heathcote respectively, and all hell breaks loose with a manifestation of aged dementia that takes over their family home.
Produced by Carver Films’ Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw (both ex Warp Films Australia, with credits such as Snowtown and Partisan), they are joined by Hollywood hitters such as Nine Stories’ Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker, and exec producers Anthony Russo, Joe Russo and Mike Larocca of studio AGBO, who are financing along with Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
Carver producers Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw commented: “That the kind of team we’ve assembled around Natalie for her first feature – talent, production and financing – include some of the most exciting in film in both Australia and the US, is a testament to her vision for RELIC and the script she and co-writer Christian White have delivered. We’re stoked to be seeing it come to life.”
“We are excited to partner with Carver and AGBO,” added Nine Stories’ Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker. “We were so impressed by Natalie’s short film and the level of suspense and horror she was able to capture. We’re thrilled for her to have a bigger canvas in RELIC and to work with this stellar group of actors.”
“RELIC’s allegorical view of dementia spoke to us in a profoundly emotional way and represents the very best of what the genre has to offer,” said Executive Producer Mike Larocca. “Natalie is the exact filmmaker that AGBO serves to bolster and we’re proud to support her and help bring her powerful film to life.”
RELIC is the second funded feature to go into production that received Gender Matters Brilliant Stories support from Screen Australia, following Rachel Griffiths’ Ride Like a Girl. “Supported by a highly experienced and talented female cast and creative team including Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw of Carver Films, I’m confident this haunting and evocative film will appeal to both local and international audiences,” said Sally Caplan, Head of Content at Screen Australia.