Similar to the currently in release The Nightingale, The Furnace takes a fictional story rooted in history to illuminate ‘the forgotten history of Australia’s ‘Ghan’ cameleers, predominantly Muslim and Sikh men from India, Afghanistan and Persia, who opened up the Nation’s desert interior, and formed unique bonds with local Aboriginal people,’ according to a press release.
The Furnace follows Hanif (Malek), a young cameleer who forms a partnership with a bushman on the run with Crown gold, played by Wenham, who has been on the project from early inception. Together, they must outwit zealous troopers in a race to reset the gold bars at a secret furnace.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to shine a light on a crucial yet little known chapter of Australia’s history, celebrating the cultural diversity of our early pioneers,” said Writer/Director Roderick MacKay. “In addition to our talented and diverse supporting cast, I could not be more excited to be working with iconic Australian actor, David Wenham, and rising Egyptian star, Ahmed Malek, whose heartfelt performances will anchor the story’s rugged gold rush setting.”
“Writer/director Roderick Mackay has been on our radar since the release of his impressive short films Trigger and Factory293,” said Screen Australia’s Head of Content, Sally Caplan. “We’re delighted to support his feature directorial debut and look forward to seeing him bring this multicultural frontier story to screen with this talented and diverse cast, and the support of experienced producers Tim White and Tenille Kennedy.”
The film will shoot in Mount Magnet and Kalbarri, Western Australia, and will be distributed by Umbrella Entertainment.