New Australian psychological horror, Sweet River commences production

November 5, 2019
The film will mark the directorial debut of Justin McMillan, and offers a strong female leading role for British/Australian actress Lisa Kay.

“For a long time I’ve been fascinated with the power of fear as a storytelling tool. After seeing A Quiet Place, I completely reconsidered the way I looked at the horror genre, and was inspired to write a psychological horror story with an emotional message,” says director Justin McMillan, whose original story has been turned into a screenplay by Marc Furmie and Eddie Baroo.

The story goes something like this: “In her search for answers, Hanna (Lisa Kay) moves in to a cottage on a sugar cane farm. Her neighbours John and Ellenor Drake (Martin Sacks and Genevieve Lemon), live in the neighbouring farmhouse and own all of the surrounding sugar cane fields. Sweet River is a film about two women from completely different worlds, who are learning to deal with the grief caused by the loss of their children. Hanna’s son Joey was abducted by a serial killer and is presumed dead, and Ellenor’s daughter lost her life in a tragic bus crash along with several other local children. As Hanna spends more time in the town investigating her son’s disappearance, and with some unexplained encounters with the supernatural after dark, it becomes clear that no one wants her here. The town is intent on protecting its secrets and a wound that will not heal.”

Sweet River will be shot in the Byron Bay and Tweed Heads region in Northern NSW, which is home to both McMillan and producer Ashley McLeod. “When Justin presented me with the story of Sweet River, I was struck with the raw emotion of the story,” said McLeod. “The fear every parent holds of losing one of their children, really resonated with me. We have assembled an experienced film crew with top notch credentials, and I’m excited about what Justin, our DOP Tim Tregoning and editor Simon Njoo will bring to the project.”

UK actor Lisa Kay will be at the centre of the action as Hanna. Kay made a name for herself on UK TV in shows such as Heartbeat and Indian Summers, recently relocating to Australia and landing roles in Neighbours and Home and Away among other roles. Rounding out the cast is Rob Carlton and Eddie Baroo.

Justin McMillan has made various corporates, commercials, short films and co-directed a number of the Storm Surfers documentaries, and also co-owner of drone company, so expect plenty of glorious aerials in the film when it is released by Filmink Presents in 2020.


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