Big Sky Publishing acquires Pretty Girls
The manuscript written by Lisa Portolan and Samantha McDonald is a fiction based on real-life events, and explores key themes relating to the #metoo movement. Set to be produced into a film in 2020, the story follows main character, Evie’s, struggle navigating a world where violence, drug-use and racism are common-place. Amongst this intensity, Evie, needs to find her story and the bravery to narrate it herself.
Set amongst the gritty streets of Redfern, Evie returns to her hometown after learning her father has stage four cancer and is in a hospice. She is his last living relative. Returning to the town that broke her, alongside her daughter, she finds herself spiralling into memories which threaten to devour her: her mother’s death, her brother’s drug use and her father’s violence. She knows that somewhere amongst these ferocious recollections is the key, and if she finds this she’ll be able to reclaim her story, and narrate it from a position of personal bravery.
“We told this story from a place of truth, and we hope that women across Australia might recognise themselves in Evie, will be able to take up her call to arms to know their worth,” McDonald said.
The film is set to be produced by Jinda Productions, headed up by Sandy Greenwood. Greenwood is an award winning First Nations Actor, Writer and Producer from the Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalong clans / nations of NSW. Sandy graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in Creative Industries (BA Hons.,First class) and has trained internationally at the Atlantic Acting School in New York City as well as The Groundlings School in Los Angeles. Sandy has performed with Australia’s leading theatre companies including Sydney Theatre Co, Melbourne Theatre Co, and Ilbijerri Indigenous Theatre Co. Sandy has also worked extensively in films and television including a supporting role in Killer Elite with Robert De Niro and Clive Owen. Her one woman show Matriarch has been performed at the Melbourne and Sydney Fringe Festivals, winning both the SA and NSW Tour Ready Awards. Matriarch was also nominated for Best Writing and won Best Performer in Independent Theatre at the 2019 Green Room Awards.
“Pretty Girls is a visceral narrative of violence, personal tragedy and female resilience set against the backdrop of one of Australia’s most politically charged communities, where the racial tensions of a colonial past seem to seep into everything. As someone who also came of age in 1990’s Redfern, this story captures the spirit of a time and place that now exists only in memory and illuminates the strength of spirit that it takes to overcome adversity,” said Greenwood.
“It was important that we worked with a First Nations female creative on this, because the story is incredibly nuanced and sensitive, and we wanted to ensure it was told in a respectful way,” said Portolan.
“We are incredibly grateful to work with McDonald and Portolan on this story. It is an important one, that needs to be told,” Sharon Evans, Marketing Director, Big Sky Publishing said.
Lisa Portolan is an author from Sydney Australia, her latest best-selling non-fiction was released by Echo in 2018 (Happy As). She freelances for multiple publications, and heads up The Mark Agency Sydney office. Sam McDonald is a director and producer, based in Canberra, who is immensely proud to see this story come to life.
“We want to start a movement,” McDonald said. “It’s time we tell our own story, and we want the women of Australia to support Evie’s story and their own through #iamevie.”
The book is set to be released in the first half of 2020.