The four feature film projects that have received funding include The Furnace, writer/director Roderick MacKay’s (2014’s high concept, award winning period piece, Factory 293) thriller/drama about Australia’s ‘Ghan’ cameleers, set in Western Australia’s 1890s gold rush, with Tim White and Kelvin Munro (I Am Mother, premiering at the Adelaide Film Festival) producing. The cameleers were predominantly Muslim and Sikh men from India, Afghanistan and Persia, who formed bonds with local Aboriginal people, and faced discrimination from white Australia. Sounds like a cross between Sweet Country and Tracks, and the filmmakers have confirmed that Wongatha Kaparn Gold Fields man Gary Bonney is associate producer on the film, and has been onboard since 2015. Also engaged in the project are the Bundiyarra Aboriginal Corporation and Badmimaya Land Aboriginal Corporation, as the film also takes place on Yamatji country.
Luke Eve gets a chance to direct a feature film after making a splash with his web series Low Life and High Life. Continuing his exploration of mental illness, I Met a Girl is a contemporary comedic (!) drama about a young man with schizophrenia and his bond with his brother. Scripted by Glen Dolman, with producers Melissa Kelly (Hounds of Love) and Adam Dolman.
Lastly, no less than two kids feature films have been given the greenlight from Like a Photon’s principals Nadine Bates and Kristen Souvlis. Combat Wombat follows Maggie Diggins, a wombat who becomes the city’s superhero after she saves a rookie caped crusader from certain doom. The film will be directed by Ricard Cusso Judson, with Matt Everitt (The Lego Batman Movie) as consulting animation director. Additionally, The Wishmas Tree is written by Peter Ivan (Oddball) and will also be directed by Cusso Judson, in a story of a young possum’s wish for a white ‘Wishmas’. Both projects also have the support of Screen Queensland.
“Both The Wishmas Tree and Combat Wombat will bring real opportunity for growth in the animation industry in Australia,” said Head of Production at Screen Australia, Sally Caplan.
A further feature film project that received support in September, will be announced soon.