The tragic passing of AACTA-nominated actor and screenwriter Damian Hill has resonated across the entire Australian independent film industry. Damian stood as an example of the values and passion that as independent filmmakers we should all aspire to – passion, empathy, sacrifice, and dogged determination against overwhelming odds. I had the pleasure of working with him on his final feature film Locusts which I wrote and produced with director Heath Davis. Damian approached us a month out from shooting and asked if I had a role for him, as he’d heard some buzz about a desert genre film and was keen to be involved. At that stage I could only offer him a supporting villain role which I was somewhat embarrassed about, but nonetheless he took it with both hands and went on to stamp his mark on it.
I only had the fortune of knowing Dame for a short time but as fellow screenwriters and passionate filmmakers we immediately made a strong connection and only recently had discussed working together on a suspense film concept.
A fellow self-described introvert, Dame’s modesty, caring nature, understated talent and simmering passion for his work were an inspiration to all of us working on Locusts, no small feat amongst experience heads the likes of Steve le Marquand, Justin Rosniak, Ben Geurens, Nathaniel Dean, Jessica McNamee, Alan Dukes and Peter Phelps.
Locusts now sadly appears to be Dame’s final onscreen role, and one which I think will surprise people in terms of the level of intensity and intimidation he brings to the somewhat uncharacteristic part of a desperate small-town thug. Dame was keen to explore versatility in his creativity, both onscreen and off, and was excited to sink his teeth into something slightly out of left field.
Myself, Director Heath Davis, Line Producer Tiare Tomaszewski and the entire cast and crew of Locusts would like to extend our deepest sympathies and love to Dame’s young family, his loved ones and the cast and crew of West of Sunshine and M4M which Dame spent several years developing with Paul Ireland, and was sadly scheduled to commence shooting only this week.
Dame was a shining light for Australian independent filmmakers and will be missed by all who had the fortune of knowing him. Vale.
Picture Credits: Closereef Productions