Screen Australia backs comedies in latest funding round

Australian writer/directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes and producer Julie Ryan have scored development money from Screen Australia for their next picture, crime comedy They Shoot Hostages, Don’t They?

The film is one of seven that Screen Australia has tipped money into in its latest round of development allocations. Four of those films are comedies.

“It’s In Bruges meets Bullets Over Broadway,” said Ryan about the filmmaking brothers’ second film, which has had John Sayles as a mentor courtesy of a recent script lab. Music Box Films recently bought US rights to their first film together, the comedy horror 100 Bloody Acres.

Most recently Ryan was co-producer on Tracks, which wrapped this month, alongside producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, who have also scored development support. They are keeping tightlipped about the project but it is a biopic titled Life and it reunites Sherman with writer Luke Davies, six years after they worked together on Candy.

Also among the films is crime drama Memorial Day, from writer/director Kieran Darcy-Smith and producer Angie Fielder, the team behind Wish You Were Here. Two brothers are at the heart of this film and Fielder is producing alongside US producer Ted Hope.

The government agency is also supporting the family comedy adventure Pandamonium, which as the name suggests, heavily features pandas. Producers Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan chose Deep Blue Sea writer Duncan Kennedy to work with them because of his Hollywood sensibilities and experience.

“The film is designed to be produced and enjoyed in Australia and China,” O’Bryan told Screendaily. “We have been working in Asia for a few years and have been looking to expand that into features over the last 30 months or so.”

He and Landers’ debut film was Wasted On The Young from writer/director Ben C Lucas, and they plan to film his second picture, The Noble Path, in Singapore. State agency ScreenWest has a strong interest in working with Asia and has been assisting.

 

The Rapture, a horror film being written by Grant Scicluna and produced by UK-based Australian James Brown, also won Screen Australia backing.

A short film that Scicluna wrote and directed, The Wilding, last month won a major prize at the Screen Producers Association of Australia conference and the previous month won the lucrative 2012 Iris Prize for short films with a gay and lesbian theme.

 

The Wilding was specifically made to capture the tone of another feature that Scicluna is writing – and the one likely to be his debut as a director of features. Titled Downriver and positioned as an Australian Winter’s Bone, it is about a teenage inmate who defies his parole by returning to a riverside town to find the missing body of a boy he drowned when they were both children.

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