Bullets for the Dead heralds Oz-UK co-venture
Zombie Western Bullets for the Dead is due to roll in Queensland in July, the first in a slate of low-budget genre films from a new joint venture between Cathy Overett’s Brisbane-based Cathartic Pictures and UK sales agent Stealth Media Group.
Overett told IF the aim is to produce two or three films a year, each budgeted at $3 million, using the 40 per cent Australian producer tax offset, which Stealth will sell internationally. The $2 million Bullets for the Dead marks the feature debut of Australian writers-directors Joshua C. Birch and Michael Du-Shane, developed from a 3-minute film, 26 Bullets Dead, which they shot in 2011 when they were students at the Griffith Film School.
The plot revolves around a bounty hunter (Christopher Sommers) who escorts a fiery young woman (Kathryn Beck) and her gang of misfits to the sheriff. En route he discovers the remains of a massacre and rescues its sole survivor, a preacher (Hugh Parker). The cast, all locals, includes Troy MacKinder and Renaud Jadin as gang members.
Sommers appeared in Overett’s first film, Unfinished Sky, in 2007. Beck’s film credits include Super Awesome!, These Final Hours, Not Suitable for Children and Burning Man. Parker and Jadin appear in director Stephen Lance’s upcoming romantic drama My Mistress, which stars Emmanuelle Béart, Harrison Gilbertson and Rachael Blake. Griffith Film School is an investor in Bullets for the Dead.
Next on the slate is vampire movie Bite, a co-production between Cathartic Pictures, Stealth’s production arm Spice Factory, and Yorkshire-based Green Screen Productions. Due to shoot in Oz in October, it’s from Spanish writer-director Alberto Sciamma, who met Birch and Du-Shane when he was artist-in-residence at Griffith Film School. The narrative follows criminals who set out to kidnap a billionaire’s daughter and more than meet their match.
Overett was a producer on the Finnish-German-Australian co-prod Iron Sky, which Stealth sold internationally. Sciamma’s credits include The Killer Tongue, Anazapta and Jericho Mansions.
As part of the co-venture with Stealth Media, Overett will represent the UK company’s back catalogue in Australia and New Zealand and seek to executive-produce UK-Australian co-productions.
“Stealth has a number of Australian films on our books and we are keen for more,” said Stealth’s joint CEO Michael Cowan. “Having worked with Cathy across these three films so far it was a natural progression to partner up with her for sales in ANZ.” Cowan said Stealth Australia is looking to pick up 2-3 films a year out of Australia, in addition to those produced in-house.