Father and son combine on Australian drama
For the best part of 20 years Chris Blackburn tried his hand at writing film scripts, a sideline to his day jobs as a newspaper and TV reporter, reality show producer and, currently, as a co-executive producer on Big Brother.
Eighteen months ago he had an idea for a crime drama about a young man whose sister has been brutally murdered, set primarily in a row of vacant houses near his home on the north coast of NSW.
Blackburn wrote the script and asked his son Tim, a TV editor who has directed several short films to direct. Entitled Burns Point, the film is now in day seven of a 21-day shoot in and around the town of Ballina.
Asked how he’s financed the film, Chris tells IF, “It’s mostly me. I’ve saved up for this and put money aside." Cast and crew are working on deferred fees in some cases.
In his first lead role Andrew Lowe plays Jeremy, who expects justice to prevail after his sister is killed. But the killer’s father is a cop who isn’t prepared to see his son jailed. After the son is acquitted and can never be retried, Jeremy seeks vengeance.
The cop is played by John McNeill, who portrayed Lenny McPherson in Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities; his credits include McLeod’s Daughters, White Collar Blue, Blue Murder, Crownies, Candy and Dirty Deeds.
The cast includes Aleisha Rose Groth (now shooting the telemovie Arrowhead), Ron Kelly (Sea Patrol, The Horseman, Swimming Upstream and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Francesca Bianchi (Drive Hard, House Husbands, It’s a Date).
Also Brad McMurray (Sea Patrol, Crooked Business, The Horseman), Robin Queree ((All Saints, Dead Down Under) and John Rado (Silent Witness, The Borgias, The Pillars of the Earth). Casting was done by McSweeney Newman Casting.
Chris sent the screenplay to a US-based script reading service and says he got a lot of constructive criticism.
Tim Blackburn, who is based in Toronto, produced and directed several short films including Monobrow, a finalist in Sydney Tropfest last year, and Wet Dreams, a finalist in the 2013 Tropfest New York.
“I don’t know anything about directing but Tim has done a lot of short films and he knows sets,” Chris says. “We have not had any father-and-son rows, yet. ”
After filming of Burns Point wraps Tim will take the footage back to Toronto and compile a first cut with a basic sound mix and colouration. After that his father says they will probably seek funding for the sound design and colouration, then take the film to the marketplace.
“In a year I will know whether I am a genius or an idiot,” Chris says.