Futuristic sci-fi series to shoot at Docklands

01 July, 2014 by Don Groves

Imagine a world in the near future where individuals have their memories downloaded for backup, and a man wakes up in a body that is not his own.

That‘s the premise at the heart of Restoration, a 3-part online series which is due to shoot at Docklands Studios and on locations in Melbourne in August.


Producer Toby Gibson describes the production as a true passion project, in that most of the crew and cast are volunteering their services and most of the equipment is being donated.

It’s the first collaboration between Gibson’s Midnight Snack Productions and director/co-writer Stu Willis, who are developing a batch of projects including several feature films.  They first met during Happy Feet Two, when Gibson was Warner Bros.  production liaison and Willis was stereography production supervisor. 

Launched today, a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/8456496/821888574?token=859ebab1) aims to raise $15,000, all of which will be spent on building the set of Restoration Life Services.

That’s the company which enables people to have their memories downloaded for back-up so when death happens, those memories can uploaded into a new body, a generic host, nicknamed a "jerry."

The screenplay is by Willis, who made the sci-fi short film Payload and co-hosts the screenwriting podcast Draft Zero, and journalist/screenwriter Matthew Clayfield.

Development of the script was supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria’s VCA Graduate Mentorships program (Willis is a VCA alumni).

Casting is underway for the key roles of Oliver Klein, who wakes up to find his memories have been restored into a foreign body and struggles to reconnect with his family and his life; his wife; the “other” Oliver; and a female employee of the company.

The complete series will run to about 40 minutes. While it’s designed primarily for online exploitation, he says there are options to do a 60-minute version for broadcast, and another for festival screenings.

“There is a growing demand for online content, “ says Gibson, who is working with co-producer Simon de Bruyn on distribution strategies.

Among the key crew are DOP Hugh Turral, production designer Jacqueline Miller, art director Tao Weiss, graphic design art director Lisa Cookson, VFX and colour consultant Alex Fry, editor Hayley Dinnison and composer David Barber.

”We will be creating a fully-realised world with relatable characters, and telling a thrilling story,” Gibson says. “It allows us to create sci-fi that is more than just a VFX-driven showpiece.”

The series will be shot on RED Scarlet-X, mastered to full-HD DCP with a 5.1 mix, and surround sound recorded on set.