‘Lost in the Dark’ to premiere at the 168 Film Project in Hollywood

11 July, 2013 by IF

Press Release

They may not have a rain machine.


GMR Pictures & WonderGate are on their way to Hollywood to see their film Lost in the Dark premiere at the 168 Film Project.

Producer Dana Marie Newell teamed up with Director Christopher Bailey to make a 10min short film from scratch in just 168 hours to compete with teams around the world to make a $1 million feature film with the American Film Distribution Company, EchoLight Studios.

The $1 Million prize drew in some tough competition for the low budget filmmakers, who were set to make their film for under $1000.

Teams in the States recruited A List actors, helicopters, rain machines and the Epic RED Camera. Did the Melbourne duo with their Canon 5D Mark III even stand a chance to have their film screen in the LA festival, let alone take out the grand prize?

The 168 Film Project challenges filmmakers to write a short film based on a specific theme; this years theme is ‘Atonement’ and a bible verse they pull out of a hat just before the writing can begin. They have 7 days to write the short, during pre-production and a week to shoot, edit, build special effects, compose, sound design, colour grade and export. It’s a fantastic exercise for filmmakers to test their skills and push their boundaries.

Both Dana and Chris moved to Melbourne separately in January so their resources and networking within the Melbourne film industry was quite low. This did put them with a disadvantage when entering a speed filmmaking competition in just a few weeks time. However, thanks to Melbourne’s friendly and loyal creatives, Dana was able to piece together a cast and crew of around 20 talented filmmakers to create a monster movie in
just one week.

It wasn’t an easy task though. Dana and Chris wrote the short film set in a post apocalyptic world in a dilapidated house in the bush. After their first location fell through the day before they were scheduled to shoot they thought it would be impossible to find another location
in just 8 hours time. However, thanks to their new friends they found an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of a paddock in rural Victoria not far from Melbourne. The house came with everything a filmmaker dreams of when making a scary film at night; holes in the
floorboards, upturned furniture, and food still left on the shelf from years ago. Add the rolling fog at 2am, and complete silence (except for the actors screams) and you have yourself a perfect set and location for a scary movie.

The actors were learning lines onset and giving it their all on the first take without a rehearsal. This can be difficult when you have aggressive scenes and the actors haven’t even met each other before, let alone built up trust and a friendship. However, everyone working on set was respectful and worked tirelessly into the cold night. Chris managed to somehow storyboard the entire film the night before production. This helped him to
communicate effectively with the Cinematographer, Ty Tuin, who had flown in especially from Sydney the night before. Having a solid pre-production team helped production to go by quickly, which is what you need when we’re shooting 9 pages in just 2 and a half days. This left 4 days for complete post production. Director, now turned editor, worked 18 hours straight the first day to meet the Producers crazy schedule for picture lock that day. However this gave the Composer, Daniel Saban (from Transverb in the Gold Coast) and Sound Designer, Nayomi Pattuwage plenty of time to develop an epic soundtrack andmonster sounds.

Communication over the web and thank God for Dropbox, they had their film ready for colour grade right on schedule. There were over 156 teams who entered the festival, only 5 teams from Australia, and Lost in the Dark was 1 of 22 films picked to be eligible to win the $1million contract with EchoLight Studios. The Festival will screen 80 of the films over 3 days in August in LA and the winner will be announced on the final night. Dana and Chris and some of their team will attend the awards and look forward to meeting their competition face to face. Perhaps even get access to play with the rain machine.