Screen Australia, WA gov invest in Sam Worthington’s Drift
Screen Australia and the Western Australian government have announced plans to invest in the Sam Worthington surf drama Drift while the national agency has also backed indigenous feature Satellite Boy.
Drift marks the WA government's largest ever single committment to a feature film – $1.5 million – with two-thirds drawn from the government's Royalties for Regions fund and the remainder from ScreenWest's Production Attraction Fund.
The $11 million film is set in 1972 and follows the Fisher brothers as they start a new life in a remote Australian coastal town, where they must battle suspicious locals, killer waves and ruthless bikers as they struggle to kick-start a business from their greatest passion – surfing.
WA regional development minister Brendon Grylls said the film would provide an economic and promotional boost to the region while culture and the arts minister John Day said the film would also be a boost to the State’s growing screen industry.
The film – which will begin shooting around the Margaret River and the South-West regions later this year – also has local support from the shires of Augusta-Margaret River, Busselton, and the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association.
The film will be directed by Ben Nott (the commercials and action sports film director – not the cinematographer by the same name) and Morgan O'Neill, who also wrote the project. O'Neill (Solo) will concentrate on the drama sequences while Nott will concentrate on the many land and water action sequences during filming.
Screen Australia’s chief operating officer and acting chief executive Fiona Cameron said the unique combination of surfing and performance expertise gives Drift "the potential to be the first character-driven action movie set in the surfing world since Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break".
Screen Australia will also invest in Satellite Boy, an indigenous coming-of-age story set in the Kimberley region that marks the directorial feature debut of writer-director Catriona McKenzie. The project is being produced by David Jowsey (Mad Bastards) and Sue Seeary (Solo). ScreenWest said it is currently assessing the project for production funding.
The film is about a small boy, Pete, who tries to save his home from developers.
"Indigenous filmmaking is going from strength to strength with Satellite Boy as the latest instalment in world-class indigenous storytelling," Cameron said in a statement. "Satellite Boy, told through the distinctive cultural lens of the Kimberley region, has the ability to make a significant contribution to screen culture and the national cultural life."
Screen Australia has now invested $12.6 million in 17 projects this year, triggering production worth over $43 million, according to the agency.
The decision by Screen Australia to back Drift and Satellite Boy follows the national agency's announcement last week that it would fund 15 new screen projects, including a big screen version of the Kath and Kim TV series.