Closer Productions selected for commission

01 March, 2010 by IF

Press release from MB Publicity

ABC TV’s Head of Arts & Entertainment, Amanda Duthie today announced newly re-formed Closer Productions as the recipient of the ABC TV, the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund (AFFIF) and the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) first joint commission.


Writer/director Matt Bate and producers Sophie Hyde and Caroline Man, will receive $150,000 to co-finance RAILROAD MAN, a half hour documentary celebrating the life and work of South Australian born, Hollywood pioneer J. P. McGowan.

The commissioned documentary will have its world premiere at the 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival and be broadcast on ABC1’s 10pm Tuesday Artscape slot. There will also be an online component, providing audiences with the opportunity to interact, play, and be creative with footage from McGowan’s body of work.

J.P McGowan had a penchant for action movies involving railroads, fast moving locomotive and terrified beauties, and was dubbed ‘Railroad Man’. Adopting his title, writer/director Matt Bate envisions the documentary of his life as ‘An epic love story set against the birth of cinema’.

Railroad Man will tell the story of Hollywood pioneer, director, producer, writer and stuntman, J.P. McGowan and his rollercoaster relationship with his wife and leading lady, Helen Holmes. This prolific team worked on hundreds of films and developed some of the most iconic stunts from the early days of cinema.

Matt Bate’s most recent film, The Mystery of Flying Kicks (a film exploring the mystery of why sneakers appear on telephone lines around the world) is a unique digital collaboration with the international public. It has just been accepted into the 2010 SXSW festival program. He previously directed Connected By Light and What The Future Sounded Like and upcoming projects include his debut feature, Shutup Little Man.

Matt has recently teamed with Bryan Mason and Sophie Hyde as Closer Productions. They recently produced Necessary Games, three short dance films with Restless Dance Theatre, which premiered at the 2009 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival and won Best Short Film at the SA Screen Awards, Best Experimental Short Film at the Melbourne International Film Festival and Best Experimental award at the ATOM awards. Closer’s upcoming projects include Life In Movement, Shutup Little Man and 52 Tuesdays. Caroline Man is collaborating with Closer to produce RAILROAD MAN.

SAFC CEO, Richard Harris said, ‘This is a strong Adelaide team bringing an original vision to this amazing story. South Australian born J.P. McGowan was one of Hollywood’s most prolific pioneers: actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and industrial advocate for the motion picture industry.’