Writer-director-producer Eddie Arya and actor Jamie Vergan are shooting their second feature, The System, and plan to collaborate on a further two films.
In The System, Vergan plays Martin McMillan, a family man who’s suddenly made redundant after 15 years of loyal service to the same company. After losing his home, car and savings, Martin faces yet another challenge, an incident that will change his life.
The cast includes Nikki Waterhouse as Martin’s wife, Yasemine B.Plows as their daughter and Biman Wimalaratne as a call centre operator who is Martin’s only real friend.
“It’s not based on a true story but on what is happening in our economy as companies go broke or make people redundant,” Arya tells IF. ”Most of us can relate in some way to what happens in the film.”
Vergan played the lead in the writer-director’s first film, The Navigator, a psychological thriller about a family who are heading off for a vacation when their GPS system diverts them to a scary place.
Shot in the Blue Mountains on weekends with a video camera, a skeleton crew and actors who were willing to defer their fees for about $6,000, The Navigator is now available online on Reelhouse.
Arya is self-releasing the film on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia and has done a deal with a Video-on-Demand aggregator which will result in the title screening on platforms such as iTunes, Amazon and Netflix.
Vergan was born in Tennessee but moved to Australia when he was a baby. He did a screenwriting course at UCLA and has appeared in the low budget films Torn Devotion, Final Move and Nude Study, TV crime shows Deadly Women and Dark Minds and numerous TVCs.
One of the challenges in playing Martin is that the character is in his mid-40s, nearly 15 years older than Vergan. He tells IF that he “ages up” with make-up, whitening his hair and with clothing. The film is shooting at weekends in and around Sydney and the northern beaches.
Arya has written the screenplay for a sequel to The Navigator, in which Vergan’s character becomes a detective, and Reincarnation, a much more ambitious work which spans 35 years.
The narrative opens in the 1970s when a doctor played by Vergan goes to Vietnam to do voluntary work and falls in love with a village girl, which enrages the locals. The couple die and decades later are reincarnated and the woman becomes the target for a hit man, also played by Vergan. Arya hopes to start shooting in the first quarter of next year in either Vietnam or Thailand.
Full of admiration for Vergan, whom he previously directed in two short films and a music video, Arya says, “I would cast him again and again. He’s extremely committed and his performances keep growing.”