Epic Films and Madman Production Company have selected Marcus McKenzie’s The Projectionist for development as part of their Million Dollar Babies low budget feature film initiative, launched last year for South Australian writers and directors.

The decision follows on from a three-day development workshop in which six participants developed their feature film concepts and discussed the practical and commercial realities of production and distribution.

Each writer then expanded their initial concept into a feature film treatment, from which The Projectionist was selected.

McKenzie has recently completed post-production on a self-funded feature film, Crew Cut, a crime drama set in the heart of outback Australia. Previously he has written and directed several short films and music videos, and co-created the ABC iview series Wastelander Panda.

The Projectionist is an original time travel drama in which a recent widower, longing for the past, is transported into the home movies he shot 40 years ago.

“It was fantastic to participate in the Million Dollar Babies workshop alongside the other shortlisted filmmakers,” McKenzie said.

“Being afforded the valuable opportunity to pitch and then discuss my ideas with them and the amazing team at Madman has undoubtedly improved my project. I’m extremely thankful, humbled and excited to continue to develop The Projectionist.”

Kirsty Stark of Epic Films said the intention of Million Dollar Babies was to develop projects with the potential to find audiences both in Australia and internationally, and extend the careers of their writers and directors.

“With its unique spin on the concept of time travel, The Projectionist fits well within those intentions,” said Stark.

Head of Madman Production Nick Batzias said :“The MDB workshop confirmed yet again the depth of talent and ideas in the SA screen community. We will keenly track all of the filmmakers involved and look with particular interest at the next phase of development for Marcus and The Projectionist.”

The Projectionist will now enter funded development with feedback, with the aim of completing a financing script by late 2016.

Million Dollar Babies is supported by the South Australian Film Corporation’s Seed Company Development Funding initiative.

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