(L-R) Nicci Wilks, Sarah Ward and Peta Brady.
In a three week window between the floods and the pandemic, a resourceful female-led creative team filmed a feature drama based on a Patricia Cornelius play.
Trudy Hellier and Susie Dee co-directed SHIT, adapted by Cornelius, produced by Eyvonne Carfora and featuring the same cast led by Nicci Wilks, Peta Brady and Sarah Ward.
The plot follows three wild and dangerous women who believe the world is shit, their lives are shit and they are shit. After committing a terrible crime they are terrified they will never see each other again.
In their feature directing debuts Dee, who directed the play, called the shots on the studio-set scenes drawn from the play while Hellier helmed the new material on location.
The supporting cast includes Madeline Dyer, Sam O’Reilly and Emilie Bloom. Sky Davies is the DOP.
“Rather than go through a long development process we decided to raise the money ourselves, shoot on a minuscule budget then look for post-production funds and sales,” Trudy tells IF.
“The play has a very devoted following and Patricia and Susie have developed an incredible body of work in the theatre, both nationally and internationally.”
The producers raised $60,000 from crowdfunding plus in-kind support from cast and crew. During the shoot, which wrapped on March 14, the directors worked with Marcus Smith at United Finishing Artists.
(L-R) Trudy Hellier, Patricia Cornelius and Susie Dee.
“Our cinematographer Sky Davies brought together a small but fantastically professional team who have made it look a million dollars,” Hellier says.
“We spent money on one stunning location and basically shot on the trains, streets and in a friend’s back yard.
“With a 90 per cent female cast and crew, it was a very exciting and collaborative way to make a film. The speed with which the whole project came together was really challenging, especially for Eyvonne who did an amazing job getting blood out of a stone and somehow, with a hell of a lot of favours, it all came together.”
Meri Blazveski is editing alone in a studio and the co-directors are looking at the material via Zoom and Frame.io and having Facetime meetings to discus the cuts.
They are in discussions with a number of post houses for the next stage. The composer is Anna Liebziet.
The plan is to launch SHIT at film festivals when these events resume and then sell it to a curated streaming service or even a mainstream SVOD platform which is willing to take on riskier content.
Meanwhile Hellier and her co-creator Maria Theodorakis are developing a 6 x 30′ version of Little Acorns, the Screen Australia-funded comedy webseries starring Rachel Griffiths, for a commercial network.
Hellier is also collaborating with writer Michele Lee on a project supported by Film Victoria and is waiting for restrictions to lift so she can organise a writers’ room.