Australian feature Healing, starring Hugo Weaving, Don Hany and Xavier Samuel, is set to start shooting in Victoria on February 18.
The tale of redemption is inspired by a true story, writer-director-producer Craig Monahan said in a statement. “The script is inspired by true events and the powerful connection forged by humans with birds and animals.”
Healing follows Viktor Khadem (Don Hany in his first major feature role), who has spent 16 years in prison and has almost given up on life. For his final 18 months, he is sentenced to a low-security, pre-release prison farm, where senior officer Matt Perry (Hugo Weaving) has established a unique program to rehabilitate broken men by giving them the responsibility for the rehabilitation of injured eagles, falcons and owls. Against all odds, Matt takes on Viktor as his number one test case, introducing him to Yasmine, a majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle, revealing a new path of inspiration and hope.
“This project has attracted a remarkable cast and crew and we are privileged to be working with them and the dedicated staff at Healesville Sanctuary,“ Monahan said.
The film will also star Jane Menelaus (Janus, The Dish), Anthony Hayes (Animal Kingdom, Devil’s Dust), Mark Leonard Winter (Dangerous Remedy, Balibo), Robert Taylor (Longmire, The Matrix), Justine Clarke (Look Both Ways, Tangle) and Laura Brent (A Few Best Men), and Tony Martin (Candy, False Witness).
It marks the third feature drama from Monahan: the critically-acclaimed The Interview (1998) and drama Peaches (2004) also starred Weaving.
Academy Award-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie ACS (The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) will shoot the film, which includes locations across regional Victoria and Melbourne.
Healing will be produced through Monahan’s PointBlank Pictures and distributed in Australia by Pinnacle Films. Industry veteran Tait Brady is producing. Financiers include Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Deluxe, ABC TV, and the Victorian Government’s RLAF Fund (which supports regional filming).
Lightning Entertainment is handling international sales and Richard Guardian will shop the film to buyers at the Berlin Film Festival’s European Film Market.