Impian Films boards The Damned

19 July, 2013 by Don Groves

Stephen Van Mil’s Impian Films will produce The Damned, a film based on the true story of two Western Australian teenagers who murdered a girl they had befriended.

Reg Cribb has written the screenplay based on his 2011 play. Andrew Lewis, who directed the play for the Black Swan State Theatre Company, will make his feature directing debut.


Lewis is associate professor at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University. Cribb and Lewis received development funding from Screen West before Van Mil became involved.

Van Mil describes the subject as “confronting,” viewing it as an essay on disaffected young people.

The play is based on a case in 2006, looking at two16-year-old girls who lived in the town of Collie. They befriended a girl of the same age; the victim was strangled. The girls subsequently walked into police stations 250 km apart, confessed to the crime and were sentenced to long prison terms.

There will be a public reading of the screenplay at next month’s CinefestOZ Film Festival in Busselton. Van Mil told IF he has introduced the project to sales agents and Australian distributors and said, “There is strong international interest.”

Cribb’s stage credits include The Return, Gulpilil, Ruby’s Last Dollar and Last Cab to Darwin, based on the true story of a Broken Hill taxi driver who was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, which Cribb and director Jeremy Sims are developing as a feature film. Cribb was nominated for an AFI award for his screenplay Last Train to Freo, which Sims directed.

Impian is developing several films including Fred Schepisi’s The Drowner, an historical love story based on a Robert Drewe novel and scripted by John Collee, and The Shallows, based on Tim Winton’s novel which spans three generations of one family from the birth of the WA whaling industry in the 1830s to the present day, to which actress Emma Booth is attached.

Also on his slate is Big Numbers, a comedy about four guys who realised their dreams of playing for the Wallabies were never going to happen and had the crazy idea of forming Australia’s first national Sudoku team and compete in the world Sudoku championships in Goa, India.

Production has wrapped on Tango Underpants, a short film based on a story by Carolyn Swindell, adapted by Collee, produced by Van Mil and Tania Chambers. Booth plays an Australian backpacker who loses her mojo after a bad breakup and heads for Buenos Aires where she discovers Tango dancing and the importance of wearing the right underwear.

It was co-directed by Miranda Edmonds (Impian’s director of development) and her brother Khrob Edmonds. The producers raised $107,000 via crowdfunding site Pozible, boosted by a 3-1 grant from Screen West. Van Mil is figuring out a plan to launch the short on the international festival circuit.