Jason Byrne’s Little Deaths among DigiSPAA finalists

16 October, 2008 by IF

[Press Release by Tsuki]

The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) is proud to announce the finalists for the 2008 Digi SPAA Feature Film Competition sponsored by Movie Network Channels:


Little Deaths – Producer Jason Byrne (VIC)
Gates of Hell – Producer David Parker (VIC)
Torn – Producers Shana Levine & Dean Murphy (VIC)
The Map Reader – Producer John Davies (NZ)

“This year’s finalists are diverse: a coming-of-age title from New Zealand (The Map Reader), an omnibus collection of tales of love (Little Deaths), a life goes wrong thriller/drama (Torn) and a gothic horror piece (Gates of Hell),” says DigiSPAA Co-Curator, Antony I. Ginnane.

The finalists lauded as outstanding, represent the new wave of Australian digital feature filmmaking adds Executive Director, Geoff Brown: "With a profound sense of innovative guerilla cinema, all four finalists demonstrate talent in the making and maverick entrepreneurial spirit."

This year’s competition received 20 entries which builds on its position as Australia’s premier digital film competition and is an increase from previous years, having attracted 19 entries in 2007, 17 entries in 2006 and 13 entries in 2005.

“This year the calibre of the entries was extraordinarily high. We received a record breaking 20 applications which covered all genres. What we look for are films which fulfill the spirit of low budget digital filmmaking, which are not only well made and entertaining, but demonstrate a true entrepreneurial approach from the producer. Each of the finalists has shown this in their own individual way.” Daniel Scharf, DigiSPAA judge

Little Deaths, produced by Jason Byrne, is a kaleidoscopic journey into modern relationships. Linked by the point of view of a lonely tollbooth operator, played by Abe Forsythe, each story follows the lives of the people driving by while he imagines what kind of life they lead. Taking this concept and running with it, Giula Sandler has written ten unconventional short films about love in all its myriad shapes and textures, and enlisted eleven Melbourne filmmakers to bring them to life, creating a visual and narrative feast. The directors include, Sian Davies, Fin Edquist, Melanie Brunt, The Man With No Name, Geoff Hitchins, Jarrah Gurrie, Genevieve Bailey, Chris Benz, Giula Sandler, Ben Chessell and James Teh.

The Gates of Hell, produced by David Parker and directed by Kelly Dolen, is a suspenseful horror film about five adventurous filmmakers who travel to a remote disused manor to film an online interactive horror movie, where they soon find themselves subject to their own intentions. This thriller stars Michael Piccirilli (90201, Gabriel, CSI), Samantha Noble (Gabriel), and Christian Clark  (X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)).

Equally thrilling is Director Eric Manchester’s LA set suspense film, Torn, starring Costas Mandylor (Saw 4, Picket Fences), Damien Richardson (Hard Word, Rogue, City Homicide) and Eliza Szonert (The Dish, Underbelly), which follows a man who’s seemingly perfect life is suddenly destroyed from a harmless encounter. Torn was produced by Victorian-based Shana Levine & Dean Murphy.

The endearing drama, The Map Reader, produced by New Zealand born John Davies and directed by Harold Brodie, follows sixteen-year-old Michael, played by Jordan Selwyn, who dreams of escaping the realities of his small-town New Zealand life by immersing himself within a world of maps.

The four Digi SPAA finalists will be screened at this year’s SPAA Fringe conference on 24 and 25 October at the Chauvel Cinema in Sydney. From the four finalists, two grand finalists will be announced at SPAA Fringe Closing Night.

The Grand Prize winner of the prestigious DigiSPAA Award will be announced at the SPAA Conference from 12-14th November on the Gold Coast. The winner will be introduced at the SPAA Conference to prominent international and local delegates, providing excellent exposure to the top dogs of the industry.

2008 DigiSPAA judges include Academy Award winner Melanie Coombs, producer of the Oscar winning Harvie Krumpet, Antony I. Ginnane, President of IFM World Releasing Inc., Geoff Brown, Executive Director SPAA; Daniel Scharf, Producer of Geoffrey Wright’s AFI Award-winning Romper Stomper; and Colleen Meldrum, Program Director, Movie Network Channels.

The winner of DigiSPAA will also receive $15,000 cash and $20,000 worth of post-production, a guaranteed screening of their film on the Movie Extra channel, plus a return airfare and free registration to the prestigious CineMart International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Digi SPAA is a creative project of the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) an industry body that represents Australian independent film and television producers on all issues affecting the business and creative aspects of screen production. Digi SPAA is proudly supported by Movie Network Channels which is distributed via subscription TV platforms FOXTEL, AUSTAR, Optus, SelecTV, and Neighbourhood Cable.

For further information go to www.spaa.org.au