Josh Conn’s indie thriller Crow Valley will be released in the US early next year after securing an international distribution deal with 4Digitalmedia.
Shot on the Surf Coast in Victoria’s south-west, the film stars Nicole Freeman (Mental) as Greta Nelson, a mysterious young woman who hits a mountain bike rider with her car. She drags him to a remote cabin and attempts to nurse him back to health.
Writer/director Conn stars opposite Freeman and also produces via his company Lenny Films.
Freeman said the story was a little like Misery meets Wolf Creek.
“Greta turns out to be quite a monster and was so much fun to play,” she said.
“It’s an amazing script, there’s so many twists and turns.”
Crow Valley was filmed across 2019 and early 2020 with post-production completed in June this year.
UK sales agents Moviehouse Entertainment have since come on board and helped secure the deal with 4Digitalmedia, which also includes a Canadian and UK release.
It’s a strong result for Conn, who made what is his feature debut for about $20,000.
The Torquay filmmaker told IF the deal was “like a finish line” for the project.
“It was really a satisfying moment because it had been such a long journey,” he said.
“I’ve been speaking to one of the guys at Moviehouse, who said it can be hard to break through with the film markets at the moment if you haven’t got big names in your project, given a lot of it is conducted online.”
Conn started writing the project in 2018, before going on to shoot in “dribs and drabs” at one main location at Aireys Inlet.
Funds for the film’s post-production were raised via the Australian Cultural Fund, with sound done by the Queensland-based Craig Jansson, while Melbourne’s City Post handled quality control and file production.
Conn said Melbourne producer and Exile Entertainment founder Alexi Ouzas had also been an “extremely valuable” mentor throughout the production process.
“I knew [Exile Entertainment] had a lot of success in raising money and getting in touch with sales agents, so I reached out to him and he was really helpful,” he said.
“There was stuff he helped us with that would take five years if you were trying to figure it out yourself.
“He laid out how best to put a list together and start contacting people.”
The filmmakers are currently in talks with Australian distributors and hope to have a local release date secured in the coming months.