Press release from the SAFC

The South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) today announced the four teams selected to participate in the new low budget feature film initiative known as FilmLab.

The $4.2 million scheme green lit last year by Premier Mike Rann is designed to develop the next generation of local filmmakers through the production of eight low budget feature films over the next four years, from initial concept to delivery and marketing of the final projects.

The four teams selected to participate in the initial round are – Sophie Hyde, Bryan Mason and Matt Cormack of Closer Productions, Hugh Nguyen and Eddie White of the People’s Republic of Animation, Julie Ryan of Cyan Films with Matt Bate of Plexus Films, and Ashlee Page and Sonya Humphrey of Sacred Cow. The teams selected cover an interesting range of genres and formats encompassing drama, documentary and animation.

The successful teams were selected from a shortlist of 14 by a panel of assessors including film critic Margaret Pomeranz (At the Movies), Screen Australia consultant Scott Meek, development consultant Lindy Davies and development expert Stephen Cleary of Eurista, who has worked closely with the SAFC to develop the program.

The committee said, “it is fantastic to end up with 4 teams of filmmakers who are exciting, dynamic and daring in the projects they are developing. It was an interesting process for us to go through involving 95 ideas from 41 initial teams. It was wonderful to see such a broad range of ideas and we were impressed by the high quality of all the applications, but even more so by the genuine level of enthusiasm of the applicants to engage with the philosophy behind the scheme.“

An impressive list of industry professionals has been assembled to advise and assist the FilmLab participants. Acclaimed film director Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence, Patriot Games, The Bone Collector) has signed on as patron of FilmLab and mentors include writer/director Rolf de Heer (Ten Canoes, Bad Boy Bubby), writer/director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), distributor Nick Batzias (Madman), producer Mark Hebert (Warp X Films UK), producer Antonia Barnard (Last Ride) and Adelaide Film Festival Director Katrina Sedgwick.

The FilmLab process will result in low budget films that are bold, distinctive and original. The filmmakers will be put through a rigorous creative boot camp involving a combination of lectures, seminars, improvisations and multimedia presentations, as well as working intensely with story developers, actors and other industry experts. What happens each day is determined solely by the needs of the FilmLab participants and not by any preordained program. This flexibility is what makes FilmLab unique.

An important component of the program is the ongoing mentoring of the projects and participants. This will involve ongoing story development with Stephen, tailored support from mentors to the specific needs of individual projects and exposure to an ongoing program of guest speakers and low budget film screenings.

Richard Harris CEO of the SAFC said, “the strength of the teams selected for the first intake of FilmLab indicates the depth of talent there is in the state. It was incredibly competitive and we are very excited about the prospect of seeing these filmmakers taking their talent and ideas to the next level.”

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