(L-R) Christine Luby, Liam McIntyre and Saskia Hampele on set (Photo credit: David Fell).
Saskia Hampele (The Heights, Neighbours) and Liam McIntyre (The Flash) are starring in the romantic comedy This Little Love of Mine, one of the first feature films to roll in the post COVID-19 era.
Now shooting in Cairns and produced by the Steve Jaggi Company, the film follows Hampele as Laura, a successful Australian-born lawyer in San Francisco who is on the cusp of promotion.
McIntyre and Lynn Gilmartin play Chip and Gem, her childhood friends. The firm’s biggest client, Chip’s grandfather (Martin Portus), asks Laura to travel to the Australian island where she grew up to deliver a contract to make Chip his heir.
The contract promises to make Chip a billionaire and Laura a partner in the firm. When she gets to the island there is immediate chemistry between Laura and Chip, making her question where it she truly belongs.
Christine Luby, who was the first AD on the Jaggi-produced Romance on the Menu and Swimming for Gold, is making her feature directing debut. The screenplay is by Georgia Harrison, who wrote Rip Tide for Jaggi.
Jaggi, who is producing with Kelly Son Hing and Spencer McLaren, tells IF the basic concept was created in-house after feedback from international buyers and fleshed out by Harrison.
The promotion for Luby is consistent with Jaggi’s policy of fostering talent. Rounding out the cast are Tiriel Mora, Sarah Woods, Lawrence Ola and Monette Lee.
The funding sources including Screen Queensland, the international sales agent Nicely Entertainment, the Producer Offset and Head Gear Films. Jaggi’s company will handle distribution in Australia.
Jaggi met Nicely Entertainment founder Vanessa Shapiro when she worked at MarVista Entertainment, where she handled Rip Tide.
Hampele, McIntyre (whose credits include Spartacus: Vengeance and Amazon’s upcoming horror movie THEM: Covenant), and Gilmartin are all based in LA and decided to come home as the pandemic struck.
Jaggi says that had he planned to make the film six months ago, he would have needed an American lead. Now, he says, there are more opportunities for Aussie actors.
The COVID-Safe protocols include filming in the “bubble” of a resort near Cairns and following guidelines set by the Queensland Government. He has taken out extra insurance sourced from overseas.
Hampele said: “I’m very grateful to be back on set after a difficult few months for the film industry. The team here have created a COVID-free bubble so that we can feel comfortable that we’re working in a safe environment, and there is a positive vibe among the cast and crew about bringing a feel-good film to life.”
Luby added: “The natural beauty of this area provides the perfect framework for our story of two childhood friends reconnecting. I’m supported by an amazing cast and crew and feel incredibly lucky to be making a film during these turbulent times.”
Thanks to Screen Queensland support, Jaggi says his company is growing exponentially. In the next six months he will produce another feature and a 20-part series in Queensland. “We have a window to get a head start on competing markets like the US and the UK,” he says.