Screenwest backs Stephen McCallum’s debut feature 1%
Screenwest has announced that 1%, debut feature of director Stephen McCallum, is the recipient of this year’s $750,000 West Coast Visions funding.
West Coast Visions is one of Screenwest’s largest funds, aimed to “uncover, inspire and develop” local talent and skills.
1%, written by actor Matt Nable (Hacksaw Ridge, Arrow, Barracuda), is a set within the primal underworld of outlaw motorcycle club gangs. It follows the heir to the throne of a motorcycle club who has to betray his president to save his brother’s life.
McCallum, who has previously directed a variety of shorts, music videos and commercials, says he was attracted to the Shakespearean undertones of the story. He calls it one of “father versus son, tradition versus ambition, and brotherhood.”
“The main question that draws me to the script that Matt wrote is: what’s the cost of loyalty when it makes you turn against your own blood?” McCallum tells IF.
1% will be produced by Jamie Hilton (Breath, OtherLife) and Michael Pontin, from production company Ticket to Ride, in partnership with Deluxe Australia’s Heart Beat Fund, Head Gear Films, Spectrum Films and Red Apple cameras.
It was Pontin who first introduced Nable’s script to McCallum. They had kept in touch over the years after going to film school together and working on It’s Time, a commercial on marriage equality for GetUp.
That ad, which McCallum directed and Pontin co-produced, went viral – garnering over 16 million views on YouTube and voted AdNews Viral of the Year.
McCallum says it’s kind of funny that in the world of commercials he is known for emotive and warm-hearted work.
“A lot of my dramatic work is pretty dark and uncompromising. I grew up loving the films of David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick. My favourite film when I grew up was Romper Stomper,” he says.
Exposing the audience to the machinations of a dark and high octane subculture is part of McCallum’s vision for 1%. “I just want to take an audience on a dive into this forbidden world,” he says.
McCallum says he is grateful to have the opportunity to make his first feature. “I feel like I’ve been around films for a long time, and I’m really excited to take the next step and to actually put my voice onto screen,” he says.
In 2013, McCallum was the recipient of Screen Australia’s director’s attachment scheme for Tony Ayres’ Cut Snake, and in 2014 he was Glendyn Ivin’s Director’s Assistant on Channel 9’s Gallipoli, where he directed 2nd Unit.
“A really good way to learn as a director is to watch other directors work, and then take what you like and think what you would maybe do differently,” he says. “I’ve been really privileged to be able to learn from those guys.”
Over the past year, the team on 1% have been refining the script and are now in the process of casting and enlisting crew. Nable will also act in the film as the main antagonist.
“I’m excited by the possibility of bringing it to life. I’m really focused on getting the right people, so we can make the world as visceral as possible. If we get all that, then I’ll be popping champagne,” says McCallum.
1% will commence shooting in the next six months in various locations around WA.
Previous films funded through West Coast Visions include Hounds of Love, Blame, These Final Hours, and Wasted on the Young.