Surviving Georgia is a low-budget romantic comedy about two sisters (Holly Valance and Pia Miranda) that are brought together after they receive mysterious letters from their flighty, estranged mother, Georgia (Caroline O'Connor).

Upon learning of their mother's (apparent) death, the girls agree to move in together for six months – a condition of receiving their inheritance, an old shop in their hometown. What follows is an unexpected chain of events that lead the women to discover that love, friendship and happiness can often be found in the most unexpected places.

The next romcom to light up the box office? Probably not.

"This film would die if it was in the multiplexes," says co-producer Kate Whitbread, who directed the film alonside Sandra Scibberas. "People would judge it and say 'It's not Pretty Woman,' or 'It's not Friends with Benefits,' and that's not fair."

Shot on a budget of just $700,000 over five weeks in Melbourne and Warburton in 2009, the film was shown at last year's Dungog Film Festival, before being completely recut. Pick ups were shot, the structure was changed and the sound editing was re-mixed.

After being knocked back by big name distributors, Whitbread and co-producer Spencer McLaren joined up with one of the film's investors to form distribution company Momo Films.

"It's just a natural extension of producing a film," says Whitbread. "Filmmakers should be the one to distribute, because they know where the audience is."

Surviving Georgia will screen in no more than twelve screens across the country, with plans for each participating cinema to host a Q&A screening with the filmmakers.  Whitbread belives the film will be particularly popular with regional audiences.

"We know there are people that want to see it," says Whitbread. "There aren't enough low-budget films for women over 35."

The film will be available on Foxtel On Demand and will screen in 2012 on Channel 10. The DVD will be released in time for Christmas.

Post-Georgia, Whitbread hopes to continue to "distribute low-budget films that slip through the cracks."

"People seem to think that if it's not Red Dog, then it's not a success," she says. "But they can't all be Red Dogs."

Surviving Georgia will be released on October 13. For cinemas screening the film, click here

Holly Valance and Pia Miranda as Rose and Heidi

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  1. What astounds me, is how such trash gets government funding anyway? What’s the point? Why waste the money? And what private investors would be silly enough to sink their cash into this deflated balloon?

  2. I saw at a Q&A with some of the cast, the two people that directed the film and the producer. The mediator made a point that, although marketed as a romantic comedy, it’s not really funny. The writer said that she thought it was funny. I think she’s delusional.

    Questions focused on the plot holes, which the writer struggled to answer. They didn’t even seem to care. “It’s a cute little film”, one of them said. Their apathy to this film is clearly demonstrated with this melodramatic, uneven, terribly acted and awfully scripted feature length episode of Neighbours, that sends the Australian film industry back decades.

    The fact that you can see the end coming a mile away doesn’t matter, because the plot is so uneven and structured so frantically that it’s easier to give up completely on the narrative (inexplicable walk-out by a mother from her two daughters, told in a quick 5 minute opening, the lack of explanation covered up as “deliberately ambiguous” by the writer) and focus on the acting and the dialogue. “You gotta be bloody kiddin’ me?” – Holly Vallance couldn’t act on Neighbours and she hasn’t improved at all since then. Pia Miranda is OK, but the script keeps telling her to interrupt character’s when they’re talking (“I need you to just let me just read this, OK?”) and say lines like “the hole in my heart has been fixed”.

    The trailer for Surviving Georgia is like a microcosm of the film itself. It’s scattered all over the place. A sappy melodramatic score, then quirky fun music. In one scene, Holly Valance is hiding under a table in a scene that attempts at humour, but then the next scene completely changes pace, and aims to be a sad, emotional one. Then there was a bizarre suicide attempt?!

    The audio sounded dubbed – when the camera is inside a room, looking out a window at character’s talking outside, it’s OK to make the audio a bit muffled because that’s what it would sound like. It doesn’t have to sound like the camera is outside with them! Things like that remind you that you’re watching a movie.

    Outside on a balcony, Holly Vallance and Pia Miranda are talking, and upstairs, the little kid kind of acts like he’s having fun outside, or that he’s gonna jump or, I don’t know, it’s not clear – and Holly goes, “we’re not birds!”. A few of us kind of looked around and thought – wtf? Is it sloppy writing, or are the writer’s just effing with us and seeing who will notice the anomalous dialogue?

    I’ll mention the cinematography is pretty amazing, and I thought to myself that the guy filming this must hate that he was surrounded by such talentless hacks.

    People are really struggling for funding from Film Victoria and the other Aussie film funding bodies, and the fact that they gave money to this travesty is infuriating – real, creative, thought-provoking and ENTERTAINING films are forced to sit in the minds of up and coming, struggling filmmakers, and the real trash like this gets put on the big screen, it’s a very sad time for the Australian film industry.

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