Tim Marshall’s ‘Followers’ invited to LGBTQ Film Finance Forum

12 May, 2020 by Don Groves

Tim Marshall with Christina Radburn (second from left).

Writer-director Tim Marshall’s debut feature Followers is among 10 projects from around the world selected to participate in the Toronto-based Inside Out LGBTQ Film Finance Forum.


Developed from his eponymous short which had its world premiere in competition at Sundance followed by SXSW in 2015, the dark comedy follows Lynn Walters, a grieving widow who sees a vision of Jesus on the shorts of young, queer aqua aerobics instructor Rudi.

Convinced Rudi has been sent from God to heal and reinvigorate her life, Lynn hopes he will somehow fill the void left by her dead husband while he endures a toxic relationship with Jim, his older life coach.

Melbourne-based Frances Wang-Ward and Christina Radburn (who produced the short) will produce, with Robyn Kershaw as EP.

The fourth edition of the LGBTQ Forum will take place online from May 26-29, featuring one-on-one meetings with reps from Netflix, IFC/Sundance Selects/IFC Midnight, XYZ, the US’s Killer Films, Bleecker Street and Verve, the UK’s Bankside Films, Germany’s Films Boutique, GLAAD and others.

The producers said: “We’re so excited to bring Followers to life. This is a story world and a character pairing we believe will be truly memorable, fun, revealing, and deeply moving.”

Also invited to the forum is The Young King, directed by Larin Sullivan, who is a permanent resident of Australia.

Screen Australia has funded development of Followers, which was inspired by Marshall’s admiration for Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby’s 1971 classic scripted by Aussie Colin Higgins, which followed the relationship between young Harold (Bud Cort) and 79-year-old Maude (Ruth Gordon).

In 2017 Marshall took part in Screen Australia’s Talent USA program. He also created Torso, a short documentary series exploring online queer culture, and he co-wrote with Luke Tierney the pilot for Forever Alone, a TV comedy which won the grand prize in the WeScreenplay TV script contest judged by Comedy Central.

An alumni of the 2015 Screen Producers Australia Ones To Watch program, Radburn’s producing credits include Desperately Seeking Shavers, a short documentary commissioned by the ABC and Screen Australia for ABC iview.

A first generation Australian and former child actor from Shanghai, Wang-Ward has returned to the screen industry after working in finance and regulatory legal practice.

Kershaw came aboard as EP in 2017 when she, Annika Glac, Marshall and Radburn were selected for Film Independent’s Fast Track program in LA.

LGBTQ Film Finance Forum participants:

All That She Wants (US)
Director: Nigel DeFriez
Producer: Maria Krovatin
Logline: Due to a mysterious family emergency, Angela and Fred find themselves far from the queer bubble of the big city, haunted by high school trauma, small-town drama, and nobody to have sex with…

Followers (Australia/US)
Director: Tim Marshall
Producers: Christina Radburn, Frances Wang-Ward
Logline: When a devout widow sees a bizarre vision of Jesus on her bisexual swimming teacher’s shorts, she’s determined it’s God’s way of healing her, and sets out to convince him the vision is a miracle for them both.

Glitter & Doom (US)
Director: Tom Gustafson
Producers: Tom Gustafson, Cory Krueckeberg
Logline: A carefree kid about to run away with the circus and a struggling musician who wears charisma as camouflage go camping on a first date – but will whirlwind love at first sight survive them revealing their darkness along with their light?

Gypsy Boy (UK)
Director: Dee Koppang O’Leary
Producers: Kevin Loader, Dee Koppang O’Leary
Logline: A coming-of-age story adapted from Mikey Walsh’s critically acclaimed and Sunday Times bestselling memoir books Gypsy Boy and Gypsy Boy on the Run.

Hawa Hawaii (Kenya)
Director: Amirah Tajdin
Producer: Wafa Tajdin, Sahar Yousefi
Logline: A Muslim drag queen uses the dying art of Swahili orchestral music and lyrics – Taarab – to mend a deeply fractured relationship with his mother.

Last Summer With Ira (US)
Directors: Katie Ennis, Gary Jaffe
Producers: Emily McCann Lesser, Katie Ennis
Logline: Westchester, Summer 1991. Closeted teenager Daniel Rosen begins to come out to himself when his estranged gay uncle Ira returns home, dying of complications from HIV/AIDS.

Polarized (UK)
Director: Shamim Sharif
Producer: Hanan Kattan
Logline: On the verge of her wedding, a successful Muslim woman falls into a passionate affair with a blue-collar Christian woman who works for her. In a modern-day small-town America that is politically and economically polarized, they will find that being true to themselves means turning their backs on everything they’ve ever believed.

The Viridian (Canada)
Director: Blake Mawson
Producer: Natalie Urquhart
Logline: A young woman protects her little brother from incarceration by hiding the genetic marker that places him outside society’s acceptance, but discovery is inevitable.

You Cannot Erase Me (US)
Director: Tyler Rabinowitz
Producer: Jeremy Truong
Logline: Fleeing persecution, a gay Jewish man from Chechnya leaves his mother behind to resettle in Toronto, where his new roommate introduces him to the world of drag –– and to the parts of himself that he had been taught to bury.

The Young King (US)
Director: Larin Sullivan
Producers: Kim Bailey, Isabel Marden
Logline: It’s the story of Jules, a cocky young drag king on a quest to become her own man. Over a weekend in Vegas, she falls for Ronnie, a stripper, and reconnects with her estranged father Mick, a clown, who delivers a lesson of tough love at the poker table.