Hopscotch Features’ Troy Lum and Andrew Mason have joined forces with UK producer Gabrielle Tana to form a new production house, Brouhaha Entertainment.
The company combines their respective slates, with upcoming projects including Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand, starring Michelle Williams; Kate Dennis’ All That I Am, based on the novel by Anna Funder; Lee Tamahori’s The Convert; Richard E. Grant’s Majesty and Patrick Dickinson’s Cottontail.
To be based across Sydney and London, the company has received investment via the Calculus Creative Content EIS Fund, which was launched in June 2019 in association with the British Film Institute (BFI).
The fund aims to support the growth of dynamic and ambitious UK companies, and has also backed the likes of Wonderhood Studios, Raindog Films, Maze Theory and Maven Screen Media.
Tana is the producer of the Oscar-nominated Philomena, The Invisible Woman and most recently, Netflix’s The Dig, from Australian director Simon Stone.
With her, Lum and Mason were already developing a number of projects, including both All That I Am and Majesty, as well as Insomniac City, based on the 2017 memoir of Bill Hayes, which recounts his relationship with Oliver Sacks.
Thus in essence, Brouhaha formalises an existing working relationship built over a number of years. The trio were actually approached by Calculus to do so – aware of their collaboration, it suggested if they formed a company it would support them in the endeavour.
Tana brings the table strong relationships within the UK industry, access to talent, as well as complementary skills and a similar taste, Lum tells IF. The backing of Calculus will also bring a level of scale.
He predicts the ability to straddle two continents will be of great benefit in terms of scope, talent opportunities and telling Australian stories with global appeal; noting the Australia-UK model of See-Saw Films is a guide. The intention is to have development teams in both countries that will cross over on every project.
“It’s about: how do we elevate the production sector here to make it more international? That goes across both film and television,” Lum says.
“I think it’s great to have another international company based here that will have strong Australian identity, but also access to international talent and expertise.”
Of their slate, All That I Am, an adaptation of the Miles Franklin-winning novel, will mark Dennis’ first feature film after an extensive TV career across Australia and the US. Scheduled for production next year, the majority is intended to be shot in Australia, with additional shooting in Europe.
Tamahori’s The Convert recently received funding via the New Zealand Film Commission’s (NZFC) Te Puna Kairangi Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund.
Scripted by Shane Danielsen, the film follows Munro, a soldier turned lay preacher who comes to New Zealand to minister to the first colonisers, but is converted by the powerful chief Maianui to serve a different purpose. Lum and Mason produce with Te Kohe Tuhaka, Robin Scholes and Bradford Joseph Te Apatu-o-te-rangi Maaka Haami.
Among the other projects to carry over from the Hopscotch Features slate are the TV adaptation of the Trent Dalton novel Boy Swallows Universe, which it has been developing with Anonymous Content, Chapter One and Joel Edgerton; and The Ruin, an adaptation of Dervla McTiernan’s Irish crime novel in partnership with Colin Farrell’s production company.
Lum and Mason have also been developing sci-fi feature Time Trap with Michael Shanks of Wizards of Aus fame, and have optioned the Craig Silvey novel Honey Bee.
“The aim is to do Australian content that we feel has universal appeal and the ability to cross borders internationally. That’s what we’ve always been about,” Lum says.
“Then working with the highest-graded Australian talent we can get our hands on.”
Brouhaha will be supported by an established network of collaborators, including most significantly Carolyn Marks Blackwood, who produced The Dig, The White Crow and The Invisible Woman and with whom they will continue to work.
Tana says: “The producers involved in Brouhaha Entertainment have a track record of creating bold, innovative content with strong connection to A-List talent both above and below the line. We are poised and ready to develop slates to satisfy the market hunger for quality content. The funding from Calculus will enable us to take advantage of this unprecedented content boom.”
Stargrove Pictures identified the opportunity to invest in Brouhaha. Stargrove Pictures CEO Stephen Fuss will join the board.