James Elliot and Alex Russell. 

Two NIDA graduates and close friends are joining forces to create a new collective partnership, Rockpool Films.

Alex Russell (Cut Snake, Unbroken) and James Elliot (coming up in Raker) have been making content together ever since they met at the National Institute of Dramatic Art while studying acting.

“From the beginning we had a wonderful, mutually beneficial creative partnership,” Russell tells IF. “We’re fortunate that it’s something that we have been able to keep up. I remember in third year (of acting school) we made a pact, and that was to always, always work together – once a year at the very least. We said we must once a year do one project together – something that we’re passionate about and that we think is unique and something that didn’t seem to be around in the current spectrum.

“That’s what we have done, I’m very proud to say, only without making it official. So we just decided, between the two of us and the other members of our extremely talented group, we just thought ‘why are we making things and developing things and not having a logo?’”

Rockpool Films consists of Russell, Elliot, Ande Cunningham, David O’Donnell and Sarah -Jane McAllan.

The group currently have their third short film coming up, a crime story titled Sons of Salt.

The project, which received development funding from Screen Australia, follows an ex-con who is trying to get his life together but is reluctantly drawn into a dangerous scenario by his pro-surfer brother. Russell describes it as “a brutal vicious crime drama set in Maroubra over four different time periods.”Jonathan Auf der Heide (Van Dieman's Land, The Turning) will direct, Rob Gibson (Primal) will produce and Adam Schroeder (The Truman Show) will act as Executive Producer. Duncan Thompson (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) will also serve as a script consultant.

The group also have a short film they previously made, Raker, which is in the process of being developed into a feature.

“Raker just goes to show how eclectic the product we create is,” says Elliot. “Our focus is to create material that inspires the imagination while not forgetting it’s about entertainment and wanting to touch people’s hearts and souls and invoke that hope. Raker is neo-film noir, if you can imagine Dark City mixed with Blade Runner, set in an unknown location with American accents. So we have grand ideas but also that marry in with more current themes and naturalistic ideas.”

The team plans to operate out of both Sydney and Los Angeles. 

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