SPAA Fringe Day 1

October 24, 2008

Arrived in Sydney late Thursday night, due to the wonderful Jetstar’s interminably late flights.

Watched Unfinished Sky at Matt Clayfield’s house where I’m staying, as he attends the final days of the Melbourne Arts Festival. Peter Duncan’s Unfinished Sky was a minor sleeper at Oz cinemas playing until only recently. While the story originally smelled of the usual PC bullshit served up here in Oz about an Afghani women turning up in the rural outback out of nowhere! Low and behold a subterranean genre film soon comes to the fore involving human slavery (ala The Jammed) and featuring ace whacked out outback wacko’s. The film it turned out wasn’t bad at all, I was pleasantly surprised. William McInnes was good in the lead, and David Field was excellent as a psycho rapist cop. Check it out on DVD!

I registered at SPAA and had fun listening to the TV Pitching session with John Edwards and Courtney Gibson. Courtney, I’d met at Revelation and she seems to be a great ABC head of drama peppering her conversation with candor and curse words about the do’s and dont’s of pitching. Edwards from Secret Life of Us and Love My Way fame also seemed very savy, and gave enlightening information to the SPAA audience.

Its was schmooze time in the lobby and I said hi to Lawrence Johnston from Screen Australia, whose Night I’m still hanging to see. Also said ‘Hi’ to Antony I Ginnane from IFM Films, the No. 1 featured Ozploitation producer in Not Quite Hollywood, who is always treat to chat to and a real gent.

I saw Son Of a Lion. A nicely made film about a father in Afghanistan not wanting his son to get an education, as he wants him to get into the lucrative gun trade and be a Mujahadine OG (Sound advice…?). The films shoot was daring, ala the Miscreants, shooting in dangerous parts of Afghanistan. On the downside the story was a little too simplistic, considering what drama goes on there everyday, and the poster does look a tad like an ad for the Taliban. But it was nicely made on a shoe string and a Sony PD 150 and had a stripped back ontological feel. So it won me over there. I attended the post forum on the film that described its process from Mini DV to film, that was technical but informative.

Then it was SPAA Fringe Pitch time. This was real fun. The first pitch was OK but seemed under developed about a group of Psychiatrists who have every form of mental illness themselves. It somehow branches out to include a serial killer, it could work if developed further and made sure it was well written. Funniest pitch to me was Corrogated Irony, a documentary about Corrugated Iron no less! Thrilling, I hear you scream. They swore they we would make it interesting, but somehow I doubt it. I wouldn’t be surprised if some sectors at Screen Australia and various local funding bodies are scrambling all over themselves it to make a 20 hour mini series out of it! Considering their track record, hehe. The Kookas pitch was a little cuckoo. Rendered Life, the pitch winner, was the best about the adventures of two guys behind the scenes of the internet delivering mail in a cyber world ala Brazil.

Then it was more booze and schmooze time. I opted for drink and missed the Storm Surfer film, that had an interesting Producer Marcus Gillezeau in attendance for. More later, as I’m still in the middle of it all! And it’s Friday Night fiends!!

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