Director set for Jessica Watson biopic

Sarah Spillane will direct True Spirit, a feature about teenager Jessica Watson's solo, around-the-world sailing adventure.

The producer, Sunstar Entertainment.s Andrew Fraser, tells If that casting is underway and the aim is to start shooting on the Gold Coast in July.

Watson was 16 when she became the youngest person ever to navigate around the world solo and unassisted in 2010.

Fraser contacted the Los Angeles-based Spillane after being impressed with Around the Block, which starred Christina Ricci, Hunter Page-Lochard, Matt Nable, Daniel Henshall and Jack Thompson.

He started looking for a new director after parting ways with Soul Surfer.s Sean McNamara. Sunstar manages Watson, who is consulting on the project.

Nable and Cathy Randall wrote the first drafts of the screenplay, based on Watson.s memoir True Spirit, and Spillane penned the final draft. Arc Entertainment is co-producing.. Paramount Pictures will distribute in Australia and New Zealand.

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Production begins on Nim’s Island 2 starring Bindi Irwin

Filming has begun in Queensland for Nim’s Island 2, starring Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi as Nim, a role originally played by Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin.

Shot at Village Roadshow Studios, the film is produced by Chris Brown, Paula Mazur and Tom Hoffie for Nims Productions, directed by Sisters of War’s Brendan Maher and written by Cathy Randall.

Scream’s Matthew Lillard plays Nim’s father, Jack with a cast of Australian actors including Offspring’s John Waters, Nathan Derrick of Rush, and Jack Pearson of Winners and Losers.

Brown said: “I am absolutely delighted to be bringing another exciting project to Queensland. This time with our own home-grown star Bindi Irwin.”

Mazur, also producer on the original Nim’s Island which grossed $100m internationally, said: “Nim’s Island 2 follows our hero Nim into another great action adventure story that will appeal to cinema goers of all ages,
See full article at Encore Magazine »

Nim's Island 2, starring Bindi Irwin, begins filming in Queensland

Family adventure film Nim's Island 2, starring Bindi Irwin, has begun shooting on the Gold Coast.

The film also stars Us actor Matthew Lillard (The Descendants, Scooby Doo), who plays marine scientist Jack, the father of Nim (Bindi Irwin), as well as local actors John Waters (Looking Through the Glass Onion, Offspring), Toby Wallace (Surviving Georgia, Neighbours), Nathan Derrick (Rush, Bed of Roses), Sebastian Gregory (Neighbours, Accidents Happen) and Jack Pearson (Winners & Losers).

The original Nim's Island grossed $US48 million in North America and almost $6.2 million at the Australian box office. While it was shot in Queensland, it did not qualify as an Australian production, unlike the sequel which is now underway.

Nim's Island was a far bigger production, starring Jodi Foster, and was distributed by Universal. The sequel will be distributed in Australia by Pinnacle Films, which has specialised in limited theatrical releases, while international distribution is being handled by Walden Entertainment.
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Screen Australia invests in feature development, ‘calling card’ shorts

Screen Australia has invested on the development of features Remarkable Creatures (written by Jan Sardi), A Murder of Crows, Black Echoes, Sibling and Worms.

The investment round includes three short films from the Springboard Program, meant to act as ‘calling cards’ to feature film proposals.

The features in development are:

Black Echoes

Producers Michael Robertson, Murray Pope

Writers Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause

A group of international tourists are taken off the beaten path to an isolated village deep in the Vietnamese countryside. They are promised a Viet Cong tunnel crawl experience that makes the famous Cu Chi Tunnels seem like a playground… Tighter, more claustrophobic, scarier – they get their money’s worth and then some.

A Murder of Crows

Producers Murray Pope, Michael Robertson

Writers Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause

Director Nick Robertson

Lost love brought him there, cold-blooded murder kept him there, now dark vengeance takes flight.

Remarkable Creatures

See full article at Encore Magazine »

Aurora projects announced

Screen Nsw has announced the 2011 participants for the script development workshop Aurora: Dust, Dog Eat Dog, On the Jellicoe Road, Falls Creek and One Hundred and Fifteen.

The selected filmmakers include a new project from Melena Marchetta (writer, Looking for Alibrandi), Michael Robertson (producer, Black Water/Road Train/The Reef) and the debut of editor Veronika Jenet as a producer.

The 2011 edition of Aurora includes a project from South Australia. The advisors will be Us producer Anne Carey (The American, Towelhead and The Savages); writer Andrew Bovell ( Lantana, Blessed, Head On and Edge of Darkness; producer/director/writer Jocelyn Moorhouse (How to Make an American Quilt, Peter Pan, A Thousand Acres, Proof and Muriel’s Wedding); and British producer Olivia Stewart (Brassed Off and Velvet Goldmine).

Former Aurora projects include Animal Kingdom, Somersault, Little Fish, Black Balloon, Prime Mover and Accidents Happen, and the upcoming Burning Man and Say Nothing.
See full article at Encore Magazine »

2010 Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (Pow!): Official Lineup

The 3rd annual Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (Pow!) has announced their full festival lineup, which includes 44 films from all over the world. The fest will run March 18-21 at the Hollywood Theatre.

Maybe this year, the Pow! fest will have something extra to celebrate if Kathryn Bigelow wins the Best Directing Academy Award on March 7th. Bigelow is the odds on favorite to take home the Oscar statuette this year for directing The Hurt Locker and, if she does, she’d be the first woman ever to do so. Actually, only four women have ever even been nominated: Bigelow, Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion and Sofia Coppola.

The lineup below proves that women are a powerful force sitting in the director’s chair and Pow! has assembled an impressive lineup of animated films, shorts, features, documentaries, experimental films and more:

March 18

7:00 p.m.: “Local Shorts”

Nous Deux Encore,
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Esther Blueberger

Esther Blueberger
Generation Kplus

SYDNEY -- Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger is an Australian coming-of-age comedy that's as self-consciously quirky as its title.

First-time writer-director Cathy Randall would have done well to dial down the eccentricity and concentrate on evening out the tone, which oscillates between cutesy and creepy with a jarring third-act detour into melodrama.

The misfit Jewish girl of the title (played by newcomer Danielle Catanzariti) bears more than a passing resemblance to Heather Matarazzo's nerdy 12-year-old in Welcome to the Dollhouse. But Randall doesn't have the fine-tuned satirical sensibility that allowed Todd Solondz to hit just the right note between comedy and pain.

The presence of Toni Collette and Oscar-nominated Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) should help its profile, but this Disney-backed film is too left of center to appeal to the mainstream when it opens March 20 in Australia.

Esther takes a kitchen-sink approach to the teen issues it canvasses -- bullying, peer pressure, family dysfunction and sexual awakening among them -- so there's something for everyone as far as the adolescent target audience is concerned.

But some of it is dubious fare. Esther's back-alley experimentation with a classmate, for example, is more disquieting than droll. And the behavior exhibited by her number-crunching twin brother Jacob (Christian Byers) is not so much idiosyncratic as downright scary. Little wonder the entire family winds up in a psychiatrist's office.

Esther is a tiny, beetle-browed 13-year-old tormented by her perfectionist mother's (Essie Davis) preparations for her upcoming bat-mitzvah and by the taunting of classmates at her ultra-conformist all-girls private school. The girls make fun of her dorky look and peculiar habits, and she spends lonely lunch hours talking to God through a toilet bowl. It's that kind of quirky.

Her oddness catches the eye of Sunni (Castle-Hughes), a tough-nut drummer from a nearby public school, who befriends Esther. Together they hatch a plan: Esther borrows Sunni's spare school uniform and secretly changes schools, fooling her parents while exploring an exciting new universe that includes hanging out with the cool kids and Sunni's hip, laid-back mother, Mary (Collette.)

In her desperation to fit in, Esther's natural adolescent self-absorption takes an unpleasant turn, and she starts to alienate everyone (except the pet duckling named Normal that follows her everywhere and is somewhat labored as a metaphor.)

Production designer Nell Hanson, costume designer Shareen Beringer and cinematographer Anna Howard use a Skittles-colored palette to create a heightened reality that mirrors Esther's internal fantasy world. The film boasts a great indie soundtrack dominated by upbeat Australian bands.


Tama Films


Screenwriter-director: Cathy Randall

Producer: Miriam Stein

Executive producers: Heather Ogilvie, Stephen Hays, Peter Graham, Anton Rosenberg, Toni Collette

Director of photography: Anna Howard

Production designer: Nell Hanson

Music: Guy Gross

Co-producer: Harry Clein

Costume designer: Shareen Beringer

Editor: Dany Cooper


Esther: Danielle Catanzariti

Sunni: Keisha Castle-Hughes

Mary: Toni Collette

Jacob: Christian Byers

Grace: Essie Davis

Osmond: Russell Dykstra

Running time -- 103 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites