Wilson lands his first US film
Writer-director Aaron Wilson is taking the fast track to the US after his debut feature Canopy played at numerous international festivals and sold to major markets.
Wilson will direct Mercy Road, a character-driven action thriller inspired by real events, which will shoot in the US and Malaysia next year.
Scripted by Roy Freirich, the plot follows a small town sheriff who loses his daughter to cancer, then discovers she was given counterfeit medication, according to Deadline.com.
Freirich, who wrote Australian director Rowan Woods’ 2008 Los Angeles-set drama Winged Creatures, will produce with Cheyenne Enterprises’ Arnold Rivkin and Jay Judah. The co-producer is Leon Tan’s Malaysian-based DragonSlate Media.
The project was among those pitched to the director via his US reps Paradigm after Canopy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.
Produced by Finer Films’ Katrina Fleming, Canopy is an almost dialogue-free thriller set during the Japanese invasion of Singapore in WW2.
International sales agent Odin’s Eye Entertainment sold the film to the US (Monterey Media), the UK (Kaleidoscope Entertainment), Canada (Kinosmith) and Taiwan.
Last week Wilson attended the screening of his film at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Some filmmakers pulled out of the event due to the conflict in Gaza.
Fleming has been in touch with the director, noting, “He has a lot of interesting things to say about how the audience reacted to watching Canopy (with bombings on screen) whilst hearing the city around him being boomed for real. The privilege and responsibility of an artist to reflect life and facilitate discussion was highly prevalent. “
The producer is assembling the finance for the sequel to Canopy, which will focus on the lead character 30 years later as he struggles to adapt to civilian life. A summer shoot is planned.
Meanwhile Fleming is returning to her comedic roots, developing film projects that are comedic in nature. “Aaron and I have often joked about how he has hijacked me to work on art house cinema, when my heart is really in commercial entertainment,” she says.
“I am passionate about quality cinema in all its forms, but at the end of the day I want to make people laugh.”