Andrew Knight, Jocelyn Moorhouse team for WWII film ‘The Wedding Officer’

12 April, 2017 by Harry Windsor

(l-r) James Mackay, Sarah Snook and Jocelyn Moorhouse on the set of 'The Dressmaker' (photo credit: Ben King).

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Screen Australia has announced development funding for seven feature films and one high-end television project, plus production funding for three digital series and one VR project. 

Among the slate of features is The Wedding Officer, a WWII drama adapted by Andrew Knight (Hacksaw Ridge, Jack Irish) from a novel by Anthony Capella.

Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker) is attached to direct with Revlover Films' Martha Coleman producing. The feature has secured matched funding from eOne, who produced Knight's The Water Diviner.

The film revolves around a young British officer sent to allied occupied Naples to clean up corruption and curb the run of British soldiers marrying Neapolitan girls. The locals decide to corrupt him the best way they know how: with food.  

Other films include Relic, a Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories project produced by Carver Films’ Sarah Shaw and Anna McLeish (Snowtown) and Fruit Pickers, from writer/director brothers Sam and Tom McKeith (Beast).

Also receiving funding is New Zealand author Kate de Goldi’s adaptation of her novel From The Cutting Room of Barney Kettle. Bridget Callow-Wright (Bitter and Twisted) and Philippa Campbell (Top of the Lake) are producing with Darren Ashton (Offspring) attached to direct.

“Literary adaptations continue to feature prominently in our development funding rounds with author Kate de Goldi crossing over into film and the prolific screenwriter Andrew Knight adapting Anthony Capella’s hugely popular period romance novel," Screen Australia's Senior Development Manager Nerida Moore said.

"We’re also delighted to support promising emerging talents like Natalie Erika James, whose project Relic has garnered significant interest since receiving Gender Matters funding last year.”

Screen Australia is also funding Start VR's Awake – First Contact, described as a "full-room VR experience where users will have the ability to influence and interact with the narrative." 

The work is being produced by James Marshall, executive produced by Nathan Anderson, written by Mike Jones and Christian Cantamessa and directed by Martin Taylor.

Also receiving production funding is web series Jade of Death from producer Taylor Litton-Strain and writer/director Erin Good. The six-episode series stars Nicholas Hope and Susan Prior and and received post-production funding through Queer Screen’s Completion Fund. 

Sales agent Rockzeline has taken international, while Litton-Strain retains the Australian and New Zealand rights and plans to launch the series in its home territory with a premiere cinema-screening event in conjunction with Queer Screen.

“Erin and I really aware that a strong distribution plan is key to the success of an online series,” she told IF.

The series follows a small-town girl, Jade, with a psychic ability: she can see when and how people are going to die. Jade runs away from her hometown only to begin working at a seedy freak show carnival, where her past begins to catch up with her.

“This slate shows how digital content makers in Australia are constantly experimenting with genre, format and delivery," said Screen Australia's Investment Manager of Multiplatform Mike Cowap. 

"Awake – First Contact is now the fourth virtual reality project (and the first full-room VR experience) we have funded, and alongside the more traditional platforms such as iview and YouTube, we’re also seeing more and more international partners like Rockzeline attached to projects.”

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