Alex Russell crime pic aims for late 2017 start, Stan’s Rob Gibson to produce

Alex Russell is set to star in Sons of Salt, the story of an ex-con trying to get his life together who is reluctantly drawn into a dangerous world by his pro-surfer brother.   

This is the first feature from Five Lip Films (formerly Rockpool Films), the young collective made up of NIDA grads Russell, James Elliot, and Sarah-Jane McAllan, plus Ande Cunningham and David O’Donnell (WAAPA).

The five are back and forth between LA and Sydney, and the shingle doesn't have a premises. 

Last year Cunningham directed short film Oranges Don’t Grow on Trees, featuring Russell and Sarah Snook. 

This Friday, the outfit will premiere their latest project, Picture Wheel  a short written and directed by O'Donnell and starring Russell and James Hoare (the upcoming Picnic at Hanging Rock mini)  at California's Cinequest Festival.

James Hoare (centre back) in 'Picture Wheel'.

O'Donnell also wrote the script for Sons of Salt, which leading man Russell previously described to IF as “a brutal vicious crime drama set in Maroubra over four different time periods.”  

The project is currently being financed, with a budget mooted around the $3-4 million mark. O'Donnell tells IF he's hoping to start shooting in Sydney in the second half of 2017.

Sunny Abberton, who wrote, produced and directed Bra Boys, is attached as an EP alongside Adam Schroeder (The Truman Show, Chronicle). 

Jonathan Auf der Heide was previously attached to direct, but stepped away in 2014 to focus on Mongrel, an outback thriller set to star Aden Young and Aaron Pedersen which fell over the following year.   

Picture Wheel co-producer (and Stan's Head of Originals) Rob Gibson is producing Sons of Salt, which previously received development funding from Screen Australia.

Gibson produced horror feature Primal in 2010 before joining Stan in 2014.