Carolyn Johnson and Catriona McKenzie recipients of SAFC’s Doing it Differently

Catriona McKenzie (Photo: James Croucher/The Australian) and Carolyn Johnson. 

Producer Carolyn Johnson and director Catriona McKenzie are the inaugural recipients of the South Australian Film Corporation’s (SAFC) Doing It Differently development initiative for their screen adaptation of Patricia Cornelius’ play, Love.

The Doing It Differently initiative was introduced to encourage innovation in film production methods, especially the development of family-friendly approaches that support parents and carers working in the screen industry.

The initiative was one of a range of responses by the SAFC to the findings of the Raising Films Australia survey which highlighted the challenges of progressing in the screen industry while being a parent or carer. It is intended to develop projects and ultimately provide production investment. An inspiration for this was Closer Productions’ 52 Tuesdays, which shot every Tuesday for a whole year while the team continued working on other projects during the week.

Johnson and McKenzie have proposed a bespoke and flexible methodology to adapt Love, which draws on Johnson’s documentary background and will allow for flexible production scheduling, blurred stages of production and part-time working hours for a core crew of highly experienced heads of department.

Winner of the 2006 AWGIE for Best Stage Play and the 2003 Wal Cherry Award for Best Australian Play, Cornelius’ Love is a exploration of love and addiction. It follows Tanya, Annie and Lorenzo, who are on the bottom of the heap. They’re young but already the youth has been wrung out of them. They’ve been abused, they’re abusive, and they’re difficult to like, let alone to love. But it is love in all its distorted and mutated forms that holds them together, at least for a while.

Johnson said: “We want to build creative thinking time into the whole production process. With flexible hours and a process tailored to the particular team and project, we can nurture creativity as well as helping us to integrate our multi-project careers with the varied demands of life.”

McKenzie said: “We will take the existing beloved text of Patricia Cornelius’ play Love, and dynamically develop it for the big screen. Using the camera as a story-finding tool and actors as collaborators, we are excited to make a film with a narrative heart that touches the zeitgeist.”

SAFC CEO Courtney Gibson said the response to Doing it Differently had been overwhelming, after applicants were asked to propose screen projects with innovative production methodologies.

“We are really looking forward to seeing how Carolyn and Catriona, in consort with Patricia, develop not just a well-crafted stage-to-screen adaptation but also an innovative and groundbreaking methodology,” she said.