David Michod to direct first feature film

[Press Release by The Lantern Group]

The Screen Australia Board has approved funding for Animal Kingdom, the first feature film by internationally acclaimed short film writer/director (and former IF editor) David Michod; among a list of 19 other productions.

Michod will team with one of Australia’s leading producers, Liz Watts, to make Animal Kingdom, the story of 17-year-old Joshua ‘J’ Cody who navigates his survival between an explosive criminal family and a cop who thinks he can save him.

Guy Pearce has committed to playing Leckie, the troubled cop. Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton and Jackie Weaver are also attached. Greig Fraser ACS will shoot the picture.

Michod rose to international prominence when his short film Crossbow was selected for the 2007 Venice Film Festival and the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film was applauded at both the Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals. It won the coveted Best Australian Short at MIFF as well as the AFI Award for Best Short Screenplay. Award-winning producer Liz Watts was named one of the ‘Top Ten Producers to Watch’ by Variety. Her credits include Little Fish, The Home Song Stories, Walking on Water, Jewboy and Martha’s New Coat.

The Screen Australia Board approved Letters of Intent for four feature films including Ray Lawrence’s adaptation of Jim Crace’s Being Dead, a poetic thriller that focuses on a married couple who are savagely murdered. These films will receive a Letter of Intent containing the terms and conditions of proposed Screen Australia funding. The Board makes a formal commitment to fund evaluation projects only when the producers have satisfied the terms and conditions set out in the Letter.

The Board also approved investment in Underbelly 2. This second series is once again based on true events and this time around focuses on the murderous drug syndicate headed by Terry (Mr Asia) Clark and Robert (Aussie Bob) Trimbole.

Numerous documentary projects were approved for investment including Kokoda, a two-hour documentary series that provides a new perspective on Australia’s second most important military campaign after Gallipoli. Kokoda is the first project commissioned under the second scheme of Screen Australia’s Making History Initiative.

For the full list of production approvals click here.