Fitchett tackles The Fear of Darkness

Writer-director Chris Fitchett made his first two features, Blood Money and Desolation Angels, in quick succession.

He was offered a few roles after the second film but embarked on a successful career running film and TV bodies.

Now, 31 years after Desolation Angels, he is getting ready to write and direct his third feature, The Fear of Darkness, a supernatural thriller about a brilliant young psychiatrist who is forced to confront the dark creature that dwells deep within her unconscious when she investigates the disappearance of a female university student.

Produced by Mark Overett (Iron Sky, Separation City, Unfinished Sky) and supported by Screen Queensland’s low budget feature film initiative, the film is due to shoot on the Gold Coast in January.

Fitchett, who teaches film and TV at Bond University, is finalising the casting. Gary Hamilton’s Arclight will handle international sales and Greenlight Releasing is the Australian distributor.

Apart from SQ, funding is coming from the producer offset, Cutting Edge, Vic Kaspar’s Digital Sound and Vision and Arclight. Fitchett tells IF that he and Overett are investing a significant portion of their fees in the budget. Cutting Edge CEO Michael Burton and Greenlight's Michael Wrenn are serving as executive producers.

Fitchett got the idea for the film while studying and teaching psychology in the 1970s and started on the screenplay in 2005.

Blood Money (1980) was a drama about a dying criminal who takes his younger brother on one final job so his family will be financially secure, starring John Flaus, Chrissie James and Bryan Brown.

Desolation Angels was a horror-thriller about three girls who decide to escape their private school for a weekend and are attacked by a group of psychopaths.

“I was a bit over-confident after Blood Money and rushed into the second film without getting the script right,” he says. “Half of it was OK and the other half was not OK. After that I was offered a few films, some of which got made without me. “

Among his tenures he was project manager and deputy director of Film Victoria; CEO of the Commercial Television Production Fund, which invested $60 million in more than 20 projects; and CEO of the Australian Film Commission until it was merged into the Film Finance Corp.

“I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking,” he says. “With directing a lot of the work is in pre-production, visualisation and the casting.”