Goalpost lands international partners for refugee ship drama ‘Dark Victory’

Rosemary Blight.

Distributor All3Media International, New Zealand’s South Pacific Pictures and Norway’s Maipo Film have boarded Dark Victory, Goalpost Pictures’ political drama to be directed by Matthew Saville.

Goalpost Pictures’ Rosemary Blight and Saville pitched the project at Co-Pro Series 2020 at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Adapted by Saville from the book Dark Victory: How a Government Lied its Way to Political Triumph by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson, the five-hour drama will chronicle the story of the Howard government’s refusal in 2001 to allow Norwegian freighter Tampa to enter Christmas Island.

It will follow Captain Arne Rinnan, the master of the ship that rescued 438 Afghan refugees from their sinking boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The government’s refusal to give them safe passage sparked a political crisis.

All3Media International signed a first-look deal with Goalpost in 2018. The screen adaptation has been in development since at least 2013. Saville and Goalpost collaborated on Felony.

Blight said: “Dark Victory speaks to directly to the type of content we like to make: entertaining stories with something to say. It’s based on a bestselling book, is a global political thriller and to be filmed in Norway, Australia and on the high seas.”

Among the most prominent backers of Australian content, All3Media International represents the Miss Fisher franchise, Mystery Road, Playing for Keeps and Diary of an Uber Driver.

Headed by CEO Kelly Martin and MD Andrew Szusterman, the All3Media-owned South Pacific Pictures is NZ’s largest film and TV production company.

Maipo Film’s feature and TV credits include the Oscar-nominated Elling, Sundance winner Happy, Happy, Karlovy Vary winner The Art of Negative Thinking and winner of the Canneseries State of Happiness.