A supernatural thriller with a dash of comedy, starring the world’s shortest stuntman, has started production this week.
Ché Baker’s States of Mind centres on a meditation retreat in a haunted house, where a disparate group of people travel to take part in what they think is a competition, only to find that their reasons for being there may actually be more sinister.
Leading the cast in the role of the mysterious Professor Manchester is 4′2″ Kenyan-Indian actor and a stunt double, Kiran Shah, known for his work in franchises such as Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, Game of Thrones, and The Lord of the Rings, among others.
He will be joined by Clayton Jacobson, Vanessa Moltzen, Shalane Connors, Mayen Mehtah, Jack Martin, Barbara Hastings, and Nick Byrne in the film, which will shoot in the heritage-listed Camelot in Kirkham as well as in Canberra across the next three and a half weeks.
Baker will produce the privately-funded project with Sarah Mason via Full Point Films, while Ross Emery is on board as director of photography.
The writer/director, who made his directorial debut with 2017 martial arts sci-fi Blue World Order, said began work on States of Mind four years ago after visiting the Camelot location.
“I was inspired to write a film which invited exploration of the spaces, physical . . . and metaphysical,” he said.
“I learned a lot making Blue World Order, and I’ve applied those lessons to States of Mind.
He told IF the location and the cast were part of his writing process from the start, leading him to work backward to create a story in a contained setting that was driven by “innovation and the script” rather than a large budget.
“This was designed as low-hanging fruit in the sense I had a group of really talented actors and found a great location, so I wanted to create a project that would showcase their abilities,” he said.
“Australia’s got a whole bunch of really great actors who might not necessarily have had that break, or the opportunity to showcase themselves for whatever reason and I had a group of friends who fit that bill.”
Baker is in talks with distributors regarding a theatrical release for the film, which will claim the Producer Offset.
“The aim is for a Halloween release next year and then streamers after that,” he said.
“We’d certainly like to go quite broad; I think it’s a really universal story and mix of characters.”