Myles Pollard, Travis Jeffery to lead Adam Morris’ ‘Frederickstown’ as writer/director announces film co-op

WA writer/director Adam Morris has made a long-term commitment to film production in his hometown of Albany, announcing the formation of the Great Southern Film Co-Operative (GSFC) to produce one film annually in the area across the next decade.

Designed to operate independently from government funding, the GSFC incorporates a mix of sponsors, investors, and patrons, whose contributions will not only support film production in the area, but also community screenings, skills development for local filmmakers, and the promotion of local facilities and talent.

The businesses involved range from post-production facility The Backlot to Bendigo Bank and The Hilton Hotel.

Morris told IF the co-op was borne out of the grassroots community contributions he received during the production of his sophomore feature Frank and Frank, which followed his 2021 debut, Edward and Isabella.

“Edward and Isabella cost $15,000 and that was my own money,” he said.

“When I wrote Frank and Frank and sent it to [Halo Films managing director] Ian Hale, he said we should get Myles Pollard and Trevor Jamieson, and you can’t get them for $15,000. I’d been living in Albany for about 10 years so I just went out to the community that I either worked with as a musician or had some interaction with, and we ended up raising about $70,000 in about three weeks, which covered the basic costs of the film. It was a very natural thing.”

Pollard is returning for Morris’ third feature Frederickstown, which will film in Albany from February 26 to March 22 on a budget of about $300,000.

He will star alongside Travis Jeffery as brothers Jimmy and Harry in the film, which follows in the tradition of the Coen brothers’ Fargo and Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

The cast and crew of ‘Frederickstown’.

The story picks up with the pair trying desperately to keep their lawn-rolling business afloat, leading them to secretly take out a business loan using their mother’s home as equity. When the loan is called in, they are faced with the prospect of coming up with $90,000 before the end of the month, leading them to hatch a scheme with their slightly deranged older brother Freddy (Peter Rowsthorn). The cast also includes Jamieson as Priest and Bailey Spalding as Detective Pat.

Morris created the story with partner and editor Talarah Pedrocchi Roelofs, and will executive produce with Hale, who also serves as producer alongside Suzanne Worner.

The creative team includes cinematographer Shane Van Litsenborgh, sound designer Kim Lofts, set dresser Atticus Morris, and production assistant Finn Morris. Contributing to the soundtrack are Drapht, Jae Laffer (The Panics), Nick Sheppard (The Clash), and Sabaton. Halo Films will handle distribution.

Morris said he was particularly excited about the prospect of seeing Rowsthorn as freelance enforcer Freddy.

“We’ve got Peter Rowsthorn basically playing a serial killer,” he said.

“He’s going to be playing it straight and not for comedy. That itself is really interesting to me and I just can’t wait to see him in action.”

Following Frederickstown, Morris has plans to begin filming his next feature before the end of the year.

Titled Low Lie the Fields, the “acoustic musical about grief” will star Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom.

Speaking about his output, he said there were multiple reasons for the ‘one film per year’ goal.

“One of my film heroes is Woody Allen and that’s his method of working,” he said.

“I started as and still am an author, so writing is not a daunting task for me. If I’m not writing, I feel like I’m not exercising; there’s just something not right about it.”

“The other thing is we are still in the process of learning how to make films and we can only get better at it if we are doing it — that’s really important.”