Ron Howard, Bill Connor added to Screen Forever line-up

Ron Howard and Bill Connor.

Director, actor, and producer Ron Howard is set to take part in Screen Producers Australia’s Screen Forever conference next month alongside producer and long-time collaborator Bill Connor.

The pair, who are on the Gold Coast filming survival thriller Eden, will phone in to an In Conversation session with Bazmark managing director Schuyler Weiss live from New York to discuss how their producing partnership came to be, Australia as a destination for international productions, ever-changing shifts in the global screen industry, and what they see on the horizon for Australian creatives and storytelling.

Howard’s career spans over 60 years, having got his start acting in The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, before moving into the director’s chair to helm titles such as A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Thirteen Lives, Parenthood, and Splash. He also founded Imagine Entertainment with long-time partner and collaborator Brian Grazer, which they continue to run together as executive chairmen.

Connor is a producer and first assistant director who has worked with Howard on more than 15 projects, including Hillbilly Elegy, Thirteen Lives, In The Heart of the Sea, Inferno, Angels and Demons, and Frost/Nixon. He was also an associate producer and first assistant director on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

Production on Eden began in November last year, with Jude Law, Ana de Armas, Vanessa Kirby, Daniel Brühl, and Sydney Sweeney leading the cast of the survival thriller about a group of people who, fuelled by a desire for change, turn their back on society and set their futures on the harsh landscape of the volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The project was lured to Australia via Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy and supported by the Federal Government’s Location Incentive.

Howard described Queensland as a “premiere international production location” that had “creatively adept crews, supportive filming community, and beautiful exterior locations”.

“After shooting Thirteen Lives in Queensland in 2022, I was incredibly impressed with our crew on the film, as well as with the support of the Australian film community as a whole,” he said.

“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to shoot Eden.

Connor said it had been exciting to witness the state grow into a “leading location for international productions”.

“From skilled and hard-working crews to quality facilities and stunning locations, it’s a compelling choice,” he said.

“And the strong support of screen agencies is the icing on the cake. It’s why we came back to shoot Eden and why we look forward to returning in the future.”

Screen Forever will be held on the Gold Coast from March 19 – 21, with financing opportunities available through the SPA Connect Market, to be held March 26-27. Find the full program here.