Early next year, Victorian producer Sarah Freeman will begin a six-month placement in LA working with LuckyChap Entertainment, the production company founded by Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley and Josey McNamara.
Supported by Film Victoria, the placement will see Freeman work with the LuckyChap team to develop and package films, strategise potential co-production and financing opportunities, write script coverage and draft pitch documents, and gain insights into the general operations of Hollywood.
LuckyChap has followed on from its I, Tonya success with indie Dreamland, which stars Robbie and Travis Fimmel, and is currently in pre-production on Birds of Prey (and The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) with Warner Bros, Kroll & Co. Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures.
The company has a first look production deal with WB, and has several projects in development including an adaptation of novel Bad Monkeys, written Jessica Knoll and co-produced with Universal/Dylan Clark Productions, as well as Robin Hood film Marian, which stars Robbie and is being produced in collaboration with Donald De Line and Amy Pascal.
In late 2017, LuckyChap also launched a TV division and is currently in production on Dollface, starring Kat Dennings with Hulu, ABC Signature Studios and Clubhouse Pictures.
In Australia, its working with Hoodlum, the ABC and ABC Studios International to create a 10-part television series based on modern versions of the works of Shakespeare, told from female perspectives and to be led by an all-female creative team.
A Swinburne Film and Television School grad, Freeman began her career in commercials, before working as a producer assistant to Matchbox Pictures’ co-founder Tony Ayres. With support from Screen Australia’s Gender Matters program, she was a producer attachment on the first season of Matchbox’s Mustangs FC, and in the second season stepped up to be an associate producer. Most recently, as part of Screen Australia and the ABC’s Fresh Blood Pilot season, she produced half hour comedy Why Are You Like This?
LuckyChap Entertainment said: “We are incredibly excited to be taking part in Film Victoria’s Placement Program and we are so grateful to [CEO] Caroline Pitcher and the whole team for delivering on this opportunity. As a company with a strong Australian heritage it is important to us that we support emerging talent and provide a platform to build on, both at home and abroad. In Sarah, we believe we have found someone who shares the company’s ethos of championing strong female voices and creating stories that challenge the status quo. With her drive and personality, Sarah will be a welcome addition to the family unit we already have in place, and it is exciting to think of this as a stepping stone for future business.”
The placement, Freeman tells IF, is the perfect next step in her career – her hope is to eventually creatively produce content for the global market. She keen to get more experience in feature film, build connections, and observe how the US system works from development through to distribution.
“It’s an opportunity that ticks all the boxes: it’s female-driven content, it’s people making exciting projects, it’s the opportunity to learn overseas. It’s everything I could hope for.”
The LuckyChap placement is just one of 16 domestic and international placements Film Victoria has facilitated in the past six months. The state agency teed up the placement when the company was visiting Australia earlier this year. Twelve producers applied, with eight then shortlisted by Film Victoria for consideration by LuckyChap, and the company then whittled down a candidate via a series of interviews.
Film Victoria CEO Caroline Pitcher tells IF: “What we aim to do is help our emerging and mid-career practitioners get as much global experience and connection as they can, and to bring that back to Australia. We understand that Victoria and Australia have a role to play in producing great quality production film and television for the world.”
The state agency also recently supported games marketer Meghan Betteridge to undertake a placement with Yodo1 in Beijing (she’s now working for the company in Melbourne), as well as a directors placement for Tez Vi Truong on Chinese-Australian co-production The Whistleblower.