Writer-director finds his Killing Ground

Nine years ago writer-director Damien Power suddenly had a mental image of an orange family-sized tent that had been abandoned in the bush.

He wondered what may have happened to the occupants of the tent, which gave him the kernel of an idea for a survival thriller.

After Power met producer Joe Weatherstone at an AFC IndiVision low budget filmmaking lab, the two began developing Killing Ground.

Lisa Shaunessy came on board as executive producer, Screen Australia agreed to invest in the project at its last board meeting and shooting is due to start in NSW in October.

The plot follows a young couple, Ian and Samantha, who go camping in a national park where they find an SUV and a tent, with no sign of the occupants.

As night falls and the campers fail to return, Ian and Sam grow increasingly uneasy. Things go from bad to worse when they discover a distressed child wandering in the woods. Casting will start soon.

Power tells IF, “The film starts out as a mystery/suspense then ramps up into a survival thriller. It’s slightly unorthodox because it has a non-linear structure, with flashbacks and a parallel narrative.”

Mushroom Distribution will release the thriller in Australia and German-based Films Distribution will handle international sales.

Power met the German execs at the Busan International Film Festival in 2011 where his short Peekaboo had its international premiere.

Born in Tasmania, the arts/law degree graduate moved to Sydney to work at the Classification Board at the Office of Film and Literature Classification. He soon started writing and directing shorts and did an MA in directing at AFTRS.

The filmmaker is acutely aware of how challenging it can be for Australian films to connect with local audiences. His seemingly simple solution: “Convince people to see your film in cinemas; make it a theatrical experience.”

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