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06 09 2017 - Media release

Rodd Rathjen’s feature debut Buoyancy from The Babadook producers



Screen Australia has today announced production investment funding for Rodd Rathjen’s debut feature Buoyancy from Causeway Films as well as completion funding for 1%, West of Sunshine, and Chasing Comets starring Home and Away alumni Dan Ewing and Isabel Lucas.

“We have supported emerging writer/director Rodd Rathjen through multiple stages of development for Buoyancy and are delighted to see him partner with the talented Causeway Films producing team for this deeply affecting story,” said Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia. “Rodd’s well-crafted script is an international story tackling the injustice of human slavery in South East Asia, and we have no doubt this film will engage, educate and move audiences both here and abroad.”

“We’d also like to congratulate the teams from West of Sunshine, Chasing Comets and 1% who independently financed their productions, with Screen Australia pleased to provide completion funds to get these impressive titles over the finish line.”

Buoyancy will be produced by Causeway Films trio Sam Jennings, Kristina Ceyton and Rita Walsh, whose credits include 2014 breakout horror film The Babadook, which premiered at Sundance to great critical acclaim, and upcoming feature Cargo, which will be the first Australian feature to be released under the Netflix Original banner.

Written and directed by Rodd Rathjen, Buoyancy is set deep in rural Cambodia and follows the story of an innocent boy who is enslaved on a fishing trawler and soon realises his only hope of freedom is to become as violent as his captors. Rathjen’s credits include the short film Tau Seru which premiered at Cannes International Film Festival as part of Critics Week and won Best Australian Short at Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), both in 2013.

Buoyancy has also received finance from Film Victoria, MIFF Premiere Fund, Aurora Media and post-production company Soundfirm. Umbrella Entertainment will distribute the film in Australia and New Zealand, with international sales to be handled by Charades and Echo Studio.

“Film Victoria is pleased to be supporting this unique and gripping feature film which presents terrific skills development opportunities for some of Victoria’s upcoming key creative talent, including writer/director Rodd Rathjen, producer Rita Walsh, director of photography Michael Latham and editor Graeme Pereira,” said Jenni Tosi, CEO of Film Victoria. “The project will also utilise the expertise of Soundfirm Victoria who remain at the forefront of post-production in Australia.”

The three feature films approved for completion funding are all debut projects from emerging filmmakers:

  • Stephen McCallum’s feature directorial debut 1%, a crime drama produced by Jamie Hilton and Michael Pontin from See Pictures with a script by Matt Nable, about the Vice President of an outlaw motorcycle gang who is forced to betray his President to save his brother, resulting in a civil war. The feature was one of five Australia films selected for TIFF this year, and will have its world premiere in the Discovery program.

  • Sports dramedy Chasing Comets, which will be both producer/writer and ex-NRL player Jason Stevens and director Jason Perini’s first feature film. Set in regional NSW, it stars Dan Ewing as Chase Daylight, a man who takes a leap of faith when his dreams of playing in the NRL, and his love life, fall by the wayside.

  • Writer/director/producer Jason Raftopoulos’ debut feature West of Sunshine – a drama about a father desperate to pay back a debt to a loan shark whilst looking after his young son. Also produced by Alexandros Ouzas, the feature was one of four Australian films selected for the 2017 Venice Film Festival where it is competing in the Orizzonti section and vying for the Lion of the Future award.

For more information about these projects, click here

Chasing Comets: Dan Ewing, Jason Stevens, Beck Stevens and Isabel Lucas

Chasing Comets: Dan Ewing, Jason Stevens, Beck Stevens and Isabel Lucas / Photo credit Jason Steven Productions

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