A group of filmmakers are planning to use the desert locations around Leigh Creek and Hawker in the north of South Australia to make a psychological thriller involving three American soldiers in present day Afghanistan.
The Fall will be the first feature film from director Nick Robertson, who studied film at UCLA and is admired for his work on car commercials and the acclaimed short The Runner, which was popular at festivals and featured Peter O'Brien and Lisa Hensley.
“It is a terrific project because it has an innovative screenplay that packs a punch and is compelling,” said Pope of The Fall. “It is unusual for an Australian film to have no Australian characters and be set in a foreign place but we've had a great response internationally.”
While it is anticipated that filming will occur this year, the painstaking job of securing the investment and contracting cast and crew is still underway. For this reason, Pope was reluctant to provide details of the actual story.
Pope is best known as a visual effects whiz and, while employed at Animal Logic at Fox Studios in Sydney, worked on various high-profile films including House of Flying Daggers, Hero and Moulin Rouge! He was a co-producer on the $50 million US family adventure Nim's Island, which was filmed in Queensland and starred Jodie Foster, but The Fall will be his first credit as a producer on a feature film. He moved from Sydney to Brisbane for the production of Nim's Island and the children's television series Animalia in 2006 and, with a young family to raise, decided not to return to busy Sydney.
Pope regularly meets with a small group of Queensland writers to throw around film ideas. Others in this group introduced him to Evan Randall Green, the scriptwriter of The Fall.
The South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Queensland have both approved investment in The Fall; post-production will occur in Queensland. (As an aside, Green was once employed as a data clerk at Screen Queensland.)
The Fall will be the first collaboration between Pope and Michael Robertson although the pair are developing several projects together. Nick Robertson is attached to others too, including A Murder of Crows, set in an isolated Australian goldfield during the 1890s.