Craig Monahan's third feature film Healing continues the director's ongoing collaboration with veteran actor Hugo Weaving, following 1998's Best Picture AFI winning crime drama The Interview and 2004's coming-of-age teenage drama Peaches.
Healing appears to recall John Frankenheimer's 1962 classic Birdman of Alcatraz in its tale of an inmate who acquires redemption by caring for birds.
Don Hany (Underbelly, Offspring) plays Viktor Khadem, the real-life criminal who was sentenced to the unthreatening environment of a low-security prison farm, with the hope that he'd become reformed for the remaining 18 months of his 16-year sentence. Weaving plays Matt Perry, the case worker who believes in the unique program of rehabilitating broken men by giving them the responsibility of healing injured birds like eagles, falcons and owls. He introduces Viktor to an eagle with a two-metre wingspan, and the film explores the notion of whether the two creatures tame each other.
Monahan, who co-produced with Tait Brady (The 25th Reich) and co-wrote the story with Alison Nisselle, has a recognisable ensemble Aussie cast in supporting roles, including Xavier Samuel (A Few Best Men), Robert Taylor (The Hard Word, Rogue), Laura Brent (Not Suitable for Children), Jane Menalaus (The Dish, The Eye of the Storm) and Tony Martin (The Interview, Candy) amongst others. Academy Award winning Andrew Lesnie (Bran Nue Dae, The Hobbit) is the director-of-photography.
Healing, which received funding from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Deluxe and ABC TV, is now in post-production following its location shoot in Melbourne and regional Victoria including Healesville Sanctuary. It has been produced through the filmmaker's own Point Blank Pictures and will be distributed in Australia by Pinnacle Films for an early 2014 release. International sales are being handled by Lightning Entertainment.