A new Australian low budget sci-fi drama is currently shooting in Canberra. Adapted from an 8-minute short film, Blue World Order is set in a post-nuclear world where a father (Jake Ryan, Wentworth) searches for his estranged daughter in a crumbling civilisation where thought-controlling technology exists.
The movie comes from local debut writer-director-producers Ché Baker and Dallas Bland, who were able to attract a cast of veteran actors, including Bruce Spence (Mad Max), Jack Thompson (Breaker Morant), and Stephen Hunter, who played dwarf Bombur in The Hobbit trilogy.
The Hobbit connection is significant, given that Baker worked as an on set colourist for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, collaborating closely with the film's Oscar-winning cinematographer, Andrew Lesnie, an advisor on Blue World Order.
“I have a very close personal relationship with Andrew and he’s been incredibly supportive of the project,” says Baker. “He’s been talking to our DOP Robb Shaw-Velzen and given him advice and some specifics on how best to light and create the world that we’re doing.”
“I'm glad to have been of help to both Ché Baker and Robb Shaw-Velzen ACS,” says Lesnie. “They asked my opinion, for what it's worth, about some challenges when planning and shooting the film and I'm happy to think I’ve made some contribution to the project. Not that they need it. Their energy is infectious!”
The directors turned to real-life advancements in medical engineering to give weight to what happens to the population in Blue World Order.
"There are medical developments where people are able to do treatments like brain stimulation, which helps to control their tremors and Parkinson's Disease," explains Baker. "We went a step further to consider whether that technology could be used to prevent people from committing acts of violence."
"It's what adds to the internal conflict of the characters," says Bland. "Even though they have these difficult limitations mentally and emotionally, they're still there so they feel in complete defence of everything that is happening to them and that creates that internal struggle within the characters, which is ultimately what the story is about."
With an international sales agent and domestic distribution already secured, the filmmakers are also keen not to suffer the same fate as other local sci-fi dramas that have fallen by the wayside.
“I think we have some really talented people in Australia and we make some world class films, but the reality is that we’re competing against massive budget American films,” admits Baker. “We’ve got a really universal story here. It’s not something that hinges on Australian culture. The idea that this film is made in Australia is purely coincidental – it doesn’t have to be an Australian film. We thought we’d make it a universal story, a strong genre thing. It’s a very saleable product internationally. We just worked really hard to make it universally appealing.”
Blue World Order will be released in early 2016. Pictured below: directors Ché Baker and Dallas Bland.