Wolf Creek creator Greg Mclean and international sales agent Michael Favelle are teaming up to co-produce Territorial, a hybrid Western/horror/thriller/action film from writer-director Matthew Holmes.
It will be the first venture from Odin's Eye Productions, a newly-formed offshoot of Favelle's Odin's Eye Entertainment, in partnership with Mclean's Wolf Creek Pictures and Holmes' Two Tone Pictures. The plan is to shoot in Victoria in September.
Favelle is in Berlin shopping the script by Holmes and Alex James to potential buyers at the European Film Market. He aims to produce two-three films per year, primarily co-productions, which Odin's Eye Entertainment will sell worldwide.
The project received development funding from Film Victoria. Set in outback Victoria in 1858, the narrative follows gold prospector Jim Houlden, who is arrested for horse-stealing and sent to Melbourne with outlaw Charlie Burke. En route the coach capsizes and they and two other convicts escape, pursued by cops and an Aboriginal tracker, the escapees take a landowner's daughter as a hostage and cross the border into NSW via a valley rumoured to be the dwelling place of 'Great Evil'.
Holmes (pictured) founded Two Tone Pictures in 2005. He directed the comedy short film The Biscuit Effect and a spin-off web series Crooked before making his feature debut with Twin Rivers, which he self-financed and produced over six years. The saga of two brothers (played by Matthew and his brother Darren) who set off on foot on a 800 km trek across South-Eastern Australia in 1939, it screened at several festivals, was released on DVD and aired on Foxtel's Ovation Channel.
Holmes also is developing Ben Hall, an epic adventure about the legendary Australian outlaw, with Patrick Hughes and Harvey Russell of Los Angeles-based Hughes Capital Entertainment.
Favelle got to know Mclean when he worked for Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films, which handled the international sales of Wolf Creek. “We share a passion for the same kinds of films so it's great to be working with someone who has such a tremendous grasp of genre,” Favelle tells SBS Film from Berlin.
Explaining his venture into production, Favelle says, “It's been a long time coming. It's always been an ambition to enter the production sphere. We have been in development on a project called The Dreaming for a while; however, Territorial will be our first.
Pre-selling Australian films is never easy but Favelle says, “We have an exceptionally strong pitch presentation.” He's not ready to discuss casting and says discussions are underway with Australian distributors.
Mclean, who is shooting Wolf Creek 2 in South Australia, says, “Similar to Red Hill and Crawlspace, Territorial is highly original cinema that will give full reign to Matthew's creative skills as a prodigiously talented filmmaker and storyteller.”
The director of photography is Jules O'Loughlin, whose credits include Wish You Were Here, Sanctum, Kokoda and Lucky Country.
The Dreaming is a 3D live action film based on Queenie Chan's manga graphic novels about creepy goings-on at an all-girls boarding school in the bush. Kate Woods (Looking for Alibrandi) is set to direct and it will be a co-production with the Los Angeles and Japanese-based Tokyopop.