24 May 2022
Lily Sullivan, images supplied

The hills are alive with the sound of… science fiction?

This week sees production commence for the high-concept, sci-fi thriller Monolith, the first feature to be made through the ‘Film Lab: New Voices’ program. Filming is set to take place in the Adelaide Hills, and will receive its’ world premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival this October. Australian rising star Lily Sullivan (Mental, Picnic at Hanging Rock, I Met A Girl) stars in the thrilling one-hander as a headstrong journalist whose click-baiting investigative podcast uncovers a strange artifact, an alien conspiracy, and the lies at the heart of her own story.

The news comes just days after the release of an exclusive first look at AFF-funded horror film Talk To Me, the debut feature by Youtube stars RackaRacka.

AFF CEO/ Creative Director Matt Kesting said that  “The Adelaide Film Festival is the home of courageous storytelling and Film Lab: New Voices is emblematic of both that and the Festival’s commitment to supporting bold new filmmaking. We cannot wait to unveil Monolith at the Adelaide Film Festival in October and showcase the remarkable talents of director Matt Vesely, writer Lucy Campbell and producer Bettina Hamilton at the film’s Festival premiere. Central to the Adelaide Film Festival program is the enhancement of culture through investment in and providing platform for Australian stories such as Monolith.”

The creative team of writer Lucy Campbell, director Matt Vesely and producer Bettina Hamilton received funding from the Adelaide Film Festival and South Australian Film Corporation through the Film Lab development program, a low-budget feature film skills development initiative designed to provide a platform for the next generation of South Australian filmmaking talent. The program, which now has a second round underway, also received in-kind support from Mercury CX and financial assistance from Screen Australia.

Director Matt Vesely said: “The opportunity to make striking science fiction is one I’ve worked towards my entire life. I’m so grateful for this opportunity from the SAFC and the Adelaide Film Festival, and am stoked with the team we’ve put together. There’s a real feeling of ownership from the entire cast and crew, and that’s a really supportive place to make a first feature.

Bonsai Films has also come on board as Australian and New Zealand distributor, with Bonsai Films director Jonathan Page saying: “Monolith is one of the most original scripts I’ve read in ages and I think has the potential to blow people away. I am really excited to see the film on screen, and of course to bring it to audiences.”

Producer Bettina Hamilton said: “The fact we have had such strong market interest already is testament to the strength of the screenplay Lucy Campbell delivered in the Film Lab program and we now hope we do it justice as we head into production. The timeline for Film Lab has always been challenging, but the momentum it provides to keep pushing forward is incredibly motivating and focus-inducing. We thank Bonsai Films for their support of the project – they have recognised from the start what we are trying to achieve and have been thoroughly supportive of our bold approach to genre filmmaking – we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”