11 October 2013

Debut feature films from acclaimed Indigenous director/choreographer Stephen Page and a theatre director Rosemary Myer were announced last night at the opening of the Adelaide Film Festival.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill unveiled the two new film projects commissioned out of the second HIVE Fund. 

An initiative of the Adelaide Film Festival, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts, Screen Australia and ABC Arts, the HIVE Fund supports screen-based projects from Australian artists and filmmakers in a true convergence of arts and film practice. Both film projects will go into production in 2014 and will premiere at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival, and will also be seen on ABC Television.

Bangarra Dance Theatre director and choreographer Stephen Page, with producers Robert Connolly and John Harvey, will bring to the big screen an adaptation of his dance theatre piece, Spear.

Spear is a contemporary hybrid feature film where two Aboriginal clans from urban and remote communities live in an apocalyptic world and must decide who will be the new leader for the next 100 year cycle. Spear explores what this means to Indigenous men through dance, physical movement, spoken word, hip hop, traditional song and story.

The second HIVE project is Girl Asleep. Following Windmill Theatre’s critically acclaimed theatrical productions Fugitive and School Dance, Girl Asleep forms the third work in a unique trilogy of rites-of-passage stories by writer and director team Matthew Whittet and Rosemary Myers.

Chronically shy and privately falling apart, Greta Driscoll is frozen in the spotlight of her fifteenth birthday party when an uninvited guest arrives and steals her most treasured possession. Now she must step into the dark unknown to get it back. Produced by Jo Dyer, the film will be adapted from the stage production of Girl Asleep, which will premiere at the 2014 Adelaide Festival of Arts.

Mr Weatherill said that film was an important and celebrated medium in South Australia. “Film is a way that so many people choose to tell their stories- and telling stories is an important part of preserving our culture,” he said.

“By supporting these artists and these projects, the Adelaide Film Festival is also helping to maintain the strong South Australian tradition of innovation.”

The $800,000 HIVE Fund assists original and ambitious arts films with bold and imaginative cross-platform ideas and strategies.

Amanda Duthie, Adelaide Film Festival Director and CEO said: “This is a unique Australian initiative with the funding partners committed to exploring new production models for artists to contribute to our national screen culture.”

Head of ABC Arts, Katrina Sedgwick said: “HIVE invites our leading artists to create visionary works for the screen – and both Stephen Page and Rose Myers bring bold and unique approaches to their storytelling for the stage. It will be thrilling to see what results when these dynamic artists move their creative ideas into the feature film context.”

Screen Australia’s Chief Executive Ruth Harley said: “The HIVE Fund is supporting some of our country’s most exciting artists and filmmakers to collaborate in creating highly original and bold works for screen audiences. We’re thrilled to be working once again with our HIVE partners to support this wonderful initiative.”

Australia Council for the Arts Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said: “The Australia Council is delighted to partner in supporting this innovative opportunity for collaboration between artists doing screen-based work and film makers.”

The inaugural HIVE Fund supported three bold and original art film projects which all have their world premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival 2013; including Tender, a documentary from Director Lynette Wallworth (visual artist) and Producer Kath Shelper (Samson and Delilah); I Want To Dance Better At Parties, from Directors Gideon Obazarnek (ex Chunky Move Artistic Director) and Matthew Bate (Shut Up Little Man); and The Boy Castaways, a rock musical dramatic feature film from Director Michael Kantor (Ex Malthouse Theatre Artistic Director), Producer Jo Dyer (Lucky Miles and Ex Sydney Theatre Company EP), Producer Stephen Armstrong (Ex Malthouse EP).

The Boy Castaways will screen on ABC TV in 2014; with Tender and I Want To Dance Better At Parties screening in 2015.