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Canberra filmmakers receive funding

Retrieved Press Article: Sally Pryor | Canberra Times | JANUARY 7 2014

From a shifty real estate agent to a zombie apocalypse, from a Hollywood action movie to a documentary about Australian missionaries in China, our local filmmakers have wide-ranging tastes.

Nine Canberra filmmakers have just received funding from the ACT Screen Arts Fund to take their projects to the next level, from a pool of $80,000.

Among them is producer Daniel Sanguineti, who is about to start shooting Me and My Mates vs the Zombie Apocalypse, a feature film about three phone sales reps hiding out in their office while the world outside is beset by the walking dead.

Mr Sanguineti has been working with a mentor, producer Brett Popplewell, in developing the film, and the $15,000 he has received from the fund will help cover his costs.

Mr Popplewell has a wide range of film and television credits, and is currently working with Hollywood director James Cameron on a 3D diving documentary.

“I applied for the arts funding because we felt we needed a good mentor to get us through the process,” Mr Sanguineti said.

“We've been working on the film for a while…and we decided we needed someone who was quite involved in the industry to just give us that overlook of the whole project, to give us advice. Brett came into our radar and got excited about the project, so we brought him onboard as a line producer and mentor for the project.”

The film begins a month-long shoot in Canberra this week, and Mr Popplewell will be on set to give advice and guidance.

“He's quite experienced, and the expertise that he's already brought to the project has helped us get to where we are now,” Mr Sanguineti said.

Another local filmmaker, Clare Young, has also received $15,000 to help in the development of a possible feature film about the riots at Parramatta Girls Home in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ms Young has worked with director Jane Campion on several projects, and last year released a documentary, From the Bottom of the Lake, about working on Campion's miniseries Top of the Lake.

“I wanted to stretch myself into new areas and wanted an opportunity to put some of the learning I had working for Jane into practice on my own project,” she said.

“At this stage it could be a feature or it could be a miniseries, which is what I'm leaning to at the moment, but that will come out of the research and this first phase.”

She said the funding will give her the space and resources to start delving into the project.

Communications manager at ScreenACT Victor Willis said the funding process was the best chance for local filmmakers to get further in developing projects.

The ACT office administers the fund, and advises an independent panel on which projects are worth pursuing.

“Basically our role is to advise people who are applying, so the applicants can contact us and we talk them through the application and how best to frame their project and to look at how best to frame themselves as the applicant,” he said.

“This is the best chance for a range of people, from those with no experience to professionals…to get funding for something you wouldn't otherwise have done before.”

Other recipients this year include Canberra Times film reviewer Simon Weaving, who received $8000 to spend eight weeks with a Hollywood director on the shoot of a new action thriller, and filmmaker Andrew Pike, who is developing a documentary about Australian missionaries in China in the early 20th century.



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