AUSTRALIAN SPRING – THE MOVIE

australianspringposter5555 copy AUSTRALIAN SPRING is the working title of a feature film  that will be produced by the screen and media students at SIFA (Sydney Institute Film Academy), Randwick TAFE.

The film is the outcome of an on-going script development programme, now into its second year, involving four writers writing four, stand-alone 20-25 minute short films, all of which are set over one, long Australia Day weekend. Currently in pre-production, it is the second feature to be developed and produced by the innovative Sydney Institute of Film Academy, the first being BLACKOUT, which is in the last stages of post.

The methodology behind the conception and making of AUSTRALIAN SPRING  has its origins in a project developed at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) by Amin Palangi and Stoneking in beginning in 2010. That project – entitled  SEEING THE ELEPHANT –  provided a practical and innovative approach to film studies that offered film students a way of creating a viable feature-length film without sacrificing the experiences derived from writing and producing short-form dramas.

The stories that comprise the content of the present film are self-contained, stand-alone dramas, each dealing with aspects of “growing up” – the search for self and how the quest to shape an identity is fraught with self-doubt, betrayal, guilt and the eternal disconnect that so often characterizes generational  differences and values.

Each of the stories was written separately by different writers whose only brief was to create a dramatic narrative set over one, long Australia Day weekend. The time span offered a natural 3-act structure for every story, and allowed the writers to shape the feature script more easily out of the 4 separate journeys.

In constructing the feature, the writers were tasked with the job of creating a coherent and emotionally meaningful narrative by intercutting the separate stories in ways that established a thematic cohesion between the various narratives. It was important to find a structure that allowed the action in each story to impact our “reading” of all the stories.  As a result, each of the stories in this multi-plot drama  resonates with and helps to illuminate the issues presented by all the stories.

One of the defining and more remarkable differences between a film like this and what is the usually the case in  “anthology” films in which one story sequentially follows the next (as is the case in films like Subway Stories, Paris, je t’aime, and Twilight Zone, The Movie)  is that by intercutting the stories with one another the writers are able to  alter the contexts in which each of the scenes was originally conceived, and through this re-contextualization are able to produce often startling and unusually compelling juxtapositions that serve to multiply the meaning of every scene and sequence of scenes.

The nature of the current project, as was the case with the SEEING THE ELEPHANT, has been and continues to be highly experimental, both at the short-script development stage, which includes working with both actors and camera, exploring choices of coverage, casting and POV, etc. , as well as in the feature scripting process and the production and post-production phases, the impetus of which is  to maximise the creative interactions among all of the storytellers – both cast and crew –  and to provoke a share ability of experience that is often lacking in more conventional production models. The executive producer/mentors of the project have encourage to employ ALL the story-finding tools at whatever stage of the process that they are relevant, including the re-shooting of re-written scenes based upon the director’s evolving understanding of a story’s coming-into-being.

The development of original soundtrack music, produced in the Randwick TAFE recording studio, as well as a “Making Of” documentary that will chronicle the process from conception to completion, are also part of the overall learning curve. Selected footage from some of the Scene workshops (which also serve as a thorough-going auditioning process) will be posted on this website for use by cast, crew, and others.

READ THE FEATURE SCRIPT BY CLICKING THE BANNER BELOW:

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LINKS : Headshots of participants

THE FOUR EPISODES/SCRIPTS THAT MAKE UP AUSTRALIAN SPRING (Click on poster to read script)

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SEEING THE ELEPHANT – WATCH IT HERE

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AUSTRALIAN SPRING – THE CONCEPT / WHERE IT ALL STARTED

The concept of making a number of short dramas that are thematically related or related through a place or an event, and intercutting the action of these different stories together so that they tell a much bigger story, had its genesis in an idea developed by Billy Marshall Stoneking and Amin Palangi in 2010 at Information and Cultural Exchange in Parramatta, NSW.

Watch the ‘Making of’ documentary chronicling the development of this radically different approach to screen education. A follow-up film, employing a similar methodology, entitled BLACKOUT, is currently in post-production, and another product using the same approach (AUSTRALIAN SPRING) is currently in pre-production.

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WRITER’S STATEMENT – “PRODUCT OF COLOMBIA” an original screenplay by Andrew Brittain

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[Editor’s note:  Product of Columbia is one of four film scripts / stories that comprise the multi-plot feature, AUSTRALIAN SPRING. This is the writer’s statement concerning the story]

A coming of age tale about an adopted ten-year-old, Peter, growing up on the edge of an Australian city. Based on my own childhood memories, the story explores the crucial and frequently troubled transitional period between childhood and puberty, when the child begins to discriminate more critically between what he has been told is case and what he suspects might really be the case. It is a time of questions and doubts, some of which appear to be irresolvable.

In a complex world where not everyone’s perceptions can be objectively validated, Peter is forced to come to terms with what is unknown and seemingly unanswerable, and in the process takes his first tentative steps into adulthood. Set over one, long Australia Day weekend, with his father away on a trip to relocate the family’s dog, Peter breeches his parents’ rules by wandering into the town rubbish tip where he discovers something horrible: a discarded hessian bag with a dumped animal tied inside, struggling to escape.

Afraid and confused, and lacking the courage to open the bag and release the creature,Peter cuts and runs without learning the bag’s awful secret. Returning home, he is unable to tell his mother, Marion, what he has stumbled upon for fear of getting in to trouble for disobeying her and his father rules. Caught in a trap created by his own wilfulness and deceit, his inner torment and guilt grow as he learns from a neighbour boy that Peter’s father was at the tip earlier that day, supposedly to dump some hard garbage before continuing on to take the dog to its new home, en route to a fishing trip with old mates. Peter’s circumstances as an adopted child accentuate the internal pressure cooker of guilt and paranoia, added to Peter’s own abandonment issues that slowly build to a breaking point as the weekend’s events unfold.

Suspecting his father of dumping the dog and lying about taking it to some friends up north, and unable to confront either of his parents with what he saw, Peter is set upon an emotional and physical journey to uncover the truth for himself, a journey that is rich in subtext. At stake is his innocence and the trust he has always had in his father and mother, Would they lie to him? The whole fabric of his universe as a child is in danger of unraveling, revealing an all too adult world of uncertainty, lies and terrible secrets. Peter’s story deliberately lacks a clear resolution, as its real power resides in the questions it provokes and the seemingly contradictory evidence it offers. What he ultimately comes to believe about the contents of the bag is anyone’s guess, and while we grapple to decide for ourselves what is really the case, we cannot escape the vivid realization that the life of an adult is not about embracing easy answers to easy questions but in meeting difficulties head on and working how effective and courageous ways of dealing with issues that very often have no clear-cut solutions. I hope you enjoy my original screenplay, and thank you for taking the time to read it.

Andrew Brittain   24/10/2014

LOCATION STILLS – BINALONG, NSW (Shoot starts early April 2016)

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AUSTRALIAN SPRING – CASTING CALL

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ACTORS WANTED FOR FEATURE FILM SHOOTING EARLY 2015

The producers and directors of AUSTRALIAN SPRING  have started casting the individual screen stories that comprise the feature film, Australian Spring.  Auditions will take place between now and January 2016. Those actors that are interested in becoming part of a revolutionary approach to dramatic screen storytelling may read about the project below.

If you are interested in auditioning for a role in this upcoming picture – to be shot in and around Sydney starting in February 2015 – please send a head-shot and contact details, along with your nominated favorite roles (in order of preference if possible) to the producers at:

stonekingseminars@hotmail.com

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