Australia — A feature film about teenagers growing up in the suburbs of Canberra, with the 2003 bushfires as the backdrop to an intense summer, will be made in the national capital.
The film, Galore, was written by former Canberran Rhys Graham, with industry heavyweights including Andrew Bovell, who wrote the hit Australian film Lantana, providing input to the script.
The five-week shoot is expected to take place during the 2009-10 summer, with the focus to be on locations in Weston Creek and Tuggeranong.
The film is being produced by Philippa Campey from Melbourne company Film Camp, which is in the process of securing finance.
Galore will also be pitched to local distributors and overseas buyers at a Screen Producers Association of Australia conference in Queensland this week.
Campey believed Galore would have appeal beyond domestic audiences.
”The particularities of the setting in Canberra, I think, is interesting and beautifully unusual for an overseas audience. But then again the storyline itself and the teenagers living in suburbia is quite universal,” she said.
Now living in Melbourne, Graham 34, a former Phillip College student who grew up in Fisher and Kambah, said the 2003 bushfires were a dramatic backstory to the film, which was more about the coming of age of four teenagers.
The name of the film was a nod to teenage slang for something ”immense, too big for words”.
Graham’s family was living in Kambah at the time of the fires and in the days after the disaster he made a 16mm docudrama called Firestorm about teenagers affected by the event.
”The fires came to my family’s back fence but a lot of houses around them and a lot of our old family friends’ houses had been lost and it was amazing to just go and walk through houses we had grown up in and to see no trace of them at all,” he said. ”Like everyone, it was pretty overwhelming when the places you know so well get so transformed.”
The flames would not be re-created in Galore, but rather their sense of impending change.
”The bushfires are really a story-telling device. All the events happen in the weeks leading up to the bushfires.
”The catastrophic impact they have and their unpredictability very much reflects what happens to the characters when unexpected events cause them to really question their lives and relationships.”
Graham was interested in capturing the juxtaposition of bushland and suburbs in Canberra on film, especially around Cooleman Ridge, as well as the Murrumbidgee corridor.
”It’s partly because it’s an area I know incredibly well and it’s partly because it’s a stunningly beautiful area.
Graham was surprised more films had not been made in Canberra. ”The hope is there will be more in the future.”