As a film and TV Producer tell us a little bit about what you do.

My work is varied – the fun parts are finding great projects, reading great books and trying to option them, developing stories with writers and directors, casting incredible actors in a project.  But it also involves raising millions of dollars per project, marketing the film throughout its life to financiers, distributors, other creatives, crew, funding bodies.  And then there’s the legals and accounting…. (yawn)…although I do LOVE both my lawyer and accountant!


What have you got cooking at the moment?

We just premiered our latest film, climate change sci-fi, 2067, as the Opening Night Film at Adelaide Film Festival, following its release in cinemas and on demand in the US. 

My business partner, Alex Burke runs our distribution arm and she is also releasing a fan favourite, Ellie and Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt), a high school, lesbian rom-com, starring Marta Dusseldorp, Rachel House and Zoe Terakes in November. Ellie and Abbie was the first Australian film to open the Mardi Gras Film Festival in 30 years, right before COVID hit this year, so we’re particularly proud of this great film by Monica Zanetti and getting it out to Australian audiences who we know will love it. 

Our next film, a horror-comedy, called SISSY, by co-writers and directors, Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes, is just about to go into production in November also and we have a slate of around 15 projects we are developing, both films and TV.


That’s amazing that your film 2067 got selected to open the Adelaide Film Festival. Congratulations! Tell us about it.

 Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund was an investor in 2067, so we’re super chuffed to have been selected as the Opening Night Film.  It’s the dream of every filmmaker to premiere their film at a festival and with most of the festivals shutting down this year or going online, it was starting to look like a terrible year to release a movie! This makes the invite to Adelaide Film Festival all the more sweet and to top it off we get to share it with our cast and crew, as we filmed most of the movie in Adelaide.


Is there something that draws you to Produce sci-fi films or was there something else that attracted you to this project?

I’ve always loved genre films as a space to explore bigger themes in ways that can’t be done in a straight drama. With this genre you can explore the big questions of life and the questions that plague our existence as humans, and those are the movies that have always had the most impact on me in my own viewing. 2067, is a special project though. I developed it with my writer/director husband, Seth Larney, over almost 15 years and it’s essentially our Opus! The themes it covers about family relationships and redemption and how much control we have over own destiny and our impact on the environment, are all very close to both of our hearts. It started off as pure fiction, but sadly, over 15 years, our film is barely fiction anymore so it feels even more pertinent than ever. We’re glad to be sending it out to audiences now. Our next film is a smart look at comparison anxiety in Millennials and how damaging social media can be, so we always try to make films that have something to say about the world we live in today.


What is exciting you most about your practice right now?   

What’s most exciting about what we can do now, that the market and financing literally made difficult before, is we can make much more interesting stories, grounded in and reflecting the world we actually live in. Being able to collaborate with incredible storytellers from every walk of life is literally my favourite part of every day. I’m just thrilled that everyone is getting to have a voice now… about bloody time.


Have you always been in the film industry?

I started in film in the late nineties, so I did have a career as a flight attendant prior to that, which was such fun way to spend my 20s. But I’m pulling up to 20+ years now in the industry. I’m so happy to be able to do this job.  It truly fulfills me.


You are a very busy lady, and obviously, as a Producer, you are super organised! What's your strategy for getting shit done?

It can be overwhelmingly busy sometimes, with lots of projects and moving parts on the juggle. I think you need to be able to multi-task a bit, but in all honesty, a good project management system, planning and prioritising make all the difference. Taking the time out to plan what needs to be done and in what order keeps the panic at bay!


How are you going navigating film-making these days with Covid?

We’re about to launch into our first production with the industry mandated COVID-19 working guidelines in place. It will be a different workplace, that’s for sure! It’s costly, time consuming and I think a little alienating for an environment where you work in short sharp bursts with your cast and crew, and one of the joys is the sense of family you create on each movie. Maybe that will be even stronger since we will all have to do it together, but I’ll report back!


What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started?

I think I wish I had known that eventually, everything will seem more doable, I’d have more confidence and that as you build a body of work behind you, your opportunities open right up.  But if I hadn’t been terrified that none of those things would happen in my future, I probably wouldn’t have worked so hard to get here!


If you could speak to emerging female independent film producers, what advice would you give?

We need to be bold as women. Unfortunately, there isn’t a balance of opportunity and an equal path for growth between the genders, so we have to work harder and fight a bit tougher to get there. But it’s worth it in end, because one day it will balance out and our daughters (and sons) in the future will have better lives.

Putting your neck out, standing up for your rights and knowing what those rights are, are really the critical factors, otherwise the risk is we’ll be overlooked or walked all over. They’re not my favourite comments in this interview, but I’ve definitely found them to be true.  Be bold, love what you do and know you have a right to be there.


What is one thing you now believe about the world that you didn’t before Covid?

I think pre-COVID, I thought we were on a road to nowhere as a species. Now I feel the bottom is nearer, which also means the upward swing is also near. Can there be a perfect political system, a perfect society, perfect human beings who operate ethically and with kindness?  Of course not, but I do think we can all do better and I think COVID, US politics and the deep upheaval of so many oppressed peoples during this time, has forced us to take a long hard look at ourselves and get out schmozzles together. 


Who are you missing the most right now?

I miss travel! Although feeling very lucky that as I write this, I am mid-air. I find myself watching travel shows much more now and marveling at this beautiful world. Perhaps some rest from human trampling will make it even more so.

Connect with THIS IS ARCADIA here