/News 27.03.23


South Australian screen projects have been making headlines with recent releases gaining traction. From horror to children’s series, they have captured the attention of audiences and critics worldwide.

The SAFC-supported projects include the horror feature, Talk to Me, set for a wide US release after winning fans at the Sundance Film Festival and screenings at Berlinale and SXSW. Children’s series, Beep and Mort from Adelaide’s Windmill Pictures has been acquired by Sky and will air on the recently launched Sky Kids channel. South Australian sci-fi thriller Monolith has received rave reviews at its international premiere at SXSW, and The Survival of Kindness has won numerous awards and has been picked up for international distribution. These successful productions showcase the strength and diversity of the South Australian film industry and the support provided by the SAFC.

South Australian-made horror, Talk to Me to get wide US release

South Australian feature film Talk to Me will be released in cinemas across the US on 28 July, A24 has announced, following its wildly successful International Premiere at Sundance Film Festival, and screenings at the Berlinale and SXSW.

The horror feature debut from Adelaide filmmaking twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, well known for their YouTube channel RackaRacka, was a smash hit in Sundance’s Midnighters program, reportedly winning fans including Steven Spielberg and Jordan Peele.

Filmed in Adelaide, and supported by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival, Talk To Me follows a group of friends who discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand and become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces.

Bankside Films has sold all worldwide territories, with deals sealed with Gaga (Japan), Neo (Greece), Sun Distribution (Spain, Portugal and Latin America), PVR (India), Prima Cinema (Indonesia), GSC Movies (Malaysia), 888 Films International (the Philippines), The Shaw Organisation (Singapore), Vertigo (Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), Independenta (Romania), Lev Cinemas (Israel), Empire (South Africa), BirFilm (Turkey), BTV Media Group (Bulgaria) and Penny Black Media (airlines).

Talk To Me had previously sold to A24 (North America), Altitude (UK-Ireland), and Front Row (Middle East), as well as GP Cinema (Baltic states), Premiere Distribution (Benelux), MCF (Former Yugoslavia), Capelight (Germany and Austria), Koch (Italy), The Coup Corp (South Korea), M2 (Poland), Scanbox (Scandinavia), Praesens (Switzerland), A Really Good Film Company (Taiwan and Hong Kong), Creative Motion (Thailand) and Noori Pictures (Vietnam).

International critics have raved about Talk to Me with Variety calling it an “entertaining Aussie horror” that’s “a cut above the average”, Bloody Disgusting describing it as “an intense, nightmarish horror movie that’ll leave you breathless” and The Curb lauding it as “a new benchmark for horror films”.

Talk to Me is produced by Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton of Causeway Films. It follows previous SAFC supported Causeway films The Nightingale (2019), Cargo (2017), and The Babadook (2014).

South Australian-made children’s series Beep and Mort heads to the UK

Hit South Australian-made children’s series Beep and Mort is set to charm young audiences across the UK after being acquired by Sky.

Under a deal negotiated by ABC commercial, the puppet-based ABC TV series from Adelaide’s Windmill Pictures will be one of the first programs to air on the recently launched Sky Kids channel aimed at preschoolers, and will also be available to watch on demand for Sky Kids customers.

A hit with both audiences and critics when it premiered in 2022, Beep and Mort tells the story of Beep, a robot from the stars, and Mort, a cuddly creature from Mollyvale, solving their daily dilemmas and unexpected challenges through invention, play, and adventure.

Created, produced and post-produced entirely in South Australia, with the support of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), the series is directed by South Australian director Rosemary Myers (Girl Asleep), produced by South Australian producer Kaye Weeks, and features production design by AACTA award-winning South Australian designer Jonathon Oxlade (Girl Asleep), with an award-winning team featuring South Australian writer Simon Butters (H20: Just Add Water).

The second season of Beep and Mort is currently underway at the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios, the first production to come out of the newly announced SAFC ABC Content Pipeline Fund. The screen production partnership is designed to strengthen the South Australian screen industry by enabling a consistent pipeline of production to deliver high-quality content to ABC TV and ABC iview.

South Australian sci-fi Monolith a hit at SXSW

South Australian sci-fi thriller Monolith is scoring rave reviews from its international premiere at SXSW, where it screened as part of the Midnights program.

Watch the trailer:

From first time South Australian feature filmmakers director Matt Vesely, writer Lucy Campbell and producer Bettina Hamilton, Monolith was touted as one of the “buzziest” films at the festival by Variety, and declared “among the best of this year’s SXSW” by Screen Anarchy, which called it “an intelligent, exquisitely mounted creeping nightmare of a film”.

The South Australian filmmakers have been widely praised, with Screen Anarchy labelling director Vesely and writer Campbell “ones to watch’, and Nightmarish Conjurings calling Monolith “chilling, mysterious, and thought-provoking” and a “strong feature debut from both Vesely and Campbell”.

Filmed over a three-week period in one location in South Australia’s beautiful Adelaide Hills, Monolith follows a disgraced journalist (Lily Sullivan) as she tries to salvage her career by turning to investigative podcasting. While trying to get to bottom of a strange artefact that may be linked to an alien conspiracy, she begins to uncover the lies at the heart of her own story.

Monolith was developed and produced through the FilmLab: New Voices program, an initiative run by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Adelaide Film Festival, and financed with the assistance of Screen Australia, which is designed to develop and elevate first-time South Australian feature filmmakers. It had its world premiere at AFF 2022.

The Film Lab: New Voices program is now in its second year, with a new low-budget feature film set to be selected soon to go into production for premiering at AFF 2024.

XYZ Films is representing Monolith for North America, with Bonsai Films handling Australian distribution. Blue Finch Films have boarded the film for international sales.

Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness wins at Berlinale

South Australian-made feature The Survival of Kindness has taken out one of the top awards at the prestigious Berlinale – Berlin Film Festival.

Nominated for the esteemed Golden Bear, Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness, starring SA’s Mwajemi Hussein and produced by De Heer and South Australian producer Julie Byrne of Triptych Pictures, won the top FIPRESCI Jury Prize, awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics for the best film in Competition.

De Heer’s dystopian fable was touted as a “masterpiece” by critics at the festival who praised it as a powerful allegory for racism, with Variety applauding the film’s allegorical form as “a parable for resisting injustice”, and The Guardian lauding star Hussein’s performance as one of the festival’s best.

Watch the trailer:

Filmed in South Australia’s stunning Flinders Ranges and in Tasmania, the film was supported by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and by the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

From salt lakes to moonscapes and dense green forests to rugged desert ranges, a sophisticated CBD and spectacular heritage buildings, dramatic coastlines and beaches galore, it’s all on the doorstep of South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide. Find out more about the Flinders Ranges and other South Australian filming locations at safilm.com.au/locations