The Australian film industry has gone from strength to strength over the last decade. This is due to the abundance of homegrown talent – both in front and behind the camera. The film industry plays a crucial role in fostering Australia’s cultural identity. It offers a powerful medium for our stories to be told, and a significant contribution to jobs and the local economy. For these reasons and many others make supporting our local film industry is important.
The Western Australia Film and Television Industry Leading the Way
Over the past 12 -18 months Western Australia has experienced a boom in television and film productions. ReadyFundGo has had the privilege of showcasing several exceptional projects. Check out their campaign pages below:
With an incredible array of works coming from WA, we thought we would put the spotlight on another fabulous upcoming featurette from WA. Its creators have launched a campaign to enable production. We talk to the film’s co-creator, Emilie Lowe. She shares with us how she got her start in the film industry, her new project, and why crowdfunding is a popular choice for filmmakers.
Spotlight: The Canary – An upcoming 2021 featurette, a West Australian film
Introducing Emilie Lowe (winner of the MyStateFilm Festival and the STUFFit Film Festival) and Peter Renzullo (winner of the Los Angeles American Golden Picture Awards, Five Continent International Film Festival and the L’Age d’Or International Film Festival). Both remarkable individuals who despite their own challenges, have flourished and achieved notable successes in the film industry. Emilie, a writer with dyslexia and Peter, a legally blind film maker demonstrate that anyone of any age, gender, or disability can overcome hardships and prosper for a craft they love.
Interview with Emilie Lowe – Award Winning Script Writer
How did your journey in the film industry begin?
It all started while studying media and film at school. I created the film – Reserved for Judgement (2017), which was awarded best film at the MyStateFilm Festival and STUFFit Film Festival. From there, my passion for the medium of film, acting, and scriptwriting grew. I studied the craft at Edith Cowan University. I continued to write and create my own short films.
When did you start working with Peter?
Peter Renzullo, a Western Australian independent film creator, and I met back in 2018. It was on his first-ever feature film. We just clicked immediately. Our similar work ethic and love of the medium, as well as our shared respect and admiration of each other’s work, enabled us to work well as a team. I think it is the fact that we both really value each other’s input and advice. Mutual respect is the driving for our cohesion in the creative process – it is always a positive process.
Together, we worked hard building our portfolio of created works and were successful in the film festival circuit. It was in 2020 that I began to write the script for ‘The Canary’. Now in my final year of university, the film is in its final stage of pre-production.
I established Salt and Honey Productions and Peter, Scudley Films. Together we are co-directing ‘The Canary’.It has been an amazing journey so far. I cannot wait to create such a raw and timely film that allows me to showcase my writing, acting, and co-directing enthusiasm.
What is the film ‘The Canary’ about?
It is a tale of endurance; one in which a young woman must overcome external struggles and her own internal demons to survive. It has been a script that I have been passionate about writing for years. I really enjoy placing my characters in demanding situations. I like forcing them to defy both their own, and social norms to accomplish the seemingly unachievable. Although the context and setting of ‘The Canary’ changed throughout drafting, the themes and ideas expressed always stayed very consistent in what I wished the film to deliver.
Set during the eighteenth century, ‘The Canary’ follows protagonist, Claire. Following the sinking of a transport vessel, Clarie is set adrift onto the Australian open ocean. With little but a lifeboat and caged canary beside her, Claire must find the power to defy the social standards of her time. Utilising her inner strength, and determination to survive, as well as her unrealised ingenuity to endure survival on the expansive ocean.
So, the film has some important messages and themes throughout?
The themes of the film are hugely relevant to the current political and social climate. Although the film is based almost 200 years ago, we can still relate to the themes today. The subject of overcoming social prejudices, facing internal barriers, mental health struggles, and defying ingrained violence – are concepts that we can see being fought against in the bravery of the protestors both in Australia and across the whole world.
I did not realise when writing the script that it would move into production at such a time in our world but feel so privileged to be creating a film that addresses what people are currently fighting for in our own country.
What made you think of using crowdfunding to get your project off the ground?
The unconventional nature of the film, being both filmed on the open ocean and set during the 1800’s period, influenced our decision to try our hand at crowdfunding for our upcoming project. Certain elements, such as costuming, boat hire, and locations were factors that we knew could be quite costly, and we really hoped to make ‘The Canary’ as cinematic and high-end as we possibly could for a local production. We were really surprised just at how much support we have received so far through the campaign, and, as every pledge helps so tremendously, we are so glad that we chose to finance a large portion of our film this way.
Once you had decided to use crowdfunding, how long did it take you to create your campaign?
Using ReadyFundGo has been so straightforward and effective. It only took us a short amount of time – much faster than we had originally anticipated. Once we had the images selected, created the rewards for backers, and had the description of the project finalised, we could very easily insert all the information into the campaign format and upload the page for approval. We began the creation on Sunday and by Monday we had our page live and sent out for pledges!
What has been the most challenging part of your campaign so far?
As ‘The Canary’ film is set during the 1800s, a time in which the clothing and locations were very distinct, so finding accurate costuming and settings has been the biggest challenge. We hope to inject most of the funds we raise into the creation of the 17th century aesthetic. The dresses are rather expensive to acquire for the characters, which was a main reason that we decided to crowdfund for this film, as well as safety equipment for filming on the open ocean. It has been a challenge but also an amazing and joyful experience to research all the incredible fashion.
How did you ‘build your crowd’ for your campaign?
Due to both my own, and Peter Renzullo’s, previous film, acting and script writing experience we have a network of supporters from the WA and Australian film scene. We have received a great deal of support from this community and from local Western Australian businesses. The key has been that our wonderful supporters continue to share our campaign on social media platforms and in the local film community groups, which helps continue to build our crowd and support.
How have you been promoting your crowdfunding campaign?
Along with regular posting on our social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram), I also very recently was asked to speak at the Fremantle Arts Political Meeting regarding the creation of local content. Meeting with so many community creators and sharing our campaign page out to the public was extremely helpful in growing our audience in an area that we plan to film many scenes.
We have also had feature articles printed about our film in the Cinema Australia, Inside Film Magazine, Perth Short Film Network and Stirling Times papers, which are all shared digitally and physically. This has allowed our campaign to reach those who may not usually be involved in film and has drawn many new audience members to our campaign. Getting custom artwork and communicating with Black Magic Official, the Hillary’s Yacht Club and the Leeuwin II have also been an integral step for us in expanding our audience reach.
What has been the best part about running your campaign to date?
The support that we have received from locals both involved and unaccustomed to film has been so amazing to experience. Being able to work in a field that we love, and meeting many incredible new people has been enjoyable for us. Location scouting and seeing areas of Western Australia that we never knew existed, while also sharing our passion for film and storytelling with those around us has really solidified our love for both the medium and our home state.
We hope to keep growing our reach and receiving support to make this incredibly timely film as amazing as we believe it will be.
Finally, why did you decide to launch your campaign with ReadyFundGo?
I discovered ReadyFundGo from another Western Australian film campaign. They received much success in their campaign, I decided to research the platform. Learning that ReadyFundGo is Australian was a huge marker for us. We wish to make ‘The Canary’ a fully Australian production. Receiving fast payments and feedback, along with very courteous and kind messaging from the owners have really made our experience with ReadyFundGo an amazing one. I am so glad that I choose to work with them on the creation of our film. I would definitely recommend them to any Australian artists.
Have you got a brilliant idea, that needs a little funding?
Start a campaign page today with ReadyFundGo
Need some help to get started…
Check out our online course: ReadyFundGo has a 1-hour short course on everything you need to know about starting a crowdfunding campaign and hitting your target goal. The course covers:
- Crowdfunding Basics
- Creating a Pitch Video
- Story Development
- Pre-Campaign Activities & Tasks
- Offering Enticing Rewards
- Promotional Ideas, and more…
Looking for tailored advice for your project or campaign idea…
Book a consultation session: ReadyFundGo offers a 30-minute consultation, where we can discuss how to get your crowdfunding journey off to a great start, brainstorm ideas, and provide tips on planning, building the crowd, and marketing specifically to your campaign.
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