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New Australian crowd-funded short film shines the light on barriers for women filmmakers


A new Australian short film starring Susie Porter explores a bizarre love triangle in middle class suburbia. It is an unflinching coming-of-age comic drama exploring sexual awakening in the era of technology, and the universal yearning for connection.

Beverly, currently in financing stage and preparing for pre-production early 2018, is a potent and important work, created by an experienced, talented team. It is also indicative of new Australian creative work today. It is crowd funded.
In an environment where filmmakers are constantly battling for gender
parity, pay and local content, the making of Beverly shines a light on
the barriers still on the road for the independent female filmmaker.

Roma D'Arrietta and Rupert Tayor (1).jpgRoma
D’Arrietta (left), the film’s director and on the roster of Curious Film, said
that even mid-career filmmakers were struggling to break through in the
current climate despite existing industry initiatives.

Says
D’Arrietta: “I want to be able to have a career telling Australian
stories in Australia, and despite experience and signings it’s
challenging to make that work.

“There have been great strides
like Screen Australia’s Gender Matters portal and its equal funding of
men and women film makers, but there is still a large swathe of solid
talent that falls between the cracks.

“We knew the story of
Beverly absolutely had to be told. It was a perfect meditation on the
challenges of disconnection and growing up in a digital world, and we
could do it with a comic sensibility – so crowdfunding became crucial.”

Written
by Rupert Taylor (above right) and produced by Curious Film’s Stephen Fitzgibbon, the
film is in a genre with a long precedent, and one in which Australian
film and television excels – the darkly comic treatment of complex
characters in ordinary situations.

susie-porter-947606l.jpgEsteemed award-winning actor
and star of Beverly, Susie Porter (right) said that she was always attracted to a
strong, important script with complex, nuanced female characters.

Says
Porter: “There is so much to chew through both in Beverly the film and
the character. When such an authentic story jumps out at you like this
it’s hard to say no.

“That it’s an independent team, working from
grass roots funding, makes it an even more important project to
support. Maintaining the rage is what keeps the industry going and
technology has presented both challenges and benefits.”

“Crowdfunding
is not only a way to fund a project – it has the ability to really
involve people in the production process and deepen the relationship
with the audience.”

Australia’s doyenne of film and television
Jacki Weaver is in high demand internationally, and based in LA is
currently on location for a new film. Weaver said challenges in
Australia were complicated and not just around gender ability per se.

Says
Weaver: “I believe there should be more female directors, but they are
just as good, bad and variable as male directors. I’ve recently worked
in Australia with Emma Freeman, Alexandra Schepsi and Mirrah Foulkes and
loved them all. I’m working on a Carol Morley film, then later this
year with the wonderful Susanne Bier.

“The point I think is that
it’s about content, Australian content on Australian platforms. But
also, the rude truth is that female filmmakers have many more obstacles
to doing that. So, like all industries, it can be a disrupted pathway.
More emphasis on supporting Australian female storytellers can only be a
good thing for the industry as a whole.”

The future of the
Australian film industry is not just in the hands of a few funding and
industry bodies. Nor is it something that just ‘happens’. It needs
people. From being a humble supporter to a fully-fledged executive
producer the platform is open to all. To support Beverly – a funny,
serious, important film with its super talented crew and star cast.

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