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Entries in Action (1)

Saturday
May202017

OZ SHOOT CONTINUES AS CANNES BUYERS EYE FIRST IMAGES.

Productions only get one chance to create the kind of buzz that a presence on The Croisette can deliver. Having only commenced its far north coast shoot on May 2, reps for director Luke Sparke’s sophomore effort Occupation have rolled out images and announced plot and cast details at the Marche du Film, the frantic sales and distribution trade show component of the Festival de Cannes.

Sparke’s directorial debut, the low-budget high-concept B-thriller Red Billabong, made a splash in 2016, securing niche international engagements (including screens in Vietnam) and home-vid exposure in monster-movie friendly markets, such as Japan. Shot with a natural storytelling flair and turning a tidy profit meant that the young Queensland-based director had industry cache, the kind that has allowed him to move ahead with haste on his follow-up production. The budget is estimated to be close to A$3million. (Pictured, above; key cast of Occupation)

"We're in the thick of [the shoot] right now, pulling massive days on back-to-back action scenes, which is quite rare for Australia,” said Sparke via press release. “It's looking great and I'm looking forward to rolling it out over the next months." The narrative pits residents of a small rural township against a mysterious and devastating ground invasion, a summary that reads like a cross between local blockbuster Tomorrow When The War Began and such classic sci-fiers as Invaders from Mars and War of The Worlds.

Sparke reteams with his Red Billabong leading man Dan Ewing, who heads up a quality cast that includes Temuera Morrison, Izzy Stevens, Stephany Jacobsen and Rhiannon Fish; local character actor legends Bruce Spence, Felix Williamson and Roy Billing; and, AFI award winner Jacqueline McKenzie. Producer Carly Imrie also returns. (Pictured, right; teaser poster for Occupation, courtesy of Film Mode Entertainment)

The early sneak images have been presented in Cannes by sales agent Film Mode Entertainment (FME), who are spruiking Occupation to international territories, including the all-important North American market. President of FME, industry veteran Clay Epstein, has a passion for Australian-lensed genre works, having worked for leading Oz outfit Arclight Films and represented films such as The Spierig Brothers Predestination, with Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook.

Epstein is particularly high on Occupation, stating, “We have incredible footage after only 2 weeks of production. Luke shoots action very well and is an extremely talented director.  This is a huge film and we are confident the market is going to embrace it.”

Occupation will be released in 2018 in Australia and New Zealand by specialist distribution outfit Pinnacle Films. (Pictured,below; from left, stars Izzy Stevens, Dan Ewing and Temuera Morrison, on location)