Friday, June 10, 2022

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, JUST THE FACTS


Yes, my friends, it has been another year since I've given a full account of the actual filmmaking being done here at Opening Act.

And as I always say, while I appreciate your willingness to take my creative activity at face value, I feel I would be remiss to not provide at least a snapshot of our efforts over the continuing oddity that was 2021.

So, here goes.

* The annum began somewhat timidly in Sydney, not just because of the lingering trauma of COVID, but also because of its sudden resurgence between December 2020 and January 2021. Unfortunately, this reticence would be an indicator of what was to come over the next twelve months. With so many film festivals cancelling or moving online, and most productions without the resources to surmount the COVID safety hurdles, it was a very quiet start to the year.

* Despite that negative inertia, I received the delightful news that my feature documentary in development - 'Richard and the Windmill' - had been selected for the Industry Pitch competition at DocEdge NZ. I pitched the concept so many times at the event in April, I could recite the speech in my sleep. Good practice though, with an even better result: we were announced as one of the winning pitches!

* Just as we were beginning to build momentum, however, the dreaded Delta variant arrived. It was May 2021, and the country watched with anxiety to see if our island borders had officially been breached. By early June, Delta was suddenly exploding everywhere. Three weeks later, on my birthday, Sydney was officially back in lockdown.

* This dance of good news for my work and bad tidings for the global health situation, continued apace for the next few months. In July I learned that 'Risen', which I produced in collaboration with writer/director Tony Radevski, had been selected for the Oscar-accredited LA Shorts International Film Festival. All circumstances considered, the festival opted for an online version, so this achievement was tempered with the fact I never left my living room or my comfortable pants. Perhaps in rebellion against this stasis I also took on another producing project, a beautifully poetic short film called 'Fish Lake'; written and directed by Emma Jaay.

* In another bemusing twist to this whole lockdown saga, we were advised that 'Risen' also won 'Best Sci-Fi Film' at LA Shorts in August, which is a wonderful accolade that we were only able to celebrate via Zoom and modestly priced wine. We made the best of it with good cheer, regardless.

* As August rolled around, the full weight of the continuing lockdown landed with a thud. On reflection, it occurred to me that I'd come into 2021 with the hope that it would not be a "lost year" like its predecessor. When the calendar flipped to the eighth month, and we were still in lockdown, the heavy realisation that we had forfeited another precious year finally dawned on me.

* Not that I had a lot of time to feel sorry for myself. In August, 'Richard and the Windmill' was selected for the industry pitching event at the Dhaka DocLab. Once again, Richard's story was well received, which was much needed encouragement at that emotionally frayed time.

* In September, again perhaps as a psychological response to the feeling of stagnation, I signed on to co-produce a short documentary called 'Line Rider', with a talented Slovenian director named Simon Intihar. We're excited to be releasing that one this year.

* And then, a ray of sunshine in October. The lockdown in Sydney was officially ended. Relief at last...?

* While existing in our hermetically sealed lives, the end of the year barreled closer and closer. This reality could have renewed our sense of melancholy, but instead we were greeted with the announcement that the 'Risen' TV pilot script - penned by the talented Mr Radevski - was selected as a quarterfinalist (top 25%) in the ScreenCraft TV Pilot Competition in November; from 3800 worldwide submissions. An incredible achievement.

* The macabre dance twirled on. One day an international accolade, the next Omicron announces its November arrival. What a time to be alive.

* Which brought us to December. As we learned more about Omicron's potency (or lack thereof), some of us dared to wonder aloud: is this finally the end? Into the heart of that burgeoning optimism, came the news that our 'Risen' short film had been selected for two festivals: Shockfest Film Festival in the USA, and the Oscar-accredited Flickerfest International Film Festival in Australia. That early Xmas gift was followed up with an official invitation to premiere our short-form LGBTIQ comedy series 'Romp' at the Mardi Gras Film Festival in February. Spoils all around.

Thus bringing the heartbreak and triumphs of 2021 officially to a close.

At this point I would ordinarily have an overarching observation, some moral or lesson learned from another leg of this creative journey. When it comes to last year, however, I am officially stumped.

Babies were born and other lives ended. New jobs commenced and fledgling businesses founded. Awards were won. Students graduated. Lovers of every kind walked down the aisle, while others walked away from each other altogether.

Yet in spite of all the universe threw at us, we endured while the planet continued its celestial rotation.

There's something inspiring in that simple truth.

Perhaps the kindest thing I can say about 2021, is that we survived it.

And may there never be another one like it.

Onwards and upwards.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

OA FILM NEWS - 'Risen' selected for the Oscar-accredited St Kilda Film Festival and nominated for three awards!




Some wonderful winter news - our film 'Risen' has been selected for the 2022 (Oscar-accredited) St Kilda Film Festival!

Congratulations also to our collaborators Tony Radevski and Zen McGrath, for their award nominations at the Festival. Our film 'Risen' is nominated for: 

BEST DIRECTOR - Tony Radevski 

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SCREENPLAY - Tony Radevski 

BEST YOUNG ACTOR - Zen McGrath 

Thanks to the amazing cast and crew, and everyone who has supported 'Risen', especially our primary funding partner, Screen Australia.

http://www.stkildafilmfestival.com.au/

Sunday, May 15, 2022

OA FILM NEWS - 'Bogan Moths' screening at the Melbourne International Animation Festival 2022


Delighted to reveal our animated comedy 'Bogan Moths' is screening at the Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF) this week! 

Our founder (and producer of 'Bogan Moths') Pete Ireland will be there - in the hallowed halls of the Australian Centre of the Moving Image - to present the film on behalf of he and writer/director Tony Radevski. 

Hope to see you there! 

https://miaf.net/events/australian-showcase/ 

You can see the 'Bogan Moths' trailer at: https://vimeo.com/415015380/1e6f685512

Sunday, May 08, 2022

OA FILM NEWS - 'Risen' nominated for five awards at the Los Angeles FirstGlance Film Festival 2022!


Our film 'Risen' has been selected for the FirstGlance Los Angeles Film Festival, where it has been nominated for 5 festival awards. 

The film is screening at Laemmle North Hollywood No7 on 14 May (5:15PM). Tickets and the full festival programme are available at: https://firstglancefilms.com/fglaschedule/ 

Thanks to our amazing cast and crew, for making these selections possible, and to Screen Australia who's funding made 'Risen' a reality! 



Wednesday, May 04, 2022

OA FILM NEWS - Our founder Pete Ireland a winner in the 2022 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay Competition


Congratulations to our founder and managing director Pete Ireland, who received the runner-up prize in the ScreenCraft Short Film Screenplay Competition for his script 'Children of Laika'; chosen from 1300 global entrants!

https://screencraft.org/blog/2022-screencraft-short-film-screenplay-competition-winners/

And thanks to Inside Film for a lovely write up about the win for our founder Pete Ireland: https://if.com.au/opening-act-films-pete-ireland-named-runner-up-in-global-screenwriting-competition/

Sunday, April 24, 2022

OA FILM NEWS - 'Bogan Moths' screening at the Die Laughing Film Festival in Los Angeles


Times like these you wish you had a private jet. 

Excited to announce that our animated comedy short, 'Bogan Moths' (written and directed by the talented Tony Radevski) has been selected for the Die Laughing Film Festival in Los Angeles. 

Thanks to our wonderful cast and animator Andrew Martin. 

And if you're curious about our Mothy friends, check out our trailer at: https://vimeo.com/702736311

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

OA FILM NEWS - 'Pilè' screening at the Rochester International Film Festival 2022


Some good tidings before you become overfed with chocolate eggs and Jesus parables this weekend. 

Pilè - our film collaboration with writer/director extraordinaire Tony Radevski - has been selected for the 64th Rochester International Film Festival, in upstate New York - which is the oldest continually running film festival in the world! 

Having been screening in Australia and overseas since 2017, this will be both the North American premiere and the festival swansong for Pilè 

Our screening is Friday May 6 (8:00 PM) at the Eastman Kodak Theatre in Rochester, and our writer/director Tony may be going along to present the film; schedule permitting. 

It's crazy to think that we shot this film in 2016 and it continues to have a life, and an audience, six years later. For Tony and us at Opening Act Films, that is testament to the passion, care and skill our cast, crew and investors put into the film; which is visible in every frame - thank you.