Faces to Watch – 11 out of 10

Gareth Calverley and Andrew McInally

Gareth Calverley and Andrew McInally

That’s the score that all of these screen industry professionals will get this year with their work, as their profiles rise to new heights. These are Encore’s 11 faces to watch in 2011.

Boilermaker: ANDREW McINALLY (Producer) & GARETH CALVERLEY (Producer/writer)

Getting their first major series up and running wasn’t easy, but McInally and Calverley (The Team, Spy Shop) are the driving force behind Movie Extra’s upcoming crime comedy Small Time Gangster (in partnership with Ewan Burnett), and they’re determined to keep making good television, with an interesting slate of projects.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Gareth: Writing the last two episodes of Small Time Gangster in New York with my mate Joss King and script genius Louise Gough, and working with Jeffrey Walker on the show.
Andrew: Producing this series. And, when I was a special effects tech on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, being told by Michael Caine that I was an annoying little bastard whilst trying to waft smoke in his
direction.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
Gareth: That, given the opportunity, Andrew and I will drink all their whisky.

Anthony Damianakis

Anthony Damianakis

ANTHONY DAMIANAKIS
Producer At Vokyo Entertainment, Diamanakis is a producer who understands branded entertainment. The upcoming Foxtel series Park Street is a perfect example, going behind the scenes of ACP’s women’s magazines.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Winning a swag of local and international awards for our lifestyle series The Party Garden; the fact that we achieved a high-rating primetime series using brand funding was a real first in the industry and has helped us secure an amazing project like Park Street, which will absolutely revolutionise the branded entertainment space further.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
Our next phase of real growth as a leading independent production company; we have a substantial slate of projects that showcase how great television can be when you work with the right brands and the best production talent.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
That television and food are my two great passions. When I was younger I used to work in the restaurant industry at the family business, a famous establishment in the Sydney CBD. Looking back it was a great training ground for learning some of the basics of working in a creative environment, learn how to manage and be respected by creative people, and always maintain good relationships and the most important lesson of all is that you’re only as good as your last plate of food. I see it as a metaphor for life as a television producer.

Bella Heathcote

Bella Heathcote

BELLA HEATHCOTE, Actress
After starring in last year’s Beneath Hill 60, the recipient of the Heath Ledger Scholarship Fund might become Hollywood’s next super star. Heathcote worked alongside Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy in Now, and she’ll be the lead in Twylight Zones, a Paramount project written, directed and produced by the creator of The Sopranos, David Chase.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
That’s a tough one, because lately I’ve been feeling pretty lucky… but I think it was receiving the call that I’d got the David Chase project because that was the job that I desperately wanted.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
It’s going to be all about experience for me. I just want to take everything in and learn as much as I can on each set I work on. I also want to continue learning about the industry in general and how it works because I find that really interesting.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
A close friend of mine always says to me “loose lips sink ships” because I tend to speak before thinking about the consequences and I tend to be very open and honest about everything, often to my own
detriment.

Beck Cole

Beck Cole

BECK COLE, Director/writer/producer
A close collaborator of Kath Shelper and Warwick Thornton, Cole (Nana, The Circuit, First Australians, Making Samson & Delilah) makes her feature film debut with the powerful drama Here I Am – one of the highlights of this month’s BigPond Adelaide Film Festival.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
I loved every moment of making Here I Am, even the scary bits. The highlight will be showing the film to an audience for the first time. It’s something I’m really proud of; it’s a simple story about a common experience and it’s thrilling and frightening all at once.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
This year is all about writing! I’ve got a few script ideas up my sleeve, a novel that I’d like to get started on and a little collaboration with Warwick [Thornton] and Kath [Shelper] that’s beckoning. With these projects and the release of Here I Am I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting and action-packed year.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
That I’m passionate about cinema that gives its audience an insight into another world. I love films that are driven by exciting characters that are unpredictable and flawed, and ultimately these are
the types of films I want to make. Here I Am, I hope, is just the beginning.

Ben Briand

Ben Briand

BEN BRIAND, Writer/director
Briand’s TVCs have picked up numerous international awards (like the Silver SHOTS Young Director Award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for Ballantines’ Soccer Can). He’s a
former winner of the Optus ONE80 Project (Hammer Bay) and his short Apricot was voted Best Narrative Film on Vimeo.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
When Apricot reached its intended audience and suddenly boomed. A very active online audience responded strongly to it and then it spread like wild fire. It showed me that the success of a film doesn’t have to be dictated by a select few festivals or industry members, but can be driven by the audience themselves. It’s interesting that those who really responded to the film, almost border on having an obsessive relationship with it! There seems to be something that people can’t quite articulate about Apricot that affects them deeply and that has always been the type of cinema that intrigues me.
The success of Apricot has also brought about a great deal of contact from industry here in Australia and overseas – some exciting, new working relationships have developed as a result.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
The next stage of development on my first feature film which I’m writing and directing. It explores themes of memory and identity, and is an extension on Apricot and many of my personal projects. I’m
loving the process of creating the world and characters knowing that they will eventually be seen onscreen. The development process will continue well into the year. I’m also really looking forward to the release of another short film of mine, Some Static Started and continuing to direct commercial and art-based work.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
I’m not interested in being a director who only walks onto a set once a year. I like shooting and working with crew as much as possible. Moving between different mediums such as photography, commercials, video installation and films, really furthers the development of my visual language. It’s the same reason why I love being an editor, grader and writer too because engaging in a variety
disciplines means I understand what I’m doing from different angles and this hopefully results in better work in the end.

Brendan Fletcher

Brendan Fletcher

BRENDAN FLETCHER, Writer/director/producer
At press time, Mad Bastards had not even had its world premiere yet, but it was already sold out at the Sydney Festival, selected for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance, and sold to a US
distributor. Not bad for Fletcher’s debut, not bad at all!

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Selection of my first feature Mad Bastards in competition at Sundance. It’s pretty hard to top that.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
I’d always hoped that Mad Bastards would land with a splash. I’d hoped we released in the US first, and then ride the momentum that generates back into Australia. I’d also hoped we could run a music tour alongside the theatrical release … now that all of these things are happening, I feel like 2011 is shaping up pretty well for me, and I’m very happy about it.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?

That I’m actively looking for my next project! I’ve put everything into getting this film up and making it great. Now I’m on the lookout for the next one, and I don’t want it to take another 10 years. I describe Mad Bastards as an animal; it’s got teeth and heart, and I’m looking to take that to the next level now. It’s been a very challenging journey and I never ever gave up – although it was incredibly difficult along the way. I’ve learnt so much from the process and now I’m keenfor more.

Callan McAuliffe

Callan McAuliffe

CALLAN McAULIFFE, Actor
At 16, McAuliffe is almost an industry veteran. You may remember him as the star of the award-winning short Franswa Sharl, but that was just the beginning; this year we’ll see him in the adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, and the Dreamworks sci-fi film I Am Number Four. Perhaps one day soon, Callan will be number one!

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Having the privilege to work with such phenomenal people in such a short amount of time. Rob Reiner, DJ Caruso, and Matt Saville are all such fantastic directors, and in addition, I haven’t had a bad experience with any actor so far.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
I’m lucky enough to have two productions coming out in 2011; Dreamworks’ I Am Number Four, releasing in February, and Cloudstreet, due around April/May. Both have me super excited, but to be
honest, I’m just happy to ride the bus until the tyres pop.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
A lot of people might not know that I did guest roles in Packed to the Rafters and Comedy Inc. These were all fantastic opportunities, and I am thankful to those guys for helping me along the way. Acting aside, I’m a big fan of nature and wildlife; I love camping, hiking and going outdoors, and pretty much anything to get away from the city.

Dario Russo and David Ashby

David Ashby and Dario Russo

Dinosaur: DARIO RUSSO (Writer/director/producer) & DAVID ASHBY (Writer/actor)
These two know what people want to see. The Adelaide duo are not 25 yet, but they’re already responsible for the online retro kitsch hit Italian Spider-Man and the upcoming SBS comedy cross-platform
series Danger 5.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Both of us have always wanted to make television, so having the opportunity to create Danger 5, our own television program, has undoubtedly been the highlight of our careers so far.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
Seeing our work come to fruition after two and a half years of work, and a chance to see how audiences will react to it.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
We like Robocop. A lot.

Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi

Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi

Distracted Media: ENZO TEDESCHI (Writer) & JULIAN HARVEY
Don’t let the name of their company fool you; far from distracted, Tedeschi and Harvey are actually quite focused on finding alternative funding and distribution methods. They may not have raised all the money for The Tunnel through crowd funding, but they certainly raised the project’s profile worldwide, and their experiment with torrents might help the industry find a way to join the enemy instead of fighting it.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Julian: This industry has taken me to the four corners of the globe, including Antarctica, but The Tunnel is the highlight. Being involved with a project like this from its very inception and working with so
many the talented people has been an awesome experience. Watching the online audience respond so positively to the concept is great – hopefully that’ll just keep getting better when the film comes out!

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
Enzo: The year is still very young, and already presenting itself as rife with opportunities. I think a lot of new doors are going to open for us.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
Enzo: I do my best to think outside the box. I don’t like doing things the way they have always been done simply because they’ve always been done that way. Look at it, pull it apart, think about it, put it back together – it may still look like where you started, but sometimes it doesn’t. That applies to work as well as interacting with my four kids!
Julian: At work and outside of work I love exploring, so I get drawn to projects like The Tunnel. All the challenges in trying to do something new force you to rise up and achieve things you never thought possible.

Kieran Darcy-Smith

Kieran Darcy-Smith

KIERAN DARCY-SMITH, Writer/director/actor
It’s time to shine for another member of the Blue Tongue Films collective. A well-known actor, his shorts Loaded, Bloodlock and The Island have screened at international festivals and received many awards, and his first feature is the first Australian film to be partially shot in Cambodia.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Last year began like so many others – a film in development, a mountain of credit card debt and an unwavering belief. But before I knew it we were fully financed and looking down the barrel of a late 2010 shoot. As I write this (from Sihanoukeville, Cambodia) we are three weeks down on our Sydney schedule and four days into our Asian leg of the shoot. We have an amazing team with us, a killer cast – Australian, Kiwi, Cambodian and Vietnamese – and there’s an incredibly positive feeling about the project.

What do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
We’ll be in post-production until June and ideally I’ll have time during this period to consolidate the next project I’ll be doing with [producer] Angie Fielder. It’s an exciting and very moving Australian story, steeped in Sydney independent rock and hip-hop; a father and son thing. Ideally Say Nothing will find its audience and I’ll have the opportunity to continue making films.

What should people who don’t know you yet learn about you?
5’9”. Gemini. Survivor of the late 80s pub rock circuit. One wife, father of two. And I like snakes.

Luke Jurevicius

Luke Jurevicius

LUKE JUREVICIUS, Writer/director/producer
The creator of Figaro Pho – the star of the shorts about a boy swamped “with an alphabet of phobias” – is taking it to the next level with a long-form series.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
Dreaming up the concept of Figaro Pho and seeing it come to life in such a spectacular. I feel a genuine buzz every time I see one of my designs or concepts come to life; I am just grateful and a little spun out that I have the support to do the zany things that I do.

Wat do you think you’ll get out of 2011?
I am particularly excited about directing the new series, The Adventures of Figaro Pho. There is a lot of buzz around Figaro Pho and I have a feeling that this series will establish a new benchmark in animation for Australian children’s television. It will be a lot of hard work, but this opportunity will mature my directing skills.

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