Arclight to produce three Australian films per year

Arclight Films director Gary HamiltonArclight Films director Gary Hamilton says the goal of the international sales, production and distribution company is to produce at least three films per year in Australia, for the world market.

“We are actively developing, producing and representing many Australian films; with the current explosion of talent coming out of Australia, that is our goal,” Hamilton told Encore.

Arclight has just announced its new project A Few Best Men, directed by Stephan Elliott in conjunction with the team behind the UK comedy Death at a Funeral: writer Dean Craig and producers Laurence Malkin and Share Stallings.

Hamilton said the film will be “a more sophisticated version of [2009 US hit] The Hangover”, and “a more accessible cross” between that film and Death at a Funeral, “with a lot more heart”.

Despite its UK creative elements, A Few Best Men will not be a co-production, but a purely Australian film.

“It will be the standard independent financing structure of a combination of pre-sales, bank financing and Australian governmental incentives,” said Hamilton.

The idea was generated by producers Malkin and Stallings, who took the project to Arclight Films. It was then that Hamilton presented his idea on how to make the material stand out in the crowd, and the three developed it together from there.

What they wanted to explore was “the unique culture clash” between Australia and the UK, which according to Hamilton, is “not often depicted in film”.

Hamilton said he’d been looking for a project to do with Elliott for some time, and when this culture clash approach was approved, the Australian director became his first choice. Elliott responded positively to the material and accepted to make the film.

The team then approached Australian producer Fellman to join them.

“We collectively brought him in once we decided to set the story in Queensland, which works perfectly as the primary location of the farm.”

The first cast announcements are expected to take place after the Cannes Film Festival in May.

A Few Best Men has already been pre-sold to unspecified territories, an achievement that is an almost impossible dream for most projects in development. But according to Hamilton, the market is very responsive to the right projects.

A Few Best Men was the perfect storm; Great script, inspired director and the pedigree of Death at a Funeral,” he said.

Arclight is in pre-production for the 3D thriller Bait, and is also the sales agent for the modern western Red Hill – which US trade publications doubted would have a life outside Australia. They were proven wrong when the film was sold to Sony for distribution in the US.

“There is no way to stop a great film and Red Hill is the most concrete example of this,” commented Hamilton. “The market has spoken and the film has been extremely well-received.  We loved the film from inception when Al Clark and Patrick Hughes first told us about it, and ‘m confident that years from now Red Hill will be seen as an Australian classic.”

The executive, who says he’s never regretted his involvement in any project, says that the Australian film industry is “in the midst of a renaissance”, and Arclight is fortunate to have been involved with projects like Red Hill, The Loved Ones, Lake Mungo and A Heartbeat Away.

“All of these films were from first time feature directors and have won awards and clearly stand out in a very crowded marketplace. While I am obviously biased I can’t think of another country that is producing more original films and filmmakers at present. We are extremely fortunate to be riding the wave,” he said.


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