The year has started strong for Queensland’s screen industry with production currently underway on the Australian feature film A Savage Christmas – supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Screen Finance program, with principal production investment from Screen Australia.
The film is the debut production from Roaring Entertainment – a newly formed company by Brisbane-based producers Ben McNeill and Daniel Mulvihill, and is the first full-length feature from Townsville-based director, writer and producer Madeleine Dyer.
Screen Queensland’s Chief Creative Officer Dr Belinda Burns said the locally made production being filmed in Greater Brisbane is estimated to inject $1.2 million into the state economy and create approximately 76 jobs for cast and crew.
“A Savage Christmas is a Queensland production through and through – directed, written and produced by Queenslanders, and both filmed and set in the state,” said Dr Burns.
“Last financial year, 85.5 per cent of Screen Queensland-supported projects were led by Queensland-based producers and creatives. We are proud to invest in local talent – our people are the key to Queensland’s reputation as a global filmmaking hub.
“Congratulations to Roaring Entertainment on this debut production, and we wish the film every success for its end-of-year theatrical release.”
Described as a dramatic comedy akin to Death at a Funeral and Silver Linings Playbook, A Savage Christmas is the story of trans woman Davina Savage who, after years of estrangement, returns home for Christmas with her new boyfriend. Expecting her transition to be the focus, it’s instead overshadowed by family secrets and lies which threaten not only their lives but another Christmas lunch.
Screen Australia’s Head of Content Grainne Brunsdon said the film blends off-beat humour while reflecting our nation’s diversity.
“We’re pleased to support this feature directorial debut from Madeleine Dyer writing with Max Jahufer and Daniel Mulvihill on this distinctly Aussie comedy,” she said.
“With a strong ensemble cast, this film weaves contemporary issues and themes of acceptance into a classic Christmas family fiasco, and it’s sure to bring the holiday spirit to audiences this year.”
Roaring Entertainment’s Daniel Mulvihill and Ben McNeill said they are delighted to be filming in their home state.
“This story has been developed over several years by a team of Queensland locals and represents many of the personal stories and experiences of the film’s key creatives,” they jointly stated.
“This film also serves as a talent escalator for many cast and crew stepping into new roles. Screen Queensland’s energetic and long-standing support of the project throughout development is valued greatly and has allowed us to foster the culturally and socially poignant themes running through the film.”
Members of the Savage family are played by Helen Thomson (Elvis), Darren Gilshenan (Upright, No Activity), David Roberts (Colin from Accounts), Gary Sweet (Jack Irish) and Ryan Morgan (Locusts), with Rachel Griffiths (Total Control, Bali 2002) also featured. The film introduces newcomers Thea Raveneau, Max Jahufer and Rekha Ryan in their feature debuts.
A Savage Christmas is directed and written by Madeleine Dyer and co-written with Daniel Mulvihill and Max Jahufer. Roaring Entertainment Producers are Daniel Mulvihill and Ben McNeill. Executive Producers are Tracey Robertson, Jason Byrne, Jonathan Page and Stephen Corvini.
Productions recently supported by Screen Queensland’s Screen Finance program include Stan Original series Black Snow, SBS Food/NITV cooking and culture show Strait to the Plate, festive feature Mistletoe Ranch, Network 10 and Nickelodeon youth series Rock Island Mysteries and upcoming ABC series Limbo.