Screen Australia in association with
South Australian Film Corporation and
Adelaide Film Festival
Footprint Films presents a Smoking Gun Production
268 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
P: +612 9319 7011
F: +611 9319 6906
One day, your luck runs out…
1902….the Australian Federation is a year old. A desperate family on the brink of ruin find themselves turning on each other after three strangers arrive at their farm with rumours of gold.
ONE PARAGRAPH SYNOPSIS
1902….the Australian Federation is a year old. 12 year-old Tom's beloved father Nat has dragged him and his sister Sarah to an isolated farm at the edge of the woods. But Nat‟s dream of living off
the land has died and he is losing his grip on sanity. When three ex-soldiers arrive at their cabin
one night Tom, like his father, believes they are providence. “Your mother always said never turn
away strangers, they may be angels in disguise…”
But their presence becomes more menacing when one of them reveals a secret: he's found gold. As the lure of gold infects everyone around him the cabin becomes a psychological battleground in which Tom and Sarah‟s loyalty is put to the ultimate test.
NAT ADEN YOUNG
TOM TOBY WALLACE
HENRY PIP MILLER
SARAH HANNA MANGAN-LAWRENCE
CARVER NEIL PIGOT
JIMMY EAMON FARREN
THE RABBITER ROBERT MENZIES
CONNOLLY HELMUT BAKAITIS
DIRECTOR KRIV STENDERS
PRODUCER KRISTIAN MOLIERE
WRITER ANDY COX
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS JOHN MAYNARD
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY JULES O‟LOUGHLIN, ACS
PRODUCTION DESIGNER LISA STONHAM
COSTUME DESIGNER MARIOT KERR
EDITOR GABRIELLA MUIR
MUSIC TOM SCHUTZINGER
CASTING JANE NORRIS
SCREEN RATIO 1.85 : 1 (ANAMORPHIC)
COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION AUSTRALIA
RUNNING TIME 96 MINUTES
SOUND DOLBY DIGITAL
My last two features (BLACKTOWN and BOXING DAY) were micro- budget, digital dramas, both set in modern, urban Australia. I had been searching for a broader canvas to work on when John Maynard (executive producer) sent me the script for LUCKY COUNTRY.
I was instantly captivated by the lean, muscular structure of Andy Cox's script, its rich, vividly drawn characters and its wonderfully wide-reaching thematic scope. I was extremely excited by the bold ambition and scale of the story. After my first read, I could immediately see a way to make it into the kind of classically entertaining, exciting and gripping "thrillers" that I had grown up with. And at the heart of it was the story of two children, brother and sister, thrust into a world in which they have to make a terrifying series of choices. It was finally this resonant aspect of Andy's story that grabbed hold of me and simply wouldn't let go.
LUCKY COUNTRY gave me the opportunity to apply all that I had learnt about working fast and intuitively to something that was a distinctive genre film - a psychological thriller. I wanted to shoot in the same visceral and immediate style that I had developed over my last two films, and use that freedom and energy to take the audience on a compelling and thrilling ride.
We have such a rich, vibrant history and such a diverse and visually stunning landscape that I think we've only scratched the surface of the kinds of stories we can tell to audiences both here and overseas. Making LUCKY COUNTRY has been an incredible creative experience and has allowed me the opportunity to continue to develop a body of work and evolve as a director.
Australia is not the country of my birth, but I‟ve come to regard it as my home. Having moved from country to country most of my life I‟ve finally found myself able to say with conviction that this is where I belong. And yet how can anyone claim to really „belong‟ in one of most inhospitable terrains on earth.
It was after the chance find of an old settlers‟ cabin in the woods that I imagined a place where
comforts had been stripped away, where „life was not an adventure‟, and into that situation put a man for whom it was an adventure and a dream – an idealistic father and his young family facing
the stark reality of the bush, out of place, trying to make it their own, staving off the fear that we‟re
little more than topsoil on a land that fundamentally doesn‟t want us here.
Each of the characters in LUCKY COUNTRY is searching for a home. Henry, Carver and Jimmy, a
surrogate family after fighting a war; Sarah, consumed by the certainty of the place she left behind and the future it promised; Nat, hoping for any sign of God in the landscape. Even Connolly, planting the flag of future prosperity and nation building, yet wrong-footed by the impenetrable certainty of a young boy.
And all the while the land walks to its own tune.
Somewhere in all of this I‟ve tried to find something about the essence of this remarkable country and the ideals and dreams that have come to shape it as a nation – the place I now call home.
It's a strange thing. The land here...it speaks. You just...listen.
Aden Young has acquired an impressive list of film, theatre and television credits since his screen debut as a 17th Century French missionary in Bruce Beresford's BLACK ROBE. This standout performance exhibited his intuitive approach to acting, and garnered notice and critical acclaim. He then followed this performance up with the action thriller SNIPER, alongside Tom Berenger. His early credits also include LOVE IN LIMBO, SHOTGUN WEDDING and BROKEN HIGHWAY which screened in Official Competition at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1994, he starred in Paul Cox‟s EXILE, and the love quadrangle drama METAL SKIN for which
Aden earned an AFI nomination for Best Actor. He also won the Australian Critics Circle Award for this role.
Other notable performances include, RIVER STREET, which earnt him another AFI nomination for Best Actor, the acclaimed COSI, playing an impish and egotistical theatre director; HOTEL DE LOVE, starring as Rick Dunne; COUSIN BETTE, starring opposite Jessica Lange and Elizabeth Shue; COLLISION COURSE, THE WAR BRIDE with Anna Friel and Brenda Fricker; and Mark Lee‟s directorial feature debut - THE BET.
In 2004 Aden was seen on stage with the Sydney Theatre Company‟s sold out season of HEDDA
GABLER, alongside Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett. He also toured with the company to New York in 2006.
In 2007 Aden appeared in the US television series THE STARTER WIFE, alongside Judy Davis, Miranda Otto and Debra Messing.
As well as starring in LUCKY COUNTRY, most recently Aden has completed filming Bruce Beresford's MAO‟S LAST DANCER, which is also due for release in 2009.
...For this to me is what New Australia means. To the landless, the homeless...
to be true. To live simply, to work hardly, to win not the gold that poisons
but the home that saves…
Toby Wallace was born in 1995 in London and moved to Australia at age 8. Since taking up acting classes in 2006, he has been given modeling and TV commercial work.
Toby makes his film debut playing Tom, one of the leading roles in LUCKY COUNTRY.
Toby has since been cast by Opera Australia in their upcoming opera CAPULETI, performing in April and May 2009.
You think there are things you won't do - things you can't do. And there’s not.
There's nothing you won't do when the time's right.
Pip Miller has worked extensively in theatre, television and film and most recently appeared in the role of Oberon at the Opera House in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra‟s musically enhanced version of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT‟S DREAM, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Film credits include SLIDING DOORS directed by Peter Howitt, and STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI by George Lucas.
Before traveling to Australia, Pip had several years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and the Young Vic. West End roles include Valmont in LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, and the Inspector in AN INSPECTOR CALLS.
Pip‟s television appearances in Australia and the UK include roles in TO CATCH A KILLER,
HAMMER BAY, ALL SAINTS, SUPERNOVA, THE BILL, TRIAL AND RETRIBUTION IV, GRAFTERS and HEARTBEAT.
Other theatre credits include TENDER for the Griffin Theatre Company and B Sharp, THE VERTICAL HOUR and THE CHERRY ORCHARD for Sydney Theatre Company, THE CLEAN HOUSE for Melbourne Theatre Company, THE GOAT and STUFF HAPPENS for Company B, as well as OTHELLO, TWELFTH NIGHT, AS YOU LIKE IT and HAMLET for Bell Shakespeare.
It’s finished Dad. It’s over. Even Mum knew.
Hanna Mangan-Lawrence has just turned 18 years old and already has an impressive list of credits to her name. Since starting her career in 2005 with the short films SIMULATION 1201 and
GALOR.E Hanna‟s stand out performance was in the short film SEXY THING that was accepted
into the Cannes Film Festival and gained her recognition in the industry. She then auditioned and was cast as the lead role CHASELY in the horror feature film ACOLYTES directed by Jon Hewitt
that premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.
Hanna was then cast in the THE SQUARE alongside Joel Edgerton that has had international success. She is also known on screen for her role in the ABC TV series BED OF ROSES which
she received an 2008 AFI Nomination for „Best Supporting Actress‟.
Hanna has this year been nominated for a Filmink award for her performance in THE SQUARE for „Best Australian Newcomer‟ and the „Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding Talent‟ TV Week Logie Award for her performance in BED OF ROSES.
Bet ya thought it was going to be all Henry bloody Lawson didn’t ya?
Neil Pigot is an accomplished actor who has worked across all areas of performance.
He has appeared regularly with MTC; most notably in the one-man play THOM PAIN,
FROST/NIXON, DINNER, and A SINGLE ACT. Other recent theatre appearances include WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING at the Adelaide Arts Festival (soon to be reprised in Sydney and Melbourne seasons) and a national tour of WEARY.
Neil has appeared in many of Australia‟s best-loved TV shows, including NEIGHBOURS,
STINGERS, THE SECRET LIFE OF US, and BLUE HEELERS in the ongoing role of Inspector Falcon-Price. His comic flair has been showcased on BACK BERNER, THE GAMES and THE ADVENTURES OF LANO AND WOODLEY. Neil is also the presenter on the soon to be released Australian documentary, FOR VALOUR.
Nominated for AFI and Green Room awards on numerous occasions, Neil‟s recent film credits
include Kerrick in BLESSED, Meranto in THE CONDEMNED, and John in THE DISH.