In an unlikely pairing, cowboys meet zombies this month as a new film starts shooting in Queensland.
Bullets for the Dead is Griffith Film School’s first feature, being produced by Visionquest Entertainment from writer-director team Michael Du-Shane and Joshua C.Birch.
The idea came from the duo’s graduate short film from 2011, which caught the eye of Spanish director and horror specialist Alberto Sciamma, who at the time was leading a genre strand at the school as part of an artist-in-residence initiative.
Impressed with its potential to make a good feature, Alberto pitched it to Michael Cowan at Stealth Media Group in the UK who agreed, along with Professor Herman Van Eyken, head of the Griffith Film School, and Cathy Rodda of Visionquest who was approached to take on the role of producer.
According to Professor Van Eyken, it’s an exciting venture and an example of the opportunities being pursued to develop emerging filmmakers and create career pathways on home soil.
“Student interns are set to work alongside seasoned professionals throughout this shoot to learn their craft, earn a professional feature film credit and ultimately gain a leg up into the industry,” he says.
A new take on the old Western
Joshua and Michael then developed the script for their debut feature film while undertaking their Masters at the Griffith Film School and describe the resulting narrative as a “sexy, fun take on the Western genre”.
“The film is about a bounty hunter taking his latest captives, a rag-tag group of bank robbers across the country, when all of a sudden a zombie outbreak happens so the gang must work together if they’re ever going to have a chance of surviving,” Michael says.
“But at its heart, it’s a story about love and making the choices we make and facing the consequences.”
“It’s a wild ride!” Joshua adds.
“It’s a rollercoaster with strong characters, lots of gore and lots of action,” he says.
Producer Cathy Rodda, herself a Griffith graduate, concurs.
“What we have now is a great, fun script, a truly creative vision and a fantastic team that will see us punch well above the weight of our near $2 million budget,” she says.
Along with Griffith Film School and Visionquest, additional financiers include Screen Queensland, the UK’s GSP Distribution and Premiere Picture, with Michael Cowan’s Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment launching international sales at the American Film Market.
Backlot Studios will handle theatrical distribution in Australia and local audiences can expect to see the film in late 2015.
Shooting will take place on location in Brookfield, Wivenhoe and in the studio at Griffith Film School, South Bank.
Follow the Bullets for the Dead shoot: http://bulletsforthedead.com/