Film production builds a bridge to Asia

Griffith has collaborated with film schools in China and South Korea to make a screen trilogy that bridges language barriers, cultural clashes and the tyranny of distance.

In a world-first collaboration, post-graduate filmmakers from Griffith Film School, the Beijing Film Academy and Dankook University Film Schoolhave created a three-part adaptation of the classic Chinese novel, Rickshaw Boy.

On The Move had its Australian premiere at the Brisbane International Film Festival this week after screening at the Beijing International Film Festivalearlier this year.

Cross-cultural collaboration

Head of Griffith Film School Professor Herman Van Eyken said the international co-production was designed to spark a cross-cultural conversation and provide a model for future collaborations.

“This is a world-first achievement for Griffith Film School, and it reflects the university’s long and proud history of engaging in the Asia-Pacific,” he said.

“This co-production is part of our partnership with film schools across the region, and it has provided our students with the opportunity to gain new perspectives, broaden their world view and ensure they leave their degrees armed with unique knowledge and skills.”

Thinking big

The Australian section of the film was filmed in Brisbane with an all-star cast including Alastair Osment (Deadline Gallipoli, Home and Away), Emily Gruhl (Picnic at Hanging Rock) and David Soncin (River, Love Child).

The film follows John, a former journalist who now makes a living as an Uber driver. John is a man on the edge – facing a relationship breakdown, increasing debt and mental health issues – and when he picks up the man responsible for the loss of his job, all hell breaks loose.

It was developed by Griffith Film School post-graduate students Morgan Healy and Elizabeth Simard, with Adjunct Professor Trish Lake acting as a consulting producer and GFS alumnus Anthony Mullins from Matchbox Pictures serving as script consultant.

On The Move director Morgan Healy said it was exciting to see the film with local audiences, after shooting on location around South East Queensland.

“It’s really exciting to be part of an international co-production like this,” he said.

“You are usually constrained by time and money, but when you join forces with other film schools, you can think bigger.

“The shoot was an amazing experience – we had a big crew and a cast that really gave their all.

“We filmed in Brisbane’s CBD, along the Mt Lindsay Highway and out at Archerfield, and had roads closed down, a police escort…it was intense!”

Morgan said he believed the story would resonate with audiences around the world.

“Each of the short movies looks at the people left behind by the big technological changes that have transformed our society – something that concerns all of us.”