A little something that we started last year here at LateNite was to take a moment to reflect on the year that was. The projects, the people, the joy, the tears, the wins, the losses and of course the movies that made 2012. Instead of two enormous blogs though, this year we will be breaking it up into thirds for your reading pleasure and releasing one a week right up until 2013 ticks over, at which point we’ll be revealing some of our exciting new projects in the works.
So here goes nothing…
It’s funny when you look back on a year and forget some of the films that kicked the year off. In a month where Fincher gave us a splendid Americanized Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, The Muppets made a comeback and the legend that is Scorsese dazzled us with his homage to cinema in 3D family flick Hugo, it was The Descendants, directed by one of my favourite directors in Alexander Payne that I fell in love with. It was as funny as it was sad and ultimately a heartwarming tale of heartbreak (work that one out).
And so 2012 began. With Nick, ready and raring to go, Michael Shanks becoming a newfound member of the team and Jacqui and Chris being the ever-excitable duo, projects came thick and fast in January.
Michael and Nick set about working on a music video for Melbourne based folk band Huckleberry & Me, which was to be shot in the country and involve three very cute kids and some signature Shanks effects.
Location scouts took them out to Woodend, Tarrdale, Kyneton and beyond to try and find the right place for the video.
Whilst working on the music video, Nick was also collaborating with our good friends at Inspiration Studios on a brand new web series called Train-In Motion. The series (still in post-production) is an off the wall look at workplace training with the first two episodes being written by comedian Dylan Cole and Nick. The first two shoot days took place at Staging Connections thanks to Nick’s brilliant sister Marnie, and laughs a plenty were had. The first series of 4 episodes will be released early 2013.
We also went ahead with the beginnings of our “no budget” shoot idea where we decided we wanted to try and shoot a no budget short every month for the whole year. Our first was Alistair Marks’ film 0-0 about a stoner who is summoned to build an ark to save the world. The film was shot over 2 days by the brilliant Caitlin Dooley and is currently just finishing up in post-production. More news on this one soon.
January also brought us this:
From the twisted mind of Michael Shanks came his very first music video for his debut single On The Border Line which was recorded under the pseudonym Roadgeek. This was a clip that Michael showed us the beginnings of when we finished up the previous year’s 48-hour film festival, so it’s fair to say it took a little while to come to fruition (understandably so).
The one man (wo-man) machine that is Jacqui Hocking was meanwhile was filming in South Africa as part of her ongoing TOPtoTOP documentary. Chris and Nick have worked out if you ever want to hate on your current situation, just check out Jacqui’s photos – odds are she’s having a far better time than you are!
Once again, being Oscar season, there were movies a plenty to choose from with the extraordinary silent film The Artist, the disturbing cult film Martha Marcy May Marlene (starring a new and far less annoying Olsen sister), the equally disturbing but brilliant Shame (starring Michael Fassbender’s penis), Coriolanus, Carnage, Chronicle… the list could go on and on.
The film I have chosen for Feb though is the beautiful Like Crazy. A film that won a major drama prize at Sundance and was as sweet and touching as it was heart breaking. It’s also a bloody good trailer and features the vocal talent of the incredible Ingrid Michaelson.
February had some more exciting projects in store for us as the LateNite train continued to rollick on through the start of 2012.
After all that location scouting in January and trying to work around Michael’s trip home to New Zealand, the clip for Huckleberry & Me FINALLY got under way, shooting in a weekend in early Feb. The results of which are below:
Shortly after we wrapped on the music video, Nick decided to take some time out to perform on stage in MKA Theatre’s Hose which was part of a double bill performing at Theatreworks under the direction of the amazing Alister Smith. Chris decided to take the opportunity of Nick’s absence to continue helping out on the film festival Three One Six Oh!, a festival run by our good friends at Pocket Bonfire and one which we proudly sponsor. The outdoor festival completely sold out and was a huge success with people staying well into the night to enjoy the festivities.
In doco land, Jacqui was getting ready for her next big adventure – filming a documentary while sailing across the Atlantic Ocean! Luckily she had some camera assistants with her…
February was an exciting month for not only us but also some friends of LateNite as well who were competing in a number of big competitions.
Producer Julian Costanzo took out the main prize at Tropfest for his film Lemonade Stand, directed by Alethea Jones and written by Tim Potter. For those abroad, Tropfest is Australia’s richest short film festival and gets over 1,000 entries every year so this was a massive effort. You can watch the winning film below:
We also had our friend Hannah Moon and her team in the finals of the Optus180 Competition with their TV series concept Starfish. The concept trailer starred 16th Street actors Shannon Glowacki and Emily Wheaton in a cute little concept.
One of Chris’ acquaintances from the SPAA Emerging Producers Scheme from the previous year, Kirsty Stark, had her project Wastelander Panda, also competing in the same competition as Starfish. You can check out the EPIC trailer below:
There must have been something in the air at the start of the year because it seems Nick was obsessed with tear jerking dramas. Either way, if you haven’t seen 50/50 I suggest you go out and see it, one of the most underrated/little known films of 2012.
The start of March was met with the departure of Michael & Chris to New Mexico to see our film The Script Machine, screen in competition at the Taos Shortz Film Festival which was acting as home for the International 48 Hour Film Festival Competition. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s a little nuts but here tis’..
You can also read about the boys exploits here.
Whilst the boys were enjoying the New Mexican sunshine, Nick was busily shooting the next 2 installments of the Train-In Motion Web Series. The third and fourth episodes were written by Ben Ridgwell and the brilliant duo that is Tegan Higginbotham & Adam McKenzie. Once again the series will be coming to you from the web in early 2013.
Nick was also lucky enough to take part in a day long producing workshop with the wonderful Melanie Coombs (Academy Award winning producer of Harvey Krumpet & Mary and Max). A really interesting and insightful day that set Nick up for a great run at SPAA later in the year, but more on that later!
Throughout March, in the true Spirit of Adventure, Jacqui got to discover one of the most unexplored places on earth – Saint Helena!
Filming in Saint Helena was a massive highlight. Twas’ a magical place where land-line phone numbers are only 4 digits and there is NO mobile service at all (except for VHF radio). Thankfully, Jacqui managed to complete a short documentary film about the environment & sustainability of the unique island, with an incredible soundtrack originally composed by our talented friends Jordon Scotney and Hayden Schueler.
But once again it wasn’t all about us, with some of the brilliantly talented friends of LateNite doing groundbreaking, amazing things.
The boys at Dark Heart Productions raised an astonishing $73,000 dollars to complete the first EVER crowd funding campaign for a television series. Their series The Weatherman, went into production in late 2012, you can watch the pilot below.
Nidhi Chanani, the amazingly talented artist behind the illustrations in Hannah & The Hasbian, was honoured at The White House by Presdident Obama as a “Champion of Change” for her work in the community as an artist. We love Nidhi and are all incredibly proud of all that she has achieved and can’t wait to see what she does next! Onwards & Upwards!
The decent run of films that we had at the start of the year dried up in April and there was little to get excited about. Amongst the few decent films were Australian film Wish You Were Here, by the Blue Tongue Films boys and also the big budget Hollywood flick, The Avengers. I chose to show The Avengers trailer for no other reason but to break up the drama trend in the rest of the blog.
The month of April was no different for us as the shooting dried up and we continued on with the development of some longer-term projects including our sitcom The Ushers and feature concept The Grey Between (formerly Splinter).
In April it was time for Jacqui to continue her journey from Saint Helena Island, sailing to South America!
After months at sea, Sail-yacht Pachamama finally arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil just in time for the Rio 20+ Summit. She bid the TOPtoTOP family farewell, but before she head back to LateNite HQ, she made time to fly to Sau Paulo to meet & briefly film with another expedition – World By Cycle!
Our friend and sometimes collaborator Mike Lutman also had his screening of his doco Plasticized at ACMI, which was a huge success and a great night was had by all (we’re currently helping Mike with distribution of the film – so stay tuned for details!).
Oh yeah, and you know that Shanks kid?
He did this:
As the year went on the projects began to pile up so stay tuned for the next four months…