Earlier this year SQ, SBS and Madman together with partners The Post Lounge and Media Super launched the R.I.D.E Feature Film Fund, which is looking for Queensland talent from diverse backgrounds to put forward ideas to potentially be developed and produced into $1.5 million feature films.
Ahead of applications closing Friday week (16 August 2019), We thought we’d help you get inspired with a list of R.I.D.E worthy features that we know and love!
Warning: Reading this article may result in an extensive period of binge-watching!
1. The Sessions (2012)
The Sessions is a UK made biopic-comedy that follows the story of Mark (John Hawkes), a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity.
Director and writer Ben Lewin is a survivor of boyhood polio. He originally set out to write a sitcom vaguely based on his own experience as a disabled man but was so moved by the tail of Mark O’Brien that he decided to tell Mark’s story instead.
Rated at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes the film landed Ben Lewin a nomination for Best International Direction and star, John Hawkes a nomination for Best Actor at the AACTA International Awards.
Estimated budget: $1 million
2. The Rider (2017)
The Rider is a drama, western that was inspired by the star of the movie, Brady Jandreau who suffered a major head injury after falling from a horse.
The film tells the story of a young cowboy and rising rodeo star as he undertakes the search for a new identity following a debilitating head injury.
Despite using no professional actors, the film was nominated for Best Film at the Independent Spirit Awards 2018 and saw Director Chloe Zhao fielding offers from major studios – leading to her working on Marvel’s The Eternals.
Estimated budget: Under $1 million
These two films were put forward by SQ as they are both low budget films that blew us away!
3. Ali’s Wedding (2017)
Ali’s Wedding is a unique film that is not only a hilarious rom-com but an insightful look into a slice of Australia that is incredibly underrepresented on screen as well.
The film follows a neurotic, naïve and musically gifted Muslim cleric’s son who, after telling a white lie that spirals out of control, must follow through with an arranged marriage – despite his heart’s true desire.
The film won Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor at the 7th annual AACTA Awards.
4. Hearts and Bones (2019)
Hearts and Bones is the newest film on our R.I.D.E worthy list. The film, which is the directing debut for Ben Lawrence, premiered at this year’s Sydney Film Festival and is due for release in 2020 and was co-written Far North Queenslander Beatrix Christian.
The film follows Daniel Fisher (Hugo Weaving), a war photographer and Aman Luri (Andrew Luri) a refugee from South Sudan who discovers a photograph that threatens to destroy them.
Our friends at Madman selected these two films as not only are they remarkable films but they are both modern, Australian-made examples of low budget films with audience appeal.
5. The Broken Hearts Club (2000)
Haled the “first gay rom-com” The Broken Hearts Club launched the career of queer filmmaker Greg Berlanti who has gone on to create several inventive and acclaimed works including ABC’s Brothers and Sisters and Life As We Know It.
The film follows a quirky clique of gay men based in LA, whose friendships are put to the test when tragedy strikes their group.
Estimated budget: $1 million
6. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Call Me By Your Name is a highly acclaimed and award-winning film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival – receiving a standing ovation. This independent film is simply crafted, features fantastic performances, and packs an insightful and emotive punch.
Set in 1980s Italy and adapted from André Aciman’s novel of the same name, the film is a sensual and transcendent tale of a romance that blooms between a seventeen-year-old student and an older man hired as his father’s research assistant.
Estimated budget: $3.5 million
The guys at The Post Lounge put forward these two fantastic films as they are high in impact and left a lasting impression on the world of film.
7. The Castle (1997)
This Australian classic was filmed in just 11 days for well less than a million dollars, grossed over $10 million at the box office and changed Australian English forever – it’s definitely one to go straight to the pool room!
The Castle is a classic underdog story, where a working-class family from Melbourne fights city hall after being told they must vacate their beloved home to allow for infrastructure expansion.
Comically tackling major social issues of the time, The Castle wasn’t popular with critics but that didn’t stop it being one of Australia’s favourite films – it’s still being brought out at family movie nights nationwide over two decades later!
Estimated budget: $750k
8. Mad Max (1979)
Mad Max was the first big break for a whole range of Australian film practitioners and it’s the film franchise that just keeps on giving with the latest instalment added in 2015.
Set in dystopian Australia (in the near future), Mad Max follows a highway-policemen who sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.
Made for $400,000 (approx. $1.4 million today when adjusted for inflation) the film grossed $100 million and for a time held the world record for the most profitable film ever.
Estimated budget: $400k
Media Super picked these two significant Australian films as they are truly iconic, incredibly low budget and in one way or another left their mark on Australia.
9. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
It had one of the longest credit cast lists in movie history, with every one of the 181 student extras credited in full at the end, this lovably quirky film about a high school misfit made everyone feel included!
The film follows a listless and alienated teenager as he decides to help his new friend win the class presidency in their small western high school, while he must deal with his bizarre family life back home.
Striking a chord with eccentric people from across the globe, who wouldn’t vote for Pedro after seeing this film!
Estimated budget: $400K
10. Moonlight (2016)
Taking home 155 of the 279 awards it was nominated for, it’s hard to believe that Moonlight was made on a tight budget!
Featuring a full African-American cast, Moonlight tells the tale of a young man who grapples with his identity and sexuality in a crime-ridden neighbourhood in Miami.
Moonlight challenged stereotypes and opened eyes! It was also the first LGBTI+ film to take home an OSCAR for Best Picture and grossed $65 million at the box office.
Estimated budget: $1.5 million
Our partner SBS put forward these two films as they are of outstanding quality and the type of film that is 100% achievable on a budget – let’s aim for an Oscar Qld!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of films to inspire your R.I.D.E application! Creative teams have until 16 August to apply – learn more about the initiative here.
Happy filmmaking Queenslanders!