On Saturday 27 September, producer Mark Overett, New Holland Pictures Two, and writer/director Chris Fitchett hosted a screening of The Fear of Darkness at Palace Centro Brisbane for their ‘fearless’ cast and ‘fearless’ crew.
The Fear of Darkness is a psychological thriller that follows a psychologist, Dr. Sarah Faithfull (Maeve Dermody – Black Water, Beautiful Kate) and her attempts to locate the missing boyfriend of one of her patients (Penelope Mitchell – TV’s The Vampire Diaries, Hemlock Grove) who has taken a powerful hallucinogenic drug. Dr Faithfull is forced to confront the dark creature that dwells deep within her own unconscious as she investigates the supernatural disappearance of the university student.
The Fear of Darkness secured production and development funding from Screen Queensland. Shooting took place earlier this year at the Village Roadshow Studios, on location at Bond University and Lake Moogerah. The estimated Queensland Production Expenditure of the production was over $1.5million. Overett and Fitchett also generated crowd funding plus private investment, post production reinvestment, distribution guarantee and received tax rebates via Screen Australia’s Producer Offset.
Greenlight Releasing is attached as the film’s Australian distributor and Overett is ideally looking for up to 20 screens nationally.
Arclight Films is looking after international sales and will start selling The Fear of Darkness at the American Film Market (AFM) in a couple of weeks’ time (November 5 – 12 2014).
The AFM will be an important market for The Fear of Darkness to travel with over 8,000 industry leaders converging on Santa Monica for screenings, seminars and networking. There will be representatives from over 70 countries and include acquisition and development executives, distributors, agents, directors, festival directors, film commissioners, producers, writers, press, financiers and more.
On the world film festival circuit, The Fear of Darkness has been submitted for various major international festivals. The genre festivals Mark and Chris will consider targeting in the second wave include:
• Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (April)
• Fantastic Fest in Austin (Sept)
• Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal (July)
• Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (July)
• Sitgers (Oct 2015)
The Fear of Darkness sees the return of Chris Fitchett to feature filmmaking since directingDesolation Angels in 1982. Since his last feature, Chris has been a full-time senior Bond University lecturer and performing other roles within the screen industry.
“It was such a pleasure turning up to set each day,” said Mark Overett, “it was a very calm, efficient and friendly shoot and I attribute a lot of that working alongside Chris.
“Chris knew exactly what he wanted out of each scene with a lot of pre-planning and preparation and many scenes took only 1-2 takes.
“We had a nice mix of old and new blood working on the film with the likes of newcomers cinematographer Jason Hargreaves, editor Brett McCauley and composer Joshua Beattie working side-by-side with pros like production designer Karen Harborow, sound editor Ric Kaspar and key grip Sean Aston.
“Being a low budget production, there were generally only two people in each department, plus interns. It really did open my eyes to areas I could rationalise and save money for in bigger productions.”
Adding to the pleasure of working on The Fear of Darkness, Mark and Chris got some time to spend with family with Maddy Overett working on her first feature as costume designer; and EPK and stills photographer James Fitchett.
Mark and Chris handled the entire casting process that boasted a strong line up includingMystery Road’s Aaron Pedersen, veteran character actor, Rake’s Damien Garvey, Brisbane-based Christopher Sommers who will soon be seen in Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner, Maeve Dermody, Penelope Mitchell and Mark Leonard Winter (Winners & Losers, Van Dieman’s Land).
Principal photography went for four weeks with post-production lasting approximately five months.
“One of the greatest challenges we faced was bringing Chris’s vision of the “entity” to life,” Mark says. “Early on in our discussions with Rangi [Sutton, from Cutting Edge], we all wholeheartedly agreed with the ‘less-is-more’ philosophy about how much the audience should actually see. From there, Rangi created the hint of something truly terrifying… something that is just starting to edge into our world from the dark spaces of our lives.”
And what is Mark’s advice for other screen professionals –
“You can realistically handle six projects at different stages at once – but you need at least one day off a week, this is non-negotiable!”