Copyright MediaConnex Asia 2017

Cambodia-set Thriller from The Babadook Producers

Sydney-based Causeway Films will be embarking on a co-production with Southeast Asian producers in Singapore with a shoot date scheduled for early 2018

A new feature film based on the labor trafficking epidemic in Southeast Asia surrounding the seafood industry will be produced in Phnom Penh through production investment from Screen Australia and Southeast Asian financiers. The project, Buoyancy will be co-produced by both Australia’s Causeway Films and Singapore’s Aurora Media Holdings.

Written and directed by Rodd Rathjen, Buoyancy is set deep in rural Cambodia and follows the story of an innocent boy who is enslaved on a fishing trawler and soon realises his only hope of freedom is to become as violent as his captors. Rathjen’s past work include the short film Tau Seru which premiered at Cannes International Film Festival as part of Critics Week in 2013 and also won Best Australian Short at Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia, says “Rodd’s well-crafted script is an international story tackling the injustice of human slavery in Southeast Asia, and we have no doubt this film will engage, educate and move audiences both here and abroad.”

Causeway Films’ producers include Sam Jennings, Kristina Ceyton and Rita Walsh. The company’s credits include the 2014 breakout horror film The Babadook from Jennifer Kent, which premiered at Sundance also found terrific global distribution as well as landing in many Top 10 lists of films for the year. They are also releasing the upcoming post apocalyptic thriller Cargo with Martin Freeman of The Hobbit franchise and TV’s Sherlock, which will be the first Australian feature to be released under the Netflix Original banner.

Producers from Aurora Media Holdings will be Justin Deimen, Jeremy Sim and Terence Kong. The firm’s feature film productions and investments include the Los Angeles/Cebu-set sports drama 100 Yards with Sean Patrick Flanery and Rebecca Lim, the Hollywood feature Stano, featuring Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara; the Australian-Hollywood co-pro Storm Boy, with Geoffrey Rush and Jai Courtney; the Swiss-Singaporean The Songs Of Scorpions starring Irrfan Khan and French star Golshifteh Farahani; and the Euro-Indian The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir, with Indian superstar Dhanush and Oscar nominees Berenice Bejo and Barkhad Abdi.

Buoyancy has also received finance from Film Victoria, MIFF Premiere Fund, and Australian post-production company Soundfirm. Umbrella Entertainment will distribute the film in Australia and New Zealand, with international sales to be handled by Charades and Echo Studio.

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