Any production company would be excited to begin the year with a BBC drama in the making, a White Night Melbourne installation, a film working hard to stop sex trafficking and an ad for McDonald’s on air in the US.
Exit, the 2016 Award Production company of the Year, has begun 2018 with all of these and more.
Glendyn Ivin has been chosen to direct the BBC One production, The Cry, which will be filmed in Melbourne and Glasgow. And it comes off the back of his gripping mini-series, Safe Harbour, which will premiere on Wednesday March 7 at 8:30pm on SBS.
Tom Campbell’s exhibition, They Cannot Take The Sky: Stories from Detention, for Behind The Wire, has won the distinction of being presented at White Night, Melbourne’s 12-hour creativity and culture event on Saturday February 17. It will be projected in massive scale onto the National Gallery of Victoria façade, accompanied by thousands of floating LED lights in the NGV moat.
This comes on the back of Campbell’s 2017 launch year at Exit, where he shot successful projects with Anomaly in New York, M&C Saatchi’s 1441 and a content campaign for Australian Financial Review. His latest work for Leo Burnett’s Melbourne for SPC Ardmona will air in the coming weeks.
Ben Lawrence’s moving story of the Australian spirit, People Helping People, with BMF was launched by TAL at the end of January to announce its partnership with The Royal Flying Doctor Service. Lawrence is now in pre-production for a commercial shoot in Victoria as well as getting ready for the release of his feature documentary, Ghosthunter.
Greg Wood has just finished another powerful Australian story, As Australian As It Gets, with The Monkeys for CGU.
And Patrick Fileti’s heartwarming music video-style spot, Friends Forever, for Omnicom’s dedicated McDonald’s agency launched in the US at the end of the year, while his film, Undercurrent, made in support of The Refugee Council, is currently playing in festivals.
One of Exit’s newest newcomers, Shelly Lauman, is winning acclaim for her anti-sex trafficking film, Unexpected Victim, made with Rasic & Partners for IOM X, the UN’s International Organization for Migration’s campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop human trafficking and exploitation. Lauman recently completed a psychological thriller, Birdie, which will be screened at festivals in the coming months.
While Campbell worked his way onto Exit’s roster last year as a director’s assistant to Garth Davis, Mark Molloy and Glendyn Ivin, Lauman arrived fully-fledged. The writer-director had a Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles (from which she graduated top of her class), seven short films and an impressive array of festival screenings and film awards in her arsenal.
But she was noticed first by executive producer, Leah Churchill-Brown, “for her cinematic eye and the nuanced performances she elicits from her cast, and her willingness to explore genres and topics that are not necessarily black and white,” Churchill-Brown stated. “But really, I love her as she makes me laugh. All of these assets are contributing to her finesse as a performance director for TVCs.”
“It’s a true pleasure of directing to be working with and listening to an actor’s performance; being utterly there with them in what they must create and knowing that beside you the cinematographer is listening also. You feel it clicking together on set, and it’s such a delight when you sit back and look at the pictures that you made, that visualise what you felt – that listening, that gentle intuitive responsiveness – is inside every image.”
Unexpected Victim was Lauman’s first commercial work with Exit. She commented, “In the short films that I have made, body, gender and voice or voicelessness are central themes. So it was quite magic to be handed a script that dealt entirely with these themes.
“Leah Churchill-Brown put together such an incredible team. Despite the fact that we were all working together for the first time, the process was intuitive and natural. It felt like we were working together for the 50th time. Working with Exit DOP, Sam Chiplin, has been one of the most organic collaborations of my career so far. On set, there was this sense that we were both listening closely to one another. It’s a feeling of being supported, of knowing I can focus on the actors, trusting that the DOP will be there to catch what is created.”
Campbell is already finishing his fourth project with Exit, a series of TVCs with Leo Burnett Melbourne for SPC’s 100th anniversary campaign. He commented, “This was an amazing job to work on. It tells SPC’s Made In Our Back Yard story through the memories and moments of SPC workers and their children, and my job was to do that by capturing lots of authentic, natural performances that would resonate with Australian audiences.”
But he is also feeling the honour of having his work selected as the showpiece for White Night and giving the stories from They Cannot Take The Sky a larger platform than they have had already. “Behind The Wire is a not-for-profit,” he explained, “and its mission is not to promote itself but to tell the stories of people who need to be heard.”
And Ivin, whose commercial work ranges from the classic emotion-igniter, Feels Like Home (Family) TVC for Qantas which he directed for The Monkeys last year to the edgy white six-minute content piece, The Playground for Coca-Cola, is already anticipating his return to ad work later this year. Ivin’s commercial work is interspersed between some of Australia’s most acclaimed productions, such as The Seven Types Of Ambiguity, which won 5 AACTA Awards including Best Direction In A Television Drama; The Beautiful Lie, nominated for 9 AACTA Awards Including Best Television Drama; Gallipoli and Puberty Blues Series 1 & 2.