Fledgling production company Hopscotch Features is quickly fulfilling its mission to make films in Australia with international reach. Sandy George talks to the four partners.
The first productions from Hopscotch Features certainly meet the company’s key aims: to make films in Australia with Australian talent and international scope. Los Angeles-based Aussie Stuart Beattie (Tomorrow, When The War Began) is directing the gothic epic I, Frankenstein starring Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy, and France’s Anne Fontaine is directing Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville in the Australia-France co-production The Grandmothers(working title).
“There is no better indication of the spread of films we will make than these two,” says Andrew Mason, a producer on both. “The Grandmothers is a performance and character piece based entirely around that director and that cast. I, Frankenstein is a very high-concept film… it has another layer.”
The Grandmothers (sold internationally by Gaumont) came to Hopscotch via French producer Philippe Carcassonne, who had another project simmering with Mason at the time he began considering Australia as a location. The Grandmothers is about two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s teenage sons. “It is a story that breaks social taboos but everyone looks good, the landscape looks ravishing and it all seems very natural,” says Lum.
This film has investment from Screen Australia and, while difficult to predict, Hopscotch Features executives hope to secure finance for up to half of its projects from the government agency.