AiF Member India Dupré:
I submitted an early draft of my feature script STRIPPED to the inaugural Australians in Film Writers Group held at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. I was thrilled to be accepted to their ten week program. Our first night, we sat at a round table and shared our projects. We then paired up each week with different writers - reading each other’s drafts and providing feedback. I’m happy to say our group has stayed incredibly tight, meeting up monthly, and I’ve watched all our projects shape up and take on life.
STRIPPED follows the true story of Margaret Dupré, a single British mother who became an Iconic Australian figure. When her children are taken from her as part of the Australian Governments Fairbridge scheme to “Keep Australia White”, Margaret resorts to stripping, steals her children back and lives on the run while a fixated government worker hunts her down. The script is based on my childhood.
I applied to the Artist of Choice grant from the Kevin Spacey Foundation to create a short film from my feature script. The Foundation selects one film project a year to support in the US and the UK. They generously support artists in Film, Theater, Dance and Music. I highly recommend applying.
After sending them my script and a pitch trailer, I was shortlisted and then interviewed over Skype. The KSF voting board kindly said they found my story the most compelling and believed I was the best person to tell it. I found out a week later I had won the grant and was flown to NY. I was asked to keep it secret until they publicly announced the winners and it was a real treat to finally tell the writers group at our next monthly meeting. They cheered me on and even came together to help me shoot it.
The trick was to create a piece of Australia, circa 1981 in Los Angeles! One member of our group acted as location scout and found a canyon in Malibu covered in eucalyptus trees to double as an Australian camp ground. I had actual vintage school uniforms shipped over from Australia and searched all over E-bay for genuine props and set pieces. My Mum cut up a vintage surf t-shirt into her infamous “tankini” that the lead actress Katheryn Winnick (Vikings) bravely wore.
Academy Award Nominated Cinematographer Dean Cundey (Jurassic Park
, Back to the Future
), came on board to shoot the 12 min short and Panavision provided top of the line cameras as part of their New Film Makers Grant. With their help, the short looks like a painting and better than I could have ever imagined. The writers group filed the positions of AD, Script Supervisor, Producers and production assistants. I could not have made it without their support. We have all recently helped two other writers from the group create their own short films, Father and Son
and Weddings, Inc.
My short, STRIPPED, is a proof of concept to show my vision for the feature film, to attract financing and to submit to film festivals.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the script, view the 2 minute feature pitch trailer or to attend an upcoming short film screening.
30 second short film trailer:
facebook and instagram @shortfilmstripped
Thank you, Australians in Film for making this possible!
I thoroughly recommend applying for the AiF Writers room. Applications are open now and will close on July 5.
India Dupré, AiF member.