Gorman Arts Centre, 31 July 2017
This week the Canberra Critics Circle enjoyed a conversation with Writer/Director Ché Baker. The trailer for Baker’s first feature film, a “super low budget” high concept sci-fi titled Blue World Order debuted at Supanova in Melbourne in May.
|Che Baker - Photo: Helen Musa|
Baker, who spent years working in Wellington, the centre of New Zealand’s busy Film Industry, has re-located to Canberra where Blue World Order was shot and where Baker hopes that the successful production model he developed for his own film will prove sustainable for future film production in the ACT.
Making feature films is among the most difficult of collaborative art forms. “Quite literally” said Baker, “it’s the stuff that no-one sees that makes it such a complicated endeavour”. He believes that Canberra provides all the ingredients for successful film production. Its geographic location makes it logistically realistic, it has masses of sunshine, great locations and a willing local government, who while not involved in funding, expedited location and other permits. Baker’s production model has seen his film finished and money returned to his business investors before international sales have been finalised. A mighty effort!
Baker’s confidence in beginning his four and a half year project was bolstered by his knowledge that, after 20 years in the industry, he could, if necessary, do all the jobs on set. He acted as writer, director and producer with Dallas Bland as co-director and partner Sarah Mason as co-producer. Actors include Billy Zane, Jack Thompson, Stephen Hunter and Barbara Hastings.
Baker is passionate about the value of working independently as a filmmaker. Among other topics discussed were the travails of casting, with horror and sci-fi being two genres that will sell internationally without a ‘name’ actor, the use of tropes that resonate through films across decades, the importance of walking the line between the familiar and the unique, the role of a producer on set as a cheerleader and communications strategist and the ”marathon” journey of securing international licenses. It was salutary to understand that, for independent filmmakers, piracy in any market locks the filmmaker out of securing sales licences in that market.
Having seen the fascinating trailer we all look forward to the screening!
Dr Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak