Our team of Adam, Adam, Amelia and Dan, back in late 2019, were keen to work on our next short film project. We picked our next target, St Kilda Film Festival, but had no script.
Adam Bigum, went away and wrote 7 short film scripts in 7 days and presented them to the team. The one that stood out above all else was Dry Fire (then known as The Hunted).
From conception, Dry Fire’s story involved a Deaf girl. None of us had ever even met a Deaf person before but it was important to us to do it correctly and for the film to be authentic.
Through a mutual friend of Adam McConvell’s we were introduced to Ramas McRae: A teacher of Auslan, keen filmmaker and leader in the Deaf community. We initially asked Ramas to be our Deaf consultant to help us rework the script and help us with casting. But the further we pushed through the project the more we realised we needed Ramas to take on more of a key creative role, so we invited him to be Co-Director on Dry Fire.
As we continued to re-work the script we began casting. We auditioned a number of young Deaf actors, but as soon as Catherine Lillian walked into the room, we knew we had found the right person. The character Catherine was auditioning for was: confident, independent, resilient. All these same qualities were so clearly evident in Catherine herself and she suited the character perfectly.
With key cast and crew assembled we were ready to hit the ground running. And then… Covid hit.
Victoria went into lockdown and production was delayed. We bided our time and were keen to get moving again once we were out again but Victoria hit a second, longer lockdown. Fortunately, the situation eventually came under control which allowed us to safely make the film we wanted to make.
We set a production date for January, assembled a wider team and got to work. Dry Fire ended up being a 22-minute film and if you were a production coordinator and had read the script you probably would have scheduled a 6-day shoot, 5 days minimum! We decided to do it in 3… It was intense, but the entire cast and crew went that extra mile and we got it all done.
We managed to get a cut of the film into St Kilda Film Festival as a work in progress just in time and luckily they saw something in our little film and decided to screen it.
Dry Fire screened at St Kilda Film Festival 2021 in three show-casings: a “Made in Victoria” event at the Astor Cinema, online as part of the festival’s digital roll-out, and at a special event followed by a panel discussion around making authentic stories. Catherine won Best Young Actor Award at St Kilda Film Festival 2021.
From there we hope that it will screen at a number of other film festivals around the world whilst we also develop Dry Fire into a feature film script.
If you would like to read the feature treatment you can find it here.