Filming commenced this week for South Australian producer David Ngo’s newest feature film, Rabbit. A psychological thriller written and directed by Luke Shanahan, Rabbit is the eighth feature film to be shot in South Australia in the past 12 months.
Rabbit tells the story of 25-year-old student Maude Ashton (Adelaide Clemens, Great Gatsby) whose identical twin disappears mysteriously. Racked by disturbing visions of her abducted sister one year on, the film follows Ashton as she embarks on a search, directed only by the visions in her mind.
The film also stars Jonny Pasvolsky (Mortdecai) alongside Belgian actress Veerle Baetens (The Broken Circle Breakdown) and Adelaide-based Charles Mayer (Ip Man 2) Though he describes it as “Rosemary’s Baby for a new generation”, Ngo insists it was Shanahan’s unique story that initially excited him.
“What Luke is creating is something truly original,” Ngo says. “[This] film is an intense ride into the world of twins and telepathy that shows just how far we’ll go to save the person we love.” Rabbit received its initial funding after taking out the winning pitch at the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festivals 37° South Market, which led to private funding through London’s Production Finance Market.
Rabbit received further funding from the South Australian Film Corporation, with all filming locations to be in the state.
“I’m South Australian born and bred,” explains Ngo.
“SA has all the perfect ingredients for filmmaking: diverse locations, a strong art and theatre scene, a supportive local government and an excellent crew that go the extra mile. SAFC are really on a roll at the moment and I can’t remember there ever being so much production going on in the state”
Producer David Ngo, Adelaide Clemens (plus a rabbit), Director Luke Shanahan and Alex Russell.
This sentiment is reflected in the busy year experienced thus far in South Australia, with films such as Hotel Mumbai and Cargo collectively generating more than $10 million in economic benefit for the state.
South Australian Arts Minister Jack Snelling reaffirmed that South Australia was indeed having a strong year for film production.
“With state government support and investment through SAFC, it means that the state has been home to production on projects from international Hollywood movies to locally developed independent films.”