Runaway Moon, a locally produced original web series, launched online this week. Series creator, co-writer and actor Hanna Gabriella tells The Adelaide Review how her own past inspired the darkly visceral series.
The six-part gritty crime caper is set over the course of one dramatic night on the streets of Adelaide, following three strangers, Moonie, Kitty and Travis. It’s a dark, sometimes violent, sometimes funny thrill-ride of a story and draws deeply from the past of series creator, co-writer and actor, Hanna Gabriella.
“I started writing about a night that really changed me, when I had just finished high school; the night I was removed from my home,” Gabriella tells The Adelaide Review. “I was kicked out and it was a troubling time in my life, but instead of letting it defeat me, I rose up to the challenge and it was more of an adventure.”
Rashidi Edward (left) as Travis and Hanna Gabriella (right) as Moonie
Rather than filling the story with “‘poor me’ moments”, as Gabriella describes them, she wanted Runaway Moon to be a colourful, gritty story about strong, relatable characters.
“I didn’t want it to be a tragedy,” she says. “I want people to remember what it was like sitting in the back of a car when you’ve been with some random people going on an adventure, and you’re thinking ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, but this is fun and it’s exciting.’”
The story developed further as Aaron Schuppan, Gabriella’s partner and a local filmmaker, adapted the initial story to a script and took on the role of director. Gabriella says she was tentative to let someone take control of her story at first.
“It was a really sensitive issue because it’s my story, my baby you know, and we had a lot of discussions about that,” says Gabriella. “He said, ‘Alright, well, I need to feel like I have some ownership over it as well and bring my own life to it.’ That was when he brought in a couple of different characters and added more structure to it.”
Dee Easton plays Kitty in the local series
The pair struggled to find funding from producers, who Gabriella says were worried that the film wasn’t universal enough for a wide audience, and decided to crowdfund the picture through their own communities. They amassed a small budget and commenced production, which sounds almost as hard-yakka as the story itself.
“We didn’t want it to be refined and pretty,” says Gabriella. “We wanted it to be almost like you could smell it and taste it and touch it. We all had dirt under our fingernails. No one was a princess on set.”
The crowdfunding process helped to bring more team members into the fold too, including lighting and makeup, and Liam Somerville from Capital Waste Pictures as director of photography. Casting was more complicated, as Gabriella had written the parts of Kitty and Travis for people she knew, but who pulled out midway through the initial production process. The project got lucky when it picked up Dee Easton and Rashidi Edward for those respective roles.
Another unique element of Runaway Moon is its distinctly Australian soundtrack, with a generous heaping of Adelaide acts. Local groups including GOD GOD DAMMIT DAMMIT, Koral & The Goodbye Horses, Baby Carla, SPACE BONG and Dialect & Despair all feature on the mix, thanks in part to Schuppan’s work directing music videos over the years.
“Aaron goes out and chats with musicians all the time,” says Gabriella. “A lot of them want to work with him and make music videos with him. So, he had this great idea of asking people if they would be involved and we would develop this very unique Runaway Moon soundtrack… Without the music it would be nowhere near as cathartic as it is.”
All six chapters of Runaway Moon are now available on Youtube:
Photography: Daniel Purvis