Black List Sci-Fi Thriller 'Mother' Gets Production Funding From Screen Australia

Grant Sputore

New Zealand's Weta Workshop will create the titular robot for the film.

Mother, one of the top unproduced screenplays featured on the 2016 Black List, has been greenlit for production after receiving investment financing from agencies Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation and Screenwest.

Based on an original concept by Grant Sputore, who will make his directorial debut on the film, and writer Michael Lloyd Green, the sci-fi thriller tells the story of a lonely teenage girl known as Daughter, the first of a new generation of humans to be raised by Mother — a kindly robot designed to repopulate the earth after the extinction of mankind. Their unique bond is threatened when a blood-drenched woman (Drifter) inexplicably arrives at the bunker, begging for help and calling into question everything Daughter has been told about the outside world and her Mother’s intentions.

The film will be shot in the city of Adelaide in the coming months with rising young actress Clara Rugaard starring as Daughter. Casting is currently underway for the voice of Mother and the role of the Drifter. Weta Workshop will be creating the titular robot, with Rising Sun Pictures completing the film’s visual effects. Paris Kasidokostas-Latsis, whose film Good Time will screen In Competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is executive producing.

“Michael and I set out to create a screenplay that captures the excitement of the sci-fi thrillers we grew up watching, while exploring contemporary themes that would move, fascinate and enthrall audiences,” Sputore said of the film, which had a score of 14 on the Black List.

“With three female protagonists driving the central storyline and an emerging director who shows great promise at the helm, Mother was a chance for us to support a rare Australian sci-fi film with a unique and compelling concept,” added Sally Caplan, head of production at Screen Australia.  

Mother is being produced by The Penguin Empire’s Kelvin Munro and Southern Light Films’ Timothy White (Son of a Gun, Sleeping Beauty), and co-produced by Anna Vincent (Embrace). Executive producers are Jean-Luc de Fanti (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee), Terry Dougas (Jane Got A Gun), as well as Kasidokostas-Latsis. Rising Sun Pictures and Kojo are co-financing the film alongside the agencies.  International sales are being handled by Mister Smith Entertainment and WME Global.

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