Producing Teenage Kicks
Annmaree Bell, producer and founder at Azure Productions in the Sydney, Australia area, is presently developing the feature film Teenage Kicks. Bell says, “The film came from a short film we made called Drowning.” In the short, teen Mik has suddenly lost his older brother. The one solid thing in his life is his best friend Dan. But Dan has a new girlfriend…
Bell says, “Craig Boreham, writer and director on the short film, spent some time with the characters, and the feature-length Teenage Kicks was born.”
The extended story: In the summer of his 17th year, Mik Varga’s world has come tumbling down. His plan to run away and escape the hold of his migrant family has been brutally undone by the unexpected death of his older brother, Tomi. Only Mik knows the events that led to the tragedy and as far as he can see there is only one person to blame. Himself.
What makes a story producible?
“Firstly I look for characters that I want to spend time with. As a producer you spend anywhere from three to 20 years with these characters. You need to want to go on the journey with them. Then I look for the story: are we taking these characters on a compelling story?”
Bell’s production company has screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide. She most recently completed the thriller/horror feature film, The Jungle, with writer/director/producer Andrew Traucki. Other projects include: the short film Sanctuary with writer/director Benedict Samuel; The Bunker with Rebecca writer/director Kate Vinen; Blue Monday with Drowning writer/director Craig Boreham; and The Boy Alien with actor/director Miles Szanto.
We asked Bell about the process of producing a feature-length film? What is typically her biggest challenge?
“The biggest challenge in Australia,” she says, “is local distribution. To qualify for the tax credits, we need a theatrical distribution. Therefore that is the main key to the whole puzzle. Once you get that together, financing is definitely the next biggest challenge.”
Her advice for any emerging filmmaker seeking to produce a film: “I always tell people, the key to a film is the people you are making it with. That relationship needs to withstand rejection after rejection. Then it needs to withstand the highs and lows of the financing roundabout. One minute its green, the next its red. The producer/director/writer relationship needs to withstand that roundabout.”
More on Annmaree Bell: