Singing Freo’s praises

The Canary was shot off Freo’s beaches.

IF the snapshot of upcoming feature film The Canary is anything to go by, the full deal looks set to showcase the visual beauty of Fremantle’s waters to a huge audience.

Salt and Honey Productions’ 1800s period drama follows the mental and physical struggles of a young woman cast away on the open ocean with nothing but a lifeboat and a caged canary to aid in her survival.

The project was made by a Western Australian cast, crew, locations and businesses.

Last week a seven-minute short aimed at attracting funding for the full-length version pulled in four awards at the Five Continents International Film Festival, including the coveted Best Film. Along with the gongs for cinematography, art and costumes, the film also came runner up in the audience choice, best director and best production design categories. 

Writer, lead actor and co-director Emilie Lowe opened up about how her battle with dyslexia made it hard to pluck up the courage to take on a major feature film.

“I have always been passionate, but really doubted if I could handle such a task,” Lowe told the Herald.

Co-director and Scudley Films producer Peter Renzullo says being a legally blind director makes his work “as rich and clear as it can be”.

“The beauty of it is that I’ve got a focus assist on the camera which is a feature that lights up very harsh highlighted colours on the parts of the film that are in focus; if that wasn’t there I wouldn’t be able to see anything.”

Lowe says it’s “super hard” for newcomers to the industry, but urged them to “try everything and get out there and create”.

Renzullo agrees: “I think the most important thing is any free second you have; get on that camera, get in that studio, get whatever you’re doing, just go out and do it,” he said. “Go find the mistakes and learn to fix them.”

Lowe described The Canary as being a mix of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Life of Pi and Black Swan. 

“It’s been a wild ride so far, but we are all really enjoying working alongside each other and are so proud of what we are achieving together.”


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