Eighteen undergraduate and graduate students joined the University’s media production unit and a raft of industry professionals for the 28-day shoot.
Murdoch alumnus and staff member Jeffory Asselin – who wrote, directed and produced the film – described it as Stand by Me meets Breaking Bad, shot with a Coen Brothers sensibility.
“The plot follows a teen living in a struggling industrial area who ends up working at a second-hand car yard that is actually a front for a drug syndicate. His mum is sick and needs an organ transplant, so he decides to rip off the criminals,” Mr Asselin said.
“It’s a hero’s journey, based around a fairly straightforward premise and shot in an indie commercial style. We wanted a serious story with moments of dark comedy that would appeal to a wide audience.”
A well-known local independent filmmaker, Mr Asselin was invited by Executive Producer and Graduate Screen Program Chair Melanie Rodriga to work with students and act as a mentor on a short film.
Instead, Mr Asselin upped the ante by proposing a feature script he had written specifically to be shot on a micro budget.
“After reading the script and hearing my plans for shooting, Melanie took a leap of faith and gave us the green light,” Mr Asselin said.
“I spent a good part of the year putting a team together, calling in favours from colleagues who I’d worked with in the past and finding people who had a high skill set and the temperament to work closely with students and provide mentorship.”
Following three months of pre-production, filming took 28 days, during which cast and crew battled an unseasonable wet Perth winter. Mr Asselin called the conditions ‘a challenge’ but precise planning allowed for interior shots on days when the weather wouldn’t cooperate.
“When the going got tough, the students really stood up. I was really impressed with how they got on with the job. In some ways, this was like bootcamp. At the end, you know if you want to work in the film production business,” he said.
The film is now in post-production, with Mr Asselin and Ms Rodriga hoping to get a final cut done within six months to take to local, national and international festivals.
“I’m thrilled with the footage and hope we can gain the interest of a distributor. We were up against it, but really, everything came together beautifully,” Mr Asselin said.
Pinch was directed, co-written and co-produced by Jeffory Asselin (Angel Pictures), co-written by Meg Shields (Transcendence Media) and Executive Produced by Melanie Rodriga.
To learn more about Pinch, see production photos and help support its journey, go to its Facebook page and LIKE it here.