Jai Courtney, Celeste Barber, Deborah Mailman, Matt Day, Tom Budge, Genevieve Lemon and Jack Thompson have been cast in director John Sheedy’s second feature Runt, with cameras rolling on Monday (October 23) in Western Australia.
However it is Lily LaTorre, who plays 11-year-old Annie, and adopted stray dog Squid in the title role of Runt, who will be the stand-out stars as their characters make up the champion dog agility double-act that might just save the family’s sheep farm. LaTorre’s brother Jack is also in the cast.
Prolific author Craig Silvey wrote the script for Sheedy and Jamie Hilton of See Pictures is producing. Runt will also shoot in London where part of the story is set.
Studiocanal is handling international sales and will distribute directly in Australia and New Zealand. The company’s sales team has described the film as “heartfelt” and “hilarious”.
“I wasn’t looking to do another family film but [Silvey] presented it to me and I was flattered and it was beautiful and full of heart and humour and I thought ‘I’m in’,” Sheedy told Screendaily.
“And it had dogs,” he continued. “They say don’t work with children and animals but I’m a sucker for both … And the world is a very mean-spirited place right now and we need an unashamedly feel-good film.”
Sheedy’s debut feature H Is For Happiness won the A$100,000 CinefestOZ film prize in 2019 and opened Generation KPlus at the 2020 Berlinale, where it received a special mention from the jury. He has won multiple awards for his theatre work.
Since being published last year, Silvey’s book Runt, which he wrote after the script, has won most of the major Australian awards honouring books for young people. “The See Pictures team, investors, and many of our crew and cast are Aussie parents making this joyful film for our kids and grandchildren,” says Hilton. “We’re trying to channel timeless characters like Babe and Paddington, to create an Australian legend we can all cherish.”Hilton is part of Home Fire Creative Industries, a group of Western Australians working with the government to develop a studio facility in the state.Runt is financed by Screen Australia, state agency Screenwest, Lotterywest, the WA Regional Screen Fund, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, a collective of private investors under the Birdbath banner, state agency Screen NSW, and Spectrum Entertainment.WA is having its biggest year of scripted production on record according to Screenwest chief executive Rikki Lea Bestall.Tokyo film festival outlines three priorities for bumper 2023 edition