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Friendship is a dangerous addiction.

WHAT IS METHLAND?

In 1995 police raided 12 amphetamine laboratories in Australia.

In the first year of the new millennium over 138 labs were uncovered.

By 2010 backyard labs had replaced foreign importers as the main suppliers of a highly potent drug known to law enforcement as crystal methamphetamine.

Users simply call it ice….

Methland is a contemporary crime thriller set in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. It is the story of three best friends who turn on each other when their excursions into petty crime expand into a big-time operation.

Methland works hard at subverting genre tropes. Much of its action is located inside the claustrophobic environment of a backyard amphetamine kitchen: a first for Australian cinema.

In the script, the amphetamine lab is used as both a narrative device and a dramatic metaphor. Turbulent chemical reactions occurring in the lab perfectly symbolise the unstable relationships within the gang.

In this story, loyalties are in flux, until finally morality escapes containment.

The irreversible nature of chemical transformation also represents an immutable truth learnt by Danny Freeborn, the script’s protagonist and cook. This occurs during a ferocious denouement where Danny perpetrates an act of terrible violence. Just as the compounds he mixes in the lab can never return to their original state, Danny realises too late that this deed will change him forever.

TEASER

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WRONG PLACE. WRONG TIME.
Walking into a suburban 7-Eleven Danny, a self-obsessed slacker, is caught up in an armed robbery.

The crooks make off with two cartons of cigarettes, some petty cash and $20,000 worth of ecstasy – Danny’s ecstasy.

Although, technically, Danny hasn’t paid for the pills ...

The man out of pocket is a ruthless, right- wing motivational speaker known only as The Coach.

To pay their debt Danny and his two partners are ordered to firebomb an amphetamine lab run by one of The Coach’s criminal rivals.

During the successful raid, the gang steal boxes of pseudoephedrine–the precursor drug used to manufacture ice.

It is a victory. An opportunity.

Now Danny wants to become a cook ...

SYNOPSIS

ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS:

When a self obsessed slacker, convinces his two best friends to start cooking amphetamines his criminality leads to betrayal, the kidnapping of his daughter and a transformative act of violence.

SOME FRIENDSHIPS ARE LIKE ADDICTIONS. THEY’RE DANGEROUS. HARD TO KICK.

SHORT SYNOPSIS:

When a self-obsessed slacker named Danny convinces his two best friends and partners in a petty drug dealing business to start manufacturing methamphetamines, sexual rivalries and greed fracture the gang’s allegiances.

When professional criminals close in on the operation, kidnapping Danny’sestranged 14-year-old year-old daughter, the gang’s personal animosity implodes becoming as dangerous as the threat from outside criminalinterests.

Finally, in a desperate gambit to save himself and his daughter, Danny murders someone, unaware this cold- blooded act may irrevocably change him and destroy any chance he has with re-establishing a relationship with his only child.

DIRECTOR'S TREATMENT

TASK/CONCEPT:

To explore the powerful themes in Methland, the film must present a realistic, believable world. Just as importantly, this ridged reality must be breached by fantasy, delirium and intoxication as minds unravel at the story’s climax.

THE STYLE:

Methland seeks to be a cinematic experience. This will be achieved by shooting in a classical style. Carefully framed and designed shots will be utilised to capture the world our characters inhabit. In the early stages of the story the camera will be locked off. Movement will be controlled with dollies, pans and a steadycam to create an energetic and fluid mood, keeping the audience engaged with the story while creating high-level production value.

As the film progresses, the camera will become looser, employing handheld techniques typical of a doco-drama. In the desperate finale, fast-paced editing combined with close-ups and whip pans will leave the audience breathless

THE LOOK:

Production and costume design will be tightly integrated with camera and lighting to create a colour palette that is representative of the different realities that our protagonists experience. By utilising striking, garish colours in lighting and costume, the look will depict the fantasy lifestyle of Danny and his crew as they party in clubs and warehouses as a decadent, flamboyant world.

In contrast, the violent underworld inhabited by Coach and the criminals of Methland will be notable by the absence of these vibrant colours – theirs is a grim underworld dominated by browns and greys. It will be almost monochromatic like a place for the living dead.

The colour grade will be the refinement of these intentions, allowing subtle manipulation of colour and tone, and producing a finished product of the highest quality.

SOUND DESIGN:

The sound design and score will be essential to carry a narrative focused on the music of the new millennium.

In the nightclub and warehouse scenes the music will be a sonic assault. Other scenes will require a more emotive and subtle treatment. My plan is to use a traditional score created by electronic musicians, augmented with songs and tracks by bands and DJ’s. Different characters will also possess their own design, helping convey the arc and fate of their journey.

Already many Melbourne musicians are enthusiastic about working on this brief. The release of a soundtrack compilation will become an important part of the marketing of the film’s release.

CASTING/PERFORMANCE:

Casting agents and actors have responded very enthusiastically to the screenplay. Because of this, I am confident the film can attract some big names in the industry to play the roles of Noyce and Coach.

A talented up-and-coming American actor has also shown interest in the role of Ada, which will help sales in an international market. Less recognisable actors will be cast in the key roles of Danny, Eric and Heidi, and I hope their involvement will lead to breakout performances.

Performances will be raw and authentic. I want to see the grit under Eric’s fingernails, I want to smell the chemicals in Danny’s hair and I want to taste the blood on Heidi’s hands. I expect my actors to live and breathe the dangers in the Methland jungle before and after they have given their performance.

CHARACTER BIOS

THE GANG

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DANNY FREEBORN (30)

Danny wants more from life. He wants to step up his petty drug dealing business, he wants to be closer to his estranged teenage daughter and he wants the love of his business partner’s girlfriend. But when these desires catapult him into a maelstrom of criminality and mayhem, he has never been further away from what he wants.

Now Danny must dig deep just to survive.

Transforming from a passive into an active character Danny will discover capacities within himself that he never knew he had. He will pass beyond the point of no return, realising too late his soul has been corrupted by these changes. After a shocking denouement, Danny is confronted by his own reflection in a mirror. He cannot reconcile his identity with the stranger staring back at him.

“I look back at my life and all i see are the chances i never took. this is my stand.”

ERIC DUGAN (30)

Competitive, egotistical, self-destructive, talented and street smart, Eric is an established DJ in Melbourne’s underground dance culture. For over ten years Eric has promoted his musicianship and petty drug- dealing business with ruthless efficiency, employing scams and lies to get what he wants.

But now the destruction he has left in his wake is stacking up. The walls are closing in and he will do whatever it takes to escape the crush.

"Caffeine can kill you if you have too much. It's about the dose.”

HEIDI FOSS (34)

Heidi is the third point on the triangle that connects Danny and Eric with herself. She is the rudder of the gang. Self aware, smart, and level-headed, she steers the gang between Danny’s listless outlook and Eric’s full-tilt-boogie attitude. Heidi brings balance and equilibrium to the dynamic.

But herein lies her paradox, for Heidi is more than prepared to play the boys off each other for her own personal gain. Perhaps, more than any other character, Heidi is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“I’M IN CONTROL.”
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THE TEENAGER

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ADA BRADY (14)

Danny’s estranged daughter, Ada, is a bright and driven tomboy full of spunk, energy and real musical talent. Like all 14-year-olds Ada is a person in transition. Her body is on the cusp of developing into womanhood while her soul is ready to leap from childhood into adolescence. Joining these physical and spiritual changes is a new and irrepressible energy bursting out from inside her: social rebellion.

Ada is determined to be herself but before she can transform into that being she must first understand who that person really is.

Ada’s life will be jeopardised in the pursuit of this discovery.

“I’ll do it. Whatever, but you have to be honest with me. The truth. That’s all I want.”

THE CRIMS

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REGGIE SAAROSY - THE COACH (50+)

The prime antagonist of Methland is a charismatic, right-wing motivational speaker known as The Coach. He is a powerful and controversial community figure with thousands of acolytes who follow his reactionary, xenophobic philosophies like mindless zealots. He is also the ruthless Godfather of a criminal empire that has its claws into Danny’s gang.

The Coach is a connoisseur of Roman history and has modelled his public persona on the great and powerful emperors. He once read an anecdote about Marcus Aurelius. When Aurelius walked the streets, crowds came to cheer him. They screamed and hooted as he passed, praising him as a divine being. To temper his ego Marcus Aurelius paid a slave to walk with him and whisper continually into his ear, “You are only a man”.

When The Coach enters auditoriums to the adulation of his minions he has Mozzie Jamison, his right-hand man and lover, whisper to him, “It is true! You are a god”.

“Professional men, they have no care about the job; whatever happens, they get theirs. But if you can motivate an amateur correctly, when you have their balls in your hand ... And you squeeeeze ... They’ll die trying to get the job done.”

MOZZIE JAMISON (24)

The Coach’s right-hand man and lover is the youthful Mozzie Jamison. Mozzie is a hairdressing enforcer. He loves blow waves and ultra-violence. He is a vain, undiagnosed sociopath whose only care is to impress his boss.

Mozzie is the only character in Methland’s universe who has killed a man. It is something he could do again as flippantly as crushing an insect.

“I’LL SCRATCH OUT THEIR EYES”

ROY NOYCE (50+)

Roy Noyce abhors violence. He is an amphetamine cook forced into a criminal career to raise the funds needed to care for his daughter who was born with cerebral palsy.

Roy has a kind heart, not an asset in this criminal world of callous indifference.

When Danny’s gang are forced by The Coach to firebomb Roy’s lab, he becomes just another victim in The Coach’s manoeuvres towards the construction of an absolute criminal empire.

Roy is a man fighting for his livelihood. This is enough to twist his empathetic worldview towards righteous brutality. It is Roy who kidnaps Danny’s daughter Ada, holding her for ransom.

“This is crime, boy: there is no way out! There is only the end.”

CAST & CREW

Director - Ash Harris

THE DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

ASH HARRIS

Ash, with a background in Film, Education and Business Management is the founder and Creative Producer/Director of Melbourne based production company, Yonnie Piffen Productions. The Yonnie Piffen team, overseen by Ash, is currently producing Short Films and Web Films as well as having three Feature Films in development.

Ash completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Film and Television Producing at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in 2005. Ash followed that course up at the same college with a Masters in Film and Television – Script Writing.

“Best and Fairest”, Ash’s graduating produced film won the VCA ‘Best Film’ prize and has been screened at numerous film festivals both in Australia and Internationally.

In 2011, Ash produced a Film Victorian funded, 27-minute short film, titled, "Tethered" which managed to be nominated and win various awards around the globe.

Ash also released a short film, “Long Way Down” in May 2015. Steve Jablonski and Ash produced this project whilst Ash directed it. This film received several awards and was accepted into various film festivals around the world.

Writing-wise, Ash has written a feature-length script, a psychological thriller set in the outback of Australia, entitled, “Recreant Memories”. Ash also directed/produced a 20-minute short relating to the feature film entitled, “Mindseye”. He hopes to attract investors with this short film and aims to be in production with the feature by early 2019.

Ash is also collaborating with two other Melbourne based writers on two feature films respectively, entitled, “How do you know Chris?” and “Methland”. Both are low budget, character-driven films. Both “How do you know Chris?” and “Methland” have been greenlit and go into production in 2018. Ash will direct both of these films.

More recently, Ash has released a short film, “The Goth” in early 2018.

Writer - Stuart W Taylor

THE WRITER

STUART W. TAYLOR

I have spent years scrawling words on paper. Some of these scratchings have grown into short films, plays, monologues and cabaret performances. Others have withered on the vine.

Like the malformed bastard children of the Tudor kings these failures are kept from public sight, locked away in filing cabinets or stuffed into musty shoeboxes.

Revisiting them is an unsettling experience as feelings of defeat and guilt battle a profound belief in their latent potency.

After the marathon that was the creation of Methland, I plan to continue writing. I desire the creation of things undreamed of and unique.

I also hope to rehabilitate my imperfect children and watch as they walk proudly in full view.

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