JAMIE TOOMEY spoke with Lisa Duff, who is on tour with a film crew including actors Michael Caton and Ningali Lawford and director Jeremy Sims, promoting their new Australian film Last Cab to Darwin.
Hi Lisa. What is your role on Last Cab to Darwin?
I’m one of the producers.
What is the producer’s role?
The producer sources finance for the film, gives notes on script drafts, budgets the film, hires the crew, collaborates with the director on casting choices, decides with the key creatives on locations and the format of the film, and finally makes sure the film is delivered on time and to budget.
What drew you into making Last Cab?
I read the script for Last Cab quite a few years ago and prepared a budget for it. It was an amazing script and I had worked with the same team on Last Train to Freo.
How is Last Cab being received by audiences across Australia?
Audiences are loving Last Cab right across Australia, both in the city and in the country. There are many laughs and a quite a few tears.
What is it like being the producer this close to release date?
The promotional tour leading up to the release has been to many cities and cinemas. I’ve tried to go to as many cities as I could. I’m also still involved with the audit and delivery of the film to the international distributor so there’s definitely still a lot to be done. We’re also releasing a soundtrack which is very exciting.
What date is the film being released?
The film is being released nationally on August 6.
How can audiences see the film once it’s released? Where is it screening?
Last Cab will be released on over 215 screens Australia-wide which is a very large release for an Australian film. Cinemas large and small all over Australia will play Last Cab!!
Has the film been nominated for any awards yet?
We’ve entered the 2015 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards so hopefully we will get some nominations! Michael Caton’s performance is amazing – I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t nominated for an award. Reg Cribb and Jeremy Sims are also nominated for an AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild) award for the script.
Where has the film premiered so far?
The film has had premieres or previews in every state and territory of Australia. The Australian premiere was at the Sydney Film Festival at the State theatre with an audience of 2000 people.
Where is your favourite place so far on the promotional tour?
Broken Hill was probably my favourite place on the tour. It was the first time the cinema there had been full in many years. The audience was very appreciative that we had made the trip to premiere the film there, and a row of yellow cabs lined up outside the theatre. It was great to catch up with all the local extras and locations and the response to the film was amazing. The Deckchair cinema in Darwin was also very special.
Previously, you have worked with Jeremy, Reg & Greg on Last Train to Freo, can you explain how that was for you?
Last Train to Freo was a very different kind of film. We had a tiny budget and we had to be very resourceful to make it work. It was the first feature film for all of us so we learned a lot from the experience.
How has the film making experience changed since the making of Last Train to Freo?
Last Train to Freo was pretty much one studio location and shooting on a real train. Last Cab was many locations over a 3000km journey. The logistics were far more complex and the budget was three times the budget of Last Train to Freo. I think we needed the experience of Last Train to be confident in tackling a film with as many challenges as Last Cab.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got a two year contract at Screen Australia working as an investment manager in documentary. After that I’ll definitely be involved with production again.
Last Cab to Darwin opens around Australia on August 6.