Meet the cast and crew of Andy Sutton’s Australian Sci-Fi short The Army Within

The Army Within

Written, Produced & Directed by: Andy Sutton
Starring: Paul Pantano, May Grehan, Ben Davy-Thorburn, Paul Berenger and Matt James

On the brink of an alien invasion childhood sweet hearts Traye and Sally are thrust into an inescapable turn of events. Now Traye has to face his biggest fears while protecting the girl he loves as she fights for her life. The entire human race is now forced to battle the army within.

The Army Within Cinema Australia

Paul Pantano and May Grehan in The Army Within.

Andy Sutton Writer and Director 

As a VFX artist I find myself being inspired by all genres of film making especially creature features.

After designing a creature of my own it was only natural to write a story about it.

In 2011, I co wrote and directed a film based on my creature design in a short film entitled Too Late. In the following year, I wrote and directed another short film entitled Repopulation.

Based on the content and ideas of these 2 films, I later wrote 10 episodes of The Army Within but with a more in depth story line. I guess you have to break some eggs to make an omelette.

Once the script was completed I then approached several candidates for the roles I required for the film. There were many great actors and actresses out there willing and eager to be a part of the film. However I sought talent that would immerse themselves in the character roles and take on their persona for example, their reactions and responses when thrown into a catastrophic chain of events while their world crumbled around them.

Paul Pantano and May Grehan were the exact talent I was looking for. Both of them possessed the skills that could bring these characters to life.

My goal is for my audience to feel isolated and trapped to the point where they’re relying totally on the characters for the way out and to take them back to their safe and secure life. Paul and May did just that.

Early September 2013 production began with DOP Aleksei Vanamois and the TAW crew. Originally we had a 3 night shoot planned; unfortunately it took a little longer. On our fourth and final night shoot we had completed what I consider to be the hardest part of the film making process but then the fun part would begin…post production.

I quickly got started cutting the film to where I was happy with the pace. While sound design by Kyle Evans in Melbourne went into full swing, the film was being colour graded in Mexico by Heather Hay.

Once the colour grade was complete I could get started on the VFX. Many challenges took place through the 12 months of this process but fortunately I had help from industry friends and colleagues.

Chris Gardner Technical Supervisor; Amanda Lee & Jordan McInnes, Character Riggers; Sina Rahimpour FX Artist.

Just on completion of the VFX George Kalyvas from Athens,Greece, agreed to come on board and write the extremely dynamic and well designed score for the film. Finally I flew to Queensland, Australia for the mix down where Thom Kellar gave TAW the power and edge that it rightly deserved.

Having no budget for the film, this project was driven by the passion and commitment of everyone who was involved.

I’m also very excited to announce that TAW is in production to becoming a Comic book .

This will be the first issue of ten and we hope to make an episode for each issue.

For more info go to http://www.geartrain.com.au and SUBSCRIBE.

The Army Within Poster Cinema Australia

Paul Pantano Traye

In early 2013, I was approached by Andy with the opportunity to read a pilot for a web series he had been working on.

I was able to watch previous short films by Andy that portrayed the ideas of his concept and I was immediately convinced that he had the talent behind the camera to pull it off.

After reading the script, I was able to meet with Andy and talk about the pilot and how we both liked to work.

Once Andy had cast the lead actress we were able to meet again and work through each scene and I loved how Andy was so flexible with the script and allowed input of the actors considering it was his ‘baby.’

After these meetings, I had a clear idea of Traye as a character and his journey. I worked on character actions and objectives for each scene and used the practical aesthetics method.

We had four long and gruelling cold winter night shoots with the final night forced to wrap only because the sun was rising.

I found the shoot challenging but a rewarding experience, Andy assembled a great crew together and I enjoyed being directed by him as I felt he understood the relationship between an actor and director as one of collaboration and understanding.

I was constantly seeking Andy’s approval as certain scenes required a reaction to something that wasn’t there and went against every fibre in my being as an actor coming from the idea of reacting to a reality rather than ‘acting’. It was here that our relationship formed leading up to the shoot resulted in me trusting Andy’s judgement.

Once I saw the final product, I was blown away at firstly what we had achieved on zero budget but more so at Andy’s talent in the edit suite and the visual effects side of things.

So proud that I had this opportunity.

May Grehan Sally

I had just moved to Sydney, I’d decided to film myself doing a scene a week in attempts to become a Youtube celebrity with no avail but it worked for attracting a certain director looking for the perfect Sal. I received a message from Writer/ Director Andy Sutton to star in The Army Within.

I read the script, fell in love not only with the first short but the whole series and soon enough we were up and running. It was a 4 night shoot, by a committed team and we think we made something pretty awesome! Enjoy!

“A great thing happened on our way to an alien invasion..” 

Back in August 2013 while in preproduction stage I met with Lisa Cotterill (SFX Make Up Artist) and Ben Davy-Thorburn (Actor) for a head cast that would later be used to assist Lisa to sculpt her prosthetic effects for the Subhuman transition of Samuel. I was aware that Lisa had spoken to Ben a day before, advising him of the procedure that would take place. Little did I know at the time that they had become good friends in such a short time. All went well as planned on the day of his head casting and preproduction went ahead as normal.

On Ben’s first day of the shoot. Lisa and Ben arrived on set together. The crew and I were a little puzzled by this. I then jokingly asked, “Did you guys have a slumber party?” A very sheepish look came upon their faces. Lisa quickly stated they arrived together because Ben lived close and she picked him up on her way to the set location.

During the shoot while setting up for the next shot, Ben began to speak of his girl friend; Paul Pantano (actor) asked what she did for a living. Ben avoided the question leaving us confused by his silence. Later after the shoot the penny dropped as we saw the affection they were showing one another.

I’m happy to announce Ben and Lisa are engaged and living together in Sydney. Not only was this an on-set romance, it was one of the highlights in the making of this film. I feel blessed to have been a part of it and believe it’s a wonderful and unique outcome for two exceptionally talented people to find each other through an alien invasion.

For photos on the day of the head casting with Lisa and Ben visit https://www.facebook.com/thearmywithin and check out the album ‘Head casting day’as well as catch a glimpse of their budding romance.

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