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by MATTHEW EELES
Production has commenced on new horror/thriller, Encircled.
With strict social distancing measures in place, the team behind the new film will collaborate remotely and utilise an online process to commence VFX creation and conduct script readings, casting and detailed pre-visualisation.
Encircled follows six strangers caught within a protective circle in the aftermath of an occult ritual gone wrong with no memory of who they are or how they got there. They quickly discover the only way out is Hell.
“We were scheduled to start pre-production late April however despite the COVID- 19 shutdown we are moving ahead with some of the non studio-based elements of the movie,” said producer Ross Howden.
“Almost like making the film in reverse we will start with visual effects. Interestingly the techniques we were developing to create a virtual reality version of this film that were considered too avant-garde before COVID-19 will now allow us to complete the film regardless of social distancing. We also had to restructure the financing and cast. The budget had to be reduced and we will endeavour to accrue additional funds throughout production.”
Encircled will be directed by first-time feature filmmaker Christian Debney from a screenplay by Queensland-born writing duo Shayne Armstrong and S. P. Krause.
“Supernatural thrillers and elevated horror have really stepped up lately with audiences and visual quality,” said Debney.
“With Encircled it’s firstly a great story, but it’s going to look great with unique visual effects and strong theatrical like performances with the movie essentially running in real time. One advantage is that we have time to previsualize the whole production and determine exactly what we want, ready for when we start shooting.”
The film will utilise Stage 23 VFX at Fox Studios which was set up as a remote facility since conception.
“Many in the industry want to work and Encircled will give Australian creatives an opportunity to quickly return to production,” said producer Lawrence Lim of Tribal Apes.
“We hope to tap into the wealth of acting talent currently within Australia and use every online technology available to get the best production team together with the intent to shoot as soon as we can”.