‘Too Dark’ Filmmakers Toast to South Australian Screen Awards Success

Photo: Simon Cecere

Photo: Simon Cecere

It’s literally been a long time between drinks for the creative team behind acclaimed short film ‘Too Dark’. The comedy-horror about a damsel in distress who turns the tables on her inept assailant leads the South Australian Screen Awards (SASA) race with eight nominations.

Over ten years after meeting at South Australian Film Corporation Thank God It’s Friday drinks, producer Michael Clarkin, screenwriter Dave Haddin and director Sean Lahiff will be enjoying well-earned drinks at the SASA Gala Evening, which will be held at the Mercury Cinema on Friday 15 May.

The trio’s SASA nominations include: Best Director, Sean Lahiff; Best Writer, Dave Haddin; Best Short Film, Michael Clarkin and Sean Lahiff; Best Comedy, Michael Clarkin and Sean Lahiff; Best Cinematographer Nima Nabili Rad and Best Performance for actor-turned-model and current Miss Universe South Australia state finalist Sarah Jeavons.

Sean Lahiff has a total of five nominations, rounded out by nominations for ‘Best Editor’ and ‘Best Sound Design’. Sean is ‘overwhelmed’ by the film’s response, offering, “We’re beyond thrilled that our work has been recognised by our peers with such enthusiasm!”

‘Too Dark’ was shot in the Adelaide Hills between Sean’s commitments as Picture Editor on two Greg Mclean films: ‘Wolf Creek 2’ and the upcoming ‘6 Miranda Drive’ starring Kevin Bacon and Rhada Mitchell.

‘Too Dark’ also stars local thesp Brendan Rock (‘Snowtown’, ‘Jack Irish’ and the upcoming ‘Deadline Gallipoli’).

Screenwriter Dave explains, “I first met Michael at SA Film Corp TGIF drinks which were held at the old Hendon studios every few months. It was a really relaxed way to meet people in the industry as people would loosen up over a beer or a glass of wine.”

Michael adds, “After a beer with Dave, it was obvious we grew up watching the same movies and we shared a love of genre – sci-fi and horror. At this time there was a buzz in the local film scene about a Flinders student who had made a sci-fi film that was winning rave reviews at festivals around the globe. Of course, that student was Sean Lahiff and his film ‘Sterilising Sol 3’ blew everyone away!”

Dave, Michael and Sean would later meet at SA Film Corp TGIF drinks and it was obvious they had a lot in common. Michael recalls, “Sean had confided in me he was looking to work with a writer and so I set up a kind of filmmaking date between the three of us. Dave and Sean got along famously and almost immediately started to develop feature films, TV properties and short films.”

Sean contributes, “The way the three of us gravitated towards each other was a purely organic, natural process, which can be rare in this industry.”

The three also share a love of hard rock and metal.

This love for rock extends to the choice of composer for ‘Too Dark’, Paris-based American indie music legend Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, REM and Big Star fame. Michael explains, “Through The Posies, Ken has contributed music to films including ‘Reality Bites’ and the first ‘Austin Powers’. I was thrilled he accepted the offer to compose our score!”

Sean adds, ”Ken’s music provided the film’s heartbeat. I hope we can work with Ken on future projects.”

In the immediate term, the filmmakers are turning their attention to more short films. Michael adds, “We’re looking at producing a film for this year’s Tropfest. We’d also like to produce future short and long-form projects with the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival.”

Sean exclaims, “Dave is such a committed writer that we’ve built up a substantial catalogue of scripts. I’m excited at the prospect of working with Michael to bring more of Dave’s screenplays to the screen!”

The full 2015 SASA nominations can be viewed here.

The SASAs Gala Evening will be held at the Mercury Cinema on Friday 15 May. The indelible Sandy George, SBS film presenter, is the evening’s host.

The ‘Best of the SASAs’ screenings will take place on Saturday 16 May and Sunday 17 May. Tickets will soon be available from the Mercury Cinema website.

Michael and Sean can be heard on 891 ABC Adelaide’s ‘Mornings with Ian Henschke’ at 10:30am this Monday 20 April.

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