Western Sydney film producers are celebrating the advance of film and theatre across the region, with increasing attention paid to creative talent.
Film producer and actress Maria Tran, from Carramar, is one of those enjoying the expansion of Western Sydney’s arts scene – and she hopes to see the world’s biggest martial arts film star taking note of the expansion.
Ms Tran was recently awarded a $3000 grant after pitching her kung fu supernatural comedy screenplay to a panel that included commissioning editors from SBS and established independent producers.
She then took part in a six-week program designed to mentor and support her and her fellow producers as they developed their scripts.
The Produce Perfect program is run by Screen Cultures from Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) and Screen Producers Australia, and emphasises ‘cultural diversity and experience’ in film and TV.
One of three regional producers to take part in the prorgam, Ms Tran said the fact that the mentors and guest speakers came to Parramatta to work with the participants was a big change from earlier times.
“They literally organised themselves to come here, to hear the stories and hear the pitches,” she said.
“People are starting to realise that all the talent and awareness is here in Western Sydney, we just need to get our skills up.”
The grant represents a shift away from the assumption that anyone who wishes to pursue a creative career has to move into central Sydney, or internationally.
She said that the growth of the cultural scene in the region means young creatives are sensing that a move away from Western Sydney is no longer a requirement for a career.
"Western Sydney is becoming the hub,” Ms Tran said.
“We’ll be pretty much leading the pack, and organisations like ICE can see that.”
Ms Tran’s project, Fury from the Far East, takes apart her most-loved martial arts genre and juxtaposes it with history, comedy and supernatural themes.
Currently in development, she plans to have the film underway in September, with a notable local cast.
But more than that, she hopes to see Jackie Chan visit Western Sydney when he arrives to film his latest movie in Sydney next month.
The futuristic sci-fi film, Bleeding Steel, is set to start production in Sydney and looks to be the biggest Chinese film production in Australia yet.
“If he’s coming, he would love to see things that are made from the community that is a part of his genre,” Ms Tran said.
“I’m hoping that maybe with my project I can get a little bit closer to him.
“Fingers crossed that he can come out to Fairfield and Cabramatta, and be a part of our community.”