Therese Chen is a producer and filmmaker with Phoenix Eye Film Productions in Fairfield, Western Sydney. In 2018 Therese attended I.C.E.’s Produce Perfect skills development workshops for emerging screen content producers, and in 2019 was a finalist in the Greenlight pitching workshops with I.C.E. and Compton School. Therese shares her experience of the pitching workshops:
What project did you pitch at Greenlight 2019?
Last year at the Greenlight pilot pitching session I pitched an action feature film ‘Echo 8’, a project I am producing with Phoenix Eye. ‘Echo 8’ is set in Cabramatta about a female assassin, played by Maria Tran, who has lost her memory and is on a journey piecing together her past. It’s a high-energy action film with a psychological mystery at its heart, as our anti-hero, Maria Tran’s assassin character, slowly discovers her handler is not who he seems to be.
Why do you think it’s important to develop pitching skills and how did the Greenlight experience help?
With the screen industry in Australia, you are always pitching, to either the funding bodies or the distributors, or to your own collaborators. I’ve come to realise pitching is one of the most important skills for a producer.
The Greenlight workshops were good because you were rehearsing the pitch with other filmmakers like yourself, hearing their pitches and hearing what they thought of yours. It was good for getting practical advice from the facilitators from ICE and Compton School, like techniques for overcoming nerves, how to focus on key points of the project you’re pitching.
I think it’s a good starting point for anyone with a new idea.
Where is your project at now?
We shot the first stage of ‘Echo8’ in February and March this year, before we were closed down by the pandemic like the rest of the industry. We used the resources of Phoenix Eye to shoot 70-90 minutes of the feature, shot mostly in the one location.
Once shooting was shut down, we started editing what we had. The time has allowed us to really look at the material we have and identify the pick up scenes we want to shoot.
I think we have strong material we can use to secure more resources and approach distributors. It’s part of our pitch, material that shows our project as a riveting action-thriller in the vein of ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’ and ‘Unknown’. An exciting locally-based production for audiences who love the action genre with a strong female lead.
Image: ‘Therese Chen at the Greenlight Pitching Lab’ Barry Gamba 2019