CONTROL ROOM is a feature film project from the award-winning team of Tait Brady, Ben Phelps and Gabriel Dowrick. Between them they have won over 60 major awards and numerous accolades for their films, TV series, commercials and branded content. Their work has screened internationally in cinemas, TV, online and in over 200 prestigious film festivals from Berlin to Brisbane, Montreal to Melbourne, Seattle to Sydney, Tampere to Tropfest. The screenplay for CONTROL ROOM was a finalist in the acclaimed international competition, Script Pipeline 2016.
Here’s a 2-minute teaser. If you like this sizzle reel, you’ll love the film we want to make!
Two female ASIO spies – an idealistic analyst and a battle worn operative – have to cooperate to stop a terrorist attack on the Australian Prime Minister during a G20 summit, but they’ll have to do it all from the confines of a high-tech operations room that’s hidden within a Chinese restaurant.
We’re excited about this script because we love espionage thrillers and political dramas – two genres that are rarely made in Australian cinema.
In the tradition of low budget features, most of our story is set in a single location. A covert ASIO unit, called ‘The Hive’, has set up a nerve centre in a Chinese restaurant to monitor a G20 motorcade. Their only view to the outside world is via a wall of TV screens that depict the perspective of a lone field agent and a myriad of cameras across Sydney – CCTV, GoPros, drones and civilian smartphones. This component of their investigation will effectively take the form of another established, low budget technique – ‘found footage’. High concept, low budget.
Given that most of the film is set within the pressure cooker atmosphere of ‘The Hive’, we’ll be relying on experienced and charismatic actors to convey the escalating conflict as the clock ticks down. From a casting perspective, we’re excited about a film that’s led by two, strong female characters. By pitting an older Australian female actor against an emerging female actor of a younger generation, CONTROL ROOM will be a refreshing entry in international genre cinema. These characters aren’t simply wives or girlfriends. To the contrary, they totally drive the story.
Like Ben’s short films, CONTROL ROOM will be underpinned by a contemporary political theme. In this case, a universal dilemma faced by modern intelligence agencies will be explored from the perspective of Australia’s local spy organisation, ASIO: ‘Does the end justify the means?’ We can’t wait to take the step and bring this story to life!
Writers Gabriel Dowrick & Ben Phelps
Director Ben Phelps
Producers Tait Brady & Ben Phelps
Duration 100 minutes
Genre Espionage Thriller
Setting Contemporary Urban
Shoot Sydney, Australia
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Tait Brady – Producer
Tait has worked in a range of roles within the Australian film industry for more than 25 years. As a producer, he has co-produced 4 projects, including HEALING (Hugo Weaving, Don Hany, Xavier Samuel), and has others in active development with collaborators Rolf de Heer, Jason Byrne, Richard Frankland and Trish Lake. His most recent feature film is THE BBQ, starring Shane Jacobson (KENNY, THE BOURNE LEGACY) and Magda Szubanski (KATH & KIM, BABE). In 2013, Tait established the boutique distribution company, LABEL, to address the rapidly changing state of distribution for Australian films.
Tait is also a consultant to independent producers and film agencies on matters ranging from creative assessment and script development, to distribution and marketing. He lectures on industry matters at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and film institutions.
From 2004 to 2008, Tait was one of two Feature Film Evaluation Managers at the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC). He then transitioned into the newly formed Screen Australia as Director of Marketing in 2009-10, before making the move into independent film production.
Previously Tait had been General Manager of the leading independent distribution company, Palace Films (1996-2004), where his role included the management of acquisitions, marketing and distribution of numerous successful Australian releases. Prior to joining Palace, Tait was Director of the Melbourne International Film Festival for 9 years (1988-96) and an independent distributor, exhibitor & publicist.
Ben Phelps – Writer / Director
I’m an award-winning Writer and Director from Sydney, Australia. My passion for movies was ignited when I worked at an arthouse cinema while studying filmmaking and law at university. I’ve worked in the media industry for more than 10 years, writing screenplays, directing short films and producing branded online content.
Specialising in the Drama/Thriller genre, my films are underpinned by contemporary political themes that reflect my immediate environment. Anticipating the community tension that led to the infamous Cronulla riots in Sydney, my film CHECKPOINT (funded by Screen NSW) depicted an emotional encounter between a Lebanese-Australian family and a group of racist soldiers. I continued to explore Australian race relations with NICE SHOOTIN’ COWBOY (funded by Screen Australia), a portrayal about the complexity of cultural identity from the perspective of an Aboriginal teenage father.
My films have resonated with global audiences, garnering more than 20 awards and been selected for Official Competition in 100 international festivals, including 40 Academy Awards accredited festivals. Highlights include major prizes in Australia, USA, Canada, France, Italy, Spain and Russia. CHECKPOINT won the Jury Prize at Montreal Film Festival 2006 and a Dendy Award at Sydney Film Festival 2007. NICE SHOOTIN’ COWBOY became one of only 80 films eligible for the 2011 Oscars after winning Best Short Film at Austin Film Festival 2009. Check out the full list of Awards and Festivals. Both films were picked up for international distribution by Flickerfest and Arenafilm for broadcast in 6 countries, including SBS TV in Australia. I’m an alumnus of the competitive creative lab, Accelerator, at Melbourne International Film Festival and represented by Original Maverick.
Since directing short films, I’ve become a father to young children. As a Dad, my screenwriting has expanded to encompass themes about gender identity, privacy in the digital age and the rise of generational conflict in the workplace.
Gabriel Dowrick – Writer
Gabriel Dowrick has been fortunate to work successfully as both a Writer and Editor in Sydney, Australia. His produced feature writing credits include SKIN TRADE, a multi-lingual Canadian/Thai co-production starring Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White, Celina Jade and Ron Perlman and TERMINUS, an independent Australian Science-Fiction/Drama. As an editor he’s cut more than 100 episodes of Australian network television (including SOUL MATES, BLACK COMEDY, NO ACTIVITY and THE FAMILY LAW for ABC), numerous acclaimed short films that have played at the world’s most prestigious film festivals, and hundreds of commercials and music videos. His editing work can be seen at: www.gabrieldowrick.com