About two years ago, just a few months after I’d finished up after over 8 years on The Project, Luke Eve approached me with an extremely exciting opportunity. Luke and I had bonded when we were both touring Europe accompanying our respective series (High Life and Bruce) as they swept the 2017 webfest circuit. I loved Luke’s work, and we talked about working together at some point.
By early 2021, Luke had become a bit of a known face, along with his fiancée Maria and his mum Karen, thanks to Cancelled, the based-on-true story shot during the Spanish lockdown which, with a couple days’ notice, had left him with an indefinitely postponed wedding and a stranded mum. It was brave and funny, a heartbreaking yet life-affirming story that echoed the struggles the whole world was facing.
I was rapt when Luke came to me with a project alongside US producer Adam Alcabes, who I’d met on the same night in Marseilles when Luke and I had reconnected (at some bar featuring a giant inflatable garden gnome). He and Luke had a project that Adam suggested I could co-write.
“Despite hating you, I agreed that you would be good”, Luke wrote. Aww, he knew just how to win me over.
I loved the concept instantly: a film based around a key event in the development of competitive women’s skateboarding. The inaugural Women’s World Cup, and the tour of Australia made by some of the world’s best female skaters leading up to the event. Set in the very recent yet very different world of 2002, a mobile sharehouse of rebellious punk attitude, friendship and rivalry, a group on the fringes of the fringes, bonding and scrapping to determine who will be etched in history as the first ever female champion.
After a small hiatus during which Maria gave birth (which naturally Luke documented in Cancelled’s follow-up series ReCancelled), I teamed up with the wonderful Alli Parker to develop a feature script about smashing the skateriarchy. Alli writes in a beautiful, authentic queer voice and had story sense sharpened to a diamond tip from years in TV writers’ rooms.
(Side plug: I cannot wait to read her forthcoming debut novel At the Foot of the Cherry Tree based on the story of Alli’s grandparents, Australia’s first Japanese war bride and her Australian husband.)
The four of us were scattered all across the globe in a timezone nightmare, but somehow managed to meet up. Alli and I quickly found a strong creative chemistry which has only deepened over time. We started throwing ideas into the sort of multi-coloured Google Sheet that can induce migraines, but which I find almost soothing. A plot slowly took shape, characters grew real in our minds, spreadsheet cells got coloured in.
The spreadsheet evolved into an 18-page treatment and a pitch deck for a feature film called FLIP. I’m thrilled to say that Screen Australia have now granted us some money to write a first draft screenplay. It’s a validation of the approach we’re taking to make a genre-smashing film tale full of heart and humour, exploring gender, sexuality, competition and community.
So now we’ve flipped into the script, or at least into questioning absolutely everything in the treatment, which I guess has now served its purpose. We’ve had some fantastic input from our script editor Clare Atkins, and we have some other team members on the horizon that just about blow my mind. I’m confident we’re going to write a wild and moving script that will make for a wonderful, meaningful film.
Meanwhile, Luke’s filming his own long-delayed wedding, the feature film finale UnCancelled, around the clock and Spanish festivals. Unless he’s planning a really big change – like, um, learning to skate – we’ll try and keep him on the other side of the camera for his next film. But first, Alli and Wok have a lot of screenwriting to do…