BLACK WATER SPRINGS

A film by Kate Riedl
An original screenplay by Stephen Sewell
A pictorial journey into the world of love and mystery...

First love throws Lucy Devo, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Jack Devo, a local cop in the small town of Black Water Springs, into unchartered waters when she becomes enmeshed in the attempt to find the killer of eighty-two year old Mrs Pritchard.

Exploring the suspicions and fear of a rural country town, Lucy finds out what really lurks beneath the surface of Black Water Springs, and in doing so, puts her childhood behind, and enters the treacherous flood of adult life.

1. EXT. THE RIVER DAY

Sunlight shimmers on the bright grassland, and moving across the sparkly summer vista of pasture and gently grazing cows, we pick up a bunch of kids on push bikes and scooters as they move excitedly along a track that takes them past the apple orchard, and down the bank of a wide, dark river...

... There's a book of Byron's poetry in the bicycle basket of the pretty seventeen year old girl, Lucy Devo, who is standing amidst the red apples shading her eyes as she watches something down on the river. A freckly ten year old, JP, rides up beside her, swimming togs in hand...

JP sees someone struggling with something in the water under the old bridge as kids in wet togs stand awkwardly about...

JP: Is that Dad?

A handsome cop is in the water, pulling something out as kids' voices are heard crying excitedly...

JP looks back and sees the cop drag himself out of the black water, holding a little, half-naked figure, white and lifeless in his arms...

Throwing the kid on the grass, JACK thumps his chest, crying...

JACK: Breathe! Breathe!

JACK: I don't want either of you goin' anywhere near that water.

MRS PRITCHARD: When's your husband going to do something about those devils down at the bridge?

JP: What devils down the river, Dad? Are there devils in the river?

LUCY: Not everyone who lives in this town is nice, Mum.

EVE: Of course they are, Lucy, this is Black Water Springs. They won't let you in unless you're nice.

EVE: Such a sweet, innocent country this is, where old ladies get bashed to death and young people kill themselves from despair every day.

EVE (TO JACK): Well, see what happens when you talk to people you find things out.

MR WOODS: Some people bring these things on themselves...

JP: What would you put in a dead person's pocket, Dad?

Lucy

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Lord Byron

My window shows the travelling clouds,
Leaves spent, new seasons, alter'd sky,
The making and the melting crowds:
The whole world passes; I stand by.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sean

33. EXT. SUPERMARKET LOADING BAY... EVENING

Carrying the vegetables out to the car, Lucy notices something that suddenly stills her. It's him. The Boy.

ANGE: He's the king of the river, that's what they call him.

SEAN: Do you still want me to take you to the school formal?

She looks up at him...

122 INT. LUCY'S BEDROOM EVENING

Lucy is holding up a new frock...

LUCY: So what do you think?

ANGE: That's not what your mother made! That's the dress in the shop!

LUCY: So what do you think?

ANGE: It's beautiful!

SEAN notices...

SEAN: Your mother's dress...

LUCY: I decided to wear it to the formal...

SEAN: You know what I wanted, Luce? All I wanted was a way out.

LUCY: Then why didn't you take it?

Only you can make this world seem right...
Only you can make the darkness bright...
Only you and you alone...
Can thrill me like you do...
And fill my heart with love for only you...
Only you can make oh this change in me...
For it's true you are my destiny...
When you hold my hand I understand...
The magic that you do...
You're my dream come true...
My one and only you...
Only you can make oh this change in me...
For it's true you are my destiny...
When you hold my hand I understand...
The magic that you do...
You're my dream come true...
My one and only you...

The Platters

SEAN: One time my mother said to me, "You can be born in shadows but walk in light" - That's how I'd like it to be.

SEAN: You don't give a watch to someone without a future, do you? She thought I had a future And that's what I wanted to show you.

BLACK WATER SPRINGS

SYNOPSIS

One lazy summer's eve in Black Water Springs, a small apple growing town on a dark, fast running river, Lucy Devo, the seventeen-year-old daughter of local cop Jack Devo, becomes caught up in her father's attempt to find the killer of eighty-two-year-old town stalwart, Mrs Pritchard.

Lucy looks to her father for answers, but for the first time he doesn't have any...

With her mother taken to hospital, Lucy thinks she is ready for the arrival of a darkly handsome boy, Sean, into her life.

Lucy's passion for the dark boy fuels her rebellion against her righteous and good father. But as both of them are inexorably pulled deeper into the mystery surrounding the murder, Jack begins to understand the danger in which he has placed his children...

A boy and a girl in love. Good and bad, they come from the same place, from the heart that's beating inside all of us. Every love is dangerous; and this was the most dangerous love of all.

The darkness in bright sunlight had filtered into Lucy's very being.

Kate Riedl Director's Notes

Several years ago, I was listening to a radio interview about the brutal murder of an elderly woman in a sleepy Australian country town. I was haunted by the question what drives a person to commit such a horrific act? Some time later I came across Bill Henson's photographic series Lux et Nox, and was entranced by the image of a beautiful brunette girl, on the cusp of womanhood, her face peering out of the blackness, and a haunting fear in her eye. I put the two ideas together and took them to writer Stephen Sewell who loved the these and characters, and together we embarked upon Black Water Springs. We wanted to create a story that was like a parable not didactic, but one that delved into the ideas of good and evil, and that didn't shy away from the truthfulness of fear, deceit, responsibility, abuse and isolation. We set out to explore not only the bleakness of melodramas of Douglas Sirk, Lynch's Blue Velvet, Todd Haynes' Far from Heaven, Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Nicholas Roeg's thriller Don't Look Now, and drawing from the poetry of Byron, Shelley, Hopkins and Shakespeare, we strove to create an unashamedly romantic portrayal of love and beauty, infiltrated by water, and the ebb and flow of life. The result is Black Water Springs, a heart-breaking romance that is woven into a thriller.

Black Water Springs is a tale of love and mystery that illuminates the darkness that has penetrated the mythical town of Black Water Springs. Our heroine, Lucy Devo, is seventeen years old, and for the first time experiences the true depths of adult life. Her innocence and playfulness, coupled with an unusual wisdom for her age is both vulnerable and intoxicating a young girl on the cusp of everything promising. A horrific murder in the town falls into relief as Lucy plunges into her first love with Sean, an enigmatic boy who mesmerises everyone. Lucy's story is concurrently paralleled with that of her father, local cop Jack Devo, who challenges the small-mindedness of this "tidy town" as he tries to uncover the truth behind the murder, and in doing that the truth behind the town.

The death of matriarch Mrs Pritchard throws the town into chaos. Her murder symbolises the castration of law and order, decency and righteousness. Panic erupts throughout Black Water Springs and the townspeople demand that someone, anyone, be convicted no matter the cost. But no one will accept that this horrific act may have been committed by one of its own. "This is a tidy town three years running!" Together Lucy and Jack navigate the dangerous territory of Black Water Springs, and the unchartered waters of the river that runs through it, bringing life and death to this seemingly perfect town.

Myth, legend and fairytale resonate throughout the film in the subtext, the visual language and the dialogue. The film is steeped in history and culture, layering these elements within a modern context to create a rich, universal language, Gothic, antique hand drawings animate and dance out of blackness as elements of Lucy's diary come to life, interweaving with the drama and melding her internal and external worlds. A vine, a moth, a butterfly... Louise Bourgeois spider in artwork Ode à ma mère is an example of an insect that is intriguing rather than scary one that moves between worlds quietly.

There is a historic and mythical aesthetic that accompanies these animations, giving the film a deeper layering and tapping into the fairytale manner of storytelling that we recognise from childhood.

The visual style of the film has been primarily inspired by Bill Henson's work in his Lux et Nox series of images abandoned youths immersed in altered states. Blackness and darkness will evolve the idea of what is hiding in the shadows of this town emphasising thematically the idea of the darkness in bright sunlight. There is beauty in the horror, individuality in the group, and excitement within the fear. Strong deliberate framing intercut with a sense of fluidity and handheld camera will both unsettle and intrigue the viewer. Even in its most emotionally terrifying moments, the visuals will be beautiful, representing the continual contrasts we encounter in life. Heightened thematic moments of colour will create an intricate and layered visual language. The red of the apples in the orchard will be slightly more than realistic, the glow of dusk even more golden than magic hour, the coldness of the river, unsettling beyond the blackness and eeriness of night, the heavenly quality of the blue sky will have that hint of magic that you feel on a glorious Sunday morning.

Musically the film will have a contemporary soundtrack, drawing from the musical palettes of artists such as Goldfrapp, The Velvet Underground, Cowboy Junkies and Barry Adamson, whilst being entwined with a classical, dramatic score inspired by Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Vivaldi's Gloria in D. The music moves us from lightness to darkness, desperation to elation, and longing to sacrifice, as we experience Lucy's pang of desire, her father's despair, and ultimately Sean's fate.

Tonally the film will pervade a delicious sensuality. Every element of the film the visual language, the soundscape, the score, the editing will embrace this sensual exploration. Ultimately Black Water Springs is an unashamed love story, coupled with a murder mystery. The result is a devastatingly romantic thriller of first love.

Black Water Springs every heart finds its darkness.

Emily Browning PLAYING LUCY

Emily Browning commenced her acting career at a very young age and is highly awarded in film and television.

Emily's feature film credits include Ghost Ship, which brought Emily to the attention of Hollywood where she headed in 2003 for 8 months, filming on the Paramount/Dreamworks feature Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the best-selling books. Playing the lead role of Violet, she worked alongside Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep and Jude Law and came to international attention. For this role, she won the 2005 AFI award for Most Outstanding International Achievement, following up her 2001 AFI accolade as Best Young Actor. Prior to this, she played Rebecca Myers The Man Who Sued God (Gannon Films) with Billy Connolly and Judy Davis; young Caitlin in Revolution Studios' Darkness Falls, Grace Kelly in Ned Kelly, directed by Gregor Jordan for Working Title, and Katie in Ghost Ship for Warner Bros, starring Julianna Margulies and Gabriel Byrne.

Emily is currently shooting in Vancouver, in one of the title roles of A Tale of Two Sisters.

BIOGRAPHIES

Dragonet Films

In 2006, Karen Radzyner and Kate Riedl join forces to create Dragonet Films, a film company committed to bringing strong Australian directorial voices to international screens.

Kate Riedl, Director/Producer

Kate Riedl graduated with an MA(Hons) from the Australian Film Television and Radio School, winning the Kenneth Myer Fellowship to intern in China with director Zhang Yimou (Hero, Raise the Red Lantern). Returning to China and Tibet in 2005, Kate directed The Man Who Saved a Million Brains, a documentary that aired nationally with record ratings on the Australian Broadcasting Channel (ABC). The film won Best Documentary Science, Technology and the Environment at the 2006 ATOM AWARDS, and has been invited to screen at many international film festivals. It recently aired on the Discovery Channel in the US, and is being sold through their distribution network.

Actor/producer Bryan Brown (Cocktail, FX) selected Kate for one of the sought after 'Fresh New Voices' director spots on the television series Two Twisted, with her episode chosen as the series pilot, starring Melissa George (Amityville Horror, Derailed). Kate's dramas have won her awards at festivals including Palm Springs, Dendy, Australian Dance Awards, St Kilda and Sydney Film Festival.

Invited to participate in a group of eight directors for the Inaugural POV Film Festival, Kate's film Baggage Claim won the Best Actress Award for Daniela Farinacci and this saw Kate selected as one of five Australians to the Berlinale Talent Campus at the Berlin Film Festival, Germany.

Kate recently moved to New York, and is represented by talent agency Endeavor in the US, and RGM in Australian. Kate's award-winning commercials include a number of campaigns starring supermodel/actress Sarah Murdoch. She is represented by Australian company 8 Commercials for her TVC work.

It is derived from her vision of a tragic romance that AFI award-winning writer Stephen Sewell (The Boys) is writing the screenplay for Black Water Springs, to be Kate's debut feature film.

Stephen Sewell, writer

Sewell is one of Australia's most experienced and prominent writers.

The Boys, written by Sewell for Arenafilm has won him numerous awards, including the 1998 AFI for Best Screenplay adapted from another source.

Well-known for his controversial theatre work, with his violently political dramas such as traitors, Welcome the Bright World and The Blind Giant is Dancing, Sewell is also an active screenwriter, with a number of films to his credit, including Isabelle Eberhardt, the Oblivion Seeker, starring Peter O'Toole.

Sewell chaired the Australian National Playwrights Centre for a number of years and is the recipient of numerous awards. His play, The Secret Death of Salvador Dali, examining the life and work of an even more controversial artist, won "Best Show of the Fringe" at the 2002 Adelaide Festival before going on to the Edinburgh Festival and a season at the London Riverside as well as the Athens Olympic Arts Festival in 2004. His play, Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America A Drama in 30 Scenes premiered at the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne in 2003 and is now the most awarded play in Australian history. Sewell is himself a director and is about to direct his first feature film, Sisters, with Stellan Skarsgard.

Geoffrey Hall, ACS Cinematographer

Multi award-winning cinematographer Geoff Hall brings his vast knowledge and experience to Black Water Springs. Geoff collaborated with Bryan Brown on Dirty Deeds, for which he was nominated for an AFI award for Best Cinematography, as well as on mystery series Two Twisted.

He worked on the iconic Australian film Chopper, for which he won an IF Award for Best Cinematography. His work on The Missing earned him an ACS National Golden Tripod Award. His many other credits include the feature films Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, Snappers, Dying Breed, Kidnapped, Vampire III and Temptation, which earned him an ACS NSW Gold Award. Geoff has also worked on dozens of award-winning commercials internationally.

Karla Urizar, Designer

Nominated for an AFI Award for her design work on the film Jabe Babe: A Heightened Life Karla Urizar graduated from Australian Film Television and Radio School in 2000 winning the Fox Studio Award for Design Excellence. Designing for film, theatre and television she has worked on a number of productions including feature films Road, Jammin' in the Middle E, Lost Things and Paul McDermitt's short film The Scree which won Best International Film at Flickerfest and won best Craft film at Melbourne Film Festival. She also worked as Costume Supervisor for the recently released The Bet. Her set design for Foxtel won her the BDA Silver Promax Award for Best Set Design in 2004.

Karla, originally from Adelaide studied Theatre Design there at the Centre for Performing Arts graduating in 1996 and her recent theatre design work in Sydney includes set and costume design for The Small Things for Bsharp Downstairs Belvoir, The United States of Nothing for the Stables Theatre, Death Variations which was part of the Bsharp season at Seymour Centre, the lavish production of Empress of China by Ruth Wolff and the starkly minimalist design of Fosse's Mother and Child also both for Downstairs Belvoir. Other theatre design work includes costume design for the critically acclaimed Sydney production of Stephen Sewell's Myth Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America. Karla also designs set & costumes on interactive video installation art works, commercials and music clips.

Karen Radzyner, Producer

Karen Radzyner is a Sydney-based film and television producer. In 2006 she produced, with Bryan Brown, the 7 1-hour prime time mystery TV series Two Twisted. Karen has produced several award-winning short films which have screened and won awards at film festivals all over the world including Venice, Clermont-Ferrand, Aspen, Tribeca, Oberhausen, Edinburgh, Tampere, Palm Springs, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, St Kilda, and many more.

In 2003, Karen was an associate producer on the comedy feature Ned, for Abe Forsythe. Prior to that, Karen interned with Warner Bros and the Oscar-nominated French production company Les Films des Tournelles in Paris. Karen has twice won Screen Producer's Association (SPAA) Showtime Talent Scheme, and in 2002 was a SPAA Emerging Producer.

She was selected by the Australian Film Commission to attend the producer development programs Inside Track at SPAAmart 2005 and the Rotterdam Lab at Cinemart 2006. She is a Director of Dragonet Films, which alongside film and documentary development and production, has for four years managed the AFC's holistic development initiative the IndiVision Project Lab.

Photographs taken on location in Albury, Australia.
Book compiled by Karla Urizar 2007.

Copyright Dragonet Films
Level 1, Crown Street
Surry Hills 2010
Sydney, Australia.

Contact: Karen Radzyner
Ph 61 2 9310 5056
Fax 61 2 9319 0599
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Email karen [at] dragonetfilms [dot] com
kate [at] dragonetfilms [dot] com
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