At 10 years old, Andi Gibson (Rita Artmann) had an alien encounter, leaving her with special powers to detect and control the paranormal. Seventeen years on, when Australia – excluding Tasmania, because, as they say in the film, ‘it’s not really part of the country anyway’ – is attacked by extra-terrestrials, this rock chick, along with her misfit friends (played by Tamara McLaughlin, Doug Hatch, Lawrence Silver and Joe Bauer), becomes the unlikely hero destined to save the nation and her mother (co-producer, Caroline Bell), who has been kidnapped by these unearthly beings. Though strangely enough, her nervy and mysterious father (Paul Adams) has been left alive, yet unwilling to rescue his wife.
“There’s not enough good comedy out there, and people want to be entertained,” producer, and co-founder of ArtSpear Entertainment, Rita Artmann says. 'Australiens' does not pretend to be serious, rather it asks audiences to suspend reality for a few hours. Though the story (written by Joe Bauer) somewhat lacks believability it is, nonetheless, a smart comedy.
Though it is an Australian film, featuring a talented Australian cast, 'Australiens' is not out to necessarily showcase the land's great scenery and tourism opportunities – as many other Australian films do. Sure, viewers will recognise the Sydney Opera House or local Brisbane buildings such as Saint Margaret’s Anglican College and The Fox Hotel ( where most of the filming was undertaken) but only as they are being blown up in the alien onslaught.
Produced on a budget of $15,000 – through crowd-funding website Pozible – 'Australiens' is the culmination of two year’s hard work by ArtSpear Entertainment. Founders of ArtSpear Entertainment, husband and wife team Joe Bauer and Rita Artmann make quite the dynamic duo. Bauer’s experience with visual effects and post-production meant that the company did not have to outlay the money other companies would, whereas Artmann’s ability to handle the business side of film-making, as well as their combined on-screen talent, make for a less strenuous process, and much more enjoyable for all involved.
Despite only forming a few years ago, the company is fast gaining a reputation for their hard work and has received invitations to prestigious events such as the International Comedy Film Festival and the Bram Stoker International Film Festival, for their 2011 feature film 'The Killage'. With most of their actors sourced from The Actors Workshop, ArtSpear Entertainment prides itself on finding actors with talent, rather than a long list of accreditations. As the mission statement for the company reads: “Our ultimate goal is to put Australia on the map by expanding possibilities for what an Australian production can be. So many of our best and brightest go to America because they can’t get interest for the projects they want to make here.”
Given the talent in the film and the reputation of ArtSpear Entertainment's bodies of work, there's no doubt 'Australians' will do well when it hits the upcoming festival circuit.