Australian ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’-inspired film receives Screen Australia funding

The debut feature from Australian visual artist Del Kathryn Barton

An Australian ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’-inspired film will begin shooting before the end of the year, after receiving Screen Australia funding earlier this week.

Puff is the debut feature film from Australian visual artist Del Kathryn Barton, the project’s writer/director. Barton’s five-panel, 12-metre wide painting sing blood-wings sing was the direct inspiration for the project, which in turn was inspired by Peter, Paul and Mary’s 1963 song ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’.

The film is co-written by Huna Amweero, and will also feature Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton (The Nightingale) of Causeway Films on production and executive production duties respectively.

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The film is set to be a hybrid of stop-animation, live action and visual effects. According to Screen Australia, it is a drama which “centres on a young girl who, after witnessing a violent sexual assault, is left catatonic with shock and struggles to make sense of what she saw. She retreats into her imagination where Puff, the shimmering magic dragon who has been her childhood companion, allows her to express her rage and ultimately find renewal”.

Barton told The Age this week she believes they are on track to begin shooting Puff by the end of 2020, despite a current halt on film production.

“It’s already been three years of toil and collaboration to get to this point,” Barton said.

“And yes, of course these uncertain, challenging events we’re all facing have impacted to some extent. But we are at this stage confident we’ll be shooting by the end of the year, which is great.”

Puff is one of three feature films announced to receive a share in $8.5million in production funding from Screen Australia earlier this week, including a crime thriller from writer/director Thomas M. Wright, starring Joel Edgerton. Last week, Screen Producers Australia revealed 119 local productions have been halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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