Thursday, April 7, 2011

Film: Butterfly Crush

Film Title: Butterfly Crush

Award Designation: Love Unlimited Film Festival & Art Exhibition Award Winner.

Director: Alan Clay

Cast: Sally Kelleher (Lead Actor), Courtney Hale (Lead Actor), Hayley Fielding (Lead Actor), Richard Adams (Lead Actor), Amelia Shankley (Lead Actor)

Country: New Zealand

Category: Feature Film

Short Synopsis: Butterfly Crush is a modern age love story, set against the backdrop of the music industry, where the villains are a cult, into astrology and virtual dreaming, who peddle their wares on-line. The song and dance duo, Butterfly Crush, are up for the Australasian Song Awards, but their chance at success is jeopardized when Eva gets involved with the Kings Cross cult, the Dreamguides. Moana must rescue her and risk seduction by a young cult member, Matt.

Detailed Synopsis: Moana and Eva are performing as Butterfly Crush at Circular Quay in Sydney, when a riot engulfs their show and they are forced to run for cover. Moana collapses in Kings Cross and awakes at the Dreamguides, a cult with which Eva has recently become involved. Matt, a young cult member, reassures Moana that the riot was just a virtual dream. Butterfly Crush hold a press conference to announce their entry into the prestigious Australasian Song Awards, but the media are more interested in their past sexual relationship and Eva's involvement with the cult. Eva moves in with the Dreamguides and asks Moana to act as witness to her initiation ceremony. Concerned with the dangers of the cult and virtual dreaming, Moana steals a copy of the initiation document, which turns out to be a management agreement for Butterfly Crush, an underhanded attempt by the cult leader, Star, to take control of the duo. As Matt and Moana grow closer, he tries to persuade her to join the cult, and she in turn tries to persuade him to leave. As the cult forbids sexual relationships with outsiders, their strong mutual attraction makes the promise of a relationship more enticing. Then Moana's world collapses as Eva, being pulled from both sides, quits the duo. Unsure where to turn or who to believe, she knows she must bring it back together, if they are to realize their music dreams. Moana confronts Star, in a one-on-one session, where she questions the deceptive practices of the cult and secretly records the meeting on her mobile phone. Star tries to manipulate Moana into joining the group and succeeds in undermining her faith in herself, leaving her badly shaken and wandering Sydney, lost and dazed. She attends a Dreamguides evening in a final attempt to connect with Eva, but Eva performs a bare all performance signaling a permanent parting of ways for the duo. The next day their manager, Angel, files an entrapment suit, putting pressure on the cult to allow them to negotiate with Eva on neutral ground. Matt steals an investment document from the cult, which shows the leader to be skimming money from the accounts. He tells Moana that this document is an 'insurance policy', reveals his decision to move out of the cult, and they finally have their night of passion. Matt convinces her to do one final virtual dream so he can show her what's really going on at the Dreamguides, but the dream session is interrupted by the Leader and her armed guards and Matt is put under 'house arrest'. Using the investment file as leverage, Moana and Angel force Star to ensure Eva's participation in the Awards, which they win. Matt escapes his cult minders to join the duo in the dressing room, where Eva learns that he is leaving the cult. This opens the possibility that she also will and they all celebrate their

More Information:

Director Statement:
Butterfly Crush is a fast-paced relationship drama, adapted from my novel, Dance Sisters, which reviewers called, “..a true gem, a wonderful event to experience.”

The film is a love story exploring young relationships in a modern context, set against the backdrop of the music industry, where the villains are a cult, into astrology and virtual dreaming, who peddle their wares online.

The lead character, Moana, goes from a lesbian relationship with her singing partner, Eva, which is breaking up as the film opens, to a heterosexual relationship with a cult member who leaves the Dreamguides to be with her.

The film explores the nature of dreams and the difference between illusion and reality, in the music industry, on the internet and in our daily lives. It asks the question ‘Who can you trust in these days of instant global communication?’

Butterfly Crush belongs to the new breed of film using the internet and social networking sites to build an audience prior to its release.

The song and dance duo at the centre of the film have been building their fan base, through podcasts and music videos uploaded to the net, over the past year and a half. This podcast aesthetic is carried through into the film with a series of video phone shots, as Moana documents their musical journey and the Dreamguides’ practices.

As a theatre performer and director, I value natural expression and real emotional performance and this is what I looked for in six months of auditions for the lead roles in Australia and New Zealand
Working with the young actors over a period of more than a year, shooting the podcasts and the film, we developed a working practice involving yoga and emotional warm ups, which together with their natural talent, has produced compelling performances.

The podcasts tell the back story to the film, and the most successful are single-shot dramas, filmed by the actors, which give an intimate naturalism to the scenes - a sort of ‘fly on the wall’ perspective.

This aesthetic, combined with the natural acting style, has produced an intensely emotional scene, between Moana and the Dreamguides leader, Star, which is sure to be a talking point of the film.

The film is aimed at young people, 16 to 26, and we can tell from the demographics on MySpace and Facebook that we are successfully reaching this audience, with a 70% female, 30% male mix, and more weight in the teenage audience.

Production Notes

After working on the script for two years, pre-production on Butterfly Crush started in 2008. The film is a New Zealand/Australian co-production, based on Alan Clay’s novel, Dance Sisters. A female song and dance duo become involved with a Sydney virtual dreaming cult, then have to choose between life with the Dreamguides and a successful music career.

Coming from a theatre directing and performing background Alan values real emotion in a performance. With this as the goal, he worked with the young cast over a period of 14 months, using a process involving yoga and emotional warm ups to develop their natural talents into compelling performances.

Butterfly Crush belongs to the new breed of film using the internet and social networking to build an audience prior to its release. The singing duo now have over 4,000 fans, friends and subscribers on MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, etc. Twenty-six podcasts, ranging from comedy and drama to music videos, have been posted online all relating to the film’s back story. This podcast aesthetic is carried through into the film with a series of video phone shots, as the lead character, Moana, documents their musical journey and the Dreamguides’ practices.

These podcasts provided a rich development process for the feature film, which was shot in 28 days, over 3 shoots. The film was shot using a Canon 5D Mark II, a revolutionary HD camera with a 35mm sensor plate, giving brilliant images for an indie feature.

Alan Clay: Agent, Author of Adapted Material, Director, Editor, Print Shipper, Producer, Submission Contact, Writer

Alan Clay was born in New Zealand in 1954. In 1977 he trained in modern clown in Sweden and he spent the next 25 years working as a performer, theatre director and teacher in Europe, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

He wrote his first novel, ‘Moontan’, in 1994, a moving story about two clowns caught up in a political protest, which was launched at the Brisbane Writers Festival and received good reviews. His second novel, ‘Dance Sisters’ , was launched at the Melbourne Writers Festival in 1997, and a review in Sydney Beat Magazine called it “… a true gem, a wonderful event to experience."

In 1998 he established Playspace Studio, a clown training space in Sydney, which saw many graduates go on to professional performing careers, and the studio gain an international reputation.

In 2000 Alan established Artmedia, an electronic publishing company specialising in Australasian literary and performing arts and producing web sites, email newsletters, eBooks and DVDs.

His third novel, ‘Believers in Love’, was published in 2002, and as a result of good American reviews he toured literary festivals in the USA and Canada in 2003. He wrote ‘Angels Can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide’, in 2005. This is a textbook on the art of modern clowning, which continues to sell well.

In 2007 Alan adapted his first novel, ‘Moontan’, into a screenplay and then produced and directed a 15 minute short film, which was launched at the Fringe Film Festival in Wellington, New Zealand in July 2007. The film also screened in the Market at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in 2008 in France and the Short Film Corner at Cannes.

In 2008 he completed writing the second draft of ‘Butterfly Crush’, a feature film adaptation of his novel, ‘Dance Sisters’. Alan auditioned 250 young actors for the lead roles over a period of six months, in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Wellington. And between October ’08 and July ’09 he produced and directed 42 podcasts, some drama and some music videos, which tell the back story to the film.

Butterfly Crush was shot in 28 days, over 3 shoots , on a Canon 5D Mark II, a revolutionary HD camera with a 35mm sensor plate, giving brilliant images for an indie feature.

Official Website
Click the link to open an official Website for this project that is sanctioned by the filmmakers.

This website,, is dedicated to highlighting and announcing the film, art and script award winners of the most recent Love Unlimited Film Festival & Art Exhibition, an annual international event promoting film, arts and scripts. To visit the official website of the Love Unlimited Film Festival and Art Exhibition please visit here:

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