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O’Connor film in the pipeline

EXPATRIATE Perth film-maker Stephen Van Mil is confident that plans for a $50 million film revolving around legendary engineer CY O'Connor will become reality after gaining investor and government support.

Mr Van Mil was in Perth this week and was enthused by the support for the film, based on Robert Drewe's multi-award winning book, The Drowner.

Mr Van Mil, who has a successful track record of wildlife documentaries behind him, will produce the multi-million dollar epic and has contracted Australian-based screenwriter John Collee, best known for his work on the films Master and Commander and Happy Feet, for the script adaptation.

Mr Van Mil has forged a formal relationship with Icon Films, headed by international film industry doyens Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey, to supply studio back up.

Cate Blanchette, Liam Neeson, Emily Blunt and James McEvoy are some of the prominent actors who have been approached to take on leading roles. The rest of the cast will come from local talent.

Bruce Davey recently visited Perth for this project and met with Premier Colin Barnett to outline the film proposal.

ScreenWest has already committed $25,000 in development funding to the project, which is set in the 1890s mining boom of the Swan River colony and merges adventure, legend romance and the gold rush days with the engineering feat of the time - the construction of the Kalgoorlie pipeline.

Through his company, Impian Films, Mr Van Mil has formed a separate entity, The Drowner Development Pty Ltd, to bring the project to the point of principal filming, including completing drafts and scripts and assembling production teams and casting crew.

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