Zarephath - A Short Film about Hope

With only a morsel of food left, a hopeless widow and her young son, are prepared to give up, when a stranger comes along and asks for the very last of what she has.

Adapted from the biblical story of “the Widow of Zarephath” (1 Kings 17) and told from the widow’s perspective, this modern interpretation is a story that carries a universal meaning of hope, faith and the will to not give up.

The film is set in a very isolated location, where seeking help and company is hard to come by.  Meira, a widow and her young son Yael, struggle to survive on their farm in the second year of a drought.  With no crops nor produce and a deserted town, Meira feels there is no one out there to reach out to for help.

When it comes down to it, this film really is about resilience through isolation.  In Australia alone, almost 55% of our population feel that they lack companionship at least sometimes .  With this number on the rise, it continues to be a silent issue that goes unnoticed.  This social isolation can happen even when surrounded by friends and family, but also more drastically in physical isolation.  This is what some of our Aussie farmers are experiencing, especially under the stress of drought .

Zarephath is a film that will show not only the 55% of Australians, but also all Australians and people globally that there is hope; there is a light at the end of this.  Don’t give up; keep going, and you’ll get through it.

Film is a great medium that can connect with people as well as bring them together.  The above video will give you an insight to what looks we will be going with though this film.  We will be looking to hire a drone, to show the house sitting on it's own in a vast country side.

These are some screenshots from the teaser that we will be looking to recreate:

Similar looks from our previous films:

Here is our short film "If Only".  

If you would like to watch our award-winning, short film entry to last year's 48 Hour Film Project, click on the link below: 

(As the competition title suggests, this film was created in just 48 hours.  This means all writing, casting, filming, editing and musical composition was done in just a weekend!)


Taysha McFarland (Writer/Director/Producer)
32603260_1546593785389118_r.jpegTaysha is a writer/director/producer based in Melbourne, Australia and is the founding director of Toprock Productions. Over the past year she has written and directed multiple short films; Bunker, A Song for You as well as Bootlegged. She has won awards for Best Film for her short, “If Only” and more recently received the Audience Choice Award for her short film, “A Song for You”.  She hopes to keep growing as a director, learning from each production.

Tristan Braines (Producer/Assistant Director)
32603260_1546593948307422_r.jpegTristan has always wanted to work in film and possesses a great knowledge of film and cinema. He is an award-winning filmmaker, with his must recent accomplishment being placed 1st in the Whitehorse Fair Trade Fashion Short Film Competition with the film "Shop Your Values", Best Film in Mental Health Category for "If Only" and Audience Choice Award for "A Song for You."

After having had a taste of making films in High School, Tristan took a gap year studying a Foundation Course at the VCA, completing several short films. Soon after that he studied for three years at Swinburne Faculty of Design, undergoing the Bachelor of Film and Television Production, where he worked on numerous projects and productions, in a variety of genres and creative roles. 

In recent years, he has developed a strong creative relationship with Taysha McFarland, having produced numerous short films together, with the production company Toprock Productions.

Nicholson Ren (Director of Photography/Colour Grader/Producer)
32603260_1546594104971447_r.jpegNicholson is an experienced and in-demand cinematographer who specialises in narrative fictional filmmaking.  Through his films, he aims to create a very natural look with a preference to a low key lighting style to create the most appealing images.  He believes in making the best out of what is available.

With each shot, he takes pride in working out the finer details to enhance the overall story of the production.   He has a vast knowledge on cinematic production and films at a Cinema Grade level with the Blackmagic 4K Production Camera.  

With many years of experience in colour grading films around the world, Nichoslon is always ready for the next steps and challenges in the film industry.

Cindy Pritchard (Executive Producer)
32603260_1550789787902870_r.jpegWith over 35 years professional experience, Mornington Peninsula local, Cindy Pritchard was an original cast member of many Australian musical theatre productions, including 1200 performances of “Les Miserables”, and 60 performances as Mrs Potts alongside Hugh Jackman in Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast”.

Other professional credits include “The Sound of Music” alongside Lisa McCune, “Showboat” directed by the legendary Hal Prince, “Me & My Girl”, “Sweet Charity”, “Oliver!” and the role of Fruma-Sarah with Topol in “Fiddler on the Roof”. She toured all over the country playing Earth Mother in “Menopause the Musical.

With extensive television credits in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Cindy has recently broken into the film industry. With 2 short films under her belt, she has most recently worked on her first feature film playing the role of Miss Vines in the recently released Australian feature film “Book Week” written and directed by Heath Davis. She is also Associate Producer on the movie which has received wonderful reviews, being named the number 2 Australian film of 2018 by Cinema Australia. It is currently screening at Manchester Film Festival in UK, and is set to screen in USA and New Zealand. It has been released on DVD and is streaming on digital demand in Australia.

Michaela Celeste (Meira)
Michaela Celeste is an Australian born Actress of Czech, Hungarian and German decent.  Some of Michaela’s recent film credits include ‘Not For The Faint Hearted’ (feature 2019 - lead), ‘It Had To Be You’ (2018 - short, lead), ‘Ginger’ (2018 - short, lead), Freeport (2018 - short, lead), Father's Dan (2018 - short, supporting) and Everything’s Been Done (2018 - short, supporting).  Michaela trained with the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, and Brave Studios.  Aside from acting, Michaela has a PhD in Psychology/Neuroscience.  She has featured on national Television on ABC TV morning breakfast and has been interviewed multiple times for radio.  

Ian Vandermey (Gaffer/Associative Producer)

Starting out in live music for Domestic and International artists. Ian Vandermey made the switch to film and Tv in 2017 working as a Gaffer for short films like "The 5 Second Rule" & "Evening to die for" and many other projects including many student productions from VCA, SAE, Swinbourne, and JMC He has expanded his talents to include sound doubling as location sound recordist and Gaffer for "The Siege" as well as the second unit camera. Ian continues to expand his talents into writing, directing Producing starting off on his own Feature Miss Emily slated for July 2020.

Chris Tuazon (Sound Design/Composer)
32603260_1546595171236726_r.jpegChris has a great ear for music and sounds and is a key member of the garage, grunge, psychedelic band, Mojo Pin.   Being with the band for over 8 years, Chris wanted to learn more about recording to help the band.

He studied Studio Engineering where he learned about the possibilities and other avenues for creativity in the field of audio.  This is where he also found a passion for film and live events.  He sees this as a new medium for his musical expression, broadening his sights.

Between gigs, Chris enjoys working on set and perfecting the audio in post production.

Tessa McHugh (Makeup Artist)
Coming from a performing arts background, Tessa's passion grew for the film and television industry.  It lead her to completing a diploma of Screen and Media in Specialist Makeup Services at Victoria University.  

While studying, Tessa began working on film productions and continues to grow her repertoire in both film and stage makeup.  She is trained in SFX makeup and enjoys getting crazy with some creative looks.

We are desperately looking to raise enough funds to create this film and show it to a global audience.  
The location we have found is just across the boarder in NSW in an abandoned house.  Because of this there are a few cost factors involved.

We will need to cover accomodation and travel costs for up to 13 cast and crew members.  On top of this we will need public liability to cover us all, as the property is located on a working farm.  Catering is one of the most important things to provide on set, especially if your cast and crew are working on a volunteer basis.  

We are aiming for cinematic greatness with this film as a way to get us on the next level of film making.  Because of this, we will need to hire extra equipment for example drone plus drone operator, dolly, cinematic lens and a higher quality camera.  We will also need to hire portable toilets to have on set, generators for power and have a fire hydrant on set as a precaution.

Other costs we need to cover include, costume and set design, post production costs such as distribution and film festival fees.

As a bare minimum we need to raise $6,500 to make this film.  Every dollar counts towards this goal, so please don't think that what you can offer is too small.

Here is the Breakdown of where the funds will be allocated:
3-4 days location and accommodation: $2,000
Travel: $500
Insurance: $600
Set and Costume: $500
Catering: $1000 - this will need to be for 3 meals a day per person!
Equipment Hire: $1500 
Post Production: $400

Get Awesome Perks with your Donations!
$25+ Thank you credit
$50+ Thank you credit + shout out online
$100+ Thank you credit + shout out online + digital copy of the film
$250+ All the above + a hard copy of the film + signed poster
$500+ All the above + Producer credit
$1000+ All the above + Executive Producer Credit + Meet and Greet with the Cast

If we are fortunate enough to raise more than the bare minimum, we will be looking to up our production value even more.   This will involve the hire of better equipment to keep production smooth and deliver a higher quality image.

We are looking to film during drought conditions and have already put back the production 3 months.  Now that we've decided to film towards the end of Summer it is more urgent that we raise the funds in time as the house we will be filming in is set to be knocked down later in the year.  If the production is pushed back any further, this will go into winter and the weather will be too wet to film, as there's no rain in a drought!

If we are unable to raise the minimum required to make this film, we will be unable to make it.   We would be unable to transport our cast and crew to location and will not be able to feed them.  We would not be able to afford quality production equipment for the cinematic look we want to achieve.
So please show your support of Australian film and help us by donating and sharing this GoFundMe page around! 

Find out More
If you're looking to find out more about what we do or check out some of our work, you can check us out here:  Toprock Productions 

Our Youtube Chanel: Toprock Productions - Youtube 

For latest updates, make sure to follow us on Instagram: @Toprockproductions

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Taysha N Heine McFarland 
Box Hill North
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