In 2019 we made the short film ‘Electric’ based on the work of Australian poetry genius Francis Webb. ‘Electric’ is the 1st production phase of a proposed feature-length film, ‘Three Poems by Frank Webb’. We’re raising funds to complete the next installment.
‘A Drum for Ben Boyd’ is the second phase of our Francis Webb film project. It draws inspiration from a text by Webb of the same name and details the life of Benjamin Boyd, a Scottish entrepreneur and swindler who arrived in Sydney in the 1830’s with a million pounds sterling on loan from London investors. Living like a prince and courted by the Sydney elites, Boyd bought up nearly half of NSW and built a town — Boydtown —before rapidly going bankrupt. Lurching from one disaster to the next, he unsuccessfully tried his luck at the Californian goldfields before dying mysteriously in the South Pacific, supposedly murdered by a cannibal tribe.
This film, with its synthesis of music, poetry and visual drama, will forge a special place in Australian cinema — however, it is not the style of project that conventional film-funding bodies usually financially assist. It is proudly art-cinema, a liquid form of poetry that flows and transmits the depth of the literary genius of Webb in a way that only cinema can. It will shine a long-overdue light on the work of one of Australia’s most significant — but under-recognised — cultural figures, doing so in a way that is expressive of Webb’s own artistic output.
Our passionate cast and crew have already achieved so much with the creation of ‘Electric’ — it is now very exciting to be heading towards phase two of this production! Money raised through our campaign will fund the substantial costs of paying our cast and crew, pay for locations, costumes, production design and post-production. We made ‘Electric’ on a shoe-string budget — around $23,000. ‘A Drum for Ben Boyd’ is a longer and more involved project, and will thus cost more — $50,000. We aim to raise $25,000 of this through our ACF campaign, in addition to applying to other sources for in-kind contributions and grants.
‘Three Poems by Frank Webb’ will be a unique Australian film: powerful, poetic and beautiful, and will stand as a lasting tribute to the incredible life and poetry of Francis Webb.