𝗘𝗖𝗛𝗢 𝟴 𝗔𝗜𝗠𝗦 𝗧𝗢 ''𝗘𝗠𝗣𝗢𝗪𝗘𝗥''
WRITTEN BY: JESSICA LAYT
Maria Tran wants to put Fairfield on the moviemaking map.
The Fairfield local has just wrapped filming on a new independent action movie, shot entirely in the Fairfield LGA.
The busy filmmaker - inspired by Jackie Chan, who she has worked with on the 2017 film Bleeding Steel - is writer, director, actor, choreographer and producer on Echo 8, which is now in post-production.
"Myself and a group of young people based in Fairfield have been fascinated with movement and on-screen culture for a long time, and have made a lot of short films in our spare time, so about a year ago we got around and decided to make something to put Fairfield on the international map," she said.
"It's self-funded, low-budget, with very minimal locations and cast and crew sourced in the area.
"We did the shoot over 15 days - which a lot of people would say is impossible - but we got it done."
Tran said Echo 8 was a psychological thriller, following a woman who wakes up in a recurring nightmare and ends up being hunted.
"There's a refugee migrant story enthralled in this underbelly world," she said.
"We're building from the martial arts action genre."
Tran said she wrote in a specific scene taking place in Cabramatta, so viewers would be able to recognise the location immediately. She said most other locations were indoors, so it was important to include at least one scene that would show off the Fairfield area.
The talented filmmaker said it wasn't easy to juggle all her roles making Echo 8, but she was determined to make it through.
"Being a woman, it's not necessarily easy to break into this field," she said.
"You get a lot of comments like, 'why don't you make drama' or something more suited to what we know women are able and capable of doing.
"Getting people on board is tough with a female-led, hard-hitting action.
"But as we started shooting the word got around and people starting asking if they could be a part of Echo 8.
"The film has been very driven by the community - it's very unconventional."
Tran said it was so important to her that the community was accurately represented, as she felt many times in the past her community had not been portrayed properly.
"A lot of times stories are taken from the community and misrepresented, and we have to bear the brunt and the repercussions of that," she said.
"So I hope this empowers the community. We want it to have international appeal and I think if it's done right, this will do that, especially for an Australian migrant story."
Tran said she hopes to release Echo 8 into festivals but also find a way to showcase the film within the local community.
She said some international action film festivals had already shown interest in screening the film.
The former Canley Vale High School student said about 80 people and local businesses were involved in the shoot.
She hopes to have test screenings done in the middle of the year, with an eye on releasing at the end of 2021.
The crew is currently setting up a website - echo8movie.com - to document Echo 8's progress.