Along with his Sunstar Entertainment partner Shahen Mekertichian, Frase has been working on Lion since mid-2012 when he met Saroo Brierley in Tasmania and his amazing trip began.
It was actually at a sailing event with Sunstar Entertainment’s other big client Jessica Watson OAM that Andrew was introduced to Saroo. Saroo’s parents company Brierley Marine, actually sponsored the boat Jessica was sailing. Jessica advised Frase that Saroo had an amazing story and was seeking some advice.
And so began their journey!
From a publishing deal, to a 60 Minutes story in India, to Google, then on to Hollywood.
Frase and Shahen then had to navigate their way through the depths of Hollywood, looking for the right partners to bring this amazing story to life on the big screen.
Sunstar ironically found the right partners, on their own doorstep in Sydney, See-Saw Films (who have already won an Academy Award for The King’s Speech). Director Garth Davis and screenwriter Luke Davies were attached and the script was completed in May 2014. The Weinsten Company then bought the global distribution rights at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for a whopping US$12m.
Actors Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and David Wenham were then attached and the film commenced production in India in 2015.
It has now been sold into more than 50 territories worldwide and recently released in the USA where it is doing well at the box office. It was released I Australia on 19th January 2017 and went straight to #1 at the Australian Box Office. It is the biggest opening weekend ever for an independent Aussie production at the Australian box office.
But the good news came through this week that LION has been nominated for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…… count ’em, yes, 6 Academy Awards. Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor Dev Patel, Best Supporting Actress Nicole Kidman, Best Cinematography Greig Fraser, Best Adapted Screenplay Luke Davies, and best original score from Dustin O’Halloran and Huaschka.
Frase and Shahen are Executive Producers on LION. Their company Sunstar Entertainment co-produced the film with See-Saw Films in association with Aquarius Films.
So Frase is going to the Oscars! He will be giving up seeing our PG’s Quarter Final home game at Manly Oval to do so, but we will forgive him on this occasion.
It is amazing to see the work that has gone into this project over the last few years and Frase is now reaping the rewards. It’s not every day your film get nominated for an Oscar, especially your first one! So we hope Frase and his family take it all in and enjoy this amazing ride.
Nobody has done more for our club over the last 3 decades, so on behalf of everyone at the Manly Warringah Waratahs, congratulations Frase.