2021 has seen Hatherley nominated Spotify Rising Star for her hit podcast while La Vérité Films join forces with industry heavyweight Mark Fennessy and Helium Pictures to develop the elevated crime drama TV series Use Of Force
D During her stellar career as a highly award advertising Creative Director at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, Sarah began directing big brand television commercials, and her filmmaking obsession took hold.
With a passion for cinematic screen stories and an empowered business model, Hatherley quit advertising at the top of her game and established La Vérité Films in order to developed her craft as a long form writer while producing three significant short films.
Her first short film, Just Do It, won an IF award for best short film before screening internationally. Her most recent productions were the Tropfest comedy, The Birth, and psychological thriller Lost Soul which premiered at the prestigious Sitges film festival in Spain. La Vérité Films also produced a high end trailer / proof of concept for Sarah’s planned debut feature film, Hunted when Hatherley unearthed the story that would become her first crime drama mini series.
Sarah’s pilot script for Use Of Force was a finalist in 2019 Final Draft Big Break International Screenwriting competition. And attracted strong market interest before Melbourne’s long COVID lockdown in 2020 caused Sarah to pivot.
Armed with hundreds of hours of intimate and gut-wrenching phone conversations with the whistle-blowing female ex-cop at the heart of Use Of Force, Sarah enlisted the assistance of co-producer and podcast devotee, David Curry, to craft a powerful true crime podcast which has found huge success and garnered Hatherley a nomination for Spotify Rising Star at the 2021 Australian Podcast Awards.
With podcast audiences keen to see the story reach the screen, the TV series has taken a leap forward in 2021 with Hatherley joining forces with industry heavyweight Mark Fennessy to develop the 6 x 1 hour elevated crime drama series.
Sarah’s 2019 director’s attachment on Halifax: Retribution part of the preparation for directing television drama.
Her other feature film screenplays include Eternity and Cocktail Harry. And if you have the right script, Sarah is also available to direct television commercials.
Contact sarah @ laveritefilms .com .au
Use of Force is the story of a young woman on the front line of crime, violence and dysfunction on the hard streets of western Sydney during the brutal Royal Commission into police corruption. Based on a true story, it is a confronting insight into the violence, intimidation and lawlessness of the brotherhood under siege. Where the daily risks of violent offenders at the epicentre of Australian criminal activity were nothing compared to the dangers lurking within the organisation. A story of law enforcement officers routinely breaking the law to maintain the power and authority of the brotherhood. Where female victims of crime were callously let down by the force with devastating results.
Use Of Force is unabashedly about the female perspective, the nature of corruption, and the corrosive trauma of working in a toxic, hierarchical, hyper-masculine workplace.
Shot on location across Victoria, Sarah teamed up with cinematographer Joel Betts to capture the scale and intimacy of the unfolding drama of Lost Soul. With a brooding score by Malcolm McDowell and deft editing by Tim Parrington, the results are breathtaking. Tony Rogers helped pull together an extraordinary crew for the cinematic short, sharing the producing load with Sarah.
Laugh out loud comedy, The Birth premiered at Tropfest
Just 6 weeks in gestation, from conceiving the idea to delivering the film The Birth was written, directed and edited by Sarah. It also screened at Holly Shorts in LA before securing international representation. Working with producing partner Tony Rogers to assemble a brilliant crew, including cinematographer Liam Gilmour, Sarah cast the marvelous Marg Downey as the unsuspecting midwife caught up in a home birth gone wrong. Dana Miltins gave a horrifyingly realistic performance delivering up comedic gold with the hapless father-to-be Glenn Maynard.
When an optimistic couple (Glenn Maynard and Dana Miltins) embark on a natural water birth, the birthing plan quickly goes out the window as unexpected complications develop for our new mother.
High end proof of concept trailer for Hunted feature film
Sarah joined forces with the talented cinematographer Sky Davies to shoot a high end trailer for her feature film Hunted (previously titled Domestic). Designed to assist in attracting marketplace interest and demonstrate Hatherley’s desire to connect deeply with audiences, the trailer has already opened many doors and opportunities. The power and the passion for female driven screen stories that reveal a different world view, has caught the attention of an industry always searching for the next big thing. Sarah believes the female lens provides a captivating twist on every genre.
Getting behind female directed feature films
It’s never been more difficult to make a feature film in Australia. Changing screen habits and the rise of the streamers has coincided with the growing dominance of Hollywood blockbusters capturing cinema going audiences. Female directed screen stories still represent less than 17% of Australian feature films. A figure that hasn’t budged for decades. So, why persist against the odds? Seeing ourselves on screen, hearing our unique stories, launching the careers of local actors and talented film technicians, is why. The cultural dividends of a vibrant local screen industry have long been recognised. By making Hunted Sarah hopes to break down entrenched gender barriers and contribute to the debate about violence against women.
Just Do It by Sarah Hatherley
Two 30 something friends meet regularly to walk around a park. Ostensibly they are there for the exercise. In reality they’re there for therapy. As they walk and talk, our hero discovers the key to realising your dream can be staring you in the face. While her friend learns that handing out advice can be very dangerous. They might just take it. Starring Alison Whyte and Alice Garner.
Winner Best Short Film IF Awards 2001
International screenings – Edinburgh International Film Festival 2001.
Los Angeles International Short Film Festival 2000.
Australian screenings – Brisbane International Film Festival 2001
Most Popular Short in audience poll.
St.Kilda Film Festival 2001.
World of Women International Film Festival, Sydney 2001.
Also included in the WOW National Tour.
MADC Short Film Festival 2002.
Cocktail Harry screenplay by Sarah Hatherley
Sarah’s first feature film screenplay has been through numerous drafts, and a few working titles. In 2005 it was called Cocktail Harry. It has had strong market interest over the years, but not the right people at the right time. This is the script on which she has developed her craft.
children 7-13 years
Children's book writer & illustrator Sarah Hatherley
Sarah wrote and illustrated a series of four hardcover children’s books published in 2007. Darkly funny and layered with meaning, they tackled stories with children dealing with difficult emotions. And they were the beginning of a series of resources Hatherley created under the Funny Feelings brand. Posters, card games, a guide to journal writing and interactive teachers resources were the precursors to the emotionary iPhone app she developed. The popular dictionary of emotions app has had around 40,000 downloads. She also created an iPad app, the EQ game.
Featuring the condom bra
Boobytrap fashion brand creator Sarah Hatherley
The creative life isn’t always linear, and at the same time she was writing, illustrating and publishing Funny Feelings® children’s books, Sarah was also designing, photographing, and developing a cheeky brand of underwear – Boobytrap®. From idea to product development, sourcing high quality materials, manufacturing partners, launching and sales, it was an exciting experiment for Hatherley. It’s a similar creative process of bringing an idea into reality. There was a brand story for a specific audience, a quality product with innovative design – it was very early days having photographic images on clothing let alone intimate apparel – and a lot of hard work.
The iconic condom bra was a hit. But Sarah was never going to turn into a fashionista retailer. There were too many screen stories she was wanting to tell.
All of Us screenplay by Sarah Hatherley
While working on projects as a creative brand consultant, in amongst her on creative endeavours, Sarah continued to develop her screencraft.
In 2012 Sarah wrote a feature film dramedy, All of Us, which while tonally completely different ended up inspiring her short film Lost Soul.
The Lifesaver screenplay by Sarah Hatherley
Cocktail Harry underwent another metamorphosis and became The Lifesaver after Sarah completed the Robert McKee three day Story seminar. She found McKee’s process for breaking down a screenplay and evaluating the structure of the story invaluable.
Eternity screenplay by Sarah Hatherley
An ambitious project Sarah has been developing, coalesced into the feature film screenplay Eternity. The story of one woman’s 900 year struggle to find her voice. LA based script consultant, Wendall Thomas, described the screenplay in these terms.
“You are bravely taking on a series of important women’s issues here and the breadth of historical periods and stories you cover is impressive and indicates lots of research. As there is a lot of money out there for female-centred and female-driven projects, the timing for a story which deals with the female experience is great.”
Sarah is currently re-imagining Eternity as a limited series.
Lost Soul short film
Having spent her early career as an advertising writer and director, Sarah spent much of her time on set. So the intervening years toiling away over a keyboard trying to craft an affecting feature film left her desperate to get shooting again. Harvesting the idea of a previous screenplay, she enlisted the help of Tony Rogers to help pull together an impressive crew to tackle what was an ambitious short film.
Synopsis: Em is a young woman under pressure hurtling through the night on the road to nowhere. Someone is out to kill her, but who? Journey into a dark night of the soul as this psychological thriller keeps you guessing right up to the final unsettling twist.
“The idea of deconstructing the ‘I can’t live with myself anymore’ feeling, and investigating who was the I and who was the myself, is central to the script. The psychology behind being one’s own worst enemy, is something that has fascinated me. I was curious to bring to life that internal warfare.”
Lost Soul premiered at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in Spain.
The Birth short film
Within weeks of returning from the premier of Lost Soul in Spain, Sarah had written her next short The Birth. Inspired by an experience at the festival which inflamed her of distaste of misogyny, she went to work with a sense of play.
Much of Sarah’s work has a dark realism, including her comedy.
Synopsis: At the end of a long gestation, it’s delivery time. Everyone is primed for the new arrival. But when an optimistic young couple embark on a natural water birth, the birthing plan quickly goes out the window as unexpected complications develop for our new mother. Everyone warned her about home births, but nothing quite prepared her for what she’d have to bear.
The Birth premiered at Tropfest and screened at HollyShorts before securing international representation.
Shooting small town mystery thriller trailer
Hunted feature screenplay
Sarah wrote the small town mystery thriller feature film Hunted (previously Domestic) straight off the back of The Birth as an achievable scale for a first time feature director. She gathered together a fantastic crew with the very talented cinematographer Sky Davies at the centre of it and filmed a high end trailer on location to attract support for for the market ready project.
Synopsis: A young woman rises up after a brutal attack to search for truth in a picturesque logging town with a dark underbelly, while the plodding police investigation circles a small-time actor newly arrived back in town, she goes on the hunt to save the next victim.
Returnable crime drama series
Use of Force
Sarah has written the first three episodes of a 6 episode limited crime drama series Use of Force. It is attracting real marketplace interest, as Hatherley’s pilot screenplay reaches the 2019 quarterfinals of Final Draft’s Big Break screenwriting competition.
2019 also saw Hatherley selected as a Director’s Attachment on Australian TV crime drama Halifax Retribution. A 7-week Film Victoria funded attachment with set up director Mark Joffe. The ideal preparation for Hatherley’s own forthcoming TV series.
Podcast global success
Use Of Force
Hatherley launches Use Of Force podcast. A binge-worthy feast of corruption, misogyny and high-risk offenders. Featuring never intended for release phone conversations between filmmaker, Sarah Hatherley, and the female ex-cop at the heart of the real life story who was nearly destroyed by the police brotherhood. It’s one woman’s horrifying story of violence, intimidation and lawlessness – and that was just in the office.
The gripping six episode series, co-produced by David Curry, launched Sept 2020 and quickly shot into the top 10 true crime podcasts in Australia. Currently in the top 5% of global podcasts by downloads.
Primed for the forthcoming television series, audiences can expect a few exciting updates in 2021.
TV series takes leap forward
Use Of Force
Internationally revered and respected, Mark Fennessy is an innovator, entrepreneur and creator of premium content across all facets of the production industry. Mark has overseen an extraordinary portfolio of television franchises and super brands, having steered independent label Crackerjack, before forming FremantleMedia Australia, launching Shine, and then overseeing a merger to create the juggernauth Endemol Shine Australia. Ranked #1 in the Australian Financial Review’s Cultural List, Mark’s latest venture – HELIUM – is the culmination of his strengths, passions and expertise. Launching with the highly anticipated drama series for Paramount+ Last King Of The Cross based on the bestselling book by John Ibrahim.
Sarah is delighted to be partnering with Mark to develop the elevated crime drama series Use Of Force.