SALVATION

By Scott HILLIER

ZS2 MEDIA GROUP - as PROD

Drama - Development 2011

SALVATION is based on the true story of New Zealand’s Pakatoa Island, a Salvation Army ”inebriates home” where one woman, ELIZABETH W, lives a doomed existence inside the sinister secret world of the female Colonial alcoholic.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama, Thriller, Historical
    • Countries
    • AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 5 - 10 M$
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Scott HILLIER
    • Producer(s)
    • Scott HILLIER, Rhiannon HOBBINS
    • Synopsis
    • Jan 1918. Under a bright South Pacific sun, a woman sits in a small boat as it cuts through the swell towards blindingly white beaches of Pakatoa Island. She is unaware that she is about to begin a bleak, claustrophobic journey of worsening addiction, corruption and betrayal – all to the pounding of Salvation Army drums – from which she will never return.
      In 1906, the Habitual Drunkards Act was passed in New Zealand, and those arrested sent to “The Island”. ELIZABETH W is an upper-class young wife and mother from a prosperous Australian family. Following her husband’s conscription to fight in WWI and her feelings of isolation in her new home in Auckand, her life has fallen apart and she has turned to drinking. She has been taken away from her children to the Island.
      There, she encounters only cruelty from the MATRON in charge of the inmates. Punitive and unjust, she favors some inmates over others and locks individuals she believes have misbehaved. She is interested exclusively in keeping up appearances to the GOVERNER and SALVATION ARMY LEADER of “progress” on the island, while beneath the surface the island is rife with cruel initiation rituals and illicit drink-fuelled liaisons with passing SAILORS, who row ashore laden with alcohol and seeking sex.
      Nor does she find friendship or solace from her fellow inmates, one of whom in particular hates her passionately and bullies her mercilessly. Only one, the sly ABIGAIL, appears to want to befriend her, and appears very interested in her photographs and stories of her husband and children. Desperately missing her children, her husband and her home, and still enslaved to her drinking vice, she barters sex for alcohol with the sailors. Abigail leaves the island, her sentence over, and travels to Australia where she marries Elizabeth’s husband - now returned from war, shell-shocked and susceptible - and adopts her children.
      Soon after, Elizabeth, on a path of despair and desperation, falls while trying to leave one of the island’s coves after a violent sexual encounter with a sailor, falls and hits her head on a rock. The island claims her unhappy life. She is buried hurriedly and privately to avoid scandal.
      2010. A young woman trawls through her dead grandparents’ house in rural New South Wales, unearthing old letters and photographs: letters of distress from an unknown woman, grainy photographs of a strange island and a beautiful and miserable woman on it that bears a startling resemblance to herself...
      What she finds reveals a dark secret about both her family, and the compelling history of alcohol abuse and widespread sexual misadventure in Colonial times.
      Jan 1918. Under a bright South Pacific sun, a woman sits in a small boat as it cuts through the swell towards blindingly white beaches of Pakatoa Island. She is unaware that she is about to begin a bleak, claustrophobic journey of worsening addiction, corruption and betrayal – all to the pounding of Salvation Army drums – from which she will never return.
      In 1906, the Habitual Drunkards Act was passed in New Zealand, and those arrested sent to “The Island”. ELIZABETH W is an upper-class young wife and mother from a prosperous Australian family. Following her husband’s conscription to fight in WWI and her feelings of isolation in her new home in Auckand, her life has fallen apart and she has turned to drinking. She has been taken away from her children to the Island.
      There, she encounters only cruelty from the MATRON in charge of the inmates. Punitive and unjust, she favors some inmates over others and locks individuals she believes have misbehaved. She is interested exclusively in keeping up appearances to the GOVERNER and SALVATION ARMY LEADER of “progress” on the island, while beneath the surface the island is rife with cruel initiation rituals and illicit drink-fuelled liaisons with passing SAILORS, who row ashore laden with alcohol and seeking sex.
      Nor does she find friendship or solace from her fellow inmates, one of whom in particular hates her passionately and bullies her mercilessly. Only one, the sly ABIGAIL, appears to want to befriend her, and appears very interested in her photographs and stories of her husband and children. Desperately missing her children, her husband and her home, and still enslaved to her drinking vice, she barters sex for alcohol with the sailors. Abigail leaves the island, her sentence over, and travels to Australia where she marries Elizabeth’s husband - now returned from war, shell-shocked and susceptible - and adopts her children.
      Soon after, Elizabeth, on a path of despair and desperation, falls while trying to leave one of the island’s coves after a violent sexual encounter with a sailor, falls and hits her head on a rock. The island claims her unhappy life. She is buried hurriedly and privately to avoid scandal.
      2010. A young woman trawls through her dead grandparents’ house in rural New South Wales, unearthing old letters and photographs: letters of distress from an unknown woman, grainy photographs of a strange island and a beautiful and miserable woman on it that bears a startling resemblance to herself...
      What she finds reveals a dark secret about both her family, and the compelling history of alcohol abuse and widespread sexual misadventure in Colonial times.
Distribution Country
Release date
Distributor
Rights
Local title
Company Country Roles