An Interview with Tenille Kennedy, producer of "Bad Girl"
Tenille Kennedy is a producer based in Perth. Among other short films, she produced three of The Turning short films, which were adaptations of the Tim Winton book of the same name. In 2013, Kennedy was selected by Screen Producers Australia for its Ones To Watch program.
Her most recent work was also her first feature length film, Bad Girl. A dark contemporary psychological thriller, Bad Girl centres on sullen and defiant Amy, a 16 year-old foster child struggling with her new life in the countryside, a struggle which worsens when she forms a dangerous friendship with a local girl, Chloe.
We had a brief talk with Tenille Kennedy. We got into how Bad Girl got started, what exactly a film producer does, and what's next for her.
With regards to your experience, what's the role of a producer?
How to summarise in a couple of minutes...a producer will often come up with an idea. Or they'll be approached by someone with an idea. We develop it, find the money to make it, we oversee postproduction and marketing, and distribution. I guess a producer is always between the two worlds of the creatives and the business side of things.
That's a lot
(laughs) Yeah, yeah it is.
In terms of being a producer what, for you, would define a bad experience and what would define a bad experience?
Well, one of the producers that I work with quite often, we talk about if you can actually get a film financed and finish it, or even just getting a film financed and you start shooting it, that's already like kind of making it to the Olympics. So, I dunno, I think as a producer, just a good experience is getting it finished and getting it into cinemas. And then you have your other challenging moments, where, you know, it can take a very long time, or it's not happening.
How did you get your start in the film industry?
I studied in TAFE. So this is the only thing I've ever wanted to do. While I was at TAFE I did this work experience gig on a half hour short film in this office building in Mt. Lawley, and while I was there I made friends. From there I ended up working for Media World Pictures. Then I kind of spent the next ten years as a producer's assistant. And then, yeah, four years ago I started my own company and Bad Girl is the first feature film.
How did Bad Girl come to be?
A few years earlier I had done a short film, a development process, and there I met Steve. After a screening at Melbourne International Arts Festival, Steve approached me with an idea about Bad Girl. I told him, “Well, why don't you bring it to WA? I'll produce it with you”. So then he sent me the script and then I skyped with Bruno and Fin (the producer and director of Bad Girl, respectively). And we agreed to do it. Within the next 12 months we were financed. It was actually quite a quick process. It's not been without its challenges, but in comparison to other things I've worked on, the financing happened very quickly
Any films or anything on Netflix that has stuck with you recently?
I absolutely love 13 Reasons Why, I've been binge-watching it and it's really resonating with me.
Yeah I've just been getting into it now. It's great, isn't it?
Oh my god, you're in for a treat. The structure of it – the way they use the concept and the structure of it is really clever.
So what's the next thing you're working on?
Well, currently I am finishing Free Summers. Moments away from completing that. And my next film has just gotten up...I don't know how much more I'm allowed to say though (laughs). But that's coming up in the second quarter of the new financial year.