The Best Work You May Never See: Goodoil, Byron Studios Team On Film For Australian Police, Missing Children


Robert Goldrich
Tuesday, May. 29, 2018


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To promote improved child safety strategies and techniques for parents, Goodoil Films director Justin McMillan and Byron Studios have teamed up to release this film, titled Gone, to complement the Australian Federal Police National Missing Persons Coordination Centre’s (NMPCC) efforts for International Missing Children’s Day 2018 (5/25).

The project’s genesis was a bedtime conversation held between McMillan and his young son. When his son inquired after the fate of a missing child, McMillan found himself at a loss; conflicted in an uncomfortable balance between honesty and sensitivity.  How can a parent remain truthful with their child while also protecting their innocence? How can parents alert their children to society’s dangers without unduly alarming them? What simple and effective techniques can be employed to improve child safety?

The short film (starring actors Rob Carlton and Lisa Kay) opens with the real-life scenario experienced by McMillan: a father reading a bedtime story to his son is asked about the whereabouts of a missing child. In attempting a tender though cautionary response, the father crafts an elaborate fantasy, taking his son on an adventurous quest that culminates in a spectacular ending facilitated by special effects from Cumulus VFX via Byron Studios. 

“I’d never before been faced with having to explain to my son the reality of missing children,” said McMillan. “After I finished telling him a fictional story, I got to thinking about how horrific the experience must be and the challenges it must raise for communication within a family. 

“I felt obliged to find out more about how I could help prevent this situation from happening, and upon further research I discovered tools, such as the password system, that I could implement to help better protect my child. I was surprised to learn that so many parents, with whom I researched the concept with, had no idea about the password system or any other child protection tools so I immediately knew I had to try and change that.”

The film is designed to provoke and engage parents by promoting the website, where they can discover basic but effective strategies to help guard against abduction and abuse.”

The film features a stirring and atmospheric score from Michael Yezerski (Australian Symphony Orchestra). 


Client Missing Persons (Australian Federal Police) Production Goodoil Films & Byron Studios Justin McMillan, writer/director; Matt Long, executive producer/script writer; Andrew McLean, producer; Will Gammon, executive producer/VFX supervisor; Tim Tregoning, DP; Simon Njoo, editor; Trent Mitchell, assistant editor; Pete Davies, art director; Emily Morrison, production manager; Guy Alexander, drone operator. VFX Cumulus VFX via Byron Studios Gabriele Joosten, VFX producer; Stanley Jones, Kate Auld, compositors; Johannes Leek storyboards. Sound Design Joe Mount, sound designer. Audio Sonar Music Michael Yezerski, composer; Sophie Haydon, exec producer; Tom Pastro, producer; Timothy Bridge, mixer.

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