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“Stiffs is to die for”

By Kirra Livingstone

BEERWAH-based director, Ryan Butler, is sticking rigidly to theme of macabre comedy as he begins production of new short film ‘Stiffs’. Stiffs is a mockumentary that follows a day in the life of staff working in a local morgue. Set to be filmed over two days in Nambour this week, the script was written by two-time Sunny Coast Showdown winner, Stephen Walker.
The film producer and actor would typically also direct the film, but due to commitments, has handed the reins to Ryan.
Ryan and Stephen have worked extensively together throughout the years, and were both involved in the 2023 Sunny Coast Showdown both as short film writer finalists for Bin Day and The Stripper Trade off, respectively. Stephen also starred in Bin Day, which follows a troubled couple forced to unite to fight a zombie apocalypse.
The multi-award winning film also won the Fun is Good Bill Murray Comedic Shorts Award and was nominated for a People’s Choice award at the Best Australian Short Film Competition. Stephen, a former Maleny local, said Ryan was an easy choice with the two sharing similar creative ideas. “It was a great excuse to work together again, because there’s not many directors I know that I would trust with my brand of comedy, and Ryan was the next choice,” Stephen joked.
He described the film as a “mockumentary set in a morgue on the worst day of the year, and the worst day of the year to work in a morgue, on April Fools Day.”
“It centres on Stiff, who’s the chief pathologist who tries to keep decorum whilst the entire morgue around her crumbles into April Fools Day pandemonium lead essentially by Stu the main character,” he said.
The short film will be filmed on May 7 and 8 at the Sunshine Coast Council’s Nambour office and will star Darren Gilshenan, Claire Weller Price, and Anna McMahon, and Anna also starred in Butler’s short film, Bin Day. “The character of Stu I had based on the style of comedy of Darren Gilshenan, I had done some work with him in the past,” Stephen said.
“Darren has studied comedy in France and Italy, I sent him the script and he liked it.” Ryan said it would be the first time he had directed someone else’s script. “I looked forward to it as a new challenge of taking on someone else’s initial creative idea,” he said. “I basically read this three times to start shaping something in my head.”

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