Synopsis: Moreton Bay Penal Settlement. 1832. Finn and Mary O’shea, two Irish convicts, labour under the evils of colonial Australia – a place liberty does not yet exist. But when fate takes their beloved daughter, Annie, they abscond to the bush in a desperate attempt to find a way back to Ireland – to return ‘home’. Forsaken in a heartless, unforgiving land and relentlessly hunted by the convict over-seer, they must find a way back to their faith, each other and their daughter or become victims of A Godless Country.
Samanth McClurg (Mary O'Shea)
Brent Dunner (Cobb)
Andrew Lowe (Private Lowe)
I grew up on historical movies and television series set in colonial USA. Like many children, I felt drawn to the frontier, a past of gold, cowboys and Indians. Very early on, however, I found myself searching for ‘our’ stories – stories from Australia’s readily forgotten past. It has since been my passion to bring these ideas to life.
A Godless Country was, in part , inspired by the story of the 1790 convict escape in which eleven Irish convicts attempted to walk overland from Sydney to Ireland. I was taken by their relentless drive to return home. I was moved to read a particular couple had lost a child prior which prompted their decision to take a chance in the bush. Whilst their story ended quite differently, I wanted to explore why one would make that decision and what a parent might do in that era to save their child.
I also wanted to explore the interplay between faith and fate, discerning what these two concepts meant in the context of being imprisoned in a far-flung and seemingly ‘Godless’ land.
Ultimately, I wanted to create an on-screen history that gave rise to the idea that like Unites States and it’s glorious frontier narrative, we too, have stories. And they are worthy of telling.
Jesse Richardson is a visionary Actor/Writer/Director of film and theatre with a passion for historical stories.
He is best known for his productions of White Lines, The Pitch (feature) The Club (theatre), Red (theatre) and A Godless Country.
Jesse began his journey as an actor, training at the Actors Workshop under the keen eye of master teacher Lynn Kidd. As his career progressed Jesse found a passion for writing, producing and directing his own stories – tales often neglected by mainstream Australian cinema and with a focus on colonial history.
In 2013 Jesse wrote, produced and performed in the award winning “White Lines’, Australia’s first web series based in the world of Australian rules football. White Lines received 9 Australian Webstream Award Nominations (winning one) and gaining ‘Official Selection’ at the Melbourne Webfest 2014.
In 2016 Jesse scored the lead in Michael Holligan’s feature ‘Battalion’ which received world wide distribution.
Jesse co-directed the feature film ‘The Pitch’ (2017) before producing and directing theatre productions of ‘The Club'(2019) and ‘Red’ ‘2020’.
Jesse is now looking to develop A Godless Country into a prequel for a slate of films set in colonial Australia.