Australian actor and director Martin Copping has just about finished his first feature film, 'The Dunes', inspired by none other than his mother who passed away last year.
"My mum was battling alcoholism for years, and it progressively got worse", Copping tells TV Buzz exclusively. "It was a challenging experience to go through - watching someone who was the most incredible, cheeky person not have the support to be able to work through whatever issues she had. It caused issues in my life, and that's something I've been exploring since her passing."
The 40-year-old actor, who recently celebrated his birthday in Los Angeles, has been working in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. He featured on the small screen with roles in well-known Australian television series such as Blue Heelers, Neighbours, Good Guys Bad Guys and Ocean Girl.
"Neighbours was a lot of fun and I had a great time", Copping says. "It was my first introduction to television. My father was a producer and cinematographer in Melbourne; he was working on a lot of commercials and I would get pulled out of school to fill in for some jobs. By the time I was 15-years-old, I starred in at least 20 commercials!"
Today, Martin plays the lead role in 'The Dunes'. "The story revolves around a character named Nicholas Rice, a journalist for the L.A times, he adds. "Rice has some issues with his family back home in Australia and returns to sell the property. While there, a mysterious figure from his past shows up and the game of 'cat and mouse' pursues between them. I promote the story as a cautionary tale - people need to face up to their problems and not run away from them."
The Australian actor turned director is joined by a strong cast including Tim Phillips (Animal Kingdom, Neighbours) and Jacinta Stapleton (Molly, Schapelle).
"I was really fortunate to have these Aussie actors who were at the top of their game. I never had to worry about their performances - they knew exactly what to do."
Martin is the lead actor, director and script writer for the feature film - while taking the chance to shine a light on the issue of alcohol abuse. "I found the art of acting/directing challenging, but I tried to keep the process incredibly simple", he tells us. "We shot majority of the film with a hand-held gimbal and camera. We were able to move very quickly with a five-man crew."
"I wanted to write a story about substance abuse because I'm eager to raise awareness on the issue. As a passionate filmmaker, it's my responsibility to use my projects as a means of helping people who look in the mirror each day asking the question, 'Who are we?'"
Martin has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help complete the film, which is aiming to raise $50,000 and already has achieved half of the amount. Now, he needs some Australian support.
"For anyone who is a patron of the arts, throw us your pennies, cents and beans!", Copping wittingly asks. "I encourage people to pledge what you can afford to give. The money (AUD) goes towards finishing the film."