Joy Hopwood’s The Gift That Gives Cast Set for a January 2023 Shoot


The fourth romantic comedy, by Joy House Productions, will begin filming in Sydney in January 2023.

The Gift That Gives follows the story of Callum Mori (Takaya Honda), the author of a book entitled, The Gift That Gives. He makes his first television appearance as a guest of The Arts Corner television show, presented by Kate Sedgeman (Lily Brown-Griffiths), who falls for him. Callum, however, falls for her best friend, Linda (HaiHa Le). She owns the bookshop where Callum launches his book but luckily for Kate, fate brings her and Callum’s brother, Austin (Damien Sato), together as they discover hidden love letters, signed by aliases. Jointly, they all try to find out who penned them.

“There are many comedic moments in the film, thanks to Austin and Callum’s fun-loving parents, stepfather, Lawrence Drakos (Lex Marinos) and mother, Mary Mori (Susan Ling Young), who both have liaisons with an art teacher, Warren, (Atharv Kolhatkar), dance teacher, Libby Lui, (Genevieve Craig), and yoga teacher Erin Huynh, (Maria Tran), which adds uplifting and amusing elements to the film,” says Hopwood.

The production is shot entirely in Sydney, written, directed and produced by Joy Hopwood (The Script of Life, Rhapsody of Live, Get a Life, Alright!) with a stellar cast, which has now been announced. The main cast are, Takaya Honda (Neighbours), HaiHa Le (Packed to the Rafters), Lily Brown-Griffiths (The Script of Life), Damien Sato (Rhapsody of Love), Susan Ling-Young (Hungry Ghosts) and Lex Marinos (OAM). Accompanied by a great supporting cast who include, Maria Tran (Last King of the Cross), Andy Trieu (SBS PopAsia), Genevieve Craig (Chikas), and Atharv Kolhatkar (The Marriage Agency).

Caz Dickson is the cinematographer, production designer Valentina Iastrebova, sound recordist and designer Lara Cross, and editor, Jon Cohen.

When asked why the actors wanted to be part of this film, “I am super excited to get started on The Gift That Gives, I was attracted to it because it is an interesting blend of a rom-com and a whodunit with rich and diverse characters. The script has some interesting twists and turns that don’t get caught in rom-com clichés, I mean, who needs another film celebrating someone cheating on their fiancé because they found ‘the one’ in someone they met two days ago?” says Takaya Honda.

“I loved the spirit in which this film is being made. It takes a lot of courage and tenacity to set out to make a film and I wanted to be part of the ride. It also has a warm and positive message, which I hope will resonate with audiences,” says HaiHa Le.

“Human emotions like love, hope and happiness are universal. They don’t belong to any one section of society. Working with a diverse cast and crew is very much what contemporary Australia feels like to me. It’s a pleasure to be involved,” says Lex Marinos.

“There are many comedic moments in the film, and I hope audiences will get a laugh and be able to enjoy the film’s message and realise what the ‘gift that gives’ is in life,” says Hopwood.

Like all of Joy Hopwood’s films, diversity is at the forefront and she plans to have a theatrical release later in 2023 and to have the film streaming on a major network. Her last feature film, Get a Life, Alright! (a rom-com musical) will be coming soon to Channel Nine in 2023.

Press Release

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