Film (Part 1)




Country:          Australian

Year:               2007

Rating:             M

Genre:             Action/ sci-fi


Minutes:         109 Feature Length

Screen Ratio:     2.35:1

Gauge:              Digital Betacam

Distributed:       Sony Pictures

Cast (in credits order)

Andy Whitfield             Gabriel

Dwaine Stevenson      Sammael

Samantha Noble         Jade / Amitiel

Erika Heynatz             Lilith

Michael Piccirilli         Asmodeus

Harry Pavlidis             Uriel

Harry Pavlidis             Raphael

Kevin Copeland          Ahriman

Brendan Clearkin        Balan

Matt Hylton Todd         Ithuriel

Valentino del Toro      Baliel

Goran D. Kleut                        Molloch

Amy Mathews             Maggie




Christian Clark                        Sean

Johan Earl                  Clay

Amber Gokken                        Krianna

Denai Gracie               Leather Girl

Richard Huggett          Max

Az Jackson                 Paddich

Aaron Scully               Xander

Paul Winchester         Marcus


Director                                   Shane Abbes

Writing credits (story)                         Shane Abbess/Matt Hylton Todd

Produced by                           Shane Abbess/Anna Katharina Cridland/Kristy Vernon

Executive- producer               Wayne Duband/Matt Hylton Todd/James Michael VernonJames Michael Vernon

Original Music                        Brian Cachia


Cinematography                      Peter Holland


Film Editing                              Adrian Rostirolla


Casting                                    Faith Martin


Production Design                  Victor Lam

Art Direction                            Andrew Bocxe


Costume Design                     Lisa Walpole

Makeup Department                 Simona Kubingerova/Dakota Matich

Production Management          Denai Gracie

Post-production producer       Matthew Graham

Unit manager                           Claire Jackson

Production manager               Angela Parker

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director


First assistant director                       Xander Collier/Bob Howard/Chris Schwager

FAD pick-ups                          Michael Horvath

Art Department

Assistant art director              Allan Chesher

Art department coordinator    Katherine Giovenali

Stand-by props                       Matt Valent







Sound Department

Dialogue editor                       Adrian Bilinsky

Sound recordist                      Rainier Davenport

Sound re-recording mixer/     John Dennison


Oley artist                               Les Fiddess

Additional sound editor/         Dan Johnston

foley editor

Supervising sound editor       Sean O'Reilly


Special Effects by                   Johan Earl

Special effects/technician      Matt Valent


Visual Effects by                     Steve Anderson/Michael Crippin/Scott Geersen/Zach Paul/Tylney Taylor

Visual effects producer          Matthew Graham

Digital compositor                  Demis Lyall-Wilson

Previsualisation artist                        Christian Poullay

Matte painter                           Jonathan Taranto

Digital compositor                  Koji Yamaguchi

Stunts                                        Kyle Rowling


Camera &                                Gillian Huxley

Electrical Department            

Camera operator                     Andrew Johnson


Editorial Department                Enzo Tedeschi

Other crew                               John Duong/Luke Polti

Gabriel. Internet Movie Database. 2007.

Release Dates & Box-office Information

•Gabriel’s Australian premiere was on November 7, 2007 and the general Australian release was      November 15, 2007.

•From the 15th to 18th of November the film averaged $470,063 per screening and was shown at over 98 cinemas venues.

•Gabriel was placed fifth at the Australian box-office and in its first week earned approximately $6695.000

•At the end of 2007 Gabriel was ranked 111 out of  295 films released and grossed $1,158,520. (Australia)

•On February 19, 2008 Sony Pictures will release Gabriel on DVD to the USA & Australia.

Bibliography of Interviews

Cast Biographies/Character Notes and interviews with cast and crew it is PDF file. – Nov 16, 2007


Gabriel: AU Interview with Shane Abbess

The Aussie director talks Arc Angels, The Fallen and his love of gaming. - Oct 3, 2007

Gabriel director risks life and limb. – Nov 17, 2007


Heavenly features. -  – The Sydney Morning Herald – Nov 9, 2007


Hell and high water for those making Gabriel – Nov 16, 2007 •,21985,22768696-5006023,00.html

More Matrix than Milton, this low-buget genre flick's action-hero angels quickly fall to earth. – The Sydney Morning Herald. – Nov 15, 2007.


Shane Abbess & Andy Whitfield. – Nov 17, 2007 


Shane Abbess (Gabriel) Uncle Creepy chats up the director of Gabriel! – Mefeedia – Mar – 3, 2008


Writer/director SHANE ABBESS and his crew reveal the secrets behind making their low budget Australian sci-fi action flick GABRIEL. – Film Link - Nov 22, 2007 •

Bibliography of reviesws/newspaper/books/journals

All information about this film in newspapers can be found on-line and in the above web pages. I personally could not find any information in books and journals relating to this film. I could only come up with unrelated information. However, I was able to find articles in film magazines like Empire Magazine. Once again, they can be found and purchased online. 

Films on-line presents  

The film was released in November of 2007, and because this assignment is only separated by a five months gap, I found the online presents to be reasonably good and recent. All of my information has been obtained from the Internet. I have mainly used the following search engines, the films official Web page (, IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) Wikipedia, and I typed the movie title (Gabriel 2007) in Google and Yahoo. Through IMDB and Wikipedia, I was able to find a very large amount of links (other web pages of the same content). I was fine with using IMDB for information because its has credibility and reliability regarding its content; however I was skeptical about using Wikipedia. When I followed up what was written in Wikipedia with other web pages, bibliography ofWikipedia and viewing the special feature on the DVD I found that its facts and information were valuable and were credible to other information on other websites. All the information found on the internet was not just text but also contained other media. I found Clips on Youtube (viewing shared video files) which showed interviews featured the films trailer by typing in “Gabriel Film”. Past radio interviews with crew that have been put on-line through radio stations, Supernova and Triple J (are no longer available in audio). Lastly, I found if you type the director’s name into Google or Yahoo you also find an extensive amount of information on the film and interviews, one in particular is a site called myspace (Social network service).  

Critical Review of Film & Film Literature(Part 2)

Plot synopsis

Gabriel (2007) tells the story of how for some time Arc angels (God’s highest-ranking beings) and fallen angels (angels that renounced God and went with Satan) have taken human form and have been sent down to purgatory to battle each other. The Arc angels have been chosen to return purgatory to the light (good) and the fallen fight to keep it in darkness (evil). The film drops the audience into a chapter of the story where most of the Arc angels have been killed or no longer posses the strength to do anything. Purgatory (souls trapped between heaven and hell) is now over run with the fallen. The only Arc angel left is Gabriel (Andy Whitfield) who is sent to find out what has happened and to return the light. He soon discovers that being human has made his power limited and he is now subject to the human condition (experiencing feeling and emotions). Upon entering purgatory, he has a vision telling him the location of one of the Arc angels called Uriel. Uriel then begins to tell Gabriel that all is lost and he should hide the fact that he is an Angel because Sammael (Dwaine Stevenson) the leader of the fallen can sense his presence the more he uses his power. Gabriel then returns to the dark city to discover that his close friend Amitiel another Arc Angel, has taken the form of a female. She also was defeated by Sammael, and forced to work as a prostitute. They soon become lovers because they both now have felling and emotions. Gabriel musters the strength and some how finds a way to kill the fallen Angels until he reaches Sammael, this soon becomes the hardest and most controversial decision ever as he finds out that Sammael had already been killed before he arrived and that his brother in arms Michael had done it and had taken Sammael’s identity. Sammuael does not fight Gabriel at first but tries to explain how down here in purgatory they can make their own rules and answer to no body. Thus having total control. Michael offers Gabriel the chance to join but he refuses. Michael then over powers Gabriel and puts a metal pipe through his chest, Gabriel grabs Michael and drives the pipe into his chest as well. As they both drop to their knees Gabriel tells Michael that he forgives him and that he too has felt the emotion of the human condition but unlike Michael he has felt good emotions. With his last ounce of strength, Michael heals Gabriel then dies. Light then returns to purgatory. 

Critical Uptake of the Film

The general uptake of the film received all different kinds of reviews upon its release. The story was reasonably original and the film, being shot on such a small budget was of very high standard. The Film was very well praised for its technical achievement and visual style. However, the storyline took verbal criticism form critics for not being an original and for the dialog being wooden. However, the “Moveshow” at reviewed by Michael Adams said “sometimes a film has to get an “A” for Ambition”.  Gabriel -- made by Sydneysiders Shane Abbess and Matt Hylton Todd -- is on of such case. Even though the film was not intended to emulate film of similar nature as David Stratton from the SBS show said. , it’s depressing to encounter such a derivative movie as GABRIEL which borrows themes from NIGHT WATCH and DAY WATCH and which has the look of UNDERWORLD or a poor man’s THE MATRIX (the long-suffering hero even looks a little like Keanu Reeves). That is only one example of how a critic chose to see it. This was far different from the director’s explanation.   

When DirectorShane Abbes was interview by a radio show called Dread Central on the internet (in the above websites) the Interviewer Steve Barton Said “it had a distinct look” and asked the question “what was your inspiration”,Shane Abbes replied I was trying to make a very derivative movie, wanted to make an 80’s action film, like a Sci-Fi genre 80’s film “. Therefore, with this in mind the audience can understand that Abbes was trying for no particular inspiration rather a collective from the past era of the 1980’s. Later on in the interview, Abbes later discussed how he went online to see what his reviewers had been saying. He found a solid fan base, which is what he wanted to achieved and in addition he talks about if he continues to get a good reception Sony pictures might give the green light for the sequels.(There two more films left in the saga and they have already been written.)  I thought casting for the film was extremely well done. Even though they were all unknown actors and actresses they all played extensive roles that were both believable and created a real sense of perfectionism to the job. This can be seen on the special features when selecting behind the scenes footage of the Gabriel DVD. Once again, Michael Adams from the Movieshow review said, “Shane Abbess has gotten solid performances from his cast and some of the action is clever”.In addition, even though he praised the special effects; he said, “The special effects are thin in places, particularly when the bad angels’ faces are in blur-o-vision.  The overuse of close-ups to disguise the lacdo it all over again in anticipated sequels of sets becomes dull after a while”The general theme I found across the internet was that the film was well received and the cast and crew might have the chance to participate in sequels, despite the low budget and mediocre storyline that dulled some critics.

Own commentary

I personally can’t believe how good this film looked, coming from a background of film production at university, I can appreciate the amount of time, money, persistence and perfectionism that was put into this production. In fact I had no intention of ever seeing this film, however when a friend suggested it to me and mentioned that it was Australian movie that was filmed for next to no money I had to see it. I was not expecting much so my initial expectation was low. After having seen it I was very impressed. It was interesting how they made this film look like it had a big budget. I am personally trying to get into the cinematography side of film making so my thought where how did they make this film look so cinematic. The shots were numerous in amounts and had a very grainy look, the film had a dark kind of feel, it was constantly night with low lighting and poured down with rain for a good part of the movie. I looked up what kind of camera they had used and it was the JVC GY-HD101E, (also used for Foxtel’s hit TV series Dangerous) Filmink. Abbess said enthuses “The camera worked great for what we were doing, because we shot on the fly,” “I can’t say a bad word about it. It holds up really well with no light, and we were able to treat it just like a big 35mm camera.” They shot in over 26 locations in different conditions and they were able to save a lot of money working with a digital camera instead of film.

The money saved form using the digital camera was distributed to other parts of the production such as the food for the cast and crew. Most people in the cast and crew all work under differed payments until the film made money, except for a couple of extras that wanted up front payment. Abbess explains, "So they came and did two nights ... and these are some pretty heavy sort of people, and they kind of said you either pay us now or basically we're going to kill you. He went on to say "And they were very serious about thatand there are things when you're making a film that you just don't need to deal with.”Actor Andy Whitfield had to help paint sets after a 12-hour day but said, “Someone ordered pizzas and everything was fine.









They were able to save money other ways as well for example they had the props department design the wardrobe from St Vincent de Paul. Most of the props came from the tip and the industrial estates and warehouses formed the sets. The film was roughly mad for $150,000. However, that is before every one was paid.Abbess said the film runs“well into the millions."

“It is a film that was made for a low budget but it's not a low-budget film in terms of what you see”. figures can be found on the DVD. Abbess said. “Yet when the finished film was shown to Sony executives in the US, they assumed they were seeing a production with a much higher budget.

After watching the film I look at the back-story of the character to find the origin of angels. I found that they came from the Bible and that I have heard of Michal and Gabriel but had never heard of Uriel and the others. That is because the other names come fromJudaismZoroastrianism as well as John Milton’s Paradise Lost, not just the bible. The writers paid a lot of attention to the backstory and mythology of purgatory.The film is part of a three-part trilogy and the story focuses on the characters rather then special effects.

If you have seen the film and are not too impressed at the very least you would have to give this film 11 out of 10 for ambition. It is really a great inspirational story of what can be done with so little and just the right attitude, Abbess spent the best part of three years realizing this dream. 

Prior work Cast and crew

They had the lighting crews from Superman and The Matrix, and the fight director from Star Wars Episodes II and III.'' 

Gabriel is Abbess's first feature film after years spent making shorts and music clips. In between he worked as a shelf-stacker and as a removalist -- anything to scratch together enough money to make his next movie.

When it came to casting, Abbess wanted actors that nobody had really seen before.

“I didn’t want anyone that had been in big Aussie films and I didn’t want anyone that reminded people of a soap actor. So Faith [Martin, the casting director] bought in a specific group of people. She found people that really put their heart and soul into it – even if they were only on the screen for two or three minutes.”

Of course, the doesn’t mean that a couple of the players (Michael Piccirilli played Dr James Fraser on ''Home & Away'' in the early 90s) weren’t familiar to audiences – it’s just that Abbess didn’t know it. “Here I was harping on about no sort of soap stars, and second day of the shoot, Amy Mathews who plays Maggie, comes up to me and says ‘I’m leaving tonight for Home & Away’. I was like ‘Oh right, you’re only on there for a week though right?’ and she says, ‘No, I’ll be on there for two years’.”

Same with Erika Heynatz, best known as the host of ''Australia’s Next Top Model'', who wasn’t anyone when she shot the film two-and-a-half-years-ago but since then has emerged into a popular TV personality.

Clint Morris, 2007


There is no dought about it, Gabriel is an Australian casted film. However, it is debatable when it comes to the traditions of what Australian film represents. Producers of Gabriel said “Historically, many Australia movies have been either driven by artistic or personal motivations or, have focused on cultural imperatives leading to un-commercial” movies being produced. These types of movies are unlikely to give off a reasonable return to investors.”

It is not filmed in the bush or has any reference to the outback and our hero is not a swagman. For once, it is nice to see what Australian films could be instead of what most are. That is what I strongly believe. The director Shane Abbes had something similar in his mind.  Abbess says his intention was always to make an internationally appealing commercial film that was not particularly Australian looking. At the same time he was not trying to make an American looking film either.  "We don't want to be Hollywood, we don't want to even compete. But if we can make four or five films a year that are commercial and that really capture an audience, I think that's what we need to do.

This fresh new way of looking at the future possibility of Australian film could start is own sub-genre, however if I was to Categorize this film I would say that it belongs to Action. Like Abbes

Said “It was designed to be an ‘80s-retro type movie, and those films have such a jumbled quality that’s intentional,” he laughs. “It feels like a movie that I used to watch, rather than one I’d see today.”

Producers on Gabriel said “our intention was to ensure the movie would have wide international audience appeal and therefore, provide a profitable investment for our investors. This was achieved by developing and exploiting the projects commercial grade, iconic and franchise able qualities. These are the qualities that Sony responded too, which prompted the world wide

distribution deal secured by Screen Corporation.”

The film Gabriel landed the director an American agent and future project such as The Dark Crystal remake, however he is knocking them all back It’s because they’re all remakes. I don’t want to do those”, Said Abbess. Proving just how much he dose not want to do the hole franchise-thing,  Abbess also says he’s not going to do a ''Gabriel'' sequel if the audience doesn’t want it. “I’m not just going to do it for the hell of it. If the first Gabriel goes well, and the audience  want to know more about the saga then Abbess said he would be more then happy to do it.

I believe from the above information we can see that there is a market for this type of film and that its has done remarkably well. This is in relation to the budget, how it was filmed and the attitude of most people involved with the making and distributing of this film.  



Adams, Michael. Movieshow Review Gabriel, SBS. November 16, 2007

Australian Weekly Box Office. Movie Marshal. November 19, 2007

Gabriel director risks life and limb.ninemsn. November 17, 2007

Gabriel.  Internet Movie Database. 2007.

Gabriel media kit: Biographies/Character Notes and interviews with cast and crew (PDF file). November 16, 2007

Gabriel. Offical Webpage. 2007                          

Gabriel. Wikipedia 2007





Hell and high water for those making Gabriel, November 16, 2007,21985,22768696-5006023,00.html


Jinman, Richard, GabrielThe Sydney Morning Herald. November 15, 2007

Kolan, Patrick, Gabriel: AU Interview with Shane Abbess

The Aussie director talks Arc Angels, The Fallen and his love of gaming. October 3, 2007

Kornits, Div; Duff, Brian. Writer/director SHANE ABBESS and his crew reveal the secrets behind making their low budget Australian sci-fi action flick GABRIEL. Film Link.  November 22, 2007

McCutcheon, David.Gabriel Clashes DVD Andy Whitfield's splash to American DVD comes in FebDecember 2007.

Mojo, LLC. Australia Box Office December Box Office. November 13 –16, 2007

Mojo, LLC. Australia yearly Box Office. Box Office. 2008


More Matrix than Milton, this low-buget genre flick's action-hero angels quickly fall to earth. – The Sydney Morning Herald. November 15, 2007.

Morris, Clint. Shane Abbess & Andy Whitfield. Novmber 17, 2007











Purcell, Charles, Heavenly Feature. The Sydney Morning Herald. November 9, 2007

Schembri, Jim. Queen Cate Kills at the Box officeThe Age. November 23, 2007

Shane Abbess (Gabriel) Uncle Creepy chats up the director of Gabriel, Mefeedia. March 3, 2008

Stratton, David; Pomeranz, Margaret, At The Movies: GabrielABC. November 14, 2007

Urban, Andrew L.. Gabriel. Urban Cinefile. November 16, 2007


By Troy Zumbo