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Aloft Australian Productions is pleased to confirm actor and musician Craig McLachlan has signed a Letter of Intent to play a role in their forthcoming feature film project Sherbrooke Down: Valley of Tears.

Film Writer/Director/Actor and Country Musician James Stewart Keene said he was delighted to have the interest of an experienced actor such as Mr. McLachlan on the project.

The company has released two test scenes from the script featuring Craig. The scenes were filmed in September this year as part of its 12-15 month pre-production process. 

"Craig is a personal friend of mine and we share a common bond as musicians, as well as a love of all things in the performing arts ", Mr. Keene said.

"Craig portrays a character who is an influential orchardist and community leader who leaves no stone unturned to protect and defend his wife's reputation and their family interests. I know people will be intrigued and captivated by his performance in the scenes we have released. We thank him for helping us with our pre-production thus far".

James added, "We look forward to producing this entertaining and emotionally-charged independent feature film in late 2024 and we know it will resonate with audiences not just here in Australia but the in UK and beyond". 


Pre-production work on the late Colonial period drama/western Sherbrooke Down: Valley of Tears commenced in September this year and will take approximately 12-15 months to complete, prior to production.  

The film is a very personal story written by Mr Keene and details two intertwining true Australian stories. 

In 1903, James' great, great grandparents lived in the now defunct village of Sherbrooke in NSW, which once was a thriving agricultural village on the Illawarra plateau. 

During the Great Federation drought of 1902, Greater Sydney faced a serious drinking water emergency. The government of the day did what successive governments have done during drought - propose more dams.

In the summer of 1903, the NSW Government resumed the lands of the thriving fruit growing community situated on the banks of the Cataract River without prior consultation with the community. Mr. Keene's ancestors and their neighbours were given their marching orders to vacate their properties for the building of the Cataract Dam. At that time, the dam project was the biggest engineering project of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Mr. Keene says the film deals with the subjects of loss, grief, resilience and redemption. It focuses heavily on two strong-willed women characters from differing socio-economic class that somehow must find a way to resolve their differences during adversity.

The two scenes can be watched back-to- back here:

In 2021, Aloft Australian Productions produced a Proof of Concept short film for the project entitled Sherbrooke Down: The Road to Cataract, essentially a prequel which is available to stream on Vimeo OTT. 

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