Tail of a Tiger was the first feature film for most of the key crew, including writer/director Rolf de Heer. The film came about almost by chance. On the last day of the financial year in the heady days of 10BA tax incentive film financing, a phone call came through at about 9.30 in the morning. "Do you have anything of between $300,000 and $600,000?" One never says no to a question like that, even with nothing on hand, and by 5 pm the dollars were in the bank and by a quarter before midnight the contracts had been signed, on the basis of a 2-page outline for a documentary. It could never happen nowadays.
For almost the whole of his twelve years on earth, young Orville Ryan has been trying to leave it...he is obsessed with flying.
Orville's encyclopaedic knowledge of aerodynamics and aelerons however, fails to gain him acceptance into the local gang, headed by Spike. The gang possesses radio-controlled model aeroplanes; and Orville's great desire to fly one of them leads him into conflict with Spike, who puts Orville into his place by smashing his scale model Tiger Moth.
Dejected, Orville wanders off teary-eyed to explore a deserted factory complex nearby. There, in the depths of a disused flour mill, he sees it...wings sadly askew, body canvas tattered, dilapidated but real...the wreck of a full size Tiger Moth biplane. Orville is exalted by his discovery. In his mind, the derelict Moth is already flying, swooping through the skies like an eagle, Orville at the controls. His excitement is short-lived, however, as he is swiftly ejected from the mill by the plane's owner, an old man almost as derelict as the biplane. On his next visit to the old mill, Orville finds even the entrances boarded up.
And so begins a battle by Orville to get the Tiger Moth flying again...a battle to win the trust of Old Harry, a battle to overcome the obstacle of Spike and the gang, and finally, a battle with his own and Harry's courage.
Orville - Grant Navin
Harry - Gordon Poole
Lydia - Caz Lederman
Beryl - Gayle Kennedy
Spike - Peter Feeley
Rabbit - Dylan Lyle
Writer/Director - Rolf de Heer
Producer - James Vernon
Executive Producer - Grahame Jennings
Costume design - Grahame Jennings
Production Manager/First AD - Nigel Abbott
Director of Photography - Richard Michalak
Sound Recordist - Kevin Kearney
Boom Operator - Philip Hayward-Surry
Production Designer - Judith Russell
Costume Designer - Clarissa Patterson
Film Editor - Suresh Ayyar
Sound Editor - Penn Robinson
Music - Steve Arnold and Graham Tardif