What a great start to the silly season and what a fabulous homecoming moment for the team at Brick Studios behind Indie film Christmess.
As part of its Sundown Sessions, Campbelltown Arts Centre literally rolled out the red carpet (and handed out popcorn and bonbons) to a crowd that came to see their city on the big screen and cheer familiar local faces in this film that boasts of, as producer Daniel Fenech said, “over 50% local cast and crew”.
“A wonderful opportunity for the community to see our city and its local talent on the big screen,” Mayor of Campbelltown George Greiss said.
The film itself is a triumph. Writer-director Heath Davis has stripped the sop and syrup off to tell an honest, heart-warming Christmas story that will stand among the best long after the last bauble is packed away.
Fresh out of rehab, alcoholic film star Chris (Steve Le Marquand) moves into a halfway house just before Christmas. Supported by his sponsor, Nick (Darren Gilshenan) and musician Joy (Hannah Joy) who is also a recovering addict, Chris sincerely works at getting his life on track, even managing to bag a job as a suburban mall Santa. Everything appears to be hunky dory till he bumps into his long-estranged daughter Noelle (Nicole Pastor) and we are led to the very heart of Christmas – the power of hope and forgiveness.
“Campbelltown came out above and beyond and without you guys there is no movie,” Mr Davis said to enthusiastic whoops at the local premier.
“It really is possible to make movies in this area, it doesn’t just have to be a one-off thing, it can be a regular thing but it takes a lot of support from everybody to make that happen.”
Mr Fenech said that though one doesn’t really think of Campbelltown as a film making city, the reality is that several films and documentaries have emerged from here in recent times, with more in planning.
“For us at Brick Studios to produce two films five years after opening our doors is quite special,” he said.
The screening was followed by a lively Q&A conducted by Good Morning Macarthur’s editor with Heath Davis, Daniel Fenech and local actor Nicole Pastor.
The premier was hosted by Smart Recovery Australia and Campbelltown City Council. All proceeds from ticket sales were donated to Odyssey House and Lifeline Macarthur.
Check out Good Morning Macarthur’s interviews with director Heath Davis and producer Daniel Fenech here: