Tuesday, 5 February 2008

How To Change The World

Recently I had the pleasure of playing a small role in Leo Berkeley's (Holidays on the River Yarra, Ending With Andre, Stargazers) latest feature film "How To Change The World" which has finally finished post-production and is ready for festival entry and distribution.

My role was opposite filmmaker Travis Sutherland chatting about this and that in a pub which we are more then capable of after five jugs of beer (Well, Leo said the beer would be supplied free). Travis and I came up with some nutty dialogue through-out the film about our drunken antics mostly, and some dialogue about filmmaking which was left on the cutting room floor.

The film is part improvisational and part scripted (I believe), well the impression I got was that all the scenes featuring people like myself sitting around the pub was "pure" improvisation, and all the scenes with the actors was either scripted or "directed" improvisation.

The film follows the story of a pub going through a transitional phase of needing to introduce new clientelle. A scenario not unfamiliar here in Melbourne and I imagine all around the world where cosy pubs are thrust into the dire situation of having to make money to pay rates and rentals. The old barkeep is a thing of the past (Bartenders look like the bastard children of Tom Cruise and Robbie Williams), snug ales beside roaring fires are virtually all but non-existent (It's more like Bicardi Breezers next to some sweaty guy in a t-shirt transfer to keep warm), unless you have gourmet pizza (that's things like curry or noodles on pizza bases) or seasoned potato wedges with sour cream on the menu you won't survive as a publican.

The idea behind this film is to do with that transition, the fading away of the past and the fresh splash of the new. Leo shot the film on virtually no budget with cast and crew helping out for the good of cinema. He shot it on Digital, not entirely sure with what camera, most likely a Sony, and the end result is not bad.

I would have liked more scenes with me in it but it was probably wise to have limited my screen time to the first three jugs of beer. So, keep your eyes out for it on the festival circuit. I recommended to Leo he approach Accent Underground for distribution of which he may very well do. Leo's development as a filmmaker has been very interesting from the tight Holidays on the River Yarra shot on 16mm to more experimental pieces like Stargazers which was a totally improvised piece that has a duration of something like three hours.

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