Election doco team blocked at every turn

WHEN a team of young film-makers set out to make a quirky documentary about Perth’s 2015 lord mayoral election, they had no idea of the storm about to erupt.

Running for a third term, incumbent Lisa Scaffidi suddenly found herself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons when a Corruption and Crime Commission report found she’d “signally failed” in her duties by not declaring freebies from companies who had dealings with the council.

• Mike O’Hanlon and Reece Harley in a scene from the documentary Candidate Games.

• Mike O’Hanlon and Reece Harley in a scene from the documentary Candidate Games.


The film-makers had initially been focusing on the emergence of Gen-Y through candidates Mike O’Hanlon and Reece Harley, but suddenly found the intrigue around the report made great fodder for a documentary – albeit without the star candidate.

Ms Scaffidi refused to be interviewed by Periscope Pictures, blocked one of the producers on social media, and had her lawyers write to the company telling it not to film her at a mayoral debate organised by the WA Property Council.

“We really had to think outside the box and adapt quickly to the daily surprises that emerged as the events unfolded,” director Sam Bodhi Field says.

When it came to the Property Council debate, the film-makers blackened the screen where Ms Scaffidi appeared, muted her audio and replaced it with a scrolling summary of her arguments.

“Some people found it a little audacious but it was what she asked for: To not appear in the debate,” says Bodhi Field.

The shutters also went up locally, with none of Ms Scaffidi’s supporters willing to talk to the film-makers, who ended up tracking down Los Angeles celebrity dentist Dr Bill who said he was a friend of Ms Scaffidi.

“He had glowing things to say about her,” says Bodhi Field.

“The City of Perth decided that we couldn’t film the vote counting, which is a critical scene for a documentary about the election.


“That was a bit of a spanner in the works. But luckily Council House is built like a fishbowl; we filmed everything we needed to through the windows.”

More than a year in the works and much changed from the original scope, Mr Field says they’ve got an entertaining but informative documentary.

Candidate Games screens on ABC 2 on December 7 at 9.30pm.

Disclaimer: Reporter David Bell makes a brief cameo appearance in Candidate Games


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