AN Aussie exorcist and the gritty streets of Melbourne star in two high quality Australian-made films at The Backlot Perth.
Independently produced by first-time feature filmmaker Catherine Hill, the micro-budget drama Some Happy Day is about homeless woman Tina (Peta Brady) who is desperately searching for a better life, but her social worker Frances (Mary Helen Sassman) has problems too, so things get complicated and their lives intertwine.
Hill worked extensively as a social work case manager and crises worker over the past two decades and drew on those experiences to write Some Happy Day.
Shot in the homeless communities of Melbourne, many of the extras and supporting cast in the film have lived rough homelessness at some point in their lives.
“I offered these wonderful people the opportunity to play background actors in the film,” Hill tells the Voice.
“There was one particular woman who came to me and told me she was once street homeless and that she would love to play a homeless person in the film because she felt it would be really cathartic for her.”
As well as supporting the homeless community in the area, Some Happy Day features stellar performances from up-and-coming actors Mary Helen Sassman, and Peta Brady in an award-worthy turn that brings humanity and empathy to the character Tina.
“I specifically wrote this role with Peta in mind,” Hill says.
“Peta is an incredible playwright and is an extraordinary actor, who is also one of the kindest people you will ever meet. I knew she would be perfect for the role.”
Another new Australian film showing at The Backlot is The Possessed.
Independently produced, but with a much bigger budget, the creepy exorcism thriller was made by Aussie horror maestro Chris Sun.
It’s the filmmaker’s fifth film in 10 years and his latest since Boar – a violent creature feature starring local horror icon John Jarratt.
Jarratt has a major role in The Possessed as Jacob, who is based on real life exorcist Mark Gardner.
Jarratt enjoyed playing an exorcist, but doesn’t buy into spirituality or the afterlife.
“Look, it’s very bloody interesting, but I don’t believe in any of it. I truly believe that Mark thinks this stuff happens, but I’m agnostic,” Jarratt says.
“I know that when you die, two things are going to happen: nothing and I won’t know, or something and it’s going to be a blast.”
The Possessed is an enjoyable horror that sees director Sun opt for traditional special effects over CGI, and the final results on screen are world-class.
“This is a film that has to be absolutely believable,” Jarratt says.
“And practical effects are why people are going to watch a Chris Sun film. The man is a genius.”
The Possessed is at The Backlot Perth in West Perth from this Friday (November 12) and Some Happy Day is on November 18 – 21.
By Matthew Eeles