Logline: James Saunders is an Australian Aboriginal man who was told at boarding school he was not clever enough to go to University. He lived in the Aboriginal community where there is 'men's business' and 'women's business', James overcame doubts about coming out and joined the Convicts Rugby team, winning three Bingham Cups with them. James has become a role model for young, gay Aboriginal people. 'Clan' details the journey of James' remarkable life in his own words.
Current Status: Completed
Length: 7 minutes
Writer: Larissa Behrendt
Director: Larissa Behrendt
Producer: Sophie Wiesner
Congratulations! Why did you decide to make this film?
I thought James has an inspirational story to tell. I wanted to show his life story to inspire other young gay men. I also wanted to highlight the negative impact of homophobia on young people.
Why is the film called Clan? Is it a specific or universal story?
James is very proud of his Indigenous identity and embraces it. He has found a home – a clan – with the convicts. It seemed to be a word that described several aspects of his life.
How did you find the main character?
I knew James after meeting him when he was a student at UTS. I knew he’d overcome a lot to get himself an education. When I sat down to talk about him doing a story about that I realized there was a whole aspect to his journey that I didn’t know. When he told me, I knew I had to tell the story.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It meant a lot to me that James was happy with the story. And I was pleased that other young gay people find his story inspirational. I was able to send it to a friend who was feeling suicidal and he then reached out to James.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The film has been well received. I didn’t think there would be negative views about it but I was surprised that it has been as embraced as it had – though I’m very happy about that!
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
I think the story is important. And I am keen to show that I can tell a story like this with integrity.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
I hope that James will inspire others with his story. I think he already has.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate about this film?
There is no room for homophobia in the Aboriginal community. We need to stamp it out.
What other films are you developing or directing now?
I am making a feature documentary about the record rates of Indigenous child removal that is taking place now.