Military wife Jackie is just another one of ‘the wives of’, a soldier, battling to survive the impact of war and tragedy when her husband returns home forcing the unravelling of their marriage and exposing betrayal within her own ranks.
Interview with Writer Kerry Drumm
Congratulations on the script and trailer! Why did you decide to write this film?
I knew I wanted to write a script that reflected military life, as it was a world I was a part of for over 15 years. I wanted to explore the friendships of military wives, the ‘wife of’ which is often how we were referred to. Life ‘behind the wire’ was literally crammed with amazing characters, from all walks of life, each with a story to tell. One thing that ties military wives is fear. Fear of death. And that’s what I wrote about. Sounds very dark, which it is, but Tanked also explores the exclusiveness of that lifestyle. Larger than life characters filled with warmth, laughter, love and family. Integral for survival.
Why is the film called TANKED?
The film is called TANKED, firstly because it’s a military weapon. But I liked the idea of the characters each being confined, and to some degree, selfishly protecting themselves inside the small space of a tank while they randomly fired on each other.
There was no waving of a white flag. It’s just constant. Aim. Fire.
It also refers to us bottling up our emotions in the fear of not showing how vulnerable, hurt, betrayed, struggling, desperate, angry, suppressed, passive we may be. Instead it sits in the pit of our stomachs, building upwards to a possible explosion.
Is the film autobiographical?
The characters in TANKED have elements of autobiography. When writing any story, you have to pull from what you know. I had to tap into elements of my own memories and pull them to the surface, which I hope are realised in the script. Grief, for example, is universal and experienced by all of us. My script editor and I would often be in tears, as were the actors, when we would do a read through. We relate to Jackie and Tom’s story. TANKED also explores the camaraderie of the wives, and the difficulties faced when hurt and betrayal comes from within.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
So far friends, family and crew have watched the trailer and have been very positive with their feedback. We have also had these responses to the script:
“I am certainly not a script editor in any respect but WOW…what a fantastic screenplay you have written! Congrats! I am being completely honest when I say that it immediately felt like it had been written by a seasoned screenwriter and flowed beautifully and held my attention throughout. Without spewing out too many superlatives, it was authentic, believable, vivid, concise, economical, restrained, endearing, empathetic, witty, poignant and quirky!”
Adam Elliot, Director
Oscar winner – Harvey Krumpet
“I can tell you I would never go and see this film. I was hard pressed holding it together reading it. Parents losing children is something I just can’t cope with.But – it’s superbly written. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s funny and incredibly moving without ever tipping over into anything remotely sentimental. Bloody great! I read in one sitting, straight through without my mind wandering once.”
Marc Craste, Director
BAFTA winner – Jo-Jo and the Stars
“Jackie’s character is three-dimensional and excitingly complex, and TANKED also features a well rendered sense of place and atmosphere that makes for an immersive read. Ultimately, TANKED is an extremely original character study that finely showcases a specific, assured voice. Additionally, TANKED stands poised to serve its writer well as a compelling sample in the interest of garnering future opportunities, as this current draft admirably demonstrates a refreshingly unique perspective and sensibility.” TANKED's strongest aspect is its bittersweet tone and pitch-perfect blend of light and dark elements.”
The Black List – Evaluations, 2015
“Right from the beginning the tone is set to let us know we are being invited into an “exclusive” world filled with history, tradition, fun, and hard cold reality. The first scene with the ladies delightfully escaping the locked bathroom echoed the deeper themes of this tale of bonding and laughing through life trials. There really is just such a warm sense of camaraderie, and despite all the tragedy, these are peoplethat feel so familiar you want to get to get to know them better.” Jackie’s reunion with Tom on p.85 is powerful because it is so tentative and fragile.” (Reader #8843)
BlueCat Screenplay Competition, Reader Feedback, 2015
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Initially TANKED was written as a British story, but through the process of filming the sample trailer material locally, and working with Australian actors (with British accents) we have begun to realise that TANKED could easily be adapted into an Australian film. What Jackie goes through is Universal, she’s a soldier’s wife, her grief and struggles are widely understood – and through our initial research and discussions with people involved with the Australian military, we are starting to form a plan for adapting the film to an Australian perspective. The other thing that has perhaps surprised us slightly, through the process of filming the trailer, has been the amount of contact and support we’ve received from people connected with the military and post service/stress disorder networks. For such a female-focused story, we’ve been humbled by the overwhelming support from male soldiers, keen to see this side of military life uncovered.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
We are looking for an experienced feature film producer, who can work with us to get the project to market, secure finance and oversee production and release. Obviously we also hope to attract some attention as to who we are, and the kinds of projects we’re interested in as filmmakers and storytellers. We’d also love to see some of our team, the talented actors and behind the scenes people who assisted on the project secure more work as a result of being involved.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are hoping to attract the attention of an experience feature film producer who is excited by the possibilities of TANKED. We’d also love to hear from sales agents, distributors, publicists, festival directors and journalists or even potential collaborators for other projects – to be honest, anyone who feels they might find something of interest with respect to their own audience – in connecting with us and/or our work.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
We hope the trailer gets people talking – about the idea of TANKED becoming a film. We hope this leads to the financing, production and release of TANKED, the feature. And through that, we hope that it will bring to surface the role that family has to play - in military life. We want to draw attention to the separations - the impact of having a loved one at war - the friendships this life generates and those secondary level stories. We want to create a film that fills audiences around the world with tears of laughter and tears of heartache, all at the same time. We want people to agree with our central theme - that we all have battles in life, and sometimes no matter what, they are worth fighting for.
Lastly, what’s a key question that will help spark a debate about this issue and film?
This is story that we feel has been rarely told – the impact war has on the families and partners of serving soldiers. It addresses issues of grief, and how that can darken every waking minute, particularly when there never seems to be an appropriate time to talk about it.
Perhaps a question we could ask is:
How does it feel to be bound to the life of being a ‘military wife’/what does it mean to be a ‘military family’ – particularly when you have grief to deal with, and yet no escape to be able to be able to do just that.
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Current Status: Feature Film Drama - In Development
Length: 3 mins
Writer: Kerry Drumm
Director: Katrina Mathers
Producer: Kerry Drumm and Katrina Mathers
Looking for (ie buyer, distributor, sales agent, producer, media interest): We are looking for an experienced feature film producer, who can work with us to get the project to market, secure finance and oversee production and release.