The weight of the world rests on a small boy's shoulders
Interview with Director Arthur Angel
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
The Boy Saviour film grew out of a much bigger project called Saviour. It was to be an eight episodic television drama. I had been working on this idea for a couple of years when I teamed up with James Thompson, my co-writer and collaborator on Boy Saviour.
Saviour is about a paramedic who is very good at what he does, but unbeknownst to his work colleagues suffers from a type of bi-polar condition. Whilst working in his frenetic professional world of saving and losing lives, he also lives in another world where he does some questionable things due to his bi-polar condition.
We were initially going to shoot a three minute sizzle reel to help support our pitch but decided to do Boy Saviour as an origin story. The story takes our protagonist ( Michael the Paramedic) back to when he was a child (hence the 'Boy) and explores his character there.
It also did two things, something to support our pitch and also a stand alone film that we could exhibit.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It's an insight into 1970's Australia dealing with Non-English speaking migrants with mental health issues and how difficult it was for Doctor and patient to communicate.
As an audience we enter the world of Michael as a child who has the heavy burden of translating his mother's most inner darkest thoughts to the Doctor, while she struggles with her clinical depression.
The mental health industry in that time was at a different place, epitomising an overly bureaucratic, impersonal and almost adversarial approach.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Having a parent who suffered from anxiety when I was very young did help with developing at very early stage the feelings of empathy and trying to make sense of what pain and suffering can be for someone and at the same time trying ways of alleviating that suffering for that person.
One of the universal themes for me is the taboo subject of mental disease, a theme I wanted to explore.
How the adult world can encroach and almost suffocate the young child, while the mother clings on to him for her sanity.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script and film evolved quite quickly. I knew from the outset the basic framework of what the story should be. So James and I worked on it with a sense of urgency.
It was as if I didn't want the idea to slip away.
When we approached key cast and crew to work on this low budget short, we were very excited by people's willingness and deep support.
Our extraordinary DP Ryan Alexander Lloyd was on tight schedule with other projects, so we had to move fast.
We were initially going to shoot on 16mm ( I thought this format would suit the aesthetic of the film considering it's set in 1970's Australia )....but Ryan suggested why not just go straight to 35 mm, it would be the same stress.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Most people responded positively to this story, considering the challenging subject matter.
Some people thought it was powerful and thought provoking.
Others seemed to have an empathy and understanding of some of the issues it touched upon, even with people that didn't come from non-English speaking backgrounds.
But most seemed to understand the dysfunction within families.
And for others they might have been confused.
Also the look of the film. As mentioned before, deciding to shoot on 35 mm film stock gave it an organic quality that was almost crackling.
This film was more a meditation, not the conventional way of story telling, which is beginning, middle and then the punchline! Some people gave me that feedback.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I found the feedback very encouraging!
Also, the lovely challenge of asking myself, does this story have anywhere else to go? can it be much bigger? is it relevant ? am I capable as a story teller? I can only answer that.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
To showcase current work on platforms like www.wearemovingstories.com, to meet fellow creatives and open up a dialogue for possible collaboration.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Film festival directors, Journalists, distributers are all fantastic people to help with getting this film to a wider audience, but what I'm looking for is a producer to help us develop our bigger project, Saviour ( see Question 1 ).
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Considering the subject matter being confronting, the impact thus far has been interesting...there is a organisation here in Melbourne called Tandem, they are a peak body representing carers of people experiencing mental health challenges and they want to show the film to some of their carers as an educational tool.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
There are many questions...for one, is there a hidden world of at home carers out there that are children or young adults who have or had a parent with mental illness and will not think of themselves as carers, nor with the parent acknowledge that the child has become a carer.
This can often be traumatic.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I'm currently working on various projects as an actor.
At the moment I'm spending time in Western Australia working on television drama called Mystery Road.
James Thompson and I are in development for Saviour.
Interview: October 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
The weight of the world rests on a small boy's shoulders
Length: 8 min
Director: Arthur Angel
Producer:Jessica Pearce, James Thompson, Arthur Angel
Writer: Arthur Angel and James Thompson
Writer/Director: Arthur Angel's work in film and television has spanned over 20 years in the industry working with some of the best.
Boy Saviour is his directorial debut.
Producer: Jessica Pearce is an internationally recognised Producer with experience in feature film, short film and multi platform content.
Writer/Producer: James Thompson is currently completing a PhD in fine arts at MADA and in addition he is in pre-production of a documentary on Australian musicians in the caribbean in the 1950's.
Key Cast: Award winning Elle Mandalis, Greg Stone and new comer Jude Fotiou.
Looking for Producers.