St Kilda Film Festival - No Pain No Train

 

Melbourne’s outer east is still waiting for their ride into town nearly five decades after the Rowville Rail was first proposed.

Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Shing Hei Ho

 

Congratulations! Why did you make your film?

Thank you! I’ve always heard about the proposal for a train line in my local area, the Rowville Rail in Melbourne, but it’s never really amounted to anything. I made this documentary to dig deeper into the subject—to discover if there is still a chance for it to be built, and whether people still believe it’ll be built eventually.

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

With urgent environmental concerns and an ever increasing population, living sustainably is becoming more important and your community may be looking at projects to improve your way of life. Watching No Pain No Train could motivate you to connect with a cause close to you or it could highlight the value of what you already have that may be taken for granted. Also, hope is an inspirational thing and, in spite of some of the things revealed through the film, there’s just the right amount of it here.

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

We all want the best for our home and neighbourhood, the places we connect to. My film conveys the hopes of a long-held dream and explores how we still persist and fight for our goal in a world that doesn’t listen to us. The concept of public transport in general also speaks to the deeper identity and perceived value of an area; Communities denied access to the rail network are invisible to those who read train maps to understand a city.

 No Pain No Train - Mick Van de Vreede discusses how Rowville has changed in the last 30 years.

No Pain No Train - Mick Van de Vreede discusses how Rowville has changed in the last 30 years.

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?

Writing had already begun before I met the participants but it only took shape when I started talking with them. The focus shifted from reminiscing about what could have been to looking into the future and what could be. Even after production, the film kept changing with new material suddenly turning up a few days before the end of editing.

What type of feedback have you received so far?

The response has been very positive, both from locals who have lived with the train line proposal for decades and from those who have never heard of it before. It’s always rewarding when participants see the final film and express that they are glad to have been part of the process.

Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?

Some people have said that I’ve been successful in largely keeping politics out of the film. This surprises me since a lot of discussion in No Pain No Train is about political will and how significant a role politicians have, for better or worse, in deciding the infrastructure that gets built.

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?

Welcoming the film into your collection of Moving Stories means the potential to expose the Rowville Rail to a wider audience who may not know about the decades-long struggle for improved public transport in Melbourne’s outer east.

 No Pain No Train - A council banner during the 2016 Australian federal election.

No Pain No Train - A council banner during the 2016 Australian federal election.

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?

It would be great to have sustainability and public transport advocacy groups support the film and get it out there to those interested in the topic. We are working towards putting on some screenings in Rowville so that the community can see their story together, and the local council have expressed interest in hosting the film on their website later on.

What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?

I hope this film will add to the momentum for the Rowville Rail campaign, especially as precursor projects that allow for the proposal to be a reality are underway. The more it’s talked about and kept in the front of people’s minds, the better chance there is for it to be seen and heard by someone with influence.

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

When should a community give up on having a train line if a proposal from nearly 50 years ago still hasn’t been built?

Would you like to add anything else?

Making this film has been a great excuse to speak with experts and people from different levels of government—to hear the latest advice about the proposal. Having learnt so much about the project and been inspired by my participants, I am grateful for the time they gave to be involved in the documentary. I hope to keep in touch with them and follow their progress in the future.

 No Pain No Train - Late afternoon traffic along Ferntree Gully Road, Scoresby.

No Pain No Train - Late afternoon traffic along Ferntree Gully Road, Scoresby.

What are the key creatives developing or working on now?

To continue with the topic of public transport for my final film at the Victorian College of Arts, I’m working on a behind-the-scenes observational film about a public bus company. Both my cinematographer Charby Ibrahim and sound recordist Felix Guerra are also about to start production on their own graduating short documentaries at the VCA.

 

Interview: May 2017

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 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

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No Pain No Train

Melbourne’s outer east is still waiting for their ride into town nearly five decades after the Rowville Rail was first proposed.

Length: 10 minutes 25 seconds

Director: Shing Hei Ho

Producer: Shing Hei Ho

Writer: Shing Hei Ho

About the writer, director and producer:  Shing Hei Ho has a background in architecture and is in his final year of the Master of Film and Television at the VCA. His film No Pain No Train won best film at the Knox Youth Film Festival.

Key cast: Mick Van de Vreede, Samantha Dunn, William McDougall

Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):

Other: Youtube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX8efJITY92tdGaIf5kAZmQ

Made in association with: The Victorian College of the Arts