Monday, 25 April 2016

49. Go for 'Broke'

For something different, I’m doing a movie plug this month.  :)

While I haven’t spent my entire life here, I’ve always been proud of the city in which I was born. Okay, it was a town then, and I still refer to it as such, but it’s always been ‘home’. And when others see and promote my hometown’s better qualities, what’s a local girl to do but share in that joy?


I saw an amazing movie, shot in my hometown and surrounding areas, (yes I played ‘spot the local’ and ‘where did they film that?’) and couldn’t be more proud of the production and of my community.

To hear in interviews how the cast and production crew were so impressed with the welcome they received, how generous the townsfolk were with their time, assistance, and their enthusiasm to see this movie to its fruition, was music to my ears. And then there was the movie itself.

Broke is the fictional story of an ex-football hero, his fall from grace, and the people who care enough to help him battle his gambling addiction and depression. The lucky ones have the love and support of friends and family when it seems they don’t have the strength to go on. But sometimes those family and friends are the ones the addict sacrifices and I felt for each and every character onscreen.

This isn’t just a movie for footy fans. It’s a movie for anyone going through hard times, anyone watching a loved one suffer, and anyone needing to know there are things in life worth fighting for.

Hugging my family a little tighter tonight.

The depth of my emotion wasn’t just because the film was made here or the fact that the townsfolk banded together to bring this story to life. It was the memories that came with it. High calibre actors performed in this movie. They’re also the kind of generous actors who took a ‘favoured nations’ contract rather than their usual fee just to help keep production costs down and then gave the kind of performances audiences talk about long after the movie is over.

It was cool to see so many wonderful Australian actors in this movie, but I have to say seeing Max Cullen, who plays Cec, the protagonist’s self-appointed ‘saviour’, brought through special memories for me. Mr Cullen was one of my Dad’s favourite Australian actors. He appeared in classic Aussie shows such as Bodyline, The Cowra Breakout, Rush, Matlock Police and Homicide. (He’s also had roles in The Great Gatsby and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.) Dad even watched him in The Flying Doctors, not that he would have admitted to the latter. Anything classically Australian, whether it was a movie, series or miniseries and especially if Max Cullen was making an appearance, Dad would be watching. I recall sneaking down the hallway to watch TV after bedtime to hear Dad shush my mother because Mr Cullen was onscreen. If you knew how much Mum liked to talk and how much Dad rarely said anything against her, you’d realize how much that ‘shush’ meant. :)

Maybe it’s my overactive imagination talking with a little bit of wishful thinking thrown in, but now that Mr Cullen is of a similar age, there’s something about him that reminds me of my dad too. Every now and then in the movie he’d shoot his cast mates a look, I’d see my dad and I’d miss him just a little bit more. Let’s just say that it’s probably a good thing I never spotted him around town while he was filming. It would have been a teary mess on my part, and no doubt an embarrassment and concern about the crazy woman on his, and that’s something I imagine neither of us would have wanted broadcast.

Here’s his Cinema Australia Podcast interview about the movie. And do you suppose it’s just a coincidence that interview popped up on my news feed as I was drafting my blog or perhaps Dad finding a way to say hello? :)

The movie centres on disgraced ex-football player, Ben Kelly, (played by actor Steve Le Marquand) who has a gambling addiction and suffers from depression. Football was his life and people who adored him in his glory days surrounded him. When those days were over and the supporters were long gone, his mental and moral decline was a steep one. The main exception to this abandonment - Cec, (Max Cullen) and his daughter, Terri, (Claire Van Der Boom). Ben’s football career holds special memories for Cec and Terri, and is pivotal to the reason why Cec decides to help Ben straighten out his life. What follows are the struggles of a good man who’s found himself in a very dark place. A desperate man who’s been given a second chance, one the audience hopes he’ll take. 

I mentioned in my column that this isn’t just a movie for footy fans, although there’s some wonderful footage of Mr Graham’s father, Mark Graham, who played 145 games for North Sydney in the 1980’s. The movie is about the struggles of depression and addiction for not only the addict, but also for the people who care about them. So if you’d like to see a quality Aussie film, a little (okay, a lot of my hometown) and immerse yourself in a story that tackles (yes, I went there) a story of hell, hope, and heartbreak, then Broke is the movie for you.

Broke is currently screening around Australia and will be appearing in New Zealand in June 2016 with other countries and dates to be announced.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I did a film making workshop with ‘Broke’s’ movie producer, Mr Luke Graham.

At the workshop he shared a scene from the then yet-to-be-released film. We had the dialogue on a worksheet before us and then we watched the actors bring the scene to life. It amazed me how the turn of a phrase, a change of expression or even a simple pause could convey so much. And that’s what the entire movie was like – rich with Australian anecdotes and inflections, teeming with a multitude of emotions and most of all, stark reality when it came to the darkness of addiction.

People are meant to tell stories. We are meant to live and breathe them, and we are meant to share them with others and that’s one of the reasons why I love writing. We are engaged in sharing our thoughts, hopes and dreams. Reading that dialogue sheet and then watching the actors bring it to life was an invaluable tool. My poor daughter now gets to read my dialogue scenes with me so I know whether they’re working. I watch her facial expressions and non-verbal cues to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. Poor pet. I bet she has mixed feelings about helping me now. ;)

I’m also pleased to add that Mr Graham will be running another film making workshop this coming May.

Besides watching Broke and feeling nostalgic over one of its actors, I’m reading ‘Seduced – an erotic Valentine’ box set from authors Mel Teshco, Christina Phillips and Karen Stivalli and ‘Shadow Hunter’, which is also by Mel Teshco. (Not that the reading list is shrinking by any means.) Writing is progressing on my novella project and when that’s finished I have two stories to polish, which I plan on sending away to be professionally edited. I’ll have some form of alcoholic relief prepared before I read their feedback. ;)

And I’ll finish on an April date that means so much to Australia and New Zealand – ANZAC DAY.



  1. Hi D.D,

    Your post about the 'Broke" movie was so well-written. It touched the personal with the involvement with your hometown, memories of your parents, the participation with the film workshop and your writing reflected how the all-round experience of the movie touched you.

    I enjoyed reading your post and your mature writing. God bless your Mum, for how much she liked to talk. Thanks for sharing. Kind regards, Ashlyn.

    1. Aww Ashlyn, I feel emotional now. What lovely things to say. :) So pleased you enjoyed the post and I am grateful for the compliments. :)

  2. Broke sounds wonderfully Aussie. So many stories to tell, so many different ways to tell them! You took me back years with that mention of Flying Doctors :)

    Good luck with the edits on your stories!

    1. 'Broke' is wonderfully Aussie, Jenny. The podcast said it's showing in Perth this week. :)

      I loved Flying Doctors and waiting for 'Sam' and 'Emma' to realise they were perfect for each other. lol Good thing I knew to be quiet when Dad's favourite appeared. ;)

      Thank you for the good wishes. :) Nearly time for your new release too. :)

  3. Thanks D.D Line for your reviews - and our little chat! :)

    best of luck with the antho and all your achievements!

    1. You're very welcome for the reviews, Mel, and I love that you took the time to chat with me too. :)

      Thank you for the good wishes. :)