FUNNY MOVIE HAS A MESSAGE
FILM OFF the back of a successful web series, up-and-coming Perth filmmaker Kaleb McKenna’s film Setting Them Straight will premiere at Palm Springs Film Festival in California in June.
Comedy has always been a top priority for the 24-year-old Salter Point resident, who started doing stand-up comedy as a creative outlet while completing his commerce degree at UWA.
“Growing up, I was always the person who got into awkward circumstances; I like to put my characters in similar situations,” McKenna said.
“Making someone laugh is a great first impression.”
Setting Them Straight tells the story of a young man coming out of the closet as straight to his parents after living the majority of his life as gay.
“It is essentially about how parents live vicariously through their kids,” McKenna said. “If he’s no longer gay, they will lose what makes them special and different.”
Palm Springs is one of the top 10 film festivals in the world but McKenna’s film will go to California without him.
“I work in the David Jones menswear department; I still need to pay the rent,” he said.
The project received the majority of funding from the WA Film and Television Institute and McKenna’s own crowd-funding project covered the remaining costs.
According to McKenna, there are not many laughs when it comes to the business side of being a comedy writer.
“You can’t plan anything,” he said. “It’s two years of work for three months of pay; that’s frustrating.”
Last year McKenna co-wrote Four Quarters, an AFL-based web series funded by Screen Australia and Screen West.
“Four Quarters had a budget of $450,000, was filmed in Melbourne and I wrote the whole thing from Shenton Park,” he said.
McKenna’s 2013 romantic comedy Dinner Date won the National Campus Film Festival.
Although Perth’s film industry often gets a bad rap in comparison to Melbourne or Sydney, McKenna is optimistic.
“Gone are the days where moving to Sydney is a requirement; there are three feature films being shot in Perth soon,” he said.
Setting Them Straight is a comedy but the short film also has an important message for the audience.
“It’s a social commentary about the absurdity of not accepting others,” McKenna said.
“His parents want to hold on to what makes them special so much, they don’t consider their son’s feelings.”
Setting Them Straight is on at the Revelation Film Festival from July 2 to 12.