Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Lifestyle -

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.

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