Fo­cus­ing on the loom­ing is­sues of ter­ror and pol­i­tics, the Gold Coast Film Fes­ti­val’s pre­miere of Event Zero hits close to home. Sally Coates talks to writer and di­rec­tor Enzo Tedeschi

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Can you start by giv­ing us a pre­view of Event Zero’s plot? The in­cit­ing mo­ment is a train de­rail­ment in the city’s sub­way that we come to learn has a bi­o­log­i­cal at­tack agent to it. Im­me­di­ately ev­ery­one as­sumes it must be a ter­ror­ist at­tack. The story fol­lows Layla. Her fa­ther has been im­pli­cated as an easy tar­get be­cause he’s a vis­i­bly Mus­lim man who was on the train and he was un­af­fected. From there it cat­a­pults into a so­cial po­lit­i­cal thriller. What were you try­ing to achieve with this film? It’s an illustration of how some of these po­lit­i­cal agen­das could be ma­nip­u­lated if some­one wanted to do it. If some­one wanted to do this it would prob­a­bly be a lot eas­ier than we ex­pect. Con­ver­sa­tion and dis­cus­sion. At the end of the day it’s en­ter­tain­ment, it’s not a doc­u­men­tary, but it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to hit close to home. Did you worry it would hit too close for com­fort? We started writ­ing this close to two years ago and the world has changed a lot in two years. What we thought was out­landish or ex­treme, doesn’t seem that out­landish any­more. Some of the things that hap­pen seem like they could be plucked di­rectly from our script. It’s a scary thought. When I got to the set I felt a lot of pres­sure to get it right. It was in­ter­est­ing when we started, but when we got to the end it seemed im­por­tant. Where did the idea for the at­tack come from? It was a sarin gas at­tack on a Tokyo sub­way – it wasn’t a Mus­lim ter­ror­ist at­tack, it was a to­tally dif­fer­ent agenda. It was less po­lit­i­cally charged and it ac­tu­ally turned out it was a cult move­ment. We’ve es­sen­tially re­booted that event and made it larger in scale. What mes­sage do you want peo­ple to take away from the film? Hope­fully, the con­sid­er­a­tion of how some of the stuff that’s go­ing on can be mis­used, abused, mis­un­der­stood, ma­nip­u­lated. Some­times things on the news are ex­actly what they seem, but some­times they’re not. If we don’t ap­ply a lit­tle crit­i­cal think­ing it’s easy to miss what’s go­ing on. How does Event Zero fit in with other films that fo­cus on ter­ror­ism ... Zero Dark Thirty or Amer­i­can Sniper? Did they in­flu­ence you? There’s a great Net­flix doc­u­men­tary on black im­pris­on­ment in Amer­ica. I think it’s more about that an­gle for me rather than be­ing ter­ror­ism re­lated. Even doc­u­men­taries on the Cronulla ri­ots. I looked more into stuff I felt would fuel the story, not so much the ter­ror­ism. Those films have their place and they are about bring­ing down re­ally aw­ful, vi­o­lent peo­ple. I thought let’s look at an­other an­gle. If the gov­ern­ment were to ma­nip­u­late the idea of a ter­ror­ist at­tack to suit their own ends, what would that look like? Event Zero pre­miere, Sun­day 7pm, The Arts Cen­tre. Ad­mis­sion $15.

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