The Merger sells out Cin­ema

Myrtleford Times - - News -

CLOUD 9 Cin­ema’s screen­ing of The Merger was a sell out on Satur­day night, with more than 60 peo­ple crowd­ing in to watch the new Aus­tralian com­edy about a coun­try foot­ball team ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a re­vival thanks to newly ar­rived refugees.

Min­gling with pa­trons be­fore the screen­ing was writer and lead ac­tor Damian Cal­li­nan, who was in town as part of the Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val’s Trav­el­ling Show­case.

Mr Cal­li­nan orig­i­nally wrote the story as a one-man theatre show, which he toured suc­cess­fully around Aus­tralia, be­fore adapt­ing the show (and him­self) to film – a process he ex­plained to the au­di­ence in an in­ti­mate and en­ter­tain­ing ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion fol­low­ing the screen­ing.

The film it­self was heart­warm­ing, heart-break­ing, and un­fail­ingly funny in turns.

It’s rare for ru­ral Aus­tralians to see them­selves por­trayed so well on screen, but The Merger comes pretty close, and you got the sense the crowd at Bright knew Damian Cal­li­nan ‘got it.’

It wasn’t a story about small-minded coun­try peo­ple, although that was part of it, and it wasn’t a story about an idyl­lic ru­ral town, either. But it was real: the nick­names, the fa­mil­iar­ity, the wor­ries, even the si­lences.

At ease in crowd play­ing front of the him­self, Mr Cal­li­nan spoke about how he con­ceived of the story and an­swered ques­tions about the shoot­ing of the film.

Most touch­ingly, he spoke about some of the per­sonal suc­cesses and tragedies of the ac­tors, who in some cases were refugees them­selves, in­cluded ac­tor Fran­cis Ka­mara, a refugee from Sierra Leone’s civil war who ar­rived in Wagga when he was eight years old, and of Farhad Ban­desh, who wrote some of the mu­sic for the film and is cur­rently de­tained in a de­ten­tion cen­tre in Nauru.

The film was the high­light of the Trav­el­ling Show­case which in­cluded three other Aus­tralian films screened over the week­end.

PHOTO: Struan Jones

RED CAR­PET: Damian Cal­li­nan in Bright at the week­end for the screen­ing of his film The Merger.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.