Australian Film at Lorne Film

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Australian Film at Lorne Film

In a dusty old pawnbrokers in Footscray, with shelves filled with mementos of things left behind, a significantly well-off mother walks into the store. She has no need to pawn her items, instead, she wants to know why her son has been doing so on her behalf.
Pawno is a tale of real Australian lives, there’s no cover ups or playing on Australian-isms, it’s just telling the story of those previously untold in Australian film.
“We just wanted it to be about life; a slice of life. Just make it as raw and as real as we could,” director Paul Ireland says, who made his directional debut with Pawno.
Spending much of his career in the industry as an actor, Paul knows a thing or two about characters and has implemented it into the film alongside screenwriter Damian Hill.
“It was just having diversity within them and keeping it real,” he says of his choice on characters in the film, inspired in part by locals in Footscray.
“This country is a melting pot for different races and that’s so rarely shown in the industry. But in Pawno we show it. We’re in Footscray so you’ve got to.”
Of 22 films screened at Lorne Film, Pawno is one of the 10 Australian films that are highlighting the talent within this country and the real, undeniable aspects of our country’s culture.
Also sharing the bill is Cut Snake, Black Panther Woman and the life affirming and gritty film, Broke. Set in industrial Australia, the film tells the story of a former rugby star fallen on hard times.
“We’re really obsessed with American films at the moment but I think Australians are slowly coming back to supporting Australian film,” he says.
“I really hope so because it’s a shame when our industry starts to fail and die because we won’t support Australian content. Oddball has done well this year. Holding the Man that came out was great too – it was a beautiful film.
“Then you’ve got a film like Cut Snake, and it got a release in six cinemas: how can you expect to make money or be successful when it’s only in six cinemas? And then you get an independent American film that no one’s heard of and it gets into 130.”
Paul also lists Snowtown and Animal Kingdom as two Australian films he looks highly upon, and no doubt Pawno will become that film for many.
One of the greatest aspects of the film is that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a movie, it simply feels as if you’re watching a moment that’s happening on the street right in front you.
“We were quite free with allowing actors to play around the script rather than being rigid,” he says.
To onlookers the filming couldn’t have seemed more real, and even with a camera crew and equipment there were moments when locals felt they had to intervene.
“There was another scene where we were breaking into a car on the street and someone called the police but they failed to mention there was a big camera crew filming with a big boom mic over the top of it all,” he says laughing at the situation.
“So two squad cars came up and they hung around for a while. We were doing sort of illegal manoeuvres at the time so we had to slow down on that for a bit.”
It’s a dedication to Australian film like Paul and Damian’s – they both sat in Paul’s kitchen for two years perfecting the script – that make a real difference in shifting the stigma around what we produce. It’s not all about Jersey accents and German super-villains, sometimes it’s nice to watch something a little bit closer to home.
Pawno screens at Lorne Film on Saturday, November 14 at the Lorne Theatre. Tickets to this screening and the festival in general can be purchased from:
Written by Amanda Sherring
When & Where: Lorne Film – November 12-15