Local film ‘Lessons’ garners international audience

Short film ‘Lessons’, created by Gold Coaster Summer Brown and shot by well-known local filmmaker Jude Kalman, is making waves overseas, most recently having been shown at the City of Angels Women’s Film Festival in Los Angeles.

The Gold Coast short was extremely well-received amongst the American crowds, and already has two additional upcoming international festival showings scheduled, an incredible coup for these emerging local filmmakers.

‘Lessons’ is a searingly honest portrayal of a family violence scenario, from the point of view of the children in the family.

The kids in it discuss the “lessons” they have learnt as a result of living with a violent and volatile father, with dark and frightening visuals of the home environment as the backdrop of their storytelling.

Jude tells us the story is reflective of Summer’s own experiences.

“Summer is a survivor of domestic violence and wanted to tell her story,” Jude explains.

“She wanted to honour her kids in what they also had survived.

Listening to her story, her life; my heart broke. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room as she recounted some of her experiences.

“I was honoured to have been approached and was keen to come alongside and help Summer tell her story through film.”

Having met through Brett McCallum, Executive Producer of ‘Lessons’ and a mutual friend to both, Jude and Summer set about figuring out how to tell the story in a way that was both impactful and also mindful of the difficult content.

“Domestic violence is not a pretty subject and we walked the fine line of showing the harsh realities of it, keeping in mind the audience’s sensitivities,” says Jude.

“Both the script (intentional use of voice over) and the filming schedule broke up scenes. This was to give space for all of us to digest the heavy emotion of it and also to separate any abusive scenes from the children.

“Any scenes that had children in it, a parent was on standby close to the set.

“The abusive scenes between Mum (Ilana Collins) and Dad (Andy Sparnon) were hard on both cast and crew. Andy, an actor and writer, is actually a very chilled out, kind and fun guy I could see it took a bit out of him to play this character so at the end of each intense scene, we hugged it out and tried to have a laugh.”

Summer hopes the film will have an extended life, due to its critical content.

“Right now the short film is being shown exclusively in festivals around the world and we hope this will leverage a transition into an education program in Australian schools in 2022,” she says.

For now, locals who would like to see the film can subscribe to an online viewing at the following festivals: City of Angels Women’s Film Festival, LAMPA Film Festival, Poe Film Festival.

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