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Posts Tagged ‘clare bowen’

Inside Film Awards 2009

At a star studded event at Sydney’s Pavilion restaurant, internationally acclaimed actor David Wenham, Director Jeremy Sims and Packed to the Rafters star Jessica McNamee joined this year’s awards host Eddie Perfect to announce the nominees for the 2009 Inside Film Awards.

Samson & Delilah led the pack with nominations in eight categories, closely followed by Balibo with nominations in seven categories and Mary & Max with nominations in four categories. These nominations came in a year of huge competition with 191,433 ratings being recorded, more than three times the number recorded last year.

It was a great year for the indigenous film community with audiences embracing both indigenous culture and stars. Along with Samson & Delilah’s success, the short film category was also dominated by indigenous talent. The nominees in this category are the Deborah Mailman directed Ralph, Jacob produced by Darren Dale and Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun directed by Leah Purcell.

Back in Sydney to begin a second decade in 2009 the Inside Film Awards celebrate and champion Australian film and creative talent as decided by the general public. This year’s Inside Film Awards are on Wednesday 18th November at Sydney’s Luna Park.

For tickets and to check out all the nominees, you should click here.

Two Flat Whites have had the pleasure in interviewing some wonderful Australian film identities which include Allanah Zitserman, Warwick Thornton, Adam Elliot, Clare Bowen, Dan Castle and Tony Mason. Simply click on the ‘previous interviews’ tab on Two Flat Whites.

A Fair Combination?

“Film should act as a mirror to society, it should make people think”

I heard this quote – by Greek director, Carlos Gavros – via Australian film critic, David Stratton, during one of his film history lectures in 2008.  As some time passed, and my passion for cinema matured, this quote (or even mission statement) has become more and more resonant with me.  Film, as a medium, became more than simply a 90 minute cinema experience; it became an experience which got me thinking about the structure of our society.

I recently traveled out to Bankstown (a suburb in Sydney’s west, and one of Australia’s most culturally diverse areas), to see the Australian film ‘The Combination’.  The film is set and shot in another western Sydney suburb, Parramatta.  In fact, it was screened exclusively in these suburbs (apart from one inner-city arthouse cinema) – with distributors deciding that only those residing there would want to see it.

Put simply, ‘The Combination’ is not a technically brilliant film, it will not revolutionise Australian cinema (at least not in the conventional sense).  Yet David Stratton awarded it 4 ½ stars.  This is because the film explores issues both real and relevant – the structure of contemporary Australian society: where we are at as a country, and what the concerns are as the cultural demographics evolve.

‘The Combination’ focuses on the clash of cultures between Lebanese-Australians and white Anglo-Australians.  It is set during 2005, at the time of the infamous race-related riots in Cronulla, in Sydney’s south.  The story – written from personal experience by George Basha – follows the struggle of 2 Lebanese brothers as they try to find their place within Australian society.  Established Australian actor, David Field, directs the film; a role he gravitated towards because he strongly felt that similar social struggles could be understood by Vietnamese-Australians, Indian-Australians, African-Australians, South American-Australians, and so on and so on.  During meetings with George Basha, Field was surprised to learn that Basha had not seen the Australian films he was raising for discussion.  “Why would I, we [Lebanese-Australians] aren’t in any of them”, Basha retorted dismissively.  Field was silenced, as he realised that Australian films were not adequately portraying contemporary Australian stories.  It was this realisation that further solidified his drive to get the film made, despite a total lack of support from the Australian film industry funding bodies.

Australian cinema has a proud history of making quality human dramas; films which can confidently stand up to the esteem of European productions.  It would be great if we can continue this tradition with our eyes and ears open to the constantly changing nature of the structure of our society.  In doing so, we would be inviting our culturally diverse peoples to participate in, and embrace, our film industry.  ‘The Combination’ is one example of a full-length Australian feature film which explores the contemporary issue of racial tensions in Sydney’s western suburbs.  It will also be great when we start to see stories with universal themes (such as love, mistrust, and infidelity) featuring similar minority groups.  I look forward to seeing a ‘Lantana’ set in Bankstown.  Let’s advance Australia with a fair combination of cultures represented in our films.

Article written by Ryan Nance

You can also check out Two Flat Whites interview with one of the stars from The Combination, Clare Bowen here.

Also check out George Basha’s interview here.

Clare Bowen talks about film, life and what’s next!

Two Flat Whites caught up with actress Clare Bowen. Clare recently starred in the feature film ‘’The Combination’ which explores the lives of Lebanese youths and their struggle with violence, racism and social identity. Clare was a shining light starring along side George Basha and guided extremely well by David Field in his first film as a director.

Where did you grow up & where do you hang your hat?

I grew up all over the place. My parents both worked for Qantas when I was little, and so smuggled me along with them most of the time. Childhood was spent between overseas, Sydney where I went to school, and down the South coast of NSW, Stanwell Park, which was home. I’ve moved further down the coast since and now live on the Minnamurra River.

Tell us a bit about your latest movie – The Combination?

Well, it seems to have caught people’s attention for a few different reasons! It’s not a timid film. It’s a love story about honour, family, the choices you have to make, and the reality of consequence. David Field and George Basha portray a beautiful facet of the culture in Sydney’s Western Suburbs that a lot of people don’t get to see, but they don’t shy away from showing the audience how rough life can get, just because of the colour of your skin. David unearthed a group of very talented individuals to play the boys – some of whom are first time actors! They brought a beautifully unique dimension to the film.

What inspired you to become involved with The Combination?

Inspired? Well I nearly expired when I got a call from David Field offering me the role of Sydney! Couldn’t believe it, rang him and John Pirrie back twice to make sure they weren’t pulling my leg. It was just the type of thing that happens to other people. I never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to work with such an exceptional group of people as the cast and crew of The Combination.

I had a lot of fun playing Sydney. She’s not a typical fatalist – she’s awkward, flawed, occasionally ignorant, but at the same time very forward thinking and independent. She’s comfortable in her own skin, but an obvious black sheep in her family. Sort of like a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit. Displaced, not so unlike the Lebanese characters in the film, who get called Aussie in one environment, and Wog in another. I can only hope I did her justice. David Field gave me the opportunity of a lifetime when he offered her to me.

Tell us about the cast & crew. What was the vibe like on set?

Always exciting! It was my first time on a film set, but I didn’t even get the chance to be nervous because there were so many seasoned professionals around me like Toby Oliver, Doris Younane and David Field, who were so wonderfully generous with advice and guidance. The cast was hilarious, the crew was hard working but easy going, there was never, ever a negative vibe on set. Everyone hung out with everyone – very much like family, but without the crazy uncle no one talks about.

There were many themes including racism and violence. In your opinion, what were the major messages portrayed by the movie?

Because the film employs such realism, ultimately it’s left to the audience to make up their own minds about the story they’ve just been a part of. But the film shows the futility of violence, it throws the every day injustice of the real world right at your feet. The heartbreak and fury I’ve witnessed different audiences experience whilst watching some scenes in the film is indicative of a common understanding. The film’s moral standing is organic, like life – lots of grey areas.


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