Footy film to focus on refugees
A new film tells the story of a country football team struggling to find players that recruits asylum seekers to save itself from oblivion.
Produced by Anne Robinson, directed by Mark Grentell, written and performed by Damian Callinan, ‘The Merger’ is due for released in next year.
This dramatic comedy will star Damian Callinan, John Howard and Kate Mulvany from The Great Gatsby.
Callinan plays the character of Troy Carrington, a former professional football player who returns to his country home town Bodgy Creek after an abrupt end to his sporting career.
As Troy returns, he is persuaded to become the football coach of the lacking Roosters football team. The Roosters haven’t won a game in years and are fighting to keep their footy clubhouse.
A team is unable to field one full side let alone a competitive one. The Bodgy Creek’s Roosters have no choice but to merge with their rivals “The Hudson’s Flat Cougars” unless they manage to recruit more team players.
To save the football club, Troy Carrington executes an unconventional plan of rebuilding the local football team by recruiting newly arrived asylum seekers from the refugee centre.
Fayssal Bazzi, a Syrian refugee, joins The Roosters footy team after spending years in multiple Nauru detention centres where he learned English by reading through AFL footballer’s autobiographies.
Imposing dramatic aspects to the film, John Howard plays the cranky boss of a long closed steel factory who detests the presence of asylum seekers in his country town; while Kate Mulvany plays the mother of Neil, a mischievous ten year old boy mourning the death of his father.
The cast also includes Josh McConville, Steve Hunter, Angus McLaren and Tyro Rafferty Grierson.
Filmed in Wagga Wagga, The Merger deals with issues of racism, assimilation and acceptance in regional communities.
Wagga Wagga’s rural sporting fields and community spirit have made it the ideal filming location to appeal and touch country audiences.
The film has received production funding from Screen Australia, Create NSW Regional Film fund (RFF) and a grant from the City Of Wagga Wagga.
Umbrella Entertainment will distribute the film in Australia whilst Lightning International will handle all International sales.