First take

THE first major film festival devoted to WA movies, shorts and documentaries will be held in Perth next weekend – and opening night sold out weeks ago.

The WA Made Film Festival kicks off on Friday March 13 with Below, a drama set in a refugee detention centre in the near-future, starring Anthony LaPaglia and Ryan Corr. 

“This film is an attempt to paint a darkly comic narrative vignette around this conflict between morals and ethics, which somehow always takes ultimate form in a variation on the question: What is good?” says Below director Maziar Lahooti.

• Scenes from the indie comedy Punchin’ Darts. Photo supplied

Indie comedy 

The three-day festival includes feature films, stunning shorts and thought-provoking documentaries.

On Saturday March 14 is the premiere of Punchin’ Darts, a clever, funny and often inappropriate indie comedy from 23-year-old Perth filmmaker Arnold Carter.

“This is certainly the rudest, crudest, funniest and also sweetest film of the festival, which I’m sure will polarize audiences,” says festival director Matt Eeles, who lives in Atwell and works at the Fremantle Herald.

“It’s also one of the best examples of independent filmmaking coming out of WA.

“It’s heavily influenced by the early films of American director Kevin Smith, and it’s great to see a local filmmaker emulate one of their heroes so successfully.”

Punchin’ Darts follows struggling movie actor Cherry (Indiana Powell) and filmmaker Alex (Grady Switenbank).

The pair believe their partners are having an affair and drive the streets looking for them.

Cherry makes a bet on how many people she can offend, via text messaging, as they drive.

“It’s a movie within a movie,” Carter says.

The title refers to the Aussie slang for smoking a cigarette, usually while chatting.

There’s plenty of quirky Australian humour in the film, which centres on just two people talking, Carter says.

“So the title is very appropriate.”

Perth muso Robert Hunter was a pioneer of hip-hop in Australia, a young father, an ex-drug and alcohol abuser, and generally a bit of a hell-raiser.

Musical journey

The documentary Hunter: For the Record charts his physical, emotional and musical journey after being diagnosed with cancer, to his death in 2011, aged 36.

The WA Made Film Festival winds up with some stellar shorts from local filmmakers.

It’s on Friday March 13 to Sunday 15 at Cinema Paradiso, James Street, Northbridge. 

For the full program go to wamadefilmfestival.com.au

by JENNY D’ANGER

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