Viewing life through a different lens

Irrepressible film-maker Sam Kerr.

WHEN you’ve experienced the worst, says local filmmaker Sam Kerr, you find a funny kind of liberation.

At the age of nine, Mr Kerr was on the back of his dad’s motorbike when they were hit by a truck.

His father tragically lost his life, while Mr Kerr was left with a brain injury; he remembers hearing hospital staff telling his mother he might not make it while he drifted in and out of consciousness.

Now the 28-year-old says that rather than crippling his life, the experience gave him an unexpected freedom.

“I have no fear, so I can come out all guns blazing. I’m totally free to experiment with anything that moves me.

His recent seven-minute documentary Welcome to Freo with musician and filmmaker Lincoln Mackinnon celebrates Fremantle’s arts and music scene, featuring tracks and interviews with Freo legends such as Carla Geneve and the Kill Devil Hills, while South Beach drone footage is in no short supply.

Sammy Special

The doco was a hit at many showings around Freo establishments like Junglebird bar where Mr Kerr is a regular and beloved visitor – so much so new staff receive training in how to make the perfect “Sammy Special’.

“There’s not any time that either my daughter or I go out with Sam and not find out that he knows six different people along the street,” says mum Jane Kerr.

She attributes her son’s recovery in part to the support the community has shown him, and says his cheeky personality draws people in.

Welcome to Freo is a love note to the community that has buoyed Mr Kerr through rough seas. In fact, he’s got a history of valiant gestures toward important communities. 

In 2018, Mr Kerr abseiled 40 stories from the top of the QV1 building to raise money for Princess Margaret Hospital, which he credits for much of his recovery. Donations topped $1,500.

The stunt is chronicled in Mr Kerr and Mr Mackinnon’s film Accept the Road Ahead which was released earlier this year. At the heart of the film is Mr Kerr’s inexhaustible positivity as he navigates life, friendship, art, and recovery.

It is also an excellent reference for those interested in the hair and hat styles of the 2010s, taking viewers through bleached tips, buzz cuts, newspaper boy hats, and all the way up to the modern-again mullet. 

Mr Kerr’s Vimeo page is host to an ever-growing body of experimental films, which, he says, are “getting bolder, braver, and more cool-lerer”. 

Mr Kerr and Mr Mackinnon are on the precipice of releasing the pilot episode of a comedy series Sticky Dates, which will feature Mr Kerr on a series of awkward dates at the South Freo bar Who’s Your Mumma. 

Look out for episode 1, Slurpy Manners, before the year is up.

Flying under the banner of The Andy Project, Mr Kerr is also a musician, mixing up spicy beats on a turntable, over which are laid freestyle verses of the artist’s own creation.

by CARSON BODIE

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