A acclaimed play tackling the hot topics of bullying and homophobia is set for the big screen if it can drum up enough online funding.
Drown is set among Sydney’s surf lifesaving community, telling the story of Len, an heroic but homophobic surf lifesaver who finds himself attracted to Phil, a younger, openly gay lifesaver.
Unable to cope with sex-attraction within the confines of male sports culture, Len enlists his best mate Meat in a campaign of intimidation and bullying against the newcomer. Phil dethrones Len as the reigning club swimming champion and a night of heavy drinking ensues. A visit to a gay nightclub – to “pick up chicks”” – compounds Len’s crisis of identity. Len and Meat force-feed Phil rum and they drive to the beach to sort out once and for all who is the bigger man.
Take a look at Drown’s trailer:
Written by Stephen Davis, Drown was originally a play performed by the Queensland Theatre Company. “I had never been as moved by a piece of writing in my life,” the film’s director Dean Francis recalls of reading the script. “I was just riveted to the page – it was so sexy and ever so sad.
“It’s about being trapped into certain behaviors by what the world expects of us,” he explains. “It’s about what men do to each other to hold onto their power. It’s about the fear of male intimacy that drives so much violence. It’s about sport and sporting culture, about what makes an Aussie hero. It challenges the assumptions on which the Australian male identity is based. It’s about the origins of bullying. It’s dark and its funny.”
Hoping to get production underway quickly, Francis decided to try to “crowd-fund” the film, by asking the community to contribute small amounts of money in exchange for various rewards and perks.
“In our first week we have attracted more than $7,000 from perfect strangers,” he tells Same Same.