Interview: Craig Boreham

Mik (Miles Szanto) and Annuska (Shari Sebbens) in a scene from TEENAGE KICKS, directed by Craig Boreham

Mik (Miles Szanto) and Annuska (Shari Sebbens) in a scene from TEENAGE KICKS, directed by Craig Boreham

“I’m in the editing suite right now actually.” Australian director Craig Boreham is hard at work on postproduction for his new feature Teenage Kicks, which recently wrapped filming. We were lucky enough to grab 10 minutes with him at such a busy time. He told Cinema Australia, “I really enjoy this part of it. It’s great to see the film finally coming together but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Interview by Matthew Eeles:

The Teenage Kicks Pozible campaign had an ambitious target of $67,000. Did the campaign go as planned and would you recommend it to other filmmakers wanting to use the service?
I would. I mean, I think we underestimated how much work would be involved in running the campaign. I think that’s some advice that I would pass on – to really think about it and really plan out how you’re going to run your campaign because it’s a lot more effort than it seems looking at it from the outside. It was great though. It was great to engage with a potential audience. That part was nice and really unexpected.

How substantial was the $67,000 in terms of the total budget?
Pretty substantial. We had a lot of money coming in from other places but I guess that’s a question for our producer really. [Laughs]. It was a very healthy chunk of it though.

Teenage Kicks has been described as an evocative coming-of-age drama. What are some of the differences audiences can expect between your film and recent films with a similar coming-of-age narrative?
Well one of the interesting things about this film is that it’s cross-generational and it’s not just about a bunch of young people – it’s also about the youth of the generation that came before them and how shock-waves of things that happen in parents lives flow through time to affect their children and that sort of thing is quite interesting. It’s a big family story with a large cast and they all have their own story lines going on. It’s definitely not your classic teen-coming-of-age story. We spent a lot of time planing the look of the film with (cinematographer) Bonnie Elliot, who I’ve worked with a lot. We took inspiration from a very eclectic mix of films from classic John Hughes films to Spanish films. Pretty broad references really.

Bonnie Elliot shot your short film Drowning which this film is an extension of. Did you give her a different set of rules as far as the look of this film goes compared to Drowning?
Yeah, it looks very different compared to Drowning. Drowning was a very small section of this story and it was pretty much all set in the rich girlfriends house and had a very minimalist and very opulent look about it. We shot that film very statically, which worked well for that kind of a space. It’s a very different world compared to Teenage Kicks which has a lot more movement and texture to it.

Mik (Miles Szanto) in a scene from TEENAGE KICKS, directed by Craig Boreham

Mik (Miles Szanto) in a scene from TEENAGE KICKS, directed by Craig Boreham

Miles Szanto who plays Mik in Teenage Kicks also played Mik in Drowning. Did you always want to re-cast Miles?
I met Miles when we were casting for Drowing. While we were shooting I told him about the bigger project, because we already had the script for the feature then. He’s a pretty exciting and brave young actor and he was always up for it. I knew he’d be able to do it and he was always in the back of our minds to do the film when we got it happening.

Tell us a bit about the rest of the cast.
Well some were easier to get than others and some involved a lot of searching to find the right people. A lot of them I had worked with before and it was really great to go to the people I wanted to cast and offer them these roles. We also did a lot of auditioning and found young Daniel Webber who’s playing Dan in the film, he was a great discovery, really fantastic. We’ve also got Charlotte Best, who’s probably best known for Puberty Blues at the moment, who’s a great actress and a lot of fun. I didn’t realise how popular she was actually until I saw she had something like 70,000 Instagram followers.

Anything we publish that has anything to do with Teenage Kick’s is a massive drawcard to Cinema Australia. What strategies are you using to build your audience and what kind of reactions are you getting from people anticipating the film’s release.
Well Drowning travelled really well and it travelled well internationally so it has a bit of a fan base already. We get a lot of messages from people who have been waiting for the feature film forever so there is a bit of excitement out there for it already which is really nice. We get a lot of young people telling us how Drowning made them feel a lot better about certain things that are going on in their lives and how it really spoke to them which is always really nice to hear.

Obviously you’ll be trying to get your film into as many festivals as possible. Which festival are you hoping to get it into the most? 
I think we’d like to aim for Berlin first up but it just depends on whether we get the film ready in time. I don’t want to rush post-production to reach the deadline for it though. We have screened there before and we all have a nice relationship with that festival so it would be nice to go back there.

What about local festivals here in Australia? Are your keen to go for the $100,000 film prize at CinéfestOZ? 
[Laughs]. Yeah, of coarse. [Laughs]. Absolutely!

Phaedra (Charlotte Best) and Dan (Daniel Webber) in a scene from TEENAGE KICKS, directed by Craig Boreham

Phaedra (Charlotte Best) and Dan (Daniel Webber) in a scene from TEENAGE KICKS, directed by Craig Boreham

Craig hopes to see Teenage Kicks in cinemas mid way through next year.

Featured Image: Craig Boreham (R) and director of photography Bonnie Elliott (L) on the set of Drowning. Photo by Hugh Rutherford.

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