Sunday Shorts #18: Brothers

A Queensland based short film, Brothers is a gripping crime drama about Mitch, who is thrown into the world of crime and joins his older brother in a bank heist. Mitch has to learn how to survive in a very different world.

Andy Sparnon

Andy Sparnon

Andy Sparnon Jack
Andy may be relatively young in the industry but that hasn’t stopped him from advancing as an actor having worked alongside some of the Australian A-listers he’d always admired on the screen.
In 2013 Andy played a supporting role alongside Australian icon Martin Sacks (Blue Heelers, Underbelly, Wentworth) in the feature film Rise. While not only a pivotal moment for Andy it was also a positive learning curve. Seeing a great actor at work influenced his perception of the art.
“Being called back to audition for a significant role in a major Hollywood blockbuster reinforced my belief in my potential as an actor. I value those opportunities whether you get the part or not – I haven’t earned my way yet to where I really want to be. It’s just something I need to keep working harder for. I have no doubt Brothers will be a hit in the short film arena. I’m glad I was a part of it. One of my career highlights as an actor.”

On his character, Jack
Jack plays a significant role in Brothers as Mitch’s older brother. My interpretation of the character and how I would play Jack was something I discussed with Cameron. There was a lot of room for interpretation based on that discussion and Cameron had faith in how I would present Jack aesthetically and emotionally for the film. My real life experiences allowed me to easily play an authentic character. I’ve met Jack before – I used to be one!

On being involved in Brothers?
It was my chance to be on a production with a highly skilled and experienced cast and crew. Occasionally you come across particular talents in the industry that you know you would work with at the drop of a hat. Shortly after Cameron approached me about the role, I had made up my mind – for me that rarely happens.

The best moment on-set
I’ve always enjoyed just getting in and doing it. Every take is an opportunity to develop each scene to be better than the previous one. I’ve never been an actor that walks away thinking I’ve nailed it, but somewhere in there I experience moments of excellence and that for me is the rush I get from being an actor.

On working with Brothers director Cameron Brunt
Cameron is years ahead of what you would assume at such a young age – he is both focused and flexible. Cameron sees the story well before the camera rolls, which you see on set. His approachability really allows you as an actor to discuss any concerns or character developments throughout the production process. I would work with him again.

On fellow cast and crew
I enjoyed working with everyone involved in the production. Some I’ve worked with before and there were plenty of new faces as well. Everyone was professional, on the ball and I would have no hesitation working with them again on future projects.

Nick Allen-Ducat

Nick Allen-Ducat

Nick Allen-Ducat Mitch
Nick has been acting for the last 15 years, starting off at various acting academies. He has studied in Los Angeles and the New York Film Academy as well as with private coaches such as Tom McSweeney, Peter Kent, Helen Howard and Peter Rasmussen.
While he’s performed live on stage, Nick turned towards film and television. He was recently involved in Bad Karma opposite Ray Liotta. Playing roles in local feature, Burns Point and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s San Andreas, Nick has also built up an impressive list of over 20 short films – one of which he wrote, produced and acted in, called Alex.

On his character, Mitch
Mitch is a confused and an outspoken teenager while his brother Jack is his idol – and the rebellious one in the family. Mitch basically looks up to his brother so much he just wants to join his brother’s gang and fit in. He is extremely smart and calculated about everything he does but to Mitch, family is really important, and his brother is the only person he wants to impress.
Mitch is torn between being straight down the line and a clean life, or the crime underworld that his family has always been involved in. In Mitch’s case, blood is thicker than water.
To play this role there were quite a few layers I had to peel back and get to the bottom of. Firstly was the gritty world of underground crime. So for me as an actor I had to substitute as much as I could in order to feel that gritty reality in that world. My research was done on Australian crime and past/present gangs, looking into how they worked with gang initiations as well as armed robberies. I also had to get to the bottom of Mitch’s pain and the feeling of being torn between a clean life and a life of crime with his family’s interests being his main priority. This was evident in his relationship with his brother. For me I had to relate it back to my friends and family, people I care for very much in my life that have all had an impact on me. Substituting Mitch’s feelings with his brother with my own personal memories or experiences.

On being involved in Brothers?
Playing the lead role and working with older experienced actors in practically every scene, especially the big emotionally fuelled ones was quite an experience.
With the likes of Mark, Andy, Joss, and Chris, there is lots of experience and knowledge there, and I have great respect for those guys and what they do! So trying to serve the film as best as I could and learning from some of the big names around me was really cool.

The best moment on-set
The best moment was probably on day one of shooting where I met Mark Hembrow. He is such a crazy and enthusiastic guy with years and years of experience! It was really fun just shooting along side him all day and working so closely with him, seeing how he operated both on and off camera. We got along really well and had a lot of fun. I think Cameron had trouble shutting us up in between takes. It was just a really fun day and relaxed environment from the start.

On working with Brothers director Cameron Brunt
Its funny because I spoke earlier about working with much older experienced actors, and Cameron is actually younger than me! So that was always a fun dynamic both on and off screen for everyone.
Personally I loved working with Cameron as he understood how to speak to actors and had a good concept of what was happening over every different department in the film.
He lead his troops well and always got the best out of me and respected our opinions creatively or if we had any ideas to put forward he was always open to it. I felt comfortable and trusted his direction at all times – I would love to work with Cameron again one day!

On fellow cast and crew
Amazing – they were all so much fun and a world of knowledge for me as an actor. Everyone brought their own special ingredients to their character and the film. I learnt a lot from every cast member and made some life-long friends. It’s always a great set when everyone gets along so well and really enjoys what they do!

Andrew Condor

Andrew Condor

Andrew Conder SOC, ACS Director of Photography
Both a member of the American Society of Camera Operators and the Australian Society of Cinematographers, Andrew has worked extensively in the film and television industry since 1981.
Starting in Brisbane at BTQ7 (currently Channel Seven), his work started him off travelling around Australia and Internationally shooting magazine style stories for children.
In 1990, Andrew went freelance and has since worked on over 30 feature films and worked with some of the most famous names in entertainment.
Some of the projects he’s worked on include Pirates of the Caribbean, Scooby Doo, Terry Nova, 24, Peter Pan and Crocodile Dundee in LA.
Andrew has worked alongside the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Kiefer Sutherland, Geoffrey Rush, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Pamela Anderson to name a few.During the years, Andrew has also had the opportunity to work with some great cinematographers including, Don McAlpine, Darius Khondji, David Burr, David Eggby, Jeffrey C Mygatt, Ellery Ryan, Ron Johanson,John Stokes and Ben Nott.
Andrew has recently finished production on the feature Red Billabong, and the TV series The Family Law.

On the script
I was excited about shooting this script – I could really visualise every shot as I was reading it – it was written so well. I loved the connection of the brothers and wanted to exploit that.

On working with Brothers director Cameron Brunt
Cameron is a brilliant director that belies his age! Each time I work with him he has grown so much as a director – he has an inbuilt knowledge of filmmaking that is greater than a lot of more experienced directors I have worked with. He is very visual and knows what he wants but also appreciates ideas from the crew and is keen to work with everyone to achieve the best look for the film.
Watch out for Cameron Brunt! He is a director that the world will sit up and take notice of very very soon!!

The best moment on-set
I thought my most interesting moment on set was shooting the night exterior at the start of the film with just a couple of lights and trying to give it a creative look that served the story telling. I also liked the way the camera played this scene out in one flowing shot.

On the film’s overall look
We were kind of paying homage to Ben Affleck’s The Town, so we wanted to follow the kind of colour pallet used there. We liked the yellowy-green of the halogen street lighting and the grittiness of the film. I don’t really like a lot of camera angles shot at normal eye height unless it is part of the storytelling so I like to get the camera down low a lot and I also like to do whole scenes in a single shot if it suits the scene so I guess you can expect a lot of those kind of shots.

On fellow cast and crew?
The thing about short films is that everyone that is there are there because they simply love to get in and help out. No one is getting paid but you will quite often dig up real gems that just work and work to get the film made. On this film I was blessed by a fantastic crew! Everyone of them pitched in and got it done. So many of them put their equipment and skills out there just for the joy of filmmaking and I marvel at that every time – without them, there is no film.
Cameron has a knack of getting high quality actors around him and everyone on Brothers had amazing talent. It makes my job easy when the acting is so good and of course it’s always a load of fun on set when Joss McWilliam and Mark Hembrow are around!

Cameron Brunt

Cameron Brunt

Cameron Brunt Writer/Director

On creating Brothers
I like to think of an interesting character and then throw him into an intense and challenging situation and see how his character reacts. So I created Mitch and then pushed him to the edge.
Mitch is thrown into the world of crime and suddenly finds himself shoulder to shoulder with his brother Jack, in a bank heist. The robbery takes an unexpected turn and he now has to learn how to survive by himself in a very different world to the one he is used to. He has to choose between family and what is right.

On making his second short film

The first one we had a lot of locational challenges because we shot it in a vibrant working hotel and had to get our shots in and around the staff and hotel guests. Although this was an excellent experience, we planned the second film with more of our own extras and in locations we could take more shots so that we could get exactly what we wanted from each scene.

On writing and directing
I love every part of the filmmaking process. I really enjoy having total creative freedom in exploring a story about an individual stuck in a sticky situation where he/she has to learn to adapt.

On his filmmaking future

I want to continue working with talented crew and cast to keep on creating original work that audiences will love. Hence, I am currently writing a feature film that I am going to shoot in LA that I think people will really enjoy.

On producer, Ashley Pardey
I met Ashley when I was working on one of his films and we formed a strong relationship. I gave him a pitch for this film and he immediately loved it.
We had a tight schedule since I was soon leaving for the US. We pulled a very talented cast and crew together as fast as we could and got it completed in time ready for my departure to Los Angeles.

Ashley Pardey with his cast and crew for their wrap photo.

Ashley Pardey with his cast and crew for their wrap photo.

Ashley Pardey Producer

On his career
After working for Channel Seven’s local news, I moved to Brisbane where I took up two years of full-time study in Screen and Media. During that time I worked on many projects in various roles as producer, camera assistant and director.
A few of the feature films I’ve worked on are San Andreas, Charlie’s Farm, Rise and Australiens. I’ve also worked on a variety of short films, television commercials and music videos in various capacities.
I’m currently working with a team to produce the feature film Long Shadows. I’m currently writing my own feature film script which I started a few years ago.

On working with Director Cameron Brunt
Even though we connected on Facebook prior to actually meeting, I met Cameron on the Long Shadows teaser trailer set, which I also co-produced. I’d approached him about helping out on-set for crew. He struck up a relationship with the cast and crew and we hit it off quite well, despite his age.
A few months later he’d been discussing a script he’d been writing and was curious about how I’d feel producing it.

On the film’s challenges
Being a short film, having limited funds is always hard when trying to make the project the best it can be with what you’ve got. Finding a hospital to accommodate us was the most challenging. As most of the local universities would only cater for current students, meanwhile the hospitals that would have allowed us had closed those sections of the hospital due to the Christmas holidays.
W eventually found one on that would accommodate us with strict conditions. We were very grateful.

On the final cut
With Cameron moving to the US not long after wrapping the film, a post production team was soon acquired in Los Angeles. Cameron kept in contact with myself and sent through the various cuts of the film to both myself and our DoP, Andrew. We’d both send notes back to Cameron until he had the cut we were all happy with. Thankfully, no pick-ups or ADR were required.

On the future of Brothers
Now the film festival circuit begins. We’ve lined up a few big festivals to enter the film into. I can’t say how many we’ll end up entering but we’ll do our best to enter as many as possible.

Brothers also stars Abraham Mantey, Mark Hembrow, Joss McWilliam,  Christopher Sommers, Darrell Plumridge, Wade Boyes, Karell Andrée & Linda Millar.


One thought on “Sunday Shorts #18: Brothers

  1. Pingback: Cameron Blunt’s Brothers has dropped – and it’s a must see! | Cinema Australia

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