Interview: Damian Fasolo – Plus an exclusive first look at Broken

Damian Fasolo Cinema Australia

Broken director Damian Fasolo

Ahead of the film’s trailer release on Friday, 15 July, we sat down with Perth filmmaker Damian Fasolo to learn a little more about his feature film debut, Broken.

Interview by Matthew Eeles

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Perth, Italian descent. When I was 15, my parents came home from a vacation with a video camera and from then I was hooked. I literally filmed everything! I graduated from Murdoch Uni, top in my class in Cinematography, and then went to Sydney for a while and worked as a camera assistant. When I came back an opportunity arose back at Murdoch to work in the film department, and I’ve been doing it ever since. So lecturing, and freelancing on the side. I’ve worked on loads of productions in WA, lots of Screenwest films, principally as a cinematographer – got my chops shooting a lot of 16mm film. My first writing/directing/cinematography debut was my own short in 2010, The Road Not Taken which played in festivals worldwide and won numerous awards.

What can you tell us about Broken’s plot?
Broken centers around Ryan whose world falls apart when his beautiful young wife, Jess, has an affair and attempts suicide. Facing the new challenges of single fatherhood to his five-year-old daughter while coping with the unbearable pain of rejection, Ryan’s world spirals out of control as he attempts to fill a physical void and solve the mystery of Jess’s lover. But when Ryan goes too far and he stands to lose his daughter, he is forced to confront his past, an estranged relationship with his Greek father, and ultimately realise his own role in the demise of their marriage.
Broken Cinema Australia 1

This is your first feature film as director. How has the experience been so far?
All consuming! This is a film close to my heart, loosely inspired by real events, so it’s definitely taken it’s toll on me – but at the same time I’ve learnt so much (in this business you’re always learning) and I really believe there’s a positive message in this film which needs to be shared. Scorsese once said, “I think the duty of every filmmaker is to tell the story he or she needs to tell”.
But yes, this is also a low budget film, and I have worn many hats – director, writer, co-producer, cinematographer, editor. So, as you can imagine, three years of insanity!

Broken is made up of an exciting group of up-and-coming talent. Tell us a bit about working with your cast.
Broken isn’t really the type of film one should make with little money – I think I had to cast around 30 roles, not including the extras, but I have to say Perth actors are just so supportive and enthusiastic. Nicholas Starte, who played the lead, is based in Sydney, but studied at WAAPA. He was so dedicated, he stayed at my house during the 6 weeks of shooting, which was invaluable as it helped us continually work on his character when not filming. Karli-Rae Grogan, who co-stars, is a phenomenal performer. She began very young working on children’s TV shows such as Wormwood and is now based in LA – I think she’s one to look out for.

Broken Cinema Australia 3

And the crew…
I’m very lucky with my crew. Wayne Davies, who co-produced the film and is well known in the WA film industry, was a powerhouse. He got me locations I didn’t think were possible and stepped in when things fell apart..which was often! Unfortunatley Wayne passed away tragically, and I’ve dedicated this film to him.
I’ve got Simon Allen (of Pixar and Matrix fame) doing the VFX, Leo Murray and Ben Morton doing sound and music (both of who just took out awards at the WASAs). Nathan Mewett (an upcoming director in Perth), gaffered and was my right hand man.

What were some of the challenges you faced getting Broken made?
The biggest challenge I guess is that you have so many people and locations to schedule. And when nobody is getting paid (yet anyway!) it’s tough to ask somebody to take a month out of their lives. The other thing is that when you start shooting things just go wrong all the time. A location falls through, a crew member can’t make it to a shoot.. people come and people go.. but a movie is like a moving train, once you start you have to just keep going!. Less about talent and more about resilience. I’m indebted to so many people.
Broken Cinema Australia 2How is post coming along?
We’re so close now. The edit and colour grade is pretty much done. Ben is working on the music and Leo is finishing the sound design. Our deadline is the first week of October.

When can audiences expect a release date for the film?
Well the thing about indie films is that they have they have to go through the festival circuit (for exclusivity sakes) before they can be released to the public. So let’s hope sometime next year. We are having a private screening in November for cast and crew so we may run a competition for tickets to that.

Keep up to date with Broken by keeping an eye on or by following the film on Facebook here.

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