The first project from independent film production company, Wintergarden Pictures, has launched on SBS On Demand as part of the Queer for Short: Home Grown series. Cherry Season, directed by Joshua Longhurst, is one of six short films in the series showcasing LGBTQIA+ stories from NSW-based creative teams.
Produced with the assistance of Create NSW’s Generator: Emerging Filmmakers Fund and in association with SBS, Cherry Season was filmed in Young, NSW. It explores themes of sexuality, identity and community in rural Australia, presenting a unique perspective on LGBTQIA+ issues in regional communities.
Summer has arrived in Shantelle’s hometown of Young, NSW. Between stacking the shelves with cherries and scrolling through women on her feed, there doesn’t appear to be much going on in her life to keep her there. But when she discovers her wayward teenage half-sister, Tamara, posting raunchy pics online, Shantelle must hunt her down and, with the help of a callow workmate, stop Tamara crossing a dangerous line.
An ambitious project representing diversity, intersectionality and regional Australia on screen, Cherry Season is directed by award-winning gay-identifying filmmaker Joshua Longhurst (Oasis). Joshua was born and raised in Young, NSW where the film is set and was shot on location. This project marks the first time he is examining his roots in a cinematic story. Cherry Season is written by Green Room Award-winning writer Tim Spencer (Oasis), who has just been shortlisted for the Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller Awards for another LGBTQIA+ short film script, WILCO, and produced by Rosie Braye.
Strangerland (2015) director Kim Farrant mentored Joshua in the journey to direct his second short film while drama, factual, entertainment and comedy production company CJZ (Gruen, House of Bond, House of Hancock, Go Back to Where You Came From) served as Executive Producers.
“I’m so excited for Australian audiences to see Cherry Season on SBS, the characters and the setting are very familiar for me and Tim has done an incredible job of imbuing this script with authenticity,” said Longhurst. “There is a universality to this story that I feel is very evocative and relatable. I have immeasurable gratitude for the team who made this possible and would like to thank the community of Young, I am so grateful for their generosity.”
“Working on Cherry Season was a real honour,” said actor Travis Jeffery, who stars as Conners in the short. “It was a privilege to be involved in this beautifully heartbreaking production that gives a very raw insight to the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community. Knowing how much this story means to Joshua and Tim made the process all the more special.”
Now available to stream online, Cherry Season will also screen on SBS Viceland on Thursday 22 February at 8pm AEDT. The special broadcast hosted by The Feed’s Pat Abboud will form part of the broadcaster’s coverage of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Cherry Season can be viewed online on SBS On Demand.