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Welcome to the latest episode of the Cinema Australia Podcast.
In this episode we’re joined by Arka Das and Bina Bhattacharya – two of eight writers of the new anthology feature film, Here Out West.
Here’s the synopsis:
A baby is kidnapped from a western Sydney hospital by a desperate grandmother. Her flight sets off a chain of events that brings together complete strangers over the course of one dramatic day.
About our guests:
As a writer & director, Arka Das has short films, web series and short documentaries under his belt. His first project The Casuals, which he co-created in 2014, was syndicated for streaming in the US. Arka’s short documentary film Phoenix screened at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Dungog Shorts and was also a finalist at Focus on Abilities Film Festival in 2016. Most recently he wrote and directed Khana Khazana, a short film exploring the dark side of migrant labour, which won the jury prize for Best Film at Made in the West Film Festival 2020 while also taking out Best Director and Best Screenplay awards. It also screened at Flickerfest and St Kilda film festivals in Australia and internationally in Los Angeles and Toronto and is currently in development for the full length feature film.
Bina Bhattacharya is an award-winning filmmaker (writer, producer and director) from Campbelltown in Sydney’s southwest. Bina was awarded Best Screenplay for her short film, Musings at Sydney’s Made in the West Film Festival, which also screened at the 2018 Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Her 2017 short film, Wild Dances won the Audience Choice Award at the Made in the West Film Festival as well as screening at festivals in the USA, Ukraine, Germany, Czech Republic as well as Mardi Gras Film Festival and Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Bina runs her own Production company, Gemme de la Femme Pictures, specialising in showcasing the talents of actors from diverse backgrounds.
About the production:
The journey of Here Out West began in July 2018 when a group of talented emerging writers sat down around a table and began to share story ideas. Joining those writers was a group of creative producers committed to exploring and testing a new model of filmmaking in Australia.
The development of Here Out West began through Co-Curious’ flagship “Behind Closed Doors” program, a development program connecting fresh new voices from western Sydney with some of the industry’s most experienced creative talent.
Co-Curious invited Emerald Productions to be its production partner on the development program and through production. Selected via a highly competitive application process, the writers worked with award-winning screenwriter, Blake Ayshford, to develop their screenplays. Over three intensive workshops, the writers brainstormed a key event that could form the basis of eight individual stories.
Each writer’s story is tonally distinct, reflecting their own particular voice and worldview. And yet, through the underlying incident, characters that move across chapters and shared thematic interests, the film came together as a cohesive feature film that celebrates the interconnectedness of life.
In what the production believes is a first for an Australian film, Here Out West features nine languages including English: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Kurdish, Tagalog, Turkish, Vietnamese and Spanish, reflecting the individual backgrounds of the writers. One chapter is written entirely in Kurdish – in the Kurmanji and Sorani dialects – other chapters include the familiar English / native language mash up we so often hear in Diasporic communities across the world.
No official release date has been announced for Here Out West. The film will have its world premiere at CinefestOZ in Western Australia where it will compete for the festival’s $100,000 film prize.
Keep an eye on cinemaaustralia.com.au for more details.