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by Matthew Eeles
Production has commenced on the new 30-minute short drama, Charlie.
Written, directed and co-produced by Perth-based filmmaker Anya Pia Kenner (whose acting credits include I Met a Girl, The Darkest Age), Charlie will explore themes of family abandonment and positive reconnection, as 18-year-old Charlie is confronted with the life-changing discovery that she is pregnant. In need of maternal support, Charlie tries desperately to reconnect with an absent mother who she hasn’t seen for two years.
Charlie will be the second directing gig for Anya following her 2019 student film, Once I Wandered, which she made at Edith Cowan University with fellow actor Asher Yasbincek.
“When I sat down to write Charlie, I felt an urge to direct again,” Anya tells Cinema Australia.
“It was the same fire I felt while directing Once I Wandered.”
With Charlie, Anya hopes is to bring a positive change to Australian cinema.
“I want to debunk the stereotypes that people have around certain themes and ideas like teen pregnancy, family connection and alcoholism. So many films portray alcoholics as violent and abusive. But Ian, the alcoholic father in my story, is brilliant and supportive.”
Dean McAskil (The Decadent and Depraved), Fiona Cooper (Batgirl Returns), Cohen James, Caitlin Ashley Thompson and Feodroa Susilo will star alongside Anya in the film.
“Casting the film was such a fun process,” says Anya.
“Being an actor myself I found the casting process to be a huge privilege to cast some really talented people. I was lucky enough to meet most of the crew through other productions I have worked on. I’m very lucky to have them on board.”
Anya says she’s thrilled to have positive support around her to guide her through the process of making a movie, like her co-producer Joshua Scattergood of Prodigy Films.
“My producer has been a massive support. Also my beautiful supportive friends, family and cast and crew. I’m even bumping into old friends on the street who will say something really encouraging to me. I’m very grateful.”
The independent film scene in Western Australia is booming with so many films currently in production. It’s also brimming with talent which Anya says deserves to be seen by the world.
“I’m so proud to be contributing to the local industry at the moment. Big things are happening here. So to be a part of it right now is amazing.”
Keep an eye on cinemaaustralia.com.au for more Charlie updates.