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By Sean Smith

Debut feature Pawno from writer Damian Hill and director Paul Ireland, will premiere at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

A Footscray pawnbroker acts as the hub from which the lives of an ensemble cast — including John Brumpton (Romper Stomper), Kerry Armstrong (Lantana) Malcolm Kennard (Catching Milat) — are explored in the comedy drama.

The Westsider was present at the launch party for the film at Eureka Skydeck last November, just before the start of principal photography. The energy and desire evident on that day has propelled this independently financed movie all the way through from their Barkly Street set, to one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

“We hoped to show the beauty in an often maligned suburb,” Damian Hill told The Westsider over a cup of coffee at Guerrilla Espresso, a location which features in the film. An inner westie himself (and massive Bulldogs fan), Hill said the film aims to showcase, “…The spirit and conflicts of Footscray’s eclectic locals.”

Director Paul Ireland has described the film as, “A love letter to Footscray.” And it would seem that MIFF selectors caught the bug. A warm hearted, but unflinching gaze at the lives of an idiosyncratic area of Melbourne, Pawno sets the pace as a forerunner for brave independent filmmaking in Australia.

Melbourne International Film Festival /30 Jul – 16 Aug/

Photo courtesy MIFF


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