St Kilda Local Pushes Boundaries Through Film

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Port Phillip Bay’s trendy beachside suburb St Kilda is soon to become the backdrop for an edgy and insightful independent film directed by proud local resident, filmmaker and writer Sarah Jayne. Her production company, Nexus Production Group, have started pre-production on the short film, titled Daughter, and they aim to shoot Spring 2015.Sarah Jayne directing her first short film Dusk (2013) #2

Sarah Jayne plans on using St Kilda’s streets and businesses as locations, it’s everyday characters as extras, and its iconic landmarks, such as Luna Park, The Clock Tower, St Kilda Pier, and Cantini Gardens, as a beautiful backdrop for the film.

Nexus Production Group is run from Studio 106 on Barkly Street by Sarah Jayne and her long-term partner, Ivan Malekin. Although only a local for just over a year, Sarah Jayne says: “I have always been drawn to St Kilda, it resonates with me. In my mi
d-twenties I would travel down from the western suburbs for parties and beach fun. I always knew I would live here one day and I am glad it is now when I am so creative and productive in my art. St Kilda suits me”.

Daughter is a script idea Sarah Jayne begun contemplating two years ago after the highly publicised murder of Brunswick resident, Jill Meagher. What followed was the murder of St Kilda local Tracy Connelly which gained attention for its very lack of media attention. Tracy was a sex worker and therefore seen as faceless, nameless, and somehow less deserving of life. The violent crime, still unsolved today, brought the St Kilda community together to pay respects to the person behind the profession.

Sarah Jayne took note of how the media perceived these two women and how Australia directed its sympathy towards each case. She read a lot of articles and was fascinated by everything she was reading and experiencing as a woman who always considered herself independent and free to travel when and where she likes. She took all this in and began writing.

Two of Daughters main characters are loosely based on Jill and Tracy. Sarah Jayne believes that it is very important to get the message across that violence happens to all women, no matter their social status, lifestyle choices, wealth or background.

Daughter follows three very opposite women of different ages and experiences on a Friday night out in St Kilda. The film is an insight into their lives and a look at how violence impacts each woman and their choices and reactions. It will be shot in a fly-on-the-wall, observational drama style where the audience will feel like they are out on the town with the characters as they enjoy and experience the nightlife.

Sarah Jayne has confirmed that St Kilda Gatehouse, a not-for-profit organisation that works with women involved in sex work, is supporting the film in providing a location and also helping with research for one of her main characters, Gemma, which is crucial to the film’s reality factor. Sarah will also be supporting them by volunteering at the Gatehouse.

Sarah Jayne hopes that other local businesses and organisations also come on board; “what I want Daughter to be is a community film, St Kilda’s own film”. With no funding for Daughter as yet, she knows there will be many challenges. “What is needed most is locations such as a hotel room or apartment, a cafe, the entrance of a hostel, a suburban house, and an office suite. We also need to feed the small cast and crew, find extras for a few scenes, and consider equipment hire costs”.

She goes on to say that she has seen the best and worst of St Kilda and this is why she is reaching out to the community: “I have been though both dark and happy times here in St Kilda and the rough times have shown me how much the community steps up to help each other out. They helped me when I was struggling, when I was unemployed and too broke to eat, I received food from local charities and centres. There is always somewhere to go for help in St Kilda”.

Having said all of this, Sarah Jayne is not just sitting on her hands and hoping others will provide. In the meantime she is working on applying for funding through the Port Phillip Council, approaching Women’s organisations for support, seeking cast and crew, and targeting media to generate interest.

If you are a local, a community business or group who would like to chat further with Sarah Jayne and Nexus Production Group about Daughter please feel free to email Sarah Jayne directly at: sarah@npgroup.com.au

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