Hugo Weaving Hearts and Bones

Hugo Weaving Hearts and Bones


A war photographer. A survivor. And a photograph that threatens to destroy them both.

Cast: Hugo Weaving, Andrew Luri, Hayley McElhinney
Director: Ben Lawrence
Genre: Drama
Rated: M
Running Time: 101 minutes

Synopsis: War photographer, Daniel Fisher has returned home to the news of his partner's pregnancy.

Determined not let fatherhood alter his way of life, he begins preparations for an upcoming exhibition and his next overseas assignment. However, as the birth of his child draws near, he struggles to keep his rising anxiety hidden.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese refugee, Sebastian Aman has created a safe life in Australia with his wife and child. His peaceful life is disturbed when Dan's exhibition threatens to display photographs of a massacre that occurred in Sebastian's home village, 15 years earlier. When Sebastian approaches Dan with an appeal to not display any images of the massacre, an unlikely friendship develops between the men.

Bonded by their shared trauma, Sebastian introduces Dan to members of a community choir. These survivors of war offer Dan an escape from the anxieties of imminent fatherhood, much to the frustration of his wife. When Sebastian uncovers among Dan's photographic archive an image of his daughter, thought to have died in war, the men set about finding her.

Amid the search for the young girl, Dan unearths disturbing details surrounding Sebastian's past and the startling revelations threaten to destroy both families. Amid the pain, each man must face their painful past in order to regain their salvation. Hearts And Bones is a story about hope and the mysterious bonds of family, friendship and fatherhood.

Hearts And Bones
Release Date: April 30th, 2020

About The Production

On The Story – Director, Ben Lawrence:

"I began looking at specific war photographs, famous ones and not so famous ones, and I came across one that I saw in a Sydney exhibition. It's a close up of a man who had a gun held to his head. All the information was in there. This extreme expression of fear. And it posed a lot of questions for me, Who was that man that had the gun to his head? Who was the guy holding the gun? And who were the other figures that you could see on the edge of frame around him? And then, who was the photographer? And how close was he to it? How much was he in danger? So, it was from that story and that photograph and those inspirations that I began to write the story of Hearts and Bones."

"Another experience that happened during that period was a television campaign I did for Amnesty International, which exposed me to a lot of local stories about refugees who had recently arrived in Australia. Many at that time were from the Middle East, some were from Bosnia. And it was the Bosnian group of women that I met who had formed a choir and they were the inspiration for the choir that's in the film."

"In writing the film, it was really important for all of us to engage, particularly the producer and I, to engage with the South Sudanese community, because we weren't from that community, we didn't have any connections to that community. And so we wanted the script to be shared with a number of people who could give us feedback on a cultural sensitivities and authenticity about the story, the details and then also how much of the film and the story is going to resonate in a true sense with people who have had this lived experience."

"We reached out to a number of people to further that understanding. One of them was Deng Adut, who is a local lawyer, a South Sudanese man who was a child soldier and had written a book 'Songs Of A War Boy'. That was my introduction to him, his book. But he agreed to read the script and also give us feedback on the story."

"And it was in that meeting with him that, like a really good lawyer, he went through the script with a fine-tooth comb marked things and really gave us in depth feedback about a whole range of aspects within the film, but particularly about the south Sudanese character. And it was with the meeting with him that that I really was able to grapple with the idea of the gravity of the story. We were trying to tell, the complex trauma that so many of these men and women and children go through who have had this experience of being a refugee and how important it was to tell that story."

"Deng talked about a particular moment in the film where he referred to it as triggering him emotionally because it pinpointed something in his life that he'd experienced. And it was the scene where Sebastian talks about his memory of having seen his family being massacred. And Deng just really reminded me how important it is to get this right and how complex the stories are and that while we're telling the story of one person, it represents a whole range of people's stories, of not just South Sudanese, but people who are having to fled their countries."

"And so that was a fantastic insight. And it was something that as a filmmaker, a storyteller, I was consciously aware of trying to tell the story that was entertaining and engaging. Because I want people to go and see it, but also recognize the gravity and the damage that's been done to people, without scaring off an audience. Because I want them to go and see it. I want them to understand what people go through, but I also want them to engage with it. So, I'm really keen to see how, particularly people who have had an experience of having to flee their countries relate to the film. And I think that's something that Deng really brought to the idea of telling.

Actor, Hugo Weaving:

"I actually read a version of the script many years ago. I liked it. I just liked the setup of it, but I didn't think it was quite there. Then when I read it again last year, I really loved it. All the things that I liked about it initially were even more complex and more layered. The journey and the structure of the characters was more conflicted and complex.

"All four characters have secrets. All the four main characters have secrets. Internal dramas that mostly come out are dealt with but all of them are reluctant to reveal what that particular conflict is. A lot of the drama is internal drama and these four people trying to deal with those internal dramas in a very constructive familiar way. "

"I think the script is hugely intelligent and has just grown in layers over the years. It's informed by Ben's own experience by the film industry and traveling around the world and taking photographs himself. He's a wonderful photographer. He's got a great eye and the thing I love about working with him most is, because he has a documentary background, the way in which he's working with Andrew (Luri, who plays Sebastian) is, he knows Andrew is the man. He's not a trained actor. I'm interested in the man. I'm interested in the real person. All those things that Andrew has, all the experiences that Andrew has, if that can feed into Sebastian then that is something you can't train for. He's got it. Because all of the things will be in Andrews face, he's not speaking, are the things to me that speak volumes of character and trauma and experience. Those are the things I look for when I'm watching a film. Those minute details of character. Those minute psychological traces that you can see in someone's face, that you will see in a documentary.

Producer, Matt Reeder:

"On a story level, it's about a war photographer or photojournalist played by Hugo Weaving and a Sudanese refugee played by Andrew Luri, and the friendship that develops between them as well as a photograph from the past that links the two. But on a thematic level, it's really a story of hope."

"it's a story about the friendship that develops between these two men who have both experienced trauma. I love this kind of scripts, so when I first read the script, I immediately wanted to be involved. I liked that it is a drama, but that there's a mystery that's helping drive the story. To me, stories that I'm attracted to are stories that address the global world, bigger issues, but do it in a more intimate way. I feel like this story is really great at capturing the epic and the intimate in the heart of its story."

Actor, Andrew Luri:

It's about family life, it's about a community life, it's about bringing communities together. It's about letting people understand the problems that others are facing. Sometime by telling a story, just by words, is not enough, but by action is everything because people understand things in different ways. I'm sure the Australian public does not understand all the problems that some people have so it will give them a chance to learn about and understand all these stories. And this is just a portion of it. There are some stories which are not told about, and people don't know, so if this is a window, or a vision to let other people understand or know. This would make this country even greater.

"There's no better time. There's no better time than this one to tell a story. This is the best time because the director chose the time and he has the power to change things, and since he's available and he's willing to make it happen. We are very pleased. I'm actually very, very pleased having him around to make this happen. I'm very, very excited about it."

Actor, Hayley McElhinney:

I feel like it's about past, your past and what you bring to the community. So, everyone's got a story to tell and it's how we interact with each other, having that history. It's how we enrich each other with our past no matter what it is and forgiving the past. It's a film about family and community and your story and how we all can come together and make something together. I think it's good to see people on the screen that don't look like me, so it's been so wonderful to see so many different faces on this film set from all different parts of the world.

"What's also been incredible is to be around real refugees. What heroes they are. They've come from hardship and they've come to this country and some of them haven't even been able to speak English when they arrive. And I have been lucky enough to have been rubbing shoulders with those people on this film set and it has just been one of the best experiences of my life. I think it's really great for it to be on the screen, for people to see these people, if they're not lucky enough like I am to work with them. To see their stories on the big screen, I think it can only make for a better planet."

"I love how in this film everyone's just trying to be the best parent or just trying to be the best partner within their circumstances. I loved when I read it that you see Anishka and Sebastian and they're doing two jobs. They're working these really long hours and they are still trying to be great parents and good partners and how that's a struggle. I love that. I like seeing that in film because that's real. That happens. And then with Josie and Dan you've got ... You see their lifestyle, which of course is completely different but they're still trying to be good partners. They're still trying to deal with their past and their grief so it's kind of great seeing people trying to do their best."

Actor, Bolude Watson:

"One minute I was laughing and the next minute I was breaking down. It broke my heart. There are parts of it that broke my heart and I feel like the heartbreak is beautiful, too, and I think it's because the authentic voice of the script. It doesn't lie. It doesn't try and be what it's not. Again, that's so rare. It's rare for a script to do this so wonderfully and Ben's script does that so beautifully and so wonderfully. "

"But don't get me wrong, it's not a movie about black people. It's not a movie about Africans. It's not a movie about a South Sudanese person. It's a movie about humans. It's a movie about humanity. It's a movie about heartache and loss and life. It's a movie about tragedy. It's also a movie about regrowth and rebuilding. At its core, and I think that's the final message we rebuild. After a tragic situation, you rebuild. You don't give up. You create something new and you acknowledge your past. I think that's one of the lessons."

On What Drew You To The Project Actor, Hugo Weaving:



"What drew me to it was the script, really. The script and then meeting Ben. I talked to Ben and really liked him a lot. I saw his film Ghosthunter, which was fascinating too because I realized a lot of those things that Ben had been unearthing in that world were feeding into this script. I was sort of already on board by then, but to me these sorts of parallel works dealing primarily with male trauma was interesting to explore.

Actor, Hayley McElhinney:

"When I read Hearts and Bones for the first time, I was struck with goose pimples all through the experience of reading it and I thought, 'Wow. That doesn't happen often.' And the character Josie was so unpredictable, like it wasn't the girlfriend role which I'm kind of used to reading, to be quite honest. It was really refreshing to read a part that was complex and real, and I instantly wanted to be a part of it. I've been lucky to work with Hugo before so when I found out that he was in the film I really wanted to work with him again because he's incredibly generous, creative person and I just thoroughly enjoyed working with him when we were working in theatre. And when I walked into the room and Hugo was there it was like we just picked up where we left off so there's a familiarity with him. I felt comfortable with him and there's a real trust and playfulness there, so I think hopefully in the film you'll see that we've got a history and we really work well together."

On Working With Hugo Weaving

Director, Ben Lawrence:


"The first time we met we just talked for hours. And he doesn't know, but that day I was meant to fly out of Sydney, and I missed my flight because we were just chatting for so long about the film and about the films we loved, about the stories we want to tell. We really connected on the idea that we wanted to make films in Sydney about Sydney or set in Sydney. And that was something I had mentioned in the letter. We talked about the documentary I'd made and what that process was like and how that may inform the filming of Hearts and Bones. And he was interested in all of that. And the films that he liked really resonated with me. So, we kind of formed a ... I wouldn't call it a pact, but an idea that we were meeting on these common grounds, these common points on that very first day.

"And I felt really supported by that. Him just doing the project validated it, that the story was good and all of that. And in in a strange way it gave me a huge boost of confidence that I was able to work with someone like that and that he responded to the story we're going to tell and that he was so giving and supportive of all the other actors there, who all looked up to him and you know, it was really special to have him there."

"He knew potentially that he would be playing alongside someone who had never done a film and that they had an equal amount of dialogue and a very heavy transition of an emotional journey for a non-actor. And in a way, Hugo would be tasked ... would be supporting that person on screen."

"But what really interested and fascinated me was what became this real back and forth between the two men (Hugo and Andrew) off camera but also on camera. And what Andrew, who played Sebastian was giving off camera and on camera. Hugo was responding to and supporting that. And so, Hugo, for me, was kind of the centre of the storm for the film in that he was a solid anchor for all of us. For him to say, no this is right. It might seem chaotic, it might seem like we're trying to find something, but this is how it's done, and this is how we find great things."

On Working With Director Ben Lawrence

Actor, Hugo Weaving:


"Working with Ben has been wonderful. It's his script and I love that. I love working with the director who's actually written the script because you can always talk to the source. You're not wondering about where this has come from. Or you might be and in fact, writer/directors don't always know what something means, or they might not have actually put two and two together, so an actor can sometimes unearth something that's not necessarily clear. Then you have to talk about it together and say, 'Well I think this is what it is.'"

"Ben's very even tempered. Very calm, relaxed. So, the set has been immensely calm. Moving forward in a way that feels effortless. He's incredibly well prepared and yet he's flexible and able to let things go if they're not vitally important. Not worry about things other people might think are important but they're not part of the way in which he sees a scene or a piece.

"All of those things that Andrew has, all of the experience that Andrew has, if that can feed into Sebastian then that is something you can't train for. He's got it. Because all of the things will be in Andrews face, he's not speaking, are the things to me that speak volumes of character and trauma and experience. Those are the things I look for when I'm watching a film. Those minute details of character. Those minute psychological traces that you can see in someone's face, that you will see in a documentary. But you rarely see in a feature film. It's why I'm really fascinated to work with Ben because I think that side of his craft and that side of his sensibility will be augmented in this film. "It's been a great journey for me. I did say it in day one, 'I'm going to learn more from you' and I mean that. I think I have. I don't know he might disagree, but I reckon I have."

Producer, Matt Reeder:

"I had only worked with Ben on one other job previously. I found him to be an incredibly prepared and thoughtful director. His attention to detail is really inspiring. Also, he strives for a genuineness that I don't think a lot of people do and when I say that, I mean both in his storytelling, but also in the people that he surrounds himself with.

"Before production really started ramping up, we had a conversation about what we wanted the production to be. He said that whilst it's very important for him to make a beautiful film, it was also equally important for him, for it to be a positive experience for all the people that were involved in making it, which I think was a really great way to start the process because filmmaking does take a long time and everybody is actually living their lives whilst this is happening. It takes up a significant chunk of your life. It's important to try to make it a positive experience, even though there are lots of challenges involved. To know that the person that is ultimately steering the ship is coming from a place where it's important to them, for the people that he's collaborating with to have a positive experience, means that, I think, mostly that's what has happened.

"Ben's approach as a director, and I think this is inspired by his work in documentary, is that he's always looking to get through to the truth of what's happening and to present an authentic version of the story that he's investigating. That finds its way into every facet of the story. He's used a very documentary style of camera work in Hearts and Bones which works well because working with Andrew Luri, who was a non-actor, and asking Andrew to present his character as largely himself. He's fitting into the story and he's telling the story as an actor, but he's bringing a lot of himself to it. Ben's visual style of being able to capture Andrew in a very observational fashion really helps what Andrew has brought to the story. Ben has been able to use his skills as a documentary filmmaker to enhance and integrate what Andrew has been able to bring to the production."

Actor, Andrew Luri:

"Working with Ben Lawrence is the best thing I ever had happening in my life because he's the best director ever in so many ways. I did not act before, but the way he was doing things gave me a lot of confidence. It built me up. Even things that were a bit difficult, he made it easy for me because he's able to go step by step and he's a very patient person. He's kind and respectful at the same time, so he's everything. I'm really very excited to work with him and I hope we work with him again.

Actor, Hayley McElhinney:

"Working with Ben's been beautiful, and he knows this story inside and out because he co-wrote it. It's been a great kind of mixture of him being very clear about what he wants but also allowing you to create and bring Josie to life. So, it's been a real collaboration. It's the best way to work, I think. He's really encouraging of you to breathe life into the character but then every now and then will give you this clear, clean direction. It's been ideal for me. I've loved it. I love that everyone is trying to do their best in this story and it's not necessarily the right thing to do.

"In a way Ben shoots kind of like a documentary. The way that he goes about shooting the film he's witnessing moments rather than trying to capture them, so I have a feeling that the film's going to be full of these, this really authentic experience."

Actor, Bolude Watson:

"He's unafraid to explore and to try new things and to take on board what the actor wants to bring to the character. I definitely felt like it was collaborative that he listened to my opinions. Every day on set with Ben was just this nugget of wisdom that he would just drop in the water and I was able to take on, you know what I mean? I love the fact that he embraced all about the African ethnicity. He wasn't going to soften it, or alter it, or make it palpable with the audience with a weave or straighten my hair. He's like, "No, we love your curls. She should have her curls and they should be out. They should be celebrated and be proud of it."

"Then he wrote my pregnancy into the script and it's like, "Ben, who are you? No one does that." Just constantly supportive. I feel that working with him is probably, I'm just hoping it's not a once in a lifetime opportunity. I'm hoping I'll get two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 more opportunities with him because I will never forget this experience. I will never forget working with him. I will never forget what he's taught me. "

On Working With Actor Andrew Luri

Director, Ben Lawrence:

"Finding Andrew was something that I dreamt about for a long time. I really wanted that character to be a non-actor in that the chemistry that a non-actor brings to the chemistry a trained actor brings is to mix those two and while it was ... You know, people have done it, it was an experiment for me, but I thought it was going to pay off in a very particularly authentic relationship between those two people."

"Andrew came out of a Facebook open casting call in Melbourne. We're in the suburb of Sunshine. We set up in a community hall for two or three days and I didn't realize at the time, but Andrew had called earlier in the day and said, look, I'm 60 kilometres away. I'm really tired. He was driving a truck at the time and he said I don't think I'm going to make it in. And the casting agent kind of convinced him, no, please come along. He was one of 12 or 15 I think we saw that day and I had a vision of what Sebastian looked like and the presence that he had. And as soon as Andrew walked in the room, I thought it was him. And I hoped that he was going to give me something that would only further cement that idea."

"And he told me the story about his life in that casting session. He told me how much he loved music. He told me how that he was a preacher in his local church, and he told me about his journey from South Sudan to Australia. And the gentleness and the confidence and the stillness with which he composed himself in there. I walked out there thinking that's him."

"It was probably one of the biggest decisions in the film to say, yeah, he could do it and put our faith in him. And the one thing that really convinced me about Andrew was that his desire to do it was strong. And that if what he'd been through was so powerful in his life, that if he wanted to be in a film, that this was a surmountable thing that he could achieve. And that with the guidance of all of our support, that he could do it. And he just did such an amazing job. He did such an amazing job. And I'm so happy for the experience that it gave him."

Actor, Hugo Weaving:

"I first met Andrew with Ben [Lawrence] and with Nico Lathouris. Nico was kind of acting guru and a wonderful actor in his own right. When I first met Andrew, he'd learnt a lot, but Nico was at pains to make sure that each time we did a scene the first thing that we would say was just, let's just read the scene in the third person. Andrew was constantly trying to tell the story of the character in his own words. That was where we started.

"So, day one, two, three of the film working with Andrew, the scenes would be kind of dealt with in that way. The scene as written might be half a page with three lines but the scene as shoot was initially ballooning out. There were extra lines and you knew it wasn't ever going to be there in the cut but then you do it again, you do it again, you do another take. Ben would be saying 'Okay so now Andrew that's great, we can just use less lines. Okay, great Andrew. Let's do it again, we can just use the script now.' That's where we sort of started. Watching Andrew move from that man to, even three days later, where we didn't need to go through that process as much and I'm doing a scene with him and he's telling me a long story and I'm just listening and it's absolutely beautiful. It's been a real privilege. It's been a real joy actually to see someone learn so much and have such a life experience. But bring the wealth of their own experience as a gift to the film and have Ben see the value in that for everyone. Not just for Andrew but for everyone."

Actor, Hayley McElhinney:

"I've loved everyone I've worked with. I love working with everyone because they come from different backgrounds. For example, Andrew, this is his first film, so it's been great working with someone who hasn't got a history in filmmaking. It's been fascinating because you don't come with a certain energy, show biz energy. He hasn't had that, so it's been fascinating to work with him."

On Working With Actor Hayley McElhinney

Director, Ben Lawrence:

She just had this wonderful, I want to say innocence, but there was something about Hayley, that told me that despite whatever she was going to overcome in her life, that she was going to keep a positive quality that nurtured and maintained her innocence and curiosity about the world. And it was something that I felt that Josie had that was kind of this quality that Dan, the photographer would come home and be nurtured by and be supported by and all the horrible stuff that he'd seen out there in war, he comes home to someone who is able to reconnect with the idea of ... refill his innocence, refill his humanity, which ultimately becomes what that character needs to find.

Actor, Hugo Weaving:

"Hayley's absolutely gorgeous. Hayley and I met; I think we first met properly at the Sydney Theater Company. There was a production of Uncle Vanya, which we were both in that ended up being pretty celebrated. We had a season in Sydney and a year later we were invited to Washington. Then the year after that we were invited to New York. We traveled with that play and with each other as a cast. The cast didn't change and included Cate Blanchett, Jackie Weaver, Richard Roxburgh and John Bell. I mean, pretty fabulous people. Hayley and I, the characters Hayley and I we're inhabiting, her character is absolutely in love with my character. My character sort of knows that but actually is in love with another woman. We have these fantastic scenes which are quite sweet and comedic and painful of missed love. That was over a three-year period, so we got to know each other very well.

"I was thrilled when I heard she was testing for this and went along and tested with her. It's been a great pleasure to play these two characters because there's very little of Dan and Josie that we see where they're just good together. But we know that they are. We actually don't see a lot of that. They're primarily secret, unspoken things and major trauma with the two of them. They're running parallel lives without really connecting. You've got to know that they are good together. I think having spent time with Hayley as an actor and enjoying her company and getting on very well and having a very easy rapport with her is kind of critical to playing these two characters. "

On Working With Bolude Watson:

Director, Ben Lawrence:

"Finding Bolude was incredible. Bolude turned up at our casting session and she had her, I think her two or three-year-old son in the casting room running amok. While she's doing probably one of the most difficult scenes in the film. And she just nailed it."

"Bolude wasn't what I imagined Anishka was going to be. So, when I saw Bolude do that test, she just earned it there and then. And she was able to incorporate her four-year-old son who was running around in the audition into the scene as a mother in accent. That blew me away. And continually, she continued to impress me. And again, she really wanted to go there. She really wanted to understand the role. She really wanted to dedicate the time. She really wanted to find the right accent."

"The other thing was she was pregnant at the time. She was three or four months pregnant when we cast her and so the character wasn't pregnant, so we wrote that in. It became this really weird feature because Josie, Dan's wife is pregnant. So, you had these two main pregnant women and I think people are going to kind of see the film and say, why do you have the two main women pregnant? It wasn't an intent, but it really highlights that the film is about, in a lot of ways, what we pass on to our children and whatever that is, begins very early. It begins in our childhood and so to have it there as a constant reminder of these two pregnant bellies sits under the film as another bit of subtext."

On Shooting Scenes With The Choir And Music In The Film:

Actor, Hugo Weaving:


"It has been lovely meeting all the people in the choir and the musicians. They're all musicians in their own right, from different parts of the globe and all living here. That seems to be at the heart of the film. The musical heart of the film. There's something about that choir that Dan's drawn to, the choir by Sebastian. It's the thing that allows them both to heal.

"Sebastian has set up this choir as a way of healing himself and creating a community outside the community that he's lost. He wants Dan to come to photograph this choir but there are other reasons he wants Dan to be a part of it. Dan instinctively feels that there's something about community and about family and about creating a new life for himself that somehow is going to be signposted by his experience with the choir. Working with all of those guys and sitting there, for me, well I just have to sit and listen to this beautiful music. It was actually really lovely.

"Muhammad playing his kora was a treat for me. It's pretty much my favorite instrument. I don't play it. I don't play any instruments, but I love the kora. It was really great to have him sit there and play it. And Dereb is a beautiful Ethiopian singer and it's a beautiful song. Just a treat to hear that."

Producer, Matt Reeder:

"The process of creating the choir obviously started with a script, but then we started working with Johnathan Pease, who is the choir master. He was responsible for helping cast the choir, both from a visual look and from an aural perspective. Johnathan also worked closely with Rafael May, the composer, and Andrew Kotatko, the music supervisor.

"Really, it was a process ... A regular casting process but getting together a group that looked and felt right within the context of the film and then, through a series of rehearsals, figuring out what songs worked best with the voices that we had. Andrew Luri kindly contributed a song that he wrote. We're also using the choral opening for Road to Nowhere in the final sequence, which is very exciting."

Actor, Andrew Luri:

 

 "I enjoyed the scene at that hall. It was an enjoyable thing because I actually love music, so whenever music is involved in something I feel at home. So, having people around like that is just bring joy to me, so it was a great day for me.

"Music is my hobby. Music is such a thing that, you cannot always be by yourself, you have to be with somebody. You have to be with the people, and people make it happen, and with people it makes it life. Even this choir, everyone is from a different country and it's actually showing exactly what the film is about. So, having them is such a beautiful thing, and they're all professional musicians as well. They're not just people, they're professional musicians. They love music as much as I do. We have our own song, even the song that I've written. It's a great experience to bring the words together because the words are actually from different region, but this will bring the whole community together, wherever they are in part of the world. It will unite them and bring them as one."

On The Themes At The Heart Of The Film:

Actor, Hugo Weaving:

"One of my favorite scenes so far is Ben deciding he would do something that was unscripted. We'd just go around in the circle in the choir and everyone introduces themselves and what country they're from. The camera just moving from one face to another and they say hi, I'm so and so and I'm from such and such a place. That was it. That was the scene, but it was beautiful. Really beautiful and somehow doing that speaks volumes for everyone's journey and story in life and yet you're in a circle together. Those sorts of things are really critical to understanding what's at the heart of this film and why it's being made. Because we easily demonize outsiders. We easily create outsiders. Not just in this country, around the world. It's something governments do with alarming facility to try and win the next election. They'll sort of demonize say, the South Sudanese community.

Say 'Well crime is rampant in Melbourne and these people are to blame and therefore we should all tighten our belts and re-elect our government because we're going to be really tough on this.' Actually, the issue is either not necessarily there or it's not there to nearly that alarming degree. Or it's just one of many other issues in the community. "This story speaks to a world problem of a massive refugee crisis, migration all around the world, war, poverty, over population around the world. It's something that governments tend to be, at the moment, addressing by just pulling up the drawbridge and saying we're going to deal with this on our own. We'll wave a flag and make our country great and f*&% the rest of you. That's the alarming development in the world. That sense of working together as a world of nations is increasingly becoming, 'Well, we'll just deal with our own.' Patch a turf and we will alarm the people in our country so we can create other people who are alarming. That will enable us to stay in power and close our borders. It's particularly important for the South Sudanese community in this country at the moment or any community of migrants or refugees in Australia.

"It's a worldwide phenomenon and I think anything that helps you to understand how and what someone's culture is, how they think, how they feel, that their outward appearance is not anything to be scared of, is special. Because they are just the same as you. We all eat and sleep and love and loose. We're all the same. I think this film is beautiful because of that. I hope it sees a large audience."

Hearts And Bones
Release Date: April 30th, 2020




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