Sydney-based creatives Absolute Content have decided to stretch themselves with their upcoming short film, Third World Man.
Set in Sudan, the film is described as “…a political thriller about Roderick Glaumo, an Australian investigator sent to Sudan by the UN to look into the theft of food and medical aid.” Glaumo’s inquiries bring him into conflict with a local warlord, Adolphus.
Directed by Absolute Content Managing Partner, Brad Sayers, and written by Ian David (Blue Murder, Killing Time, Shark Net), the film stars Gareth Rickards as Roderick Glaumo, Elijah Williams as Alphonsus, and veteran character actor Chris Haywood as Finch, one of Glaumo’s contacts.
“I have always been interested in worlds of questionable morality and the choices people make when pursuing ideals in these environments,” Sayers says. “Third World Man deals with harsh realities and unpalatable truths. [It] was an opportunity to explore this territory in the genre of the political thriller, where the protagonist pulls a thread to reveal corruption and moral ineptitude.
“TWM was born out of ongoing conversations I had with screenwriter Ian David. We share a common interest in social justice and were both interested in stories about white collar corruption in developing countries, and about the decisions that were made in these circumstances. The characters in TWM are faced with the unforgiving, indiscriminate nature of corruption and its ability to distort moral ideals.”
Although set in Africa, the film was shot entirely in Sydney, which presented a number of challenges. The production reached out to the local Sudanese community for cast and advisors but were also faced with the technical difficulties of recreating such a different environment. Ultimately Manly Barracks was used for interiors, including a warehouse, and a UN Office. With the permission of the Woromi people, Stockton Beach was used for some exterior work.
“Stylistically, I have tried to retain a sense of classicism in my choice of composition, coverage, and in my use of naturalism,” Sayers explains. “With its grit and viscerality, scratching the environment back to something very raw. Sudan has these qualities. It’s this world of tragedy and hopelessness that Rod, Finch and Alphonsus inhabit in TWM. They are all third world men, surviving within, and because of, the decay of developing Sudan and the UN web that suspends them all. And they all have their reasons for doing what they do. TWM is about the complexities of being human in a forever shifting moral landscape.”
Third World Man will hit the festival circuit later this year.