Jye Currie: Feel the Beat

December 30, 2021
For his feature film debut Beat, the 28-year-old regional filmmaker managed to attract a number of highly respected local actors, including Alexandra Jensen (Frayed), Rachael Carpani (800 Words), Maree Lowes (Dirtgirl) and local legend John Wood.

What’s your background that has led you to making Beat?

“Throughout my years at university, I spent my free time travelling to remote and rare parts of the world. After finishing my honours degree in film, I set out for a 7-month trip around the globe.

“Throughout my travels, I discovered in my own way, how humans have communicated through the art of storytelling for generations. With this, I not only found a deeper connection to my life’s purpose, but more so, I discovered a greater understanding of life itself and how the human experience is impacted by emotions. This motivated me and led me to be the film maker I am today.”

Is the story inspired by something in particular that happened in your life or is it pure imagination?

Beat is purely created though my imagination, however the life lessons and key themes that are explored within the film are inspired by events and occurrences that I have experienced throughout my life’s journey.”

Tell us about the story in the film, and the style that you used in telling the story. Was either inspired by filmmakers/artists, and can you tell us about that?

Beat explores the themes of homelessness and fame with the story driven by classical music. After a heart transplant, a young woman finds herself connecting with a homeless man through classical music. Throughout, a series of dramatic performances and emotional events of the two worlds begin to emerge as one. Christopher Nolan inspired the story to unravel in a non-linear timeline. As we follow both of our protagonists, we constantly crosscut between timelines; this technique is crucial to the story’s plot and the major reveals at the end.”

The film is self-funded, how did you manage that? Are you taking advantage of any of the screen industry incentives such as the Producer’s Offset in your finance plan? What about location incentives, ie. shooting in a place like Newcastle, which we understand is encouraging the arts right now in a proactive way?

“After the success of my short film Victim in 2019 and with momentum rolling, I wrote the script for Beat, which shortly after secured funding through a private investor. We didn’t receive any external incentives, however we couldn’t have made this film without the support of the local community. We had over 300 people from Newcastle who took time out of their schedule to participate as extras, we even had small businesses and private venues close the doors to theirs shops, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and theatres providing us with locations to film.”

Did you ship in most of the cast and crew for the film or were there many from the Newcastle region?

“All of our crew members were local Novocastrians. Newcastle is such a beautiful place, thriving with many talented individuals within the creative industry, so it was very special to engage these individuals to make up our crew.

“The film was quite a large cast for an independent film. We engaged with actors from all over Australia, flying them in from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.”

You secured an impressive cast for the film – how did you go about doing that?

“We had the privilege of working with many well-known actors and actresses within the industry, however casting them to start with, was another hurdle on its own. I knew in myself the actors I wanted to tell this story with but being new to the industry and without yet completing a feature film, made it a slight challenge when reaching out to agencies. I knew I just needed to get the script in the hands of those I wished to work with and let the story of Beat do the rest and it did just that. Almost every time an actor or actress read the script, we instantly scheduled a call to discuss the vision and approach. This was the most important process to casting as it commonly placed both of us on the same frequency, motivated and ready to tell this story.”

Was the experience of some of them, eg. John Wood, helpful for you as a first-time feature filmmaker?

“Working with Australia’s stars such as Rachael Carpani and John Wood is definitely helpful being a first-time filmmaker. I feel as if it allows people to take my art of filmmaking slightly more seriously.”

What do you hope will be the journey of the film following the upcoming premiere?

“After the premiere, Beat will do a circuit through the main film festivals. We will then evaluate a cinema release or if it is to go straight to streaming services.”

Have you got other projects on the boil?

“Being me, I’ll always have another project ready to go. I just can’t help myself. Making films is all I think about.

“But yes, my next film is set for production mid/late 2022. I can’t wait to tell yet another story and on such a larger scale again.”

Beat premieres on January 11, 2022 at Event Cinemas Kotara

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