by Dov Kornits

Sexagenarian is my first non-linear film,” Lee Galea tells us. “It really helped to tell the story in a unique way.”

Operating as a true independent ever since his first feature, 2009’s Less Adolescent, Lee produces a film every 3-4 years – 2013’s queer festival fave Monster Pies, 2017’s quirky character drama The Neon Spectrum, and 2019’s catchy musical Filterphonic followed, with each film exploring a different way to tell a story.

Not even a global pandemic could curb Lee Galea’s ambitious output, with his fifth feature film Sexagenarian recently announcing completion.

“When I had a year off during the first two Melbourne lockdowns, I re-worked some of the dialogue and changed a few plot points because we lost one of our biggest locations,” Lee says today. “I also needed to add more to the ending, so I wrote two new scenes. The time off saved us in many ways. Three actors also pulled out and I needed to quickly re-cast before we started up again in early 2021. The whole process was so scary because we had no idea if we would ever get it finished. I tried to get a filming exemption but was unsuccessful.”

So, tell us about Sexagenarian?

“The main character had to be 60 years old, and I was determined to find someone of that age. Mason Frost who co-stars in the film suggested Chris Perkins who had just turned 60 and she was perfect on so many levels. Mason helped cast a few more actors who he had worked with through theatre productions. I also had Julie Strini from Filterphonic come back to work with me and Nicola Eveleigh who’s been in all 5 films.

“The film tells two stories in one and my inspiration came at two different times,” Lee continues. “I really wanted to make something that had a mystery to it and that felt like a low budget French or Italian film. I also had one big night out before turning 40 and I drew from some of that too. I don’t like giving too much away with this film because the less you know the better. It does have a ‘it’s never too late’ feel to it and it’s about getting older yet remaining ‘visible’. I can also add that most of the film is set on two days, one year apart from each other.”

Lee says that Sexagenarian has cost less than $20,000 to make so far. “Lucky I edit too! I did one fundraising event with live bands and drag shows in Footscray and that helped us get started. I also had Julie Strini invest in the film and produce with me. Other than that, I’m a part time DJ and I’ve had friends invest as well.

“Part of the film is set in a bar, so we needed lots of music to set the scene and it also helped link both sides of the story together,” says the resourceful filmmaker. “I was lucky enough to work with the new band The Broad Meadows who supplied most of the music for the film.”


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