Just over two years in the making, the independent film about binge drinking, social anxiety and alcohol abuse, is in the very last stages of post production.
Bad Influence is a 90 minute drama/comedy-drama that follows Anthony (Andreas Toumbas) as he attends his best friend’s housewarming party. Things seem to be going fine until brash, loud-mouthed Steve (Chris Charteris) arrives. Things go from bad to worse as Anthony struggles to control the troublesome and increasingly alcohol-fuelled Steve, who has no remorse for his actions, and will do anything to get what he wants – even if it means bringing everyone down in the process.
Described as a deeply personal passion project, the film was written by Andreas at the beginning of 2018. He wanted to make a feature film with the resources he had, which wasn’t very much. It was filmed roughly once a week over six months in the 2018/19 summer with a very small and passionate cast and crew, and is filmed almost entirely in 17 long days at his parents’ home in the south-western suburb of Earlwood in Sydney (with additional filming in Surry Hills and Quaker’s Hill).
The film’s mission is to bring light to the serious problem of binge drinking and the negative impacts it brings to individuals and the community. The film is a very personal project and deals with the issues surrounding alcohol abuse and mental illness (primarily social anxiety), and how the two are related.
Furthermore, it explores how alcohol is often used as a social lubricant, but can quickly make us anti-social. It is a very raw film about a very common issue we face in society.
Written, Directed and Produced by Andreas, the crew was what the film industry calls a “skeleton crew” – Producer/Director, Cinematographer (Ben Gagaler, Stephen Mylonas), Sound Recordist (Simon Allen), Camera Assistant (Michael Angelis), Assistant Director (Prema Smith) and Hair/Make-Up Artist (Janelle Stacey), with a few other people helping out from time to time, and many people doubling up on multiple roles.
The cast is made up of only seven actors: Chris Charteris, Andreas Toumbas, Amelia Conway, Martin Reyes, Kerstyn Walsh, Vanessa Madrid and Steve Maresca.
Andreas says that the small crew, small cast and one location shoot was the reason the film was able to be made with such a low budget. Completely self-funded, the whole film (including post-production) was made for approximately $18,000 (AUD), which in relative terms a tiny budget.
Post-Production, including picture editing (Andreas Toumbas), sound design (Anthony Marsh), colour grading (Sam White) and music composition (Anisha Thomas), began when filming ended in April 2019 and will be complete in March 2020.
Upon completion, the film will have a small special screening for Cast and Crew (and friends and family) on the 4th April 2020 at the Ritz cinemas. After this it will be entered into many film festivals around the world where it will have its official World Premiere. From here, the film will find its distribution channels (theatrical release, streaming services, etc), and the goal is that it will be seen by as many people around the world as possible, as it’s a film that could help people by making them re-assess the relationship they have with alcohol.