The local indie film will dramatise the plight of a fallen former player.
17 Mar 2014 - 12:22 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:27 AM

“It came pretty much out of a frustration of seeing this story repeat itself over and over. Lots of players in retirement struggle with the whole transition thing so that’s what inspired me to tell this story,” says writer-director Heath Davis about Broke, his debut feature film.
The micro-budgeted indie drama follows a washed-up, gambling-addicted former rugby league star played by Steve Le Marquard (Beneath Hill 60) who’s taken under wing of a charitable railway worker (veteran actor Steve Bisley). Claire van der Boom (The Square, Red Hill) will play Bisley’s daughter.
“We were fortunate enough that the actors responded to the material as it’s not a money-making thing for anybody,” says Davis (pictured), who previously achieved kudos for a slew of award-winning shorts. “I wrote with Steve Le Marquard specifically in mind for the lead, as we know each other and he was looking at doing something a little different from playing the tough guy who never gets to show his tender side. He also knows a lot of ex-players who have struggled with addiction, so the part resonated with him.”
Broke is being produced by Luke Graham, who collaborated on Davis’ previous short films and whose father was a footballer, captain and later a coach in north Queensland. “He’s seen these stories first-hand,” says Davis. “But apart from the film being a message about footy, they’ll be some real rich characters and it's essentially a two-hander. It’s also complex, cinematic and there’s darkness and some lighter moments.”
Half the budget for Broke was self-financed by the filmmakers, which was then equalised by a successful crowd-funding campaign on indiegogo. Cast and crew fees are being deferred and all eventual profits will go to the Men of League Foundation, which supports struggling members of the rugby league community. “It was one of those things that we thought we could self-contain and that there’s an audience for," says Davis. "We thought we’d give crowd-funding a shot and we’ve been lucky that people have responded.”
Filming on Broke will commence in August over an 18-day shoot in Gladstone, Queensland. “It’s footy heartland and lots of ex-players work there in the mines and at the ports,” explains the filmmaker “The community is really behind the film and we’re so fortunate they’ve embraced it. It’s a small little world that we’re creating – definitely difficult but also achievable.”
Davis says he looks to low-budget, character-driven, American indie cinema of the ’90s in particular Hal Hartley and the early work of Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky) for inspiration. “It was written specifically for this budget level and we’re looking at what these filmmakers shot in a limited time frame and how they got what they needed under those sorts of parameters.”
For more information on Broke head to the Facebook page.