The film 'Convict' premiered to a sell-out crowd in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta last night, revealing to audiences the physical, mental and cultural side of prison.
Ben Henderson

22 Jan 2014 - 3:26 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2014 - 6:25 PM

It tells the story of returning soldier 'Ray', who ends up in prison following a street fight which results in death.

"He's been away for 5 years on war duty in Iraq, so the day he comes back he gets put into jail, he has this journey in there where he gets tested mentally and physically with all the gang elements," said lead actor George Basha. "And they strip him of his dignity. It just pushes a man, I mean how far can a human being be pushed before he snaps."

Mr Basha wrote and directed the film. He hopes the film will help steer younger generations away from trouble at a time when minority groups are over-represented in Australian jails.

"You know, unfortunately we have younger fellas, you know from Arabic to Aboriginal races in the jail, and they’re over-populated and they’re very young kids," said Mr Basha. "Hopefully they can see this is not a place where you really want to be. It also deals with gangs and racism which happens inside this prison in this film, but it also happens outside the walls in real life, so we bring that into the prison so hopefully people can see that and think twice before they say something or do something,"

Richard Green, best-known for his role in Snowtown, also plays a key role in this film.

He says the movie will be culturally educational for all viewers despite their individual backgrounds.

"I play the librarian, a lifer meant to be doing life, and you’re not too sure about what my culture is towards the end so that’s the interesting, educational process that we’re trying to get out there," said Mr Green. "Not all Aboriginal people are full-blood, especially over all this time of colonisation."

The film features many Aboriginal people recruited off the streets in Redfern.

Mr Green hopes the film will inspire other community members to get involved in acting.

"I hope that our younger brothers and sisters get that acting bug and realise that they can do this,” said Mr Green.