Opening this weekend A Month of Sundays is a new film starring Adelaidian Anthony LaPaglia filmed right here in South Australia.
Directed by Matthew Saville and produced by Kirsty Stark (who are also Adelaide folks), A Month of Sundays follows the story of real estate agent Frank Mollard (LaPaglia) who can’t sell his own house, or bond with his teenage son (Indiana Crowther), and then starts receiving phone calls from his late mother.
Also starring Gary Sweet, Justine Clarke, Julia Blake and John Clarke, the film was featured in last year’s Adelaide Film Festival.
Kirsty Stark and Indiana Crowther spoke to us recently about their involvement in the film and what it was like working with a cast of Aussie cinema royalty.
“I came on board A Month of Sundays in April 2014 when I first read the script,” Kirsty says. “I had produced another project called Wastelander Panda: Exile with Nick Batzias, and when he and Matt made the decision to bring A Month of Sundays to Adelaide, they approached me to be involved.”
Kirsty studied film at Flinders University before working on projects including Beautiful Kate, Oranges and Sunshine, and Snowtown.
“Wastelander Panda was my first project as producer and I developed my producing skills through two series and three years on that project; our own online series, followed by one for ABC iView,” she says.
A Month of Sundays is full of poignant themes of parenting, childhood, mourning, regret and salvation, and Kirsty says it is a film that reaches the audience on many levels.
“It’s a film that has so many layers. I’ve seen it six times now since it’s been completely finished and every time the audience reacts slightly differently or tells us about another theme they have taken away from it. Matt Saville has said that he thinks the best films are those in which the filmmakers present two thirds of the work and the audience is trusted to take on the other third, and I think that has contributed to the way that A Month of Sundays touches everyone on a different level,” she says.
And working with AACTA, Grammy and Tony award winning actor Anthony LaPaglia enhanced Kirsty’s experience on the production team as well.
“Anthony was incredibly generous throughout the whole process of making this film from the first day of rehearsals through to our recent Q&A screenings. He put his all into Frank’s character and I think that shows clearly on screen,” she says.
“Everyone on this film worked so well as a cohesive unit and it was especially great to have actors who stepped right into the process. We shot the entire film in just 20 days, which could have been really difficult, but it was the smoothest shoot I’ve worked on to date.”
Her first feature film as a producer, Kirsty says she’s looking forward to audiences enjoying A Month of Sundays and hearing their response.
“[I enjoy] hearing the different audience responses to the film and that it has helped many people in some way to deal with their relationships or their grief. It’s also great to hear a full cinema laugh in the funnier moments of the film,” she says.
Newcomer Indiana Crowther plays Anthony LaPaglia’s son and says he jumped at the chance to be involved in the film for many reasons.
“There were many things about A Month of Sundays that made me really want the opportunity to be cast as Frank Jr. The stellar cast and crew, a marvellous script and the opportunity to play a character very different from myself; Frank Jr is very moody and grumpy. I was also interested in performing Shakespeare for the first time,” he says.
Starting his career young in the modelling industry, Indiana became interested in film and made a choice to pursue it.
“My parents first enrolled me in modelling classes when I was three years old to help overcome shyness. I had a variety of modelling jobs, which lead to work on some TV commercials and then progressed to involvement on a film set for almost three months, full time,” he says.
“At that point, I was seven years old and through that experience I decided I wanted to become an actor. My parents started to take my interest more seriously and enrolled me in acting school.”
Working on A Month of Sundays was an incredibly positive experience for Indiana, from working with a cast of renowned professionals, to overcoming challenges and growing as an actor.
“They were really, really nice people. When you’re on set, it’s like a family. The cast I worked with were very supportive and guiding, which was great since I was only 13 at the time of filming. Anthony was especially helpful during some of the more emotional scenes. I also learnt a lot from people with a variety of roles on set, both cast and crew,’ he says.
“There were some challenging scenes, which Anthony helped me through, and, of course, wearing tights and pantaloons was strange!”
“I love this film. It’s witty, smart, funny, and serious when it needs to be. It tackles real life issues and is written brilliantly. The lead actor is from Adelaide, the director is from Adelaide and it was filmed in Adelaide, being south Australian myself, it was a very special experience.”
A Month of Sundays opens in cinemas April 28.
By Libby Parker