Gratus to Fargo!
Where to begin? The last 12 months have been an extraordinary journey starting with the Bus Stop Films’ inclusive documentary studies program which was delivered at 3 Bridges Community. The program was aimed at helping people in recovery from mental health issues and it was facilitated by the amazing Sarah J Johnson, Bus Stop’s program manager. Through the program I teamed up with seven others in the group to make a little film that would cause big change; Gratus.
Prior to starting this course I had just come off a severe three year stint of dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. With this came all those horrible things like depression and disabling anxiety. It consumed my life for three long years. During this time I sought help with many professionals and together with the unconditional love and support of family, friends and my girlfriend at the time, now still a good friend, that got me through.
I wanted to be an actor since I was a child and had joined the profession with some small success but once my OCD took over my life it took away my acting career with it. Whilst I had got back my hope for life thanks to the help of professionals and loved ones I had lost all hope on getting back into acting and having a career in this industry.
And then came along Bus Stop Films!
Working on Gratus completely recharged my love and passion for film and acting. Getting the opportunity to work with seasoned and highly sought after professionals like Andrew Johnson and David Burr who have worked on major Hollywood films, was amazing. Here I was on the set of a film I was staring in and being guided by these professionals who have both worked on huge projects and with amazing actors like Brad Pitt and Tom Hardy and telling me I was doing a good job! It was truly inspiring and life changing.
It wasn’t only the days on set that made this a truly memorable experience but having the opportunity to work with so many lovely people in a supportive and inclusive classroom. Having the opportunity to see my fellow filmmakers sharing their stories and helping to create a powerful film
Since then I have worked non-stop as an actor, filmmaker and model. It has truly been the best year of my life both personally and creatively.
Fast forward to January 2017 and we get the news that Gratus got into the Fargo Film Festival and not only that we won best experimental film! it was incredible not just because we won but now my acting, writing and filmmaking would be shared onscreen in a country I always dreamed of visiting and working in.
Then I got word from Bus Stop Films and Fargo Film Festival that between both organisations they were going to sponsor me and fly me on my first overseas trip to my first film festival and my first win!
There I was bags packed and getting on the flight to Fargo. I flew through Dallas Texas and got to spend the night there and I saw real life cowboys! Once in Fargo I was completely swept away by how beautiful the town itself was and how truly wonderful the people were. The staff at the festival took me under their wings and put me up in the Radisson Hotel, which was so cool.
The fun never stopped as I headed straight out to the first pre party I met so people that I will treasure my whole life. From the staff to the residents of Fargo to all the visiting filmmakers, they are and always will be my friends and “festie besties” as we call ourselves now. Honestly, not a day goes by that I don’t think about Fargo and the people I met there.
Back in Australia I am working on directing a film to enter for 2018, in hopes of making it again to the Fargo Film Festival and the chance to see everyone. I can not thank Bus Stop Films enough for what they have done for my creative life and I can’t wait to see all of the change that will continue to come from our powerful little film that we made J
Good things seems to keep coming since my journey began with Bus Stop Films.. It truly remains the best experience of my life and one I will always treasure and never forget!