This is a sweet film, enjoyable, if predictable.
Shantae Barnes-Cowan stars as Murra, a troubled teenager, in this movie set in the spectacular outback of WA’s North-West.
Murra has a tough home life with her alcoholic mother, who seems to have little time for her daughter.
She abandons Murra, sending her to stay with her uncle Ian (Mark Coles Smith – Last Cab to Darwin), a kind policeman who worries about Murra’s rebellious attitude.
He finds her a place on a week-long photographic safari for teens at risk, run by the counsellor Mitch, who drives the bus, and the passionate photographer Fernando (Carlos Sanson Jr).
Also on the trip are Sean (Andrew Wallace), Elvis (Pedrea Jackson) and Kylie (Mikayla Levy) – a mixed group of personalities, who don’t necessarily like each other.
The idea is that a week of new experiences, camping in the outback and learning about photography, will help everyone deal with their problems – and somehow it seems to work.
Director Jub Clerc, who wrote the script with Steve Rodgers, based the story on a similar journey she took in the 1980s – the catalyst in her own journey of becoming a filmmaker and storyteller.
She went on to join the cast of Bran Nue Dae, then was accepted into the Aboriginal Theatre Training Program and later got into the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Now she has written and directed her own film. Sweet As is the first Western Austalian movie directed by an indigenous person.
Her ancestral tribe – Nyul Nyul/Yawuru – was from the Kimberley but she grew up in the Pilbara, where Sweet As was filmed.
Cinematographer Katie Milwright has made the most of the dramatic outback locations – a highlight of the film.
* Sweet As opens on Thursday, June 1, at Luna Leederville, Luna On SX and the Windsor.
Watch the trailer…