Benson Jack Anthony, who played Erik Thomson’s son Arlo in the Seven Network hit drama 800 Words, has won the lead role in Emo (the musical).

In his feature debut Neil Triffett is writing and directing the irreverent high school musical satire inspired by his 2013 short film. Shooting starts in Melbourne on November 30.

Anthony is Ethan, who is desperate to fit in to his new school and quickly finds a place in the Emo band that aims to win the state school rock competition. When the Christian band enters the competition, the two groups are set to go to war. That’s awkward for Ethan as he falls in love with Trinity (newcomer Jordan Hare), the lead vocalist in the Christian band.

Rahart Adams, who plays the lead in David Caesar's feature Nowhere Boys The Book of Shadows after starring in Nickelodeon’s telemovie Liar Liar, Vampire and series Every Witch Way, is fellow Emo band member Bradley.

The cast includes VCE graduate Lucy Barrett (Neighbours), Ben Bennett (Home and Away), Jon Prasida (Hiding) and Geraldine Viswanathan.

Triffett says the feature takes the central idea of the short film but introduces new characters and storylines to create a satire that explores “religion, society, holy-war and what you do to fit in as a teenager.”

The producer is Matthewswood’s Lee Matthews, whose first feature was Ben Plazzer's The Heckler. Ellery Ryan is the DP with Simon McCutcheon (Nowhere Boys) as production designer. Thea McLeod did the casting.

Australian distributor Bonsai Films plans to release the film on at least 20 screens. Matthews hopes to launch the film internationally at a major festival.

He said, “We will work strategically with our local distributor and international sales agent to have the film commercially released globally on as many platforms as possible as close to the film’s festival success as possible.”

The project was developed with the support of Screen Australia and Film Victoria. Production funding was secured from market advances, private support, filmmaker reinvestment of fees and a crowd funding campaign, which raised $48,000.

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