'Rock Sugar'

The message of Angela How’s debut feature Rock Sugar will reach North America next month after the film secured a TVOD release via Gravitas Ventures.

It is the first form of distribution for the psychological drama/thriller, which will be known as Bullied in that territory when it becomes available on VOD platforms on June 1.

How wrote, directed, and produced the story about a 12-year-old Asian girl named Charlotte (Jacinta Klassen), who is tormented by Brenda (Lulu Fitz), the school bully.

When she is attacked in a park late one night Charlotte fights back, knocking Brenda to the ground.

The bully falls, hits her head and stops moving, creating a terrible dilemma for Charlotte, who must either hide the body or face the consequences of her action.

The film was shot in Melbourne at the start of 2018, with DOP Ben Milward-Bason, art director/costume designer Yvette Brereton and composer Aiko Fukushima.

How managed to raise more than $20,000 via a crowdfunding campaign for the project, which was produced by Matter Obscura Films.

Having completed post-production towards the end of last year, How told IF she was excited to share the work of her cast and crew.

“I made this film not just for myself but for everyone involved,” she said.

“I’m hoping it will be a vehicle for them to move onto bigger things and take them someplace else.”

The world may have undergone a myriad of changes since 2018, but the subject matter of How’s film remains as relevant as ever.

She said the film’s themes had “become even more visible” across the past couple of years.

“We see bullying on a grand scale in the political arena and the film is a microcosm of that,” she said.

“In the wake of COVID, there has been a rise in racial vilification, so it is also relevant in that way.”

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