London Film Fest to screen Lakemba

By Simon de Bruyn

The new short film by Sydney director Platon Theodoris, focusing on and starring the Muslim youth of Western Sydney suburb Lakemba, has been selected to screen at the London Film Festival in October.

This follows a previous screening at the Brisbane International Film Festival as well as several screenings at the Dendy cinemas in Newtown, Sydney, organised by Theodoris – who produced as well as directed and wrote the short film, simply titled Lakemba.

Surprisingly, the film was not selected for the 2008 Sydney Film Festival.

Lakemba is a 30 minute drama, fully scripted but shot in a documentary style, about several suburban boys who are struggling with the challenges of creating hip hop music, amid the environment of their religious obligations and family expectations.

Theodoris, who has previously directed TVCs and music videos, told INSIDEFILM he had wanted to film a story about Lakemba since living there in the 1990s, but was keen to portray a different side to the suburb than the way shows like A Current Affair have portrayed it in the past, as a violent suburb full of troublemakers.

“I was trying to portray whole characters; Lakemba boys who are not perfect but are struggling with their religion and the choices they make, and also what Lakemba stands for. There is an undercurrent of gun violence in the suburb but I didn’t want to make it a negative film about cars and guns,” he said.

“In the end it is a positive story that counters the negative perceptions about the community. I’m actually really quite proud of it.”

The final Sydney screenings of Lakemba will be held at Dendy cinemas in Newtown tomorrow night, Tuesday 12 August, at 6:30pm and 8pm.