The conception for Pawno had lingered for years until fruition. The setting and structure for the film was influenced by films including Clerks, Smoke, Coffee and Cigarettes and Everynight, Everynight. Eventually, pen was put to paper after I worked with Paul Ireland and John Brumpton on a theatre production. I took around 50 pages of the script to Paul and on an afternoon in a café in St.Kilda, Toothless Pictures was born.
Over the next two years we developed the script together, working out of the café and Paul’s kitchen. During this time we also began the exhaustive task of raising funds necessary to make the film, as we didn’t fit into any criteria of funding through the usual bodies. We laughed, shared frustrations and were inspired whilst riding all the bumps together along the way before principal photography commenced in late November of 2014.
Toothless took possession of a shop for six months amongst the chaos and beauty of Barkly Street. The premises formed our production offices, costume, make –up and catering. In the front we built the Pawnbrokers that is used in filming, sourcing everything wherever possible and constructed it for the purposes of filming, although many passerby’s thought us open for business.
The partnership and idea formed in a café in St.Kilda years earlier had attracted a brilliant cast and crew that endeared them to the locals of Footscray and the suburb to all of us. It really is a special part of Melbourne for its melting pot of people, language, food and colour. As a resident of the suburb myself, I have a pride that it’s essence is captured on film for it is changing rapidly and a part of what we created is in itself a little time capsule.
We had always wanted to create a work that was real Characters that afforded themselves to be broken and healed at the same time, vulnerable and closed. I was inspired in writing by people I knew and some I just made up. Working with Paul as a director allowed actors the opportunity to inject their own nuances whilst maintaining a film that is truly an ensemble.
Pawno is unlike many Australian films in that it is a true example of cultural diversity on screen without kangaroos, beach or desert. It is Australia as I see it, walking down the street, albeit with a heightened sense of story. People overseas in the festivals we have played from the Baltic States in Eastern Europe to the bustle of Singapore have observed as much and come question time are intrigued by the characters on screen, the world in Australia we are set in and the story of how Paul and I created the film itself.